How to talk on a radio (walkie-talkie)
Among the fondest memories of many childhoods is playing soldier or spy or some other imaginary game where secret communication was an essential part of the fun. The tools of choice for accomplishing those most clandestine communications were walkie-talkies.
The games that children play, especially those with 2-way radios, come from watching adults and wanting to emulate them. But, it isn't just children who appreciate the best walkie-talkies - these devices can be both enjoyable and extremely useful for adults as well. To make the most of your walkie-talkie, consider some tips to better understand how it works and how to communicate with it.
>> How does a walkie-talkie work?
Top-rated walkie-talkies are push-to-talk devices, which means there is no dialing or other process other than pushing a button to communicate with a similar device that is within range and tuned to the same frequency.
Walkie-talkies function as radios, and they work in much the same way as your car radio and have many of the same features. Some walkie-talkie features, such as the antenna, are different than your car radio because they both transmit and receive signals.
Talking on all walkie-talkie types is different than talking to someone in person or on a phone, so in addition to the special language of walkie-talkies, there are features that make conversations not only possible, but also productive. Many of the best walkie-talkies have a built-in squelch control, which automatically blocks background static when there is no incoming signal.
In order for a conversation to take place between two walkie-talkies, each user must be on the same channel and using the same frequency. When you buy a walkie-talkie, it's best to look for a model that has multiple channels. Less expensive walkie-talkies, such as battery-powered radios, have fewer channels, while the best walkie-talkies have 22 channels.
Part of the special language of walkie-talkies is the 10-code which includes about 60 codes that start with 10 and are followed by another number such as the familiar 10-4, which means message received. There are four 10-codes that relate to channel usage and include the request to switch channels, 10-27 or 10-41.
>> Walkie-talkie vs. push-to-talk phones
Learning how to talk on microtalk radios starts with making a walkie-talkie comparison, and today that includes push-to-talk phones, or PTT phones. PTT phones work the same way as a traditional walkie-talkie but rather than using radio to transmit and receive, they use cellular service.
The advantage of these phones is range. Because they rely on cell towers to carry messages, their range is virtually unlimited. Other than the signal they use to communicate, PTT phones and traditional walkie-talkies function the same way and both are able to utilize headsets and accessories to extend their usability even further.
>> Walkie-talkie uses
The best walkie-talkies enable us to stay in touch with family, co-workers and others quickly and easily across large buildings and cities equally well. Walkie-talkie efficiency is improved when we incorporate some of the specialized language that users have developed over the years.
The heart of walkie-talkie language is a kind of verbal shorthand called the 10 code. With more than 60 entries the list of codes is extensive but some of the more common and useful ones include:
|10-1 = Receiving poorly ||10-2 = Receiving well |
|10-4 = Message received ||10-6 = Busy, please stand by |
|10-7 = Out of service, leaving the air ||10-13 = Advise weather/road conditions |
|10-20 = My location is _______ ||10-21 = Call by telephone |
|10-24 = Completed last assignment ||10-26 = Disregard last information |
|10-27 = I am moving to channel _______ ||10-41 = Please turn to channel _______ |
Good walkie-talkie etiquette follows some basic rules that help ensure that the technology is used responsibly. Some rules may apply to maintaining the hardware, such as each user being responsible for returning their walkie-talkie to the charging station at the end of the day or shift to ensure that the unit is fully charged and ready for use when needed.
The majority of walkie-talkie etiquette involves how you communicate on them. The first rule is to make sure you are able to send and receive from your device. This is accomplished by doing a simple check before you leave your base area by calling another user and requested a response or a 10-32.
Using only first names ensures privacy for everyone concerned, and not relaying private or personal information is also a vital component of proper etiquette. When attempting to contact someone, it's best to identify who you are first and who you are trying to contact second. For example, you could say, "Frank to Wendy", and wait for a response. If none is received you can try again.
Keeping communications short and simple is a longstanding piece of etiquette which is based on the fact that these devices only allow for one person to speak at a time. Keeping communications short ensures that the channel will be clear for other users when needed. When more than two people in a group are using the same walkie-talkie models, it isn't polite to break in to a conversation with a call to another person until the channel is clear.
As with all communications devices, there are differences in features and performance that should be taken into account before deciding which is the best walkie-talkie for your needs. Issues such as range and number of users are just two of the things that should be considered before purchasing.
Walkie-talkies are great communications tools that enable us to pass important information between two or more individuals efficiently. Learning how to talk on a walkie-talkie is easy and helps you use your device more productively.