What’s The Difference Between A 40 Channel And 80 Channel UHF?

The other day I was going through a list of things I needed for trip I have planned for later in the year, My CB radio was on there and I got thinking it might be time for an upgrade. As I started looking, I now see that 80 Channel UHF’s are all the rage, so I decided to do some research on the differences are between a 40 and 80 Channel UHF radio to see if its worth making the switch.

So, What is the difference between a 40 channel and an 80 channel UHF radio?

Firstly, the number of channels available are different, one has 40 channels and the other has 80 channels. The 40 channel uhf radio is a wide band radio, meaning it expects a signal of 25khz. While the 80 channel radio is a narrow band, which expects a 12.5khz signal. Both the 40 channel and 80 channel UHF radio utilizes 476.4250-477.4125MHz radio spectrum for short distance communications.

Wait a minute, you might want to know a little more information about the differences in channels, not to mention how the different bandwidths affect usage, keep reading to learn more.

When using a 80 channel uhf it can be possible to communicate to someone using a 40 channel using the first 40 channels, or vice versa. However, due to the difference in band widths, the person on the 80 channel can come through quiet and be difficult to hear to the person using the 40 channel.

While, an 80 channel communicating with a 40 channel, can have issues as the 40 channel can come through distorted or significantly louder, this is due to the difference in band widths. For the best signal between transmissions, it is ideal to have units that are utilizing the same bandwidth, either 40 channel communicating with 40 channel, or 80 channel communicating with 80 channel.

So Which One Is Better?

Although, the debate between which system is better to use, a 80 channel uhf radio has a better chance of less traffic. This means you can communicate to your particular group or who you wish to talk to, without too much interference from others. However, a 40 channel has been around longer, so it can be more common to find a 40 channel unit in older vehicles.

Both the 40 and 80 channel uhf can work anywhere, including places with little to no infrastructure to transmit the signal. However, this means they tend to work in a line of sight way as they have a short reach. Although, this is a positive because you are certain that you are communicating with those in your immediate vicinity.

Terrain can affect how well the signal is transmitted or received as well. Under normal conditions, you can expect a good signal between 5-8 km in distance. Distance can be increased up to 25km if you are situated in a high position, for example a hilltop. However, transmissions will perform quite poorly if the signal is blocked by hilly or heavily forested areas.

What is duplex mode?

UHF radios have a duplex function. This function is used to increase the range of which you can communicate. This is done by using repeater stations, set in ideal locations such as hills. There are 16 input stations and 16 output stations. The fixed position station forwards the signal it receives from the repeater input station (31-38/71-78) to the corresponding output station (1-8/41-48).

Transmissions sent on non-duplex channels are sent in simplex mode, which is directly between two radio sets without the use of a repeater.

What channels Should I use?

Whether you are using the 40 or 80 channel uhf radio, you need to know which channels you can use and what the purpose of each channel is for. The accepted use of the channels are as follows:

  • Channels 1-8 and 41-48: Duplex output channels
  • Channels 31-38 and 71-78: Duplex input channels
  • Channels 5 and 35: Duplex channels strictly used for emergency communications
  • Channels 9, 12-17, 19-21, 24-28, 30, 39, 49-60, 64-70, 79 and 80: General chat channels, simplex use
  • Channel 10: 4WD clubs or convoys and national parks
  • Channel 11: Call channel used to located friends (general meeting point for when communications are beginning or lost, before moving to another channel)
  • Channel 18: Caravanners and campers convoy channel
  • Channel 40: Australia wide road safety channel (used primarily by truckies and over sized load pilot vehicles)
  • Channels 22 and 23 (25kHz): Data communications only
  • Channel 29: Road safety channel Pacific Hwy, Pacific Mwy (NSW and OLD)
  • Channels 61-63: Reserved for future use

The maximum penalties for the misuse of the emergency channels are:

  • General misuse: 2 years imprisonment, otherwise $165,000 (a $220 on-the-spot fine can be issued for minor cases)
  • Interference to an emergency call: 5 years imprisonment, otherwise $550,000

 

What frequencies are the channels?

Below is a table that specifies the frequencies of each channel, as well as the purpose of that channel.

 

 

Channel:

 

Frequency:

 

Use:

 

Channel

Spacing:

Channel 1 476.4250 Duplex – Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 2 476.4500 Duplex – Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 3 476.4750 Duplex – Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 4 476.5000 Duplex – Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 5 476.5250 Duplex – Repeater Output (Emergency use only) 12.5 KHz
Channel 6 476.5500 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 7 476.5750 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 8 476.6000 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 9 476.6250 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 10 476.6500 Simplex 4WD Drivers – Convoy, Clubs & National Parks 12.5 KHz
Channel 11 476.6750 Simplex Call Channel 12.5 KHz
Channel 12 476.7000 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 13 476.7250 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 14 476.7500 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 15 476.7750 Simplex 12.5 KHz

 

Channel 16 476.8000 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 17 476.8250 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 18 476.8500 Simplex Caravan & Campers Convoy Channel 12.5 KHz
Channel 19 476.8750 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 20 476.9000 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 21 476.9250 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 22 476.9500 Data Only (No Voice – No Packet) 25 KHz
Channel 23 476.9750 Data Only (No Voice – No Packet) 25 KHz
Channel 24 477.0000 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 25 477.0250 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 26 477.0500 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 27 477.0750 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 28 477.1000 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 29 477.1250 Simplex Pacific Hwy (NSW) & Bruce Hwy (QLD) Road Channel 12.5 KHz
Channel 30 477.1500 Simplex UHF CB Broadcasts 12.5 KHz
Channel 31 477.1750 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 32 477.2000 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 33 477.2250 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 34 477.2500 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 35 477.2750 Repeater Input (Emergency Use Only) 12.5 KHz
Channel 36 477.3000 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 37 477.3250 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 38 477.3500 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 39 477.3750 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 40 477.4000 Simplex Highway Channel 12.5 KHz
Channel 41 476.4375 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 42 476.4625 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 43 476.4875 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 44 476.5125 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 45 476.5375 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 46 476.5625 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 47 476.5875 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 48 476.6125 Duplex -Repeater Output 12.5 KHz
Channel 49 476.6375 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 50 476.6625 Simplex 12.5 KHz

 

Channel 51 476.6875 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 52 476.7125 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 53 476.7375 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 54 476.7625 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 55 476.7875 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 56 476.8125 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 57 476.8375 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 58 476.8625 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 59 476.8875 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 60 476.9125 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 61 Reserved for Future Expansion
Channel 62 Reserved for Future Expansion
Channel 63 Reserved for Future Expansion
Channel 64 477.0125 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 65 477.0375 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 66 477.0625 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 67 477.0875 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 68 477.1125 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 69 477.1375 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 70 477.1625 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 71 477.1875 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 72 477.2125 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 73 477.2375 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 74 477.2625 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 75 477.2875 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 76 477.3125 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 77 477.3375 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 78 477.3625 Repeater Input 12.5 KHz
Channel 79 477.3875 Simplex 12.5 KHz
Channel 80 477.4125 Simplex 12.5 KHz

 

Etiquette

Most users are well behaved, however, you will encounter those who just want to troll and cause trouble, or new users who are unaware of the etiquette. It is important to remember that all communications on each channel are public. Anyone within range can hear you and join in. When communication has been established, it is accepted that both parties move to another channel to free up that particular channel ie. Emergency channel or the call channel.

Related Questions

What is the pricing difference between handheld and in car UHF radios?

Pricing can vary on the features and quality of the product. Handheld uhf radios are portable and range from as little as $40 to over $400, while in car uhf radios can range from $100 to over $600.

What to features to look for when choosing your UHF?

There are many 40 channel and 80 channel units that are available, each with various features that are available. Here are a couple features you should consider:

  • Programmable Scan function: scans up to 40 user programmable channels with both group and open scan functions available
  • Over-voltage protection: special over-voltage detection circuitry protects the radio andwarns of excessive voltage conditions by flashing the display
  • CTSS ready: built in continuous tone coded squelch system provides quiet channel operation

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