How Do Walkie Talkies Work?
A long range walkie talkie has three essential elements: a speaker, a microphone, and an antenna.
A group of people who are using walkie talkies to talk to one another has to tune in to the same frequency band, which is called a channel.
Networks of walkie talkies use a single radio channel to communicate with one another across a long distance. When one speaker talks, everyone else hears at the same time.
This network of stable communication is significantly more reliable than cell phone use, especially in outdoor, rural, or emergency situations.
A basic long range walkie talkie will cover about 1 to 1.5 miles, but that can be increased with a more powerful battery, a longer antenna, or a repeater. With the help of these additional accessories, a long range walkie talkie may reach up to 65 miles in ideal conditions.
The Benefits of a Walkie Talkie
In today’s world, cell phones are indispensable. However, the traditional two-way radios will always reign supreme because of their reliability, simple use, and numerous additional benefits.
Commercial long range walkie talkie continues to be the most reliable interaction solution for communication on site.
1. Unlimited Communication – With no call charges, minutes allowance, or signal required, two-way radio allows unlimited call time.
This makes walkie talkies the best choice for places where you need to communicate regardless of your cell signal like inside a warehouse or hospital, rural areas, camping, hiking, fishing, etc.
2. Convenient Operation – Some best long range walkie talkie offer instant communication that is much more convenient than cell phone signals. There is no touch screen, no number to dial, no waiting for pickup. The device also has a backlit display that makes it easier to use in dark conditions
Simply push and talk. They are easy to use, easy to access, require no cell phone signal, and are always clipped onto belts or shirts to allow convenient and reliable communication within your entire group. Some walkie talkie even offers hands-free operation and voice-activated transmission to avoid complicated setup.
3. Budget-Friendly – These compact walkie talkies are not only easy to use, but the cost is also actually less than the cost of the latest smartphone.
Best of all, there are no regular monthly charges like those associated with phones. Also, employees and team members can share a radio. This further cuts expenses by not having to issue one per worker.
4. Clear Communication – With new radio technology, you can get a better signal than any cell phone to communicate with clear sound quality even in loud or crowded areas.
5. Long Battery Life – There is nothing more frustrating than a dead battery when you need to make an important call. A walkie talkie battery life is significantly longer than a cell phone and it will easily work for an extended period of time without charging.
Most of the best long range walkie is dual-powered, meaning they are powered by rechargeable batteries as well as standard alkaline batteries.
6. No Erratic Networks – You won’t have to worry about being dependent on erratic networks like you do on your personal phone plan. The radio frequency network eliminates dependence on third-party mobile networks that often fail.
Who Can Use Walkie Talkies?
Many businesses in hundreds of industries rely on long range walkie talkies every day. Here are some industries that use and benefit the most from long range walkie talkie:
- Hospitality & Restaurants
- Special Events
- Construction Workers
- Warehouses & Storage
- Weather Alerts
- Best for Commercial Users
What To Look for While Buying Walkie Talkies
If you’re investing in two-way radios for the first time, the options can be a bit overwhelming.
There are five main features to look for in any long range walkie talkie system:
1. Impressive Range – You’ll want to make sure you get a radio that can send and receive signals far enough to reach your entire network. Depending on the intended activities, you may not need a huge range, but you’ll want to be sure to check.
Understand that oftentimes the maximum distances advertised by manufacturers aren’t accurate in real-world conditions. If possible, test your radios ahead of time to see how they work in your location. The actual distance will vary depending on terrain and conditions.
2. Frequency – You’ll need to choose between a Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) signal. VHF offers a lower frequency of about 136-174 MHz, while UHF uses a much higher frequency of 400-512 MHz.
The tradeoff in more frequency means powerful walkie talkies with more power to communicate through obstructions like buildings and densely wooded areas. A lower-frequency walkie talkie doesn’t use as much energy, but it’s easily obstructed.
3. Durable Design – Your walkie talkie should be able to withstand a reasonable amount of abuse without being damaged. If you’re in extreme environments or doing intense outdoor or dangerous activities, you’ll want a long range walkie talkie that can keep up.
They can even withstand drops from up to two meters and some include a lifetime warranty. A high end walkie talkie comes with an advanced built-in flashlight, emergency alert button, a sleek and stylish design.
4. Licensing – Unlicensed radios have less power and share the same 22 channels (FRS radio channels) with all other unlicensed radios, which can get crowded.
On the other hand, a licensed walkie talkie has the option of a dedicated channel and secure communications. If privacy is a concern, you’ll want to look into licensed walkie talkie radios.
5. Water & Dust Proof – If you’re going to be using your radio outside, look for models that are waterproof and dustproof. These models typically also have extra loudspeakers so they can easily be used in noisy areas.
What’s the Best Way to Use a Walkie Talkie?
The entire appeal of two-way radio is based on simplicity. However, there are a few areas that may be helpful to review to get the most out of your system:
- First thing first – read the manual. This can teach you about features you may not otherwise realize you have access to.
- Always use the same channel and sub-channel.
- If possible, charge your long range radio each night to keep the battery fully charged and extend the battery life. Also, make sure to carry rechargeable battery packs in case of an emergency.
- At the start of each day or shift, all of the radios should be checked to ensure they are all on the same channel.
- When you push to talk, pause just a moment while holding down the talk button before speaking to ensure your message is received clearly.
- Communications should be brief and to the point. You should also speak slowly.
- Always acknowledge that you’ve heard the communication.
- Pay attention to the voice-operated exchanged (VOX) setting. This will pick up anything you say without pushing any button. Most often, you’ll want this setting off unless you’re unable to push to talk.
- Find a comfortable belt clip and always keep it nearby to avoid lost, stolen, or broken radios.
How Much Does a Long Range Walkie Talkie Cost?
There is a wide range of quality in walkie talkie systems.
At the lowest end, you can find them for $100 or less; however, these are not meant for industrial use but rather designed for personal, home, or recreational use.
Higher quality two-way radios tend to fall around $500 each, which is a justifiable cost for most large businesses.
Most powerful walkie talkies and critical industry radios, such as military and first responders, are often more sophisticated and can reach over $1000 per radio.
No Walkie Talkie? No Problem!
The best walkie talkies work well all over the country. They are reliable, easy to use, and come with an affordable price tag.
However, there are a few other options that are worth noting:
- Vocera – Vocera has both voice communications and secure text messaging platforms. They don’t have to worry about channels and can connect easily with any other Vocera users. They tend to be significantly more expensive than walkie talkies, but they also have more functionality and features.
- Instant Messaging – There are some industries where a simple instant messaging platform like Skype, Jabber, Google Hangouts, etc. can be used easily. Typically, this works best when everyone on the team works indoors and has the instant messaging app open during their shift.
FAQs About Walkie Talkies