What are VHF Radios?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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Very high frequency radio has been around for a number of years. Often used for broadcast radio functions, as well as with military and private business applications, VHF radios are common today.

The VHF radio frequency range is between thirty and three hundred megahertz. This places VHF radios at a much higher meter band that the frequencies used by AM radio broadcasts. Along with the use of a higher meter wave, VHF radios also provide a higher incidence of audio quality than other forms of broadcasting. Part of this is due to the fact that the quality of the transmission tends to filter out noise and weaker signals.

During the early 1950s in the United States, VHF radios began to come into popular usage. As the decade progressed, the VHF radios that were designed to pick up the signals broadcast by fledgling FM stations gained in popularity. By the middle of the 1960s, VHF radios were common among proponents of the youth movement, with many FM stations experimenting with alternate formats that included playing whole albums by new artists and promoting recordings by musicians that were considered to be inappropriate for then more mainstream AM radio stations.


The superior audio quality of VHF radios led to the frequencies being used more by mainstream broadcasters. By the early 1970s, most of popular radio was dominated by the presence of FM stations. This status has remained through today.

Along with entertainment applications, VHF radios also are used for a number of military and maritime applications. The clarity of signals makes VHF radios ideal for sending encrypted messages, as well as being perfect for sending and receiving distress signals. Many maritime organizations rely on VHF radios to connect their ships and other vessels with a constant and reliable connection to the latest information about weather conditions. The bandwidth frequency for these types of applications are different from the range normally employed by broadcast radio, ensuring that the chances of interception by unauthorized users is very low.

VHF radios range from simple receivers that are found in most standard audio entertainment equipment to more sophisticated devices that are often found on sailing vessels and military vehicles and equipment. As a reliable form of sending and receiving audio communications, VHF radios are likely to be around for many years to come.


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