Archive for March, 2016

The Secret Behind Walkie Talkies

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

walkie talkieWalkie-talkies aren’t appreciated like they ought to be; after all, they work even without the convenience of cellular towers. That means for people living off the grid, a walkie talkie can be as much of a household appliance as a landline. Accordingly, this article will teach you a little bit about how walkie talkies were developed and what exactly goes on inside them.

First-off, what is a walkie talkie? A walkie talkie is basically just a wireless, hand-held radio that is made to be portable and fit into a decent sized pocket. They’re a lot like cell phones, but their body is composed of a basic microphone and speaker, as well as an antenna. Unlike a cellphone, a walkie talkie is generally laid out so that its speaker and microphone are directly next to each other, as it’s not normal to hold a walkie talkie up to your ear; they’re basically like big speaker phones.

So how do they work? One way to think of a walkie talkie is to see them as battery-powered transceivers. A transceiver is something that can both send and receive radio messages (meaning it has both a receiver and a transmitter). Walkie talkies use something called a half-duplex channel, which means that only one walkie-talkie on a given channel can transmit a signal at any one time, even if many radios can receive that same signal. Thus the familiar (if somewhat inconvenient) push-to-talk (PTT) system- if you want to talk, you have to press a button to speak, and if you want to listen, you have to release that button to allow sound from other units to travel through your device.

walkie tWalkie talkies present another helpful advantage over cell phones in that you don’t need to dial a number every time you want to send a message; they’re easier to use in this regard, and it’s much easier to have a “group call” as multiple listeners can tune into the same frequency to share a conversation. And again, it definitely helps in the forest when you don’t have cell service to pull out a walkie talkie.

That said, walkie-talkies are made for people to use when they’re within a few miles of each other; they’re generally used by security guards or wilderness lovers, not biyaag city dwellers.

But what electronic components are responsible for this handy little device? All walkie-talkies have a few basic components: a speaker, a microphone, a battery, an antenna, some circuity, and the PTT button. When you press your PTT button to say hello to someone else with a walkie talkie, the walkie talkie converts your voice into radio signals, which travel at the speed of light. Walkie talkies work on different channels (of frequency bands) so that you and your friends can tune into the same channel and not receive signals from the unlimited amounts of other radio frequencies permeating the air.

All walkie talkies are built to work on specific radio frequencies. In the United States, these frequencies are composed of the Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). They operate at the 460-MHz range.

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