What’s your favourite feature of this walkie talkie icon? In my opinion, I much like the design job – It is cooler than an Inuit’s underpants!
We all created home-made walkie talkie radios when we were young, out of plastic cups and string. Pretending to communicate to each other via the power of fibre led to endless hours of fun and laughter. Luckily, as we got older and discovered a little of the science behind telecommunications, we realise it takes a little more than string to converse with others in other locations. We realise that the grown up version of the Walkie Talkie is in fact a highly beneficial tool used throughout all society, from businesses, to military and also day to day consumers.
As opposed to the broken cups we used to shout in to, communication via the walkie talkie radio involves speaking into the mouthpiece of a small hand-held radio that can fit in the palm of your hand. By holding down a small button while speaking, the words are instantly transmitted to the receiver via their walkie talkie radio. Release the button when you’ve finished speaking and hear the received response transmitted back to you.
You can buy two different types of walkie talkie radio; licensed and unlicensed. Licensed walkie talkies have a specific radio frequency in which the communications are transmitted across. The frequency is isolated and will only be used by one set users at one time. In contrast, unlicensed varieties are what you would normally purchase in most electronic stores. While these are a more cost effective option, unlicensed walkie talkie radios do not have a designated frequency and as a result, can suffer with cross communication from other users.
Depending on how you plan on using your walkie talkie radio will determine the type you will need to purchase. If your communication is just for leisure purposes, such as hiking or skiing, you could consider investing in an unlicensed version. The main purposes of walkie talkie radios on a ski holiday for example, are to help you keep in touch with others and to protect your safety, should you have an accident on the mountain. For these purposes, an unlicensed model would be more than sufficient, especially considering you will only be using it for a few weeks while on holiday.
If however, you need your walkie talkie radio for a more prolonged period for business purposes, you would probably want to consider a licensed model. Security guards and taxi drivers for example would need to function on their own frequency; it wouldn’t be appropriate (or safe for security guards) to be sharing a frequency with others. There are options to use a voice scrambler if you are looking to keep conversations private or sub channels that allow for private communications, within an existing network.
Aside from being licensed or unlicensed, the coverage available with walkie talkie radios is likely to be another contributing factor when choosing your model. Most radios will cover an area of around about two miles radius however if you require distance in excess of five miles, you should definitely be looking to invest in a licensed radio.
Also, if you plan on having a number of different operators using the walkie talkie radios, you will also need to ensure that a compatibility system is available. This allows communication to take place between different users without any interference.
While the boom of the mobile phone has certainly taken the consumer market by storm in terms of communication, there are many situations where the phone simply doesn’t even compare to the walkie talkie radio in terms of its capabilities. Not only do walkie talkie radios not go out of signal range like mobile phones, you also don’t have to worry about running out of credit at a crucial moment or paying for calls. Communication is instant and in situations concerning safety and security, these features could be lifesaving.