How Do Walkie Talkies Work?


Walkie talkies use radio waves transmitted and received by an antenna tuned to a single bandwidth, and then convert the electronic signals into sounds using a magnetic coil and a paper or plastic cup. Walkie talkies are a common method of sharing information over a short to medium range area.

Walkie talkies are small, wireless handheld radio communication devices that generally broadcast at 460 megahertz and require no transmission towers. They have battery powered transceivers with a half duplex channel, which allows only one unit to transmit at a time. Walkie talkies have a push-to-talk button that must be depressed to speak and released to hear communications. They work regardless of power outages or networked communication interruptions.

Most walkie talkies have a single speaker that allows for transmitting and receiving sounds; however, some models have separate devices. They transmit radio waves at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, so communication is nearly instantaneous.

Users can operate walkie talkies as a single pair, or in groups, if they are tuned to the same frequency, such as police, military units, emergency responders, public event organizers and businesses. If privacy issues are a concern, walkie talkies use open transmissions that can be easily intercepted. However, encryption capabilities are available, but generally reserved for military use.

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