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Walkie Talkies are portable communication devices consisting of low-level radio transmitters and receivers.
Walkie talkies are often pictured as that black bulgy transistor with a big antenna that one has to hold near his mouth before he speaks.
However, design and technology has really changed the look and feel of Walkie Talkies. In addition, they are just an amazing toy for kids, it lets them have a lot of fun while playing around and communicating at the same time.
Walkie Talkies – A Little History
The first walkie-talkies were developed for military use during World War II, and spread to public safety and eventually commercial and job site work after the war. Typical walkie-talkies resemble a telephone handset, possibly slightly larger but still a single unit, with an antenna sticking out of the top.
Early Handie-Talkies had tubes and ran on 4, 45-volt dry cells or 12V Nickel-Cadmium batteries. Surplus Motorola Handie Talkies found their way into the hands of ham radio operators immediately following World War II. Walkie-talkies are widely used in any setting where portable radio communications are necessary, including business, public safety, outdoor recreation, and the like, and devices are available at numerous price points.
Walkie Talkie, thanks to increasing use of miniaturized electronics, can be made very small, with some personal two-way UHF radio models being smaller than a pack of cigarettes (though VHF and HF units can be substantially larger due to the need for larger antennas and battery packs).
The lowest cost devices are very simple electronically (single-frequency, crystal-controlled, generally based on a simple discrete transistor circuit where “grownup” walkie-talkies use chips), may employ super regenerative receivers. They may lack even a volume control, but they may nevertheless be elaborately designed, often superficially resembling more “grown-up” radios such as FRS or public safety gear.
An unusual feature, common on children’s walkie-talkies but seldom available otherwise even on amateur models, is a “code key”, that is, a button allowing the operator to transmit Morse code or similar tones to another walkie-talkie operating on the same frequency.
The first radio receiver/transmitter to be nick-named “Walkie-Talkie” was the backpacked Motorola SCR-300, created by an engineering team in 1940 at the Galvin Manufacturing Company (fore-runner of Motorola). Handie-Talkie became a trademark of Motorola, Inc.
The abbreviation HT, derived from Motorola’s “Handie Talkie” trademark, is commonly used to refer to portable hand held ham radios, with “walkie-talkie” used to designate more specialized commercial and personal radios. Motorola also produced the hand-held AM SCR-536 radio during World War II, and it was called the “Handie-Talkie” (HT).
Motorola’s public safety radios of the 1950s and 1960s, were loaned or donated to ham groups as part of the Civil Defence program. Motorola is forever introducing new models, so don’t get bogged down looking for any particular model, since the model numbers change frequently.
Today, GMRS radios such as Motorola’s T5950 can reach several miles.
While FRS walkie-talkies are also sometimes used as toys because mass-production makes them low cost, they have proper super heterodyne receivers and are a useful communication tool for both business and personal use. Motorola has a huge chunk of the market and consistently receive high marks from consumer products testing groups.
Your kids will get as much of a kick out of it as we did as children. Another difference from cell phones is that there’s no air time charge (at all, ever), so you can give one to your kids without worrying. The kids loved having them around since it gives them more independence and freedom, especially on out door trips and camping.
Walkie Talkies are a fun way to communicate with your friends and is a pretty good deal considering how cheap they are. Whether you are on the slopes, hiking or simply mucking around in your own house or garden, Walkie Talkies are an absolute must.
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