What type of Radiation Are VHF UHF Radio Signals?

VHF and UHF radiation are electromagnetic waves that travel in the air. The two signals differ in various ways, including their frequency and wavelength, as well as how they propagate from a source. In this guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about VHF and UHF radiation or signals: what they are, their differences and much more.


Table of Contents

What is VHF and UHF?

VHF and UHF are common acronyms in the world of radio signals or electromagnetic waves. But while both are used in the same context, their meanings differ in several ways. Here, therefore, is the VHF and UHF meaning in full, including their respective frequencies and wavelengths.

VHF and UHF Full Form

VHF stands for ‘Very High Frequency’ and refers to a type of electromagnetic wave that has a frequency of between 30 MHz and 300 MHz. In terms of wavelength, VHF waves measure around 5 feet.

Meanwhile, UHF stands for ‘Ultra High Frequency’ and refers to an electromagnetic wave with a frequency range of 300MHz to 3000MHz. Its wavelength measures roughly 1.5 foot.

VHF and UHF Meaning

When used to describe radio signals, the acronyms VHF and UHF are often used to refer to two different types of electromagnetic radiation. VHF radiation is a low-frequency wave that has a longer wavelength and can travel further distances than UHF radiation.

On the other hand, UHF radiation is a high-frequency wave that has a shorter wavelength but cannot travel as far as VHF radiation. That means UHF signals are more suited for short range applications, but can also carry more data because of its shorter wavelength.

Example applications of UHF radiation
Example applications of UHF radiation
Resource: https://www.semanticscholar.org

Difference between VHF and UHF

After their meaning, it’s now time to compare the two types of radio signals in terms of their frequency range, bands, antennae types, and wave propagation. Lastly, in this section about the VHF and UHF difference, we’ll see how the signals vary in applications and usage situations.

VHF and UHF Frequency Range

VHF and UHF frequencies are on the opposite ends of the electromagnetic spectrum. VHF frequency ranges between 30MHz to 300MHz, while UHF frequency goes from 300MHz to 3000MHz. That’s why VHF has a relatively longer wavelength compared to UHF signals.

The difference in the frequency range of VHF and UHF signals affects many things, from the type of antennae used to the obstacles that can block their transmission. For example, lower-frequency waves are more difficult to transmit through walls, and cannot be used in heavily built-up areas.

UHF signals, on the other hand, can go through walls and other obstacles more easily, which makes them suitable for indoor use.

VHF and UHF Bands

VHF and UHF signals are commonly known as the VHF band and UHF band respectively. Each of these bands is divided into subsections, with certain frequencies being reserved for specific purposes or services.

For instance, VHF low band is considered as ranging from 49 to 108 MHz, while the high band includes frequencies from 169 to 216 MHz. UHF signals are also divided into the low band (450-806 MHz) and high band above 900 MHz.

These VHF and UHF bands have certain benefits when it comes to transmitting wireless signals. They are also usually controlled when it comes to using them for communication purposes. VHF radio waves have a relatively long range and ideal for broadcasting signals across large areas.

That includes the FM radio station band, which transmits between 88MHz and 108MHz. Meanwhile, the UHF band is used for cellular telecommunication services, satellite systems, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as television broadcasting.

VHF and UHF Antennae

The type of antenna for VHF and UHF signals depend on the frequency range they are operating with. Generally, VHF signals require larger antennae than UHF signals. That’s because of their longer wavelength, which can be around 5 feet.

Depending on the type of antennae used, they can either be mounted on the roof of a building or placed higher up in towers. Generally, the UHF antenna can be a flat panel and usable indoors: the shorter wavelength means the signals can penetrate through walls better than VHF signals.

VHF and UHF Wave Propagation

VHF and UHF wave propagation also differs greatly due to their frequency range. Usually, VHF signals have better wave propagation characteristics than UHF signals because of their longer wavelength. That means VHF radio signals can travel further distances with less interference.

On the other hand, UHF signals tend to be more easily reflected by tiny metallic objects. This makes them more prone to multipath, causing signal distortion and reception issues.

While still on the issue of VHF vs. UHF propagation, it’s good to note that the type of antennae used and the application environment affects the wave propagation of both signals. In view of that, the right antenna should be used based on the type of wave.

VHF and UHF Applications

The main difference between VHF and UHF in terms of application is their range. VHF signals are better for long-distance transmission, so they are mainly used for broadcasting radio or television, two-way radio communication, amateur radio, and similar uses.

On the other hand, UHF signals have a shorter range and are more susceptible to interference, making them better for short-range communication. Therefore, they are mostly used for cellular communication, cordless phones, Wi-Fi networks, and satellite-based navigation systems.

The difference in VHF and UHF applications also mean a difference in the way they are used. For example, VHF signals require more power to be transmitted over a longer distance and also need larger antennas for reception, while UHF signals require less power and smaller antennas.


To sum it up, VHF and UHF are two types of radio frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum, but with a distinct difference in frequency range, bands, and other characteristics such as propagation and antenna design. Each of them has their own set of applications, too, making them suitable for different types of communication and broadcasting.

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