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Analogue and digital radios

Fireground radios for voice communications were originally operated using analogue radio technology. From 1993, fire and rescue services have operated handheld fireground radios according to an analogue channel plan agreed with the Home Office. The introduction of new technology has led to fire and rescue services procuring and using digital mobile radio, though the analogue channel plan will continue to operate for fire and rescue services that choose not to adopt digital technology.

Analogue and digital radios within range of each other that are operating on the same frequency will cause interference; messages sent are unlikely to be received. To ensure cross-border interoperability it is essential that all personnel are aware that transmitting on an analogue radio using the same frequency as a digital radio is likely to generate issues for one or both services.

At incidents where both analogue and digital radio technologies are in use, or occasions where radio equipment may be within range (e.g. service boundaries), an effective communications plan is essential and should be implemented at the earliest opportunity. It should clearly define the channels nominated, including whether they are analogue or digital.