Knowledge base What is a walkie-talkie?

What is a walkie-talkie?



Nowadays, the use of walkie-talkies is becoming more and more popular, so you have probably seen their use a number of times, such as with the waitress in the restaurant where you last had dinner or with the manager of your supermarket. For two decades, two-way radios have been used for communication over short, but also very long distances. But what exactly is a walkie-talkie? What are the properties and how does a walkie-talkie work? We can understand all too well that this is not clear. That is why we are happy to support you by explaining this.

A radio is also known as a walkie-talkie and is used to communicate between people in different places. It is actually a portable device that can be used to send and receive. Walkie-talkie is more commonly used as a name when it is not for professional use. When the walkie-talkie is used professionally, it is called a walkie-talkie.

But how does a walkie-talkie work?

In most cases, a radio is equipped with two rotary knobs. Sometimes these are in the form of keys on the front. The main functions are the volume switch and the channel switch. The volume switch is usually off first, then the volume goes from 0 to 100. The channel switch usually has 16 channels, but some have only 3 to 6 channels programmed. A channel is a fixed frequency at which a signal is sent by a speaker and is received by a receiver.

There is a large button on the left side of the walkie-talkie or on the front of the walkie-talkie. We call this a PTT (push to talk) button. Pressing this key causes your call to be broadcast. Only one person can speak at a time. When speaking, you should pay attention to the following points:

  • You must always wait 1 second after pressing the PTT button. The line has to be built up. If you start right away, the start of the conversation is canceled.
  • After speaking, close with the word “over” so that the recipient of the call knows that you have finished speaking.
  • When you end the entire conversation, say “over and close”.

The advantage of communication with walkie-talkies is that the communication is very fast. When using a mobile phone, the correct person must first be found in the contacts, the person must be called and the recipient only hears the message when the phone is answered. Often the message is only passed on to one person via a mobile phone.

When communicating with a walkie-talkie, the conversation is immediate. There is no question of looking up contacts, you can speak directly to several people. This makes communication much faster and is therefore much more reliable in the event of an emergency.

There is also a big difference. When communicating with a mobile phone, you depend on a network provider. If you are using a mobile phone, you must first contact a cell tower before transmitting the signal to the mobile phone you are trying to reach. In the event of a bad signal or signal failure, communication is therefore no longer possible. Communication with two-way radios is much more reliable because there is no dependence on a network provider. The signal goes directly from one radio to another.

If you are wondering whether the use of walkie-talkies can be of added value in your company or do you have any questions after reading this article? Please do not hesitate to contact us so that an employee can answer any questions or ambiguities.

Whether or not a permit / license?

Walkie-talkies are widely used by private individuals on vacation and for recreational purposes. In these cases, there are often unlicensed radios that operate on eight free frequencies that everyone can use. These radios are used in the PMR band (446 MHz).

These walkie-talkies are license-free, so that no license needs to be requested from the Telecom Agency. The maximum transmission power of these radios is 0,5 watts. In practice, the radios often have a range of up to 1 kilometer under very favorable conditions. For example, if you are going to use the radios without permits in urban areas, keep in mind that the range of the radios is less than 1 kilometer. Floors of a building, buildings, afforestation etc. have a negative influence on the range of the walkie-talkies. It is therefore essential that you take this into account when purchasing walkie-talkies.

Did you know that it is also possible to request a Demo-set from the different radios to test whether they work fine within your company. If desired, you can contact us via our contact form this pressing the link. We will then send you a demo set with the most suitable radios for your company. You have 2 weeks for the test after which the radios can be sent back to us.

The advantage of the license-free radios is that they are very affordable and you can communicate with anyone who is on the same channel. However, this is also the disadvantage of the license-free radios. Many people can use the same channels, which can disturb you during communication, but you can also listen because the channels are accessible to everyone.

If the range of the license-free radio is not sufficient, you can use professional licensed radios. For a licensed walkie-talkie you need a license which you must request from the Telecom Agency. The range of a licensed radio can be up to several kilometers. With a license you have a group of frequencies assigned to you with the biggest advantage that you are less or no longer bothered by disturbances and other people who communicate on the same frequencies. In addition, licensed radios have a stronger transmission power, which means that the range is better compared to license-free radios.

As mentioned above, you need a license for licensed radios that you must request from the Telecom Agency. Firecom will of course support you with this request. The license application forms are supplied with the radios.

In addition, there is a further split between two-way radios: analog or digital two-way radios. What is the difference between analog and digital walkie-talkies?

Analog radios are often cheaper than digital radios. An analog network is quickly operational and can be used immediately. The range of an analog radio can be extended by means of a repeater (amplifier).
For several years, more and more advanced digital radios (DMR) have been on the market. These digital radios offer many advantages over analog radios. With a digital radio you can use two talk groups per frequency. As a result, you no longer have to apply for expensive permits from the Telecom Agency, but you can do with a single permit. A digital walkie-talkie is not easy to listen to, so it is no longer necessary to share or listen. You can securely exchange personal information.

With a digital walkie-talkie you can send text messages like with an alarm receiver. You can also connect machines or other fault contacts. GPS positioning and man-down are options for securing employees with digital walkie-talkies. For a more detailed explanation of the difference between analog and digital walkie-talkies, read our article about this by clicking on this link!

Finally, there is one more point where radios may differ. A walkie-talkie can be UHF or VHF. But what is the difference between UHF and VHF?


There may also be a difference in radios: VHF or UHF. These terms probably don't mean much to you, but it's actually very simple. VHF means very high frequency and UHF means Ultra high frequency. VHF radios are usually used for land communication. UHF radios, on the other hand, have better range in an environment where there is a lot of steel or concrete. UHF radios are therefore usually used for communication in commercial buildings, factories, care institutions or other buildings. If you want to communicate at an amusement park or zoo, we recommend that you use VHF.

Do you prefer advice from a specialist?

We can write a lot, but maybe it is more pleasant to call us? We can then ask additional questions and tailor the advice to your application. You can reach us at 085-4011980.