VHF Spectrum Release

70.5 – 71.5 MHz

In April-2015, Ofcom agreed to the use of 70.5 – 71.5 MHz by Full-licensees for digital experimentation. Originally, use was permitted only via a successful Ofcom Special Research Permit application. In June-2018 the process was updated and is now via an online NoV application available to all Full Licensees.

The NoV conditions include 500 kHz maximum bandwidth, 100W erp, observance of the HCM agreement – and no operation in or within 40km of Scotland.


146 – 147 MHz

The 146-147 MHz band was first made available to Full Licensees only (including Club/Reciprocal), by a NoV  for October 2014-2015. For more recent NoVs, Ofcom agreed to a Society request that means the exclusion of certain NGR squares as per the map opposite is no longer an explicit restriction. However in order to achieve compliance with the condition re the ‘HCM agreement’, those squares are where particular caution is still required. Achieving compliance with the HCM condition may require lower power than the NoV erp limit, or use of directional antennas that must beam away from international borders.

Note: This band is made available on a non-interference basis and applicants should note that as the band is increasingly used by other users and that the NoV is subject to a 30-day notice period of change or withdrawal.

NoV restrictions include absolute band limits, and a band limit of 146.9375MHz in or within 40km of Scotland, as well as compliance with the HCM agreement. Maximum permitted antenna height is 20m above ground level.

Further information on the Harmonised Calculation Method (HCM) agreement referred to in the NoV is available here



Amongst other things, VHF release in the 71 and 146-147 MHz bands has been key to spurring innovation in Reduced Bandwidth Digital ATV (RB-DATV). For an examples see below:

March-2017:  Ofcom has agreed an updated NoV with a 50 W erp limit (formerly 25 W erp).  Holders of previous NoVs need to re-apply should they wish to use the increased power.



The original Ofcom call for input regarding VHF spectrum was in 2012. Our joint input developed in the Spectrum Forum was based on innovative digital communications:-

On 10th October 2014 Ofcom published a statement confirming their proposals for the release of VHF Spectrum in the 143-169MHz range. This included a proposal regarding temporary amateur use of 146-147 MHz, based on our previous submissions in 2012 and 2014 (see background below).



  • The 2014 RSGB Convention Presentation above provides an overview of the opportunity for innovation in 146-147 MHz.
  • Band Plans: 146-147 is band planned for digital modes only
  • The Society’s wider work in relation to spectrum management, including the 2012 response above, can be found by following:
    About Us > Committees > Spectrum Forum > SF-Papers and Consultations.