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Radio on Scout Activities - A Guide for Leaders


(Published January 2023, replacing January 2000)


Radio communications are regulated by the Wireless Telegraphy Act to ensure that all are able to use radio beneficially. Chaos would ensue if these regulations were not enforced and the Department of Trade & Industry
Radiocommunications Agency is the regulatory body in the UK. The Scout Association works closely with this agency to guide and regulate the responsible use of radio within The Association's membership.

Private Mobile Radio (PMR)

PMR Is used by many organisations such as the breakdown services, Emergency Services and business users to communicate with vehicles and personnel. 

The Scouts have a licence to use certain of these radio channels at activities and events. Full details can be found in Private Mobile Radios (FS12503). 

CB Radio

May be suitable for car parking and other non-safety related applications. It is not ideal for use on night hikes, camps or similar activities in view of the lack of privacy on the channels. 

Equipment, both hand-portable, mobile and base stations are available and can be bought from a number of retail sources and must conform to the current British and European standards. 

Since 8 December 2006, CB Radio has been exempt from the need to hold a Wireless Telegraphy (WT) Act licence, providing that the equipment is operated in accordance with the technical parameters set out in the regulations. 


PMR446 is a licence free service providing the either analogue or digital short range radio for the public. It is practical for short distances and may be useful for car parking or on site activities. 

  • Analog PMR446 provides 16 channels. 
  • DMR 446 provides 16 channels. 
  • DPMR provides 32 channels. 

It may be unsuitable at crowded events as there may be many users sharing the channels.  

Marine VHF Radio

Has become an increasingly common piece of equipment found on small boats. Many and is an essential part of a vessel's distress and safety equipment. 

An authority to operate is required which involves attending a Royal Yachting Association VHF SRC training course and exam.  

Additionally a licence is required for the equipment. Further details are available from the RYA

Amateur Radio

Amateur Radio is used within the Scouts as an activity such as Jamboree on the Air and for Special Event Stations but is not suitable for the control at Scout events as there is a licence and exam to complete before it can be used and third party messages are not allowed. 

For further information on Jamboree on the Air (JOTA).