Two-Way radio licensing requirements explained

Two-Way radio licensing requirements explained

The categories of radio management for a two-way radio license, used in either the Aviation, Maritime or Ground Based disciplines, is measured within the following 2 specifications, namely:

  1. The actual Radio, (+ allotted frequencies / channels), as an approved communication device;
  2. The approval for an Operator to use this Radio for communication purposes within a particular discipline.

So, in simplified terms, the radio that you going to be utilising for two way communications needs to have firstly been approved by the Communications Authority for your area of intended use, and the Operator in turn needs to be in possession of the appropriate radio license, as issued by the Regulatory Authority, that entitles them to speak on this radio for the purposes of two-way communications within that required radio management category.

So why does the radio`s frequency bands technical parameters that it has been allotted, have to be approved?

The International Telecommunication Union defines frequency allocation as being of "a given frequency band for the purpose of its use by one or more terrestrial or space radiocommunication services or the radio astronomy service under specified conditions". Each radio is licensed to only operate on frequencies that have been assigned for a very specific purpose with respect to radio communications. As an example, it would not make any sense for an Operator to try and communicate with Marine vessels using a radio that has been approved to transmit on frequency bands associated for aeronautical operations only.

The frequency band allocation has a lot to do with the fitted antenna that is mounted on the radio (portable), or within the vicinity of the radio (when we referring to a Fixed Station). If you hypothetically had to tweak the radio to far out of its allocated bandwidth, it`s antenna would stop operating. Even if you carried on your person, or had multiple fixed antenna`s (for all occasions so to speak), this continual `resort to an adapting approach`, would ultimately damage that radio when used in this unapproved manner.


So, when one wishes to acquire a radio for two-way communication purposes, make sure that the radio has been certified by an appropriate authority invested to manage the various radio frequencies, for all the specified two-way radio disciplines. There will normally be a certified logo for that Communications Authority, permanently displayed in the vicinity of the radios battery as fitted.

It is also very important to note that each discipline requires a different radio license to be issued for the operator, and that you can not use your operator radio license interchangeably within the field of two-way radio communications. In order to use multiple radios for two-way communications within various disciplines, the operator needs to hold the relevant radio licensing for each.

iI is most certainly a requirement for all operators of two-way radio equipment to be trained, qualified and hold the relevant radio proficiency certification for that specific discipline. This is of course prior to being authorised to commence with the specific two-way communications.

P.S. – Pease take note of the licensing expiry in all instances, (the physical radio license for a radio with allotted frequencies, plus the Operators radio license for two way radio communication purposes), and where renewals are required, ensure that they are complied with in advance of that expiration date for insurance, and safe operation purposes.

For more information on two-way radio training for your discipline, or if you wish to ask a related question, please email