Two-way radio communication is a cheap, relatively safe and dependable communication technology used in many walks of life and industries. I guess, that is why they call them walkie-talkies. There are however at least two different kinds of walkie-talkies and they are quite different in where they’re being used. They are either Ultra or Very High Frequency two-way radios.
Ultra High Frequency or UHF operate in the frequency range of 400 and 512 MHz. These are used for smaller distance communications and work well inside the buildings or wherever obstacles would interfere with other radio communications. UHF are also preferred in densely wooded forests and hilly landscaped areas. The UHF radio signal penetrates most of materials including steel, soil, wood, or concrete to deliver a clear signal up to…
Very High Frequency or VHF radios are preferred when larger distances need to be covered and they operate in the frequency range of 136 and 174 MHz. Because the frequencies are lower, they take less power to produce them and they keep closer to the ground. VHF frequencies don’t work well with obstacles and therefore aren’t preferable in closed environments, like buildings, or outdoors, where hill, barn, or anything else count interrupt the signal. They cope well with trees, but aren’t advisable for indoor and outdoor use. VHF two-way radios are used in open fields, lake, or in open space. They are mostly used in aviation, navy, or golf courses. The advertised range is up to 25 miles. Much like in laptop or smartphone battery times, these are highly misrepresented. There aren’t ideal lab-like conditions in the real world. The VHF two-way radios will work fine for up to 5 mile radius under every day conditions.
There are Family Radio Service (FRS) radio for basic occasional use. Most businesses choose Business Radio Service (GMRS) for better built, warranty and reliability. Their costs depend primarily on wattage. The higher wattage of up to 5 watts are more expensive, but offer greater range.
Much like portable computers, or any other gadgetry we discuss here, all two-way radios require FCC license.
Family types of walkie-talkies use about 0.5 watt of power. Most basic business walkie-talkies take 1 watt for a dependable range of about 1 mile. 5 watt farming two way radios reach coverage of up to 3 miles. 5 watt radio may cost you more, but if you need to cover a building of 30 floors or up to 350,000 sq.ft than wattage is what you’re after. There is also an option of a repeater, which essentially doubles your range by repeating the message to other radios.
Choosing a two-way radio is not a simple task. Think about where you’d be using it, what range you need to cover, how small and light you need the units to be and what price you’re willing to dash out. Military grade two-way radio are dust-, water- and shock-resistant, but hey, our military budget is bigger than the rest of the world’s combined. Consulting a professional to help you choose the right model of two-way radio is a good idea.
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