WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WALKIE-TALKIES AND TWO-WAY RADIOS?

We get asked this question on a regular basis. There is a lot of doubt on the difference between the these 2 radio equipment so to briefly explain the difference we have decided to bang our heads together and come up with this little explanation.

A two-way radio as the name suggests is a radio that operates in two ways, transmitting and receiving. Some people make the mistake of putting a scanner and two-way radios in the same category which is incorrect as most scanners only can receive.

A walkie-talkie is a radio that is portable. This type of radio can be commonly referred to as a “hand portable”, “handheld radio”, “handheld transceiver” etc. In simple terms, it is a radio that allows you to talk and receive while walking around.

SO ARE THESE TWO RADIO COMMUNICATION DEVICES THE SAME THING?

A walkie-talkie is a portable two-way radio, but a two-way can be more than just a walkie-talkie.

A two-way radio can fit many applications for example:

Vehicle two-way radios that require 12 volts of power and an external aerial.

Two-way radios that are Atex approved for areas where dangerous gas or substance is present.

Two-way radios that have a lone worker facility that alarms if the radio goes into the horizontal position for a predetermined time.

Two-way radios that have tracking facilities that can give your GPS position.

So as you can see, there is a difference between the two, but most if not all the major manufacturers do not refer to their products as Walkie-Talkies but as Two Way Radios.

People also tend to associate them with children’s toys, but that is definitely not the case. Now, modern walkie-talkies are much more developed than those that you probably had in your childhood, and with a whole panoply of new abilities like the fact that they operate with a power of 0.5 to 5 Watts, have long battery life, have a clear Lcd display to keeps you informed of bandwidth and battery status and to make communicating simple and clear, have channel scan and a talk confirmation tone or Roger beep that tells you when it is your turn to speak.

They can also be complemented with many useful accessories like: rechargeable batteries, rapid chargers, multi-port chargers, remote lapel speaker microphones, headsets etc.

Extremely convenient, most weighing just 100–200g and small in size, robust, ergonomic and lightweight they are great for practical everyday use and outdoor activities.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN ADVANTAGES TO USING WALKIE-TALKIES OVER CELLPHONES?

The convenience of the cell phone is irrefutable, especially regarding long-range communication because It allows you to send a video or a photo, text a message, or dial a number and speak to almost anyone, anywhere in the world.

While not as widely used as cellular telephones, the truth is that in many personal and business applications and situations, there are a lot of advantages to using push to talk devices over cell phones.

FEATURED WALKIE TALKIE PRODUCTS

Let’s see some of them:

Walkie-Talkies are robust, easy-to-use, simple to work with and free to use! They are particularly useful for activities in the great outdoors like Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Skiing or Hiking, where a lack of mobile signal can cut your connections with the rest of the world. A walkie-talkie will allow you to communicate with someone else using another one on the same frequency and with an open line of sight they can easily have a reach of between 3 to 5 km.

It provides you with a way of contacting someone in an emergency, especially when a mobile signal isn’t achievable.

They are also very useful in harsh work environments where mobile phones are too delicate or out of signal range. Construction Site Workers, Police Officers, Firefighters, Lifeguards, Hospital/Airport/Shopping/Warehouse Staff use them on a daily basis.

Another significant advantage is the cost. Even compared to the cost of obtaining the most expensive license to operate a GMRS or business radio, cell phones can cost a lot more to own and operate. Walkie-Talkies are cheaper to obtain and free to use, not requiring any contracts or incurring in costly monthly usage fees or roaming charges. You can make the “calls” you want, and know that you will never have to pay anything for them.

One of the most significant advantages of using them over cell phones in any environment is their ability to provide instant communication with no wait time. You simply pick up the device, turn it on and listen or press the PTT button to talk. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

COMMON WALKIE TALKIE USES/INDUSTRIES

Walkie-talkies are used in a wide range of different sectors helping business all around the world.

Their versatility and usefulness, enabling communication at all times have made them indispensable in many business environments.

Here are just a few of the businesses that find value in using portable two-way radio equipment:

CONSTRUCTION
Walkie-talkies-construction-sites

CONSTRUCTION

There are many benefits to having this type of communication equipment on a construction site. For one, workers need to be able to communicate knowing that their message will be heard loud and clear. So, they are a perfect way to:

  • Stay within budget, as they’re much more affordable than many other communication devices
  • Have reliable and durable communication equipment which can take rough handling, but is still lightweight and portable
  • Promote the communication between workers and management
  • Work in groups – radios with multiple channels are great for that
  • Issue safety warnings on time
  • Ensure the prompt execution of project plans
SECURITY
Man with a walkie talkie checking museum CCTV security images

SECURITY

 Having walkie-talkies is an essential tool for security staff everywhere since they need to be able to quickly respond to emergencies. Here’s why all security guards must have radio communication systems:

  • Speedy and reliable communication between security workers on site and the command centre
  • Reporting on suspicious activity on rounds
  • Earpiece attachments allow for a subtler approach to radio communication when needed
  • Quick response to ongoing crises and minor disturbances alike
  • Calling for backup during high-risk incidents
  • Summoning medical assistance
  • Going through emergency protocols in coordination with other security workers and staff
HOSPITALITY
hotel staff with luggage trolleyey

HOSPITALITY

 People who work in the hospitality business need to be able to respond to their clients’ wishes with all possible haste. Portable two way radios can substantially increase the productivity of hotel, resort, and restaurant workers by:

  • Being a reliable and lightweight connection between workers, earpieces are a great choice for workers with more conservative uniforms
  • Working through long shifts thanks to power saving features – unlike other devices which use up battery life faster
  • Enabling different teams, like the kitchen or the main hall staff, to communicate within their group via multiple channel radios
  • Allowing staff to keep management up to date on new developments, and vice versa
  • Empowering workers to protect themselves and clients in emergency situations
RETAIL
Two supermarket workers with red aprons checking stock

RETAIL

 It’s a well-known fact that the retail industry could be one of the most difficult fields to work in. Whether you’re dealing with difficult customers or outright shoplifters, walkie-talkies can help smooth things over. They allow for:

  • Efficient communication between store management, security, stockers, and cashiers
  • Direct and immediate job designation, so managers can call on a specific staffer to perform a task, instead of issuing orders over the PA system
  • Preventing theft and violent incidents, quick response times
  • Otherwise, calling police in the event of a physically threatening individual
  • Arranging for the swift arrival of emergency health care providers
  • Overall improved efficiency and profitability
EVENT PLANNING
security guard controlling an outdoor event

EVENT PLANNING

 Event planners can greatly benefit from working with a team equipped with two-way radios. Here’s how walkie-talkies can improve your event planning business, whether you’re planning a festival or a conference:

  • Having a radio communications system can help an event planner know what their staff is working on at every stage of the planning process
  • They allow everyone to coordinate once the event actually starts
  • Crowd management staff will have an open channel to safety and medical teams in case of emergency
  • Headliner or artist management will be able to see to the performers’ wishes
  • The catering staff and waiters can quickly and efficiently replenish food
  • Clean-up duties following the event can be easily assigned, without confusion
WAREHOUSES
Warehouse full of boxes

WAREHOUSES

 Warehouse workers are an essential part of every supply chain. As such, they need to be on top of loading, transporting, storing, and shipping goods, as well as the security of the warehouse.

  • Since warehouses can be rather large spaces, portable two-way radios can promote worker communication.
  • Since working with large crates can be treacherous, being able to quickly report any hazardous activity can help workers steer clear of a dangerous area
  • Workers can even use their arms while communicating over radio
  • Radio systems with multiple channels can connect workers in different teams
  • Organising various shipments will become easier, and the warehouse more productive
  • They are durable enough to withstand the harsher conditions of a warehouse
AGRICULTURE
Single lamb eating grass

AGRICULTURE

 People working in agriculture and forestry industries need to be able to communicate across great distances in order to pass along information about crops. Here’s why two-way radios are the perfect farmer’s companion:

  • Walkie-talkies allow open communication between the workers in the office and those in the field
  • They are durable, so they’ll be able to take some mishandling
  • Radios enable agriculture vehicle drivers to update the control centre on the situation on the ground
  • Also, they make it so that everything is running smoothly, ensuring the efficient handling, processing, and delivery of the produce
HEALTHCARE
Two doctors reviewing a medical report inside a healthcare facility

HEALTHCARE

 Hospitals and clinical practices need to be especially vigilant with their security and organisation. Here’s how healthcare providers can benefit from using portable two-way radios:

  • Staying on task and promoting efficiency
  • Helping staff stay up to date with patient comings and goings
  • Especially helpful in rehab centres and nursing homes, where patients need constant care
  • Smaller practices can use smaller devices, which are easy to keep on you
  • Bigger hospitals would benefit from having radio systems with more channels
  • Also useful to security and maintenance staff
EDUCATION
Group of students discussing in University library

EDUCATION

 Schools are places which take care of our children for a significant portion of the day. So, they ought to enjoy the kind of security radio communication systems provide, such as:

  • Helping maintenance and janitorial staff organise and communicate with each other
  • Connecting school management to educational and other staff
  • Helping with emergency protocols
  • Efficient, safe and quick reporting on security threats
  • School nurses need to be able to arrive quickly in case of accidents
  • Special events. All staff should be especially vigilant during school events. Also, walkie-talkies would help with field trips
PORTS

PORTS

 Port employees need to be able to handle managing and transporting all sorts of goods. Having two-way radios will enable them to perform at the highest efficiency levels, and here’s why:

  • Communication between port management and staff in various sectors
  • Managing various shipments as well as incoming and outgoing cargo ships
  • Directing ships to their wharves and moving goods on and off-board
  • Maintaining open communication channels between security staff
  • Reporting on malfunctions, or calling engineers in case of emergency
  • Managing repairs and maintenance crews
PUBLIC SAFETY

PUBLIC SAFETY

 There are many scenarios which may cause public safety risks. Various emergency personnel might need radio communication systems in these situations.

  • Walkie-talkies are helpful during public events, like parades or protests
  • They’re also essential in the aftermath of natural disasters, or acts of terror
  • They offer efficient reporting about safety threats, injuries, theft, and other criminal activities
  • They can help police, fire safety officers, and health professionals organise
  • Hastening the implementation of emergency protocols
TRANSPORT & FLEET

TRANSPORT & FLEET

 Public transit services need two-way radios in order to run smoothly, to maintain public safety, and stay on schedule. Here are some specific ways radio communication systems can help drivers and passengers:

  • Exchanging pertinent information about route changes between control centres and drivers
  • Helping drivers share their status with their commanding officers throughout the day
  • Notifying maintenance staff about malfunctions so they may arrive quickly to perform repairs
  • Requesting assistance in case of threats or emergency situations
  • Maintaining the safety of drivers and passengers
VISITOR ATTRACTIONS

VISITOR ATTRACTIONS

 Visitor attractions like museums, galleries, national parks, places of worship, and other destinations may benefit from two-way radios in many ways:

  • Making sure everything is running smoothly
  • Coordinating between management and staff
  • Ensuring the safety of the staff and visitors
  • Internal reporting on events, security threats, and accidents
  • Executing emergency protocols
  • Making arrangements for the prompt arrival of medical services
  • Managing food and cleaning services
GOLF COURSES
Golf car standing on green field and rear view of aged man with golf clubs walking to play

GOLF COURSES

 The staff working at a large, open space like a golf course must be able to communicate among themselves. And the workers on the course also need to coordinate with those working inside of the club. Fortunately, walkie-talkies can help these two groups communicate with each other and even become more productive individually.

  • Course staff can report members who are breaking club rules to management
  • They can also see to members’ wishes and call for additional help
  • Inform management of members’ suggestions
  • Club management can inform course workers of expected weather conditions
  • Staff in the club can make sure everything is stocked, from food and beverages to the on-site shop
  • Workers can be kept aware of members’ comings and goings, thereby improving the club’s overall efficiency and hospitality
  • Management can see that irrigation specialists and gardeners arrive when the course is free to use
HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE

HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE

 Highway maintenance teams have some of the most mobile jobs in the world. At any given point, they could be called away to do emergency road repairs, on top of having to perform planned maintenance. Two-way radios can help them do their job by:

  • Being reliable and durable, not to mention mobile, communication devices
  • Helping maintenance contractors coordinate and plan based on the materials and tools they need
  • Setting up control centres in various locations as needed
  • Extending radio coverage via repeater systems
  • Aiding the communication of maintenance crews in different locations so they can share limited resources
  • Calling medical emergency services in case of accidents
STADIUMS & SPORTS FACILITIES

STADIUMS AND SPORT FACILITIES

 Millions of people attend thousands of sporting events each year. How can two-way radios make each of those experiences special, and above all else, safe for visitors and staff?

  • Scheduling events, whether they’re games or practices
  • Internal reporting on various events
  • Managing teams of athletes and visitors, keeping the groups separate and secure
  • Enabling communication between management, ushers, maintenance workers, and other staff
  • Keeping the security up to par during sporting events (as well as during regular hours)/li>
  • Implementing extra security measures during emergency situations
AIRPORTS & AIRLINES
Airplane front view from inside a car at an airport on a rainy day

AIRPORTS AND AIRLINES

 Airports can be hellish places for travellers as well as employees. The sheer size of the space can cause anxiety even to the calmest people. Here’s how two-way radios can help:

  • Organising and directing traffic
  • Managing the combined staff of various airlines, including management and flight crew
  • Helping the flight crew sort out catering for upcoming flights
  • Efficiently checking equipment between engineering crews
  • Helping staff aid passengers and their families find where they’re meant to go
  • Maintaining an efficient cleaning staff
  • Overseeing cargo handling
  • Border control inspections
  • Reporting on accidents and threats
  • Coordination between security staff
FACILITIES MANAGEMENT

FACILITIES MANAGEMENT

 Facility management services provide a multitude of services in order to make sure their clients’ buildings are fit for the people who work in them. Since this is such a hard-to-define service, radio communication systems can help them in many ways:

  • Communicating with clients
  • Coordinating between management and staff
  • Directing the janitorial and landscaping crews
  • Ensuring the safety of everyone in the building
  • Making ambulance calls and directing people in a medical emergency
  • Performing fire safety checks as well as many other inspections

DO YOU NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WALKIE TALKIES? HERE ARE SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

When do you need a walkie-talkie?

Walkie-talkies are highly versatile devices that can be used for a multitude of purposes. From business to leisure uses, there are many occasions where walkie-talkies are the perfect tool to have at your disposal.

In business, they are an excellent way for employees to communicate with one another. Jobs that involve coordination of tasks that are large distances apart are simplified by using walkie-talkies. Farms, construction sites, manufacturing plants, and security patrols are all examples of businesses that would benefit from utilising walkie-talkies in their operations.

Leisure uses are just as plentiful – Keeping tabs on the kids, camping trips, fishing trips, sporting events, boating, and hiking are just some of the circumstances where having a set of walkie-talkies can be of huge benefit.

Why choose a walkie-talkie over other devices?

We live in a time where just about everyone carries a smartphone. But there are still many advantages of using walkie-talkies.

First, there is the cost; buying walkie-talkies is a one-off purchase, there are no contracts or top-ups needed, and you will never run out of credit.

They also work anywhere, even if there is no mobile network coverage. This makes them a great option if you like camping or hiking in wilderness areas.

Walkie-talkies are also great as standalone tools when you need to concentrate on communication without being endlessly bombarded by emails and Facebook notifications.

What features should I consider when buying walkie-talkies?

Walkie-talkies come in all shapes, sizes, and performance levels. To find the perfect set of walkie-talkies to suit your needs, you should consider the following factors:

  • Range of Transmission
  • Frequency (VHF or UHF)
  • Digital or Analogue
  • Licensed or Unlicensed (see below for an explanation of the difference)
  • Whether you need them to be shockproof (construction sites, farms, etc. may want to consider this)
  • IP rating (how waterproof and dust-proof they are)
  • Battery life and recharging times
  • Push-to-talk (PTT) or VOX (as the name suggests PPT requires the speaker to push a button to talk, VOX is automatic)
  • Scanning
Which walkie-talkie should I choose?

Narrowing down the choice by considering the above factors is a great starting point in finding the right walkie-talkies. But the choice can still be bewildering. Choosing the right walkie-talkie is essential to get the full benefits of them.

Our helpful team is always on hand to make sure that the walkie-talkies you choose are the perfect ones for you. Spending a few minutes discussing your options can ensure that the walkie-talkies you buy now will serve you for years to come.

How do walkie-talkies work?

Walkie-talkies are handheld, battery-powered radio transceivers that are tuned to work on the same frequency. They are used to communicate over short distances of a few miles up to around twenty-five miles in ideal circumstances.

They are an ideal way for small teams to keep in touch over shorter distances, and because they are designed to communicate directly with each other, no network coverage is required for them to function.

How do you use a walkie-talkie?

The most common form of walkie-talkie is the PTT type. The method of operation is simple, press the transmit button to talk and release it to listen. There is no need to scroll through contacts and no need to worry about network coverage; it is as simple as pressing a button and talking.

This makes them ideal in situations where swift communication is required. Be it for business or personal use; everyone can benefit from the robust simplicity that a set of walkie-talkies provide.

What coverage should I expect from a walkie-talkie?

There is no easy answer to this question. Walkie-talkie manufacturers will list the maximum range of the device in the product details. The maximum range is the theoretical range that the devices can communicate over in ideal circumstances.

However, ideal circumstances are not always available. Uneven terrain in the countryside and houses and office blocks in towns and cities can greatly hinder performance. 

The best advice is to go for walkie-talkies that have a maximum range that is higher than you’re expecting to need. Our expert team is always on hand to advise on the best solution for you.

Should I choose digital or analogue walkie-talkies?

Digital walkie-talkies offer improved clarity, more features, future-proofing, and other benefits. However, these come at a cost; if your requirements are simpler, then analogue walkie-talkies are a great solution that will save you unnecessary expenses.

If you require greater range, audio quality, and more complexity, then digital walkie-talkies might be the best option. Once again, our team can help you decide which is the best option.

What is the difference between licensed and non-licensed walkie-talkies?

As the terms suggest, there are two distinct classifications of walkie-talkies.

Licensed walkie-talkies need a license to operate. They are more powerful than non-licensed walkie-talkies, and you get provided with a unique frequency on which you can operate your walkie-talkie. They also need to be specially programmed, which needs to be done by your walkie-talkie provider.

For most people who intend to use walkie-talkies in domestic or light-industrial uses, non-licensed walkies are the best solution.

What is the difference between UHF and VHF frequencies?

Whether to go with UHF or VHF radios is one of the more important factors when choosing a walkie-talkie.

UHF radios work at the higher end of the frequency spectrum. This allows the radio waves to have greater penetration of solid structures, this comes at the expense of overall range, but it does make them a better option for urban or indoor use. They are also more compact than VHF radios, thanks to their shorter and stubbier antennas.

VHF operates at a longer wavelength; this allows them to communicate over longer distances but doesn’t offer the penetration of UHF. VHF can be great for marine use or farmers working in open fields.

What environmental conditions can a walkie-talkie be exposed to?

This depends on the model of walkie-talkie you select. The crucial factor here is the IP rating; this number denotes the “Ingress Protection” of the walkie-talkies. As a guide, the first digit signifies the protection level against solid objects such as dust. The scale for the first digit runs from 0 to 6.

A rating of 0 means there is no protection, and a rating of 6 means it is dust-tight.

The second digit denotes water protection; the scale runs from 0 to 8. A zero rating means there is no protection, and an 8 rating means it is watertight at depths of over 1 metre.

How long does a battery last?

Depending on how much you use the walkie-talkie and the model you are using on a single charge; a battery will last anywhere between 8 – 12 hrs.

Can I use walkie-talkies abroad?

License-free walkie-talkies can be used in most European countries. If you plan on taking licensed radios abroad, then you will need to hire a license from the country you intend to use it on. This can be time-consuming so ensure you leave at least three months to organise it.

Where to buy my walkie-talkie?

At Lynn Communications, we have a massive range of walkie-talkies and accessories to cater to every need. From high-end licensed sets that are ideal for professional use to basic handsets that are perfect for keeping tabs on the kids playing in the garden, we can supply it.

Our range of accessories covers every eventuality from carry cases to Bluetooth microphones, from batteries to antennas; we have everything you could conceivably need in stock.

Can Lynn Communications program my walkie-talkies?

Yes, we can program licensed walkie-talkies as you can provide us with the details of your Comreg license (we can also help you obtain a license if required).

Our expert team can program most of the major brands and program details like: 

  • Frequency
  • Caller ID
  • Emergency
  • Power levels
  • Channel name

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