On the United States Radio frequency allocation chart, the term "fixed" radio comes up a lot. What does that mean? Who is allowed to used "fixed"?


3 Answers 3


Generally we distinguish two types of stations:

  • Mobile, when the device is portable
  • Fixed, when the device stays on one location

See Amateur Radio Stations for more information:

enter image description here enter image description here

(left: fixed; right: mobile)


Fixed wireless is normally used as a term for radio communications between fixed locations such as buildings that don't move as opposed to mobile communications. One reason the allocations are treated differently is that for a fixed location it's often possible to allocate the same frequency to different regions.

For example for a given installation it may be determined for a specific frequency / power range that interference is only likely within a 10km radius, giving the possibility that the same frequency may be used hundreds of times by different users within a country as long as they are geographically far enough apart. That assumption of course can't be made for mobile communications systems that move around.

License costs are normally a combination of power and bandwidth and how far the signals are likely to emanate and also population density. I can only only speak from an Australian perspective but I believe here anyone is allowed to use fixed frequencies if you pay the license fee and it is approved. That may range from hundreds of dollars per year for a narrowband low-power license (for example courier voice communications over a limited area) and into millions for the sort of allocation you'd need for TV broadcasting over a large area.


http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/2003-allochrt.pdf ? (That is one ugly chart.)

Opposite of "mobile": the transmitter is at a fixed location. Why are there different rules for fixed and mobile? Because an interference problem caused by a mobile transmitter is a lot harder to track down.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's better then Europe's!!! So who gets privileges to use fixed? \$\endgroup\$
    – skyler
    May 30, 2013 at 12:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Exact regulation depends on the band, but there's a set of bands allocated for amateur ("ham") radio, and a training and certification process to be allowed to broadcast on them. Amateur radio is very much a community of its own. \$\endgroup\$
    – pjc50
    May 30, 2013 at 13:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.