Before you had your smartphones, you had walkie-talkies to talk in the distance. But have you ever thought about how do walkie-talkies work?
If you’ve thought about it but couldn’t find a clear answer, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, I will explain to you how communication takes place within the two-way radios.
I won’t bore you like the teachers explaining it with all those nitty-gritty details. Just will give you a quick overview of the working of it in a simple manner to get a good understanding of it.
So, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Is A Walkie-Talkie?
If you look at it, you can see walkie-talkie is a handheld device just like your phone that run on battery and has an antenna.
However, where your devices use a cell tower to create a network, the two-way radio doesn’t rely on it. Instead, the antenna on it is what works the same job for it.
Here, a signal gets transferred from one device, and the other one receives it to have that communication going.
Now, both the walkie-talkie and phones use the same technology to interact. Walkie-talkie paved the way for the latter.
Who Uses Walkie Talkies?
You might be asking yourself, you’ve got the phone, why you need the walkie-talkie. There are so many ways to talk with each other. And they are better when it comes to connecting long distances. Like phones, online services like WhatsApp, zoom whatnot. So, why would anyone use old technology like radio devices?
The answer is reliability.
Obviously, the radio can’t give you the range that phones and apps can provide. But when you’re making a link in close distances, it is much more reliable and cost-effective. That’s why you will see in many professions like police, firefighters, construction workers use it.
Even for fun activities like camping, they are great. That’s because finding a proper network deep in the forest is hard to come by. Radios will still work there.
How Do Walkie-Talkie Work?
Ok, now let’s come to the point. How does a walkie-talkie work? So, if you know a bit about the device, you will know it works as a transceiver. That means it can transmit and receive, but not at the same time.
Because it uses a half-duplex system. So, you can do one thing at a time. Now, the transmission and reception of these signals get done using electromagnetic waves. Using the battery on the unit, you send a signal that gets received for listening to it.
To listen to the signal sent through the wave, both the devices need to be on the same frequency. And obviously within the range of that frequency.
That’s where the device is different from the phones you use. Where modern phones use a duplex system that lets you talk and listen at the same time. And it uses a cell tower to boost the signal to send to long distances. With a walkie-talkie, you’ve got to take a turn to talk, which is why knowing how to talk on it becomes crucial.
Parts of a Walkie-Talkie:
It depends on the model. Now, there are two kinds of walkie-talkie you can find in the market. You’ve got the analog ones, and there are the digital ones. With the analog one, there isn’t much to gain. You get a device with no display. Just a big speaker with some knobs to tune the frequency and for volume. Then there is your PTT button to push and transmit and talk.
With the more advanced digital ones, you get more things. Like your phones, buttons will help you dial frequency instead of tuning it with a knob. You still have that if you want to adjust the frequency that way. To make it easier for you to know you’ve got the right channel, a big display shows the exact frequency you’re on. And other buttons like PTT and stuff are there on the side to operate the device.
How Far Walkie-Talkies Can Reach:
Unlike your phones, you have a minimum range to use to make a communication line. Now, depending on the environment and the model, it can vary.
For instance, you’re using a Motorola with some miles range. You will get that kind of coverage in an open field or on top of a mountain. But within the city, with all the walls and other interferences around, you might not get the maximum range.
However, devices like Baofeng and other top brands walkie-talkie can give you a transmitting range somewhere from 3 miles to 10 kilometers depending on the condition and the model.
How to Improve the Range:
Before heading to get accessories to improve the range, there are some things that you can do to get better communication. And that is choosing the right frequency to transmit on. It’s something that gets overlooked a lot. Maybe you’re doing the same.
Now, two frequencies get used for the walkie-talkie. You’ve got the UHF and VHF.
If you’re using the second kind in a home situation, that’s a reason you’re not getting the result you wanted. That’s because that frequency is more suited to work on open spaces to give you a long-range.
You need to use UHF, which can work through some obstacles to get the communication going. And if it still isn’t doing any good, you need to think about devices like a repeater or a better antenna.
- With a press of a button, you can contact people in groups.
- More cost-effective than using cellular networks
- Simple, one-button communication—no dialing.
- Perfect in case of emergency situations.
- Harder to trace.
- Fun to use.
- Great for outdoors where cellular network isn’t available
- Longer battery life
- Usable as baby monitor
- Less distractions
- Limited range
- Shared radio channels
The science behind how do walkie-talkie works is quite fascinating and intriguing to many. But not everyone understands them pretty well as not everyone can apprehend the theoretical part of it.
You don’t have to.
Knowing how it is doing what it is doing is enough, and hopefully, you know that now.
Do you copy?