How do Walkie Talkies Work? The Ultimate Guide

The first thing we need to understand is how radio waves can transmit speech. The answer comes in the form of electromagnetic radiation. It works like this: human speech is converted into vibrations that travel through the air at a certain frequency, which we hear as sounds.

How do Walkie Talkies Work?

A walkie talkie picks these vibrations up and transmits them via a transmitter, which converts them back into electromagnetic signals and sends them through space, or in some cases, they are sent down wires instead. In order to pick up these signals and convert them back into words again, you require a receiver.

This works by picking up the transmitted frequencies (or beamed) waves and converting them into sounds so you can understand what said person is saying.

This makes it far easier for people to communicate over long distances!

The top range of a standard walkie talkie is around 4 miles, which is the same as military-grade ones. You can also use them outside because the technology transmits signals on VHF or UHF frequencies, which means they are not limited by trees and other objects.

How do Walkie Talkies Work?: It works like this: human speech is converted into vibrations that travel through the air at a certain frequency, which we hear as sounds.

You may be wondering how walkie talkie have changed since their invention in World War 1- well there have been many changes! Firstly, an interesting fact about these radios is that originally they did not transmit sound like they do today.

Instead, you would hear a "beep" noise when someone was talking over a long distance.

However, as technology has become more advanced, so too have walkie talkie. The latest models are able to display text messages and emails that you receive onto your screen which is really handy if you want to stay connected whilst away from your phone. Some even come with a camera attached which means you can instantly send pictures via the radio!

Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio - Long Range Walkie Talkie with 142 Privacy Codes, SOS Siren, and NOAA Weather Alerts and Weather Scan (Black/Silver, Pair Pack)

The range of these new radios is also far greater than those in WW1 as well; some models boast up to 40 miles! This is because now they use different frequencies that are better at traveling through air and around objects such as houses for example. You no longer have to be within eyeshot of each other like before; hand-free communication on these devices makes them easier to use than ever before.

-You may like: The Different Types of Walkie-Talkies Explained

Although the technology has advanced a lot over time, the good news is that this means you can get your hands on some of the most useful walkie-talkies available in today's marketplace for very competitive prices. They are simple to use and easy to set up - with all sorts of accessories available to enhance your walkie-talkies experience.

You may like: CB vs GMRS – What’s the Difference?

How to set Walkie-Talkie Frequency?

UV-5R Dual Band Handheld Radio FCC Allow Frequency Dual Band Walkie Talkie (with Speaker Mic & Earpiece)

This is easy. Just press the "Set" button, then turn the frequency dial to a lower number then press the "Set" button again. Then turn the frequency dial to a higher number and press the "Set" button once more.

You can set this method from low to high or high to low as you wish. Before you change frequencies check that your radio stays on the same channel BAND with other walkie-talkies of your friends.

Do walkie talkies use cell towers?

Almost all walkie talkie use a cell tower to send and receive signals just like a cell phone, but since most of the transmitters are located on top of hills or high buildings transmission range is limited. The maximum range for walkie-talkies depends on terrain, building materials, antenna gain, transmitter's location, and atmospheric conditions.

What is the average range of a Walkie talkie?

The average range is about 4 miles, but it varies depending on conditions. It is easy to increase the range using special antennas or repeaters.

What is a good range for walkie talkies?

Retevis RT22 Walkie Talkies Rechargeable Hands Free 2 Way Radios Two-Way Radio(6 Pack) with 6 Way Multi Gang Charger

While it may be tempting to look at some of the more expensive kits on offer, these are often unnecessary and you can get a decent set of walkie talkies for just a few pounds.

Some of the best and cheapest walkie talkies include the Uniden UH303 which has a range of 8.5 miles making it an ideal choice for campers!

Or if you need something more professional, then the Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range 2Way Radio may be your best bet as this is designed to work well under a variety of different conditions. It is available for around $40-50 and it can use a rechargeable battery which is great if you do not want to have to keep replacing the batteries.

Most walkie talkies with higher range will be larger, but some of quality small walkie talkies like Baofeng Mojing II can reach 1-3 km on average.

You might like: Best Walkie Talkies for Kids

Do walkie-talkies use satellite?

While the military do use satellite to make secure communication, currently there are no consumer-grade personal walkie talkies that use satellite communications.

Do walkie-talkies use the Internet?

No, a walkie-talkie is not linked to the internet.  A walkie talkie is just a radio that uses simple radios waves to send and receive their messages.

How much signal power does a Walkie Talkie Needs?

All walkie-talkies share a basic function: Sending and receiving radio signals. The range of the transmitter and receiver depends on how strong

Are walkie-talkies the same as two-way radios?

2 Way Radio 5 Watt Long Range, SAMCOM 20 Channels Programmable Walkie Talkie,Rechargeable Hand-held UHF Business 2 Way Radio for Skiing Hiking Hunting,6 Packs

Yes, they are the same devices. The name comes from the fact that you can communicate in either direction. Most of them have a push-to-talk (ptt button) or also called a talk button feature like two-way radios as well.

Walkie-talkies are just one kind of two-way radio device out there on the market and if you aren't sure about the difference between them, don't worry. They have some important similarities and differences, but what makes them unique is really the concept of two-way communication.

That said, walkie-talkies are basically handheld devices that communicate via radio waves in a direct line of sight and travel at the speed of light. You can hold it and use it to speak with someone who also has one on the same channel.

With two-way radios, you can do the same thing as with walkie-talkies, but they also have more range and power than walkie talkies. They are meant for communicating over long distances or in areas with a lot of interference like cities where there are a lot of tall buildings around.

The other difference is that while walkie talkies aren't really meant for long-term communication, two-way radios function more as actual devices for communicating over distances.

These days, you can get both in one device with a form of two-way radio like the Baofeng UV-5R (see below). This is a set of walkie talkies with a two-way radio embedded within it, and you can switch between them depending on what kind of communication you want to do.

Walkie talkies have become especially popular among preppers and survivalists who use them for their portability and ease of use. If you only need basic short-range communication during an emergency, then walkie talkies are a great choice.

Every good set of walkie talkies should have at least one channel that is fully programmable where you can decide what kind of frequency they use and select the range as well.

This is a great way to get the most out of your device because it means that you can add more channels if you need them or share the same channel with another user.

If you want something a little more advanced, then look for a walkie talkie with DTMF capabilities. These are touch-tone sequences that work much as they do on your standard telephone with the numbers 0-9. However, you still have to remember the code for each one so it is not as easy to use as a full keypad.

Some of the best walkie talkies out there also come with other features like weather radio service or emergency alert systems. These can help you stay safe in case of an emergency like a natural disaster or dangerous weather.

No products found.

Overall, walkie talkies aren't that different from two-way radios, but they do have some distinct advantages that make them unique. Their portability and ease of use are the main things you want to look for if you need something lightweight and easy to store away in case of an emergency.

On the other hand, two-way radios are more powerful and work best in areas with a lot of interference. These devices are usually much larger than walkie talkies since they have to use more powerful transmitters and receivers.

For a good balance between reliability, power, and ease of use, look for something like the Baofeng UV-5R. This walkie talkies that also includes a two-way radio within it, so you can switch between them depending on what kind of communication you want to do.

BaoFeng UV-5R 8 Watt Ham Radio BaoFeng Radio with Extra 1800mAh Battery and TIDRADIO 771 Antenna Dual Band Ham Radio Handheld Includes Full Kit BaoFeng Walkie Talkie
  • ✔️[Classic BaoFeng UV-5R Bundle]: All you need is in one box! This great value set included 2pcs 1800mAh Batteries(One for use, One for backup), Longer Antenna(TD-771 High Gain Antenna that perform 30% better), extra Speaker Mic(Loud and clear sound quality) and Programming Cable(for you to customize your radio). Suitable for new users who want to get their first ham radio.
  • ✔️[Double Batteries]: Extra battery for your radio, One for use One for backup. Each battery have up to 36 hours standby time. Another battery provide you Non-Stop communication experience, no need to worry about suddenly running out of power on the road.
  • ✔️[High Gain Long Antenna]: This bundle comes with an extra antenna. Adding a TD-771 high gain antenna on your ham radio can greatly expands the signal transmission distance and enhances signal reception. This also helps you to hit the repeater further away to reach a longer communication distance.
  • ✔️[CHIRP & Keypad Programming]: You can use the CH340 Programming Cable included to program the 128 Channels in your radio with 105 CTCSS/50 DCS via Keypad or CHIRP. We also provide In-Depth Programming Guide to walk you through your first programming. Adding privacy code to your channels can reduce interference from irrelevant signal.
  • ✔️[Wide Compatibility]: BaoFeng uv-5r ham radio covers most commonly used frequency range, makes it compatible with many other ham radio handheld such as the baofeng bf-f8hp and baofeng uv-82 series.

This set has 22 channels and over 50 CTCSS and CDCSS codes for voice privacy and security if that's important. It also has a NOAA weather radio service and an emergency alert system so you can stay safe in dangerous situations.

In the end, walkie talkies are great for basic short-range communication where you need to move around or hike in the wilderness. They also make great gifts if you want something portable and reliable on a budget.

Two-way radios, on the other hand, are better overall because they have more range and power. This makes them a great choice for remote locations or areas with a lot of interference like cities filled with tall buildings and thick concrete walls.

On the downside, two-way radios are much larger than walkie talkies so you have to choose between size and capability when you pick one. They also require a license or permit depending on the jurisdiction you are in, so check with your local authorities before you buy one.

Whichever you choose, remember that walkie talkies and two-way radios aren't any different from each other – they're just specialized versions of the same technology. So if you see a product that is advertised as a walkie talkie, you should know that it can also be used as a two-way radio.

Two-way radios are usually more expensive than walkie talkies because they have more channels and features on average. However, some walkie-talkies come with better range and longer battery life than two-way radios.

So what happens if you need to communicate over a long distance?

A walkie-talkie or two-way radio just won't do the trick. In this case, you need something like an amateur (ham) radio. Amateur radios are portable devices that transmit on frequencies with longer ranges than those of other consumer devices like cell phones and walkie-talkies.

They are also capable of communicating over long distances, even on the other side of the world with a large enough antenna and power source. Amateur radios are available in many different shapes and sizes, including handheld models that can be used while hiking in the wilderness or in your backyard.

Do walkie-talkies work anywhere?

No, unfortunately, they don't. Walkie-talkies use the VHF (very high frequency) and UHF (ultra-high frequency) radio bands that are only licensed for public use in a few countries: the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and parts of Europe.

If you're traveling to other parts of the world and you want to use your walkie-talkies, the best thing is to rent a cellphone for local calls.

Can walkie-talkies be traced?

Because of the way walkie-talkies use radio frequencies, they can easily be traced by local authorities. This is why most law enforcement experts recommend that criminals and other people who want to remain off the radar get rid of their walkie-talkies and switch to cellphones instead.

Can you use a phone as a walkie-talkie?

Yes, you can. In this case, the phone must be connected to a simple headset and you will have two separate channels — one for transmission and another for receiving. However, keep in mind that via a phone walkie-talkie your range is limited to what the cellphone network can offer. Two-way radios are more powerful and have a longer range.

Do walkie-talkies work underwater?

No, they don't. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity and it blocks radio signals. You will need a special headset that works under water if you want to go snorkeling or scuba diving with your friends!

Are walkie-talkies encrypted?

Some two-way radios are encrypted, but on average most consumer devices aren't any more secure than a regular cellphone call. However, if you want some privacy make sure that the device is set to the right channel (usually something like 23 for voice or 25 for data) and the volume is turned up.

What do you need to get a walkie-talkie license?

In most jurisdictions, you can buy a walkie-talkie from a store and start using it right away without having to go through any legal hassle. If your two-way radio is on the list of devices approved by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) or you are located in a country that requires licensing for non-commercial use, then you should look into obtaining one.

Can I use walkie-talkies at the airport?

You'd be surprised to know that many airports prohibit their use within 5 miles of the landing zone around airports. This is because they interfere with some of the airport's radio equipment.

Can walkie-talkies interfere with cellphones?

Yes, if you're using your hand-held two-way radio in the same room as your smartphone or tablet and you're trying to make a call, then there is a good chance that your communication lines will be disrupted for a few seconds before resuming normal function.

Can you talk to CB radios with walkie-talkies?

Yes, if you have a CB radio set and two walkie-talkies that are capable of operating on the same frequency then it will be possible for you to communicate with each other. However, keep in mind that some two-way radios don't offer this functionality and that certain walkie-talkies can only communicate within a limited distance.

You might like: CB vs Walkie Talkie - What's the Difference

You might like: What's the best Two Way Radio?

Does walkie-talkie work without WiFi?

Walkie-talkies are designed for use outdoors and usually have to be within close proximity of each other in order for them to work properly. However, some walkie-talkies do offer WiFi connectivity that enables you to communicate from different devices such as your smartphone or tablet but only if they have GPS access.

Are walkie-talkies dangerous?

Yes, if they are used in a certain way. Some activities such as using your two-way radio to jaywalk or run red lights can be very dangerous and it's recommended that you only use them during emergencies or when others' safety is at risk.

Hi & Welcome!

My name is Jeremy and I have been an avid car nut for many year. My first car was an 1987 Honda CRX. I put in my first Kenwood stereo, amp, 2 10" JLs and a CB Radio in it and have been an avid user of CBs and car radios for years. I'll do my best to share my tips, information and thoughts to help you with whatever question you might have, ABOUT ME 

After I graduated from High School, I worked 5 years are Radio Shack and 3 years at Circuit City answering questions and helping customers with various electronics questions.