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How to Program a UHF Radio

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UHF radios need to be programmed with the frequencies that you want to listen and transmit on. The Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Standard Band is between 450 and 470MHz; UHF “T” band is between 470 and 512MHz; the Federal Government uses 406-420MHz; and 7-cm Ham is at 420-450MHZ. Public Service and cellular can be at 806MHz and higher. The most common end-user programmable radios are ham radios. They are easy to program if you have the right data.

Place the radio into frequency changing mode. There’s often a button called “VFO.” VFO stands for Variable Frequency Oscillator, it’s a “change the frequency” button.

Enter the frequency you want to program.

Press the Set button. This generally marked “Set.” It may have other labels which are used for secondary button functions. “Set/High/low,” for transmit power, for example.

Press the "Tone" button until the type of tone you need shows. Scroll through tones by rotating the Select knob, one of the knobs on the top.

Press "Tone" again until an indicator for Offset appears. Rotate the dial to the required Offset. Press the "VFO" button again.

Check the frequency you want to program is still on the screen. You should also now see little icons for the offset—a plus or a minus, for example. There should also be a symbol indicating you have selected a Tone. It’s often a “T.”

Press the "Memory" button and rotate the dial to the memory location you want to store the data in. Press the "Memory" button again and the frequency, with associated data, will be programmed.


Generally, you need a license to transmit on UHF. However, Family Service Radio (FRS) doesn’t require a license. They have dedicated frequencies in and around 462 to 467 MHz, and they have other requirements related to the radio itself.


  • It is legal to listen to UHF except you must not listen intentionally to phone conversations, pager transmissions or anything scrambled.
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