Walkie talkies are convenient in a lot of situations. You and your family can use it in an amusement park, hiking, or even inside an establishment. If ever you end up getting separated, a walkie-talkie will help you stay connected.
However, are you sure you’re using the right channels for such situations? It’s essential to know that different channels serve different purposes. This guide will help you determine what channels to use and see whether your walkie-talkie is suited for indoor, outdoor, or both.
Walkie-talkies rely on channels for two-way communication. If you’re using it outdoors, it’s better to use VHF. On the other hand, use a UHF radio for indoor activities. Moreover, if you want to use a walkie-talkie to cater to both situations, a dual-band walkie-talkie is preferred.
Walkie-talkies offer convenience in communication on any occasion. With this, it’s essential to know what channels to use.
A VHF radio works best for open and large areas with minimal obstructions. At the same time, UHF radio travels short distances. It can penetrate walls and buildings; that’s why it’s best to use it indoors.
Nowadays, some walkie-talkies cater to both indoor and outdoor activities. Hence, the technology for dual-band walkie-talkie was created for this purpose. With more channels and more power output to reach an extended range, you can communicate with your friend even if he’s on the building’s top floor while you’re on the ground floor.
How do Walkie Talkies communicate?
Walkie-talkies are battery-powered and wireless transceivers. It means that it can send and receive messages and work to specific radio frequencies. If you talk over a walkie-talkie on a channel, it can transmit the signal one at a time. This means you and your companions must take turns when talking. At the same time, many radios can receive the same signal.
Unlike mobile phones, where both parties can communicate simultaneously, walkie-talkies use a push-to-talk feature. The feature allows you to press the button to speak and release it when you want to receive a message.
Hence, walkie-talkies are easy to use and don’t rely on network connectivity. Even if the mobile network is down in your area, you can still communicate with a walkie-talkie because it uses frequency.
What is a Walkie Talkie Channel?
Walkie-talkies can transmit and receive a signal due to frequency bands or channels denoted by Hertz (Hz). To effectively communicate with your friends, you need to use the same channel.
Hence, it works on specific radio frequencies. In America, the frequencies available for public use are Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).
FRS and GMRS for walkie-talkies can use 22 channels with a specific power output required to communicate. When you’re using it indoors or outdoors, it’s better to buy a walkie-talkie with many channels, so you are less likely to interrupt or be interrupted by others. Hence, you can interact with your friend privately, just like a mobile phone does.
What Walkie Talkie Channel should I use in which situation?
With many walkie-talkie options in the market, choose one that suits your needs. Walkie-talkies operate in either Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) or Very High-Frequency Band (VHF) with varying purposes.
Meanwhile, read more to find out what such frequency bands are used for different scenarios.
If you’re a person who loves going outside for an adventure, a VHF band works best. VHF radios work on open and large areas with few or little obstructions. If you are at a trekking site or a base station radio, you can easily communicate with your friends, especially if you add an antenna for a stronger signal. However, it can be problematic if the area has many trees or has a hilly terrain. For this purpose, a UHF band is recommended.
Moreover, VHF radios operate at 136-174 MHz and large distances. The signal waves for VHF can travel at long distances excellently, given that it is used in an area of few obstructions in the line of sight. In contrast to UHF, VHF has longer wavelengths. Thus, the VHF wave can travel farther than a UHF can. At the same time, VHF radios are commonly used in air and sea shipping because they function in these kinds of areas the best.
Buying a VHF walkie-talkie is the way to go for outdoor activities. A typical VHF radio only has 8 channels, but it can reach longer distances.
While using a VHF band in outdoor activities is preferred, UHF is best used indoors. It is the best type of radio for indoor communications. The reason being is they have stronger penetration ability compared to VHF. Hence, you can receive clear communication when you use it inside a building.
UHF radios work at 400 to 512 Megahertz (MHz) and can penetrate easily to walls, buildings, windows, and trees. Hence, UHF is also recommended to use outdoors. However, it has a shorter wavelength, which means it can only work in shorter distances.
For example, if you’re 5 miles away from your friend in a park, it will be challenging to communicate with him. That’s why UHF radios are the preferred choice for buildings and areas with lots of trees.
Indoor and Outdoor
On the other hand, if you avoid buying a separate walkie-talkie for indoor and another for outdoors, you can do so by purchasing a dual-band walkie-talkie. Dual-band walkie-talkies have more channels to choose from and offer both VHF and UHF bands.
Wherever you are, in the park, or inside a restaurant, a dual-band radio will give you the best of both worlds. Tune in to the same channel with the best frequency available to suit your situation.
Since dual-band uses both FRS and GMRS radio service, you can switch between channels wherever and whenever you want. FRS and GMRS services share the same 22 channels, only with different power output required. Whether you’re in a building or a skiing resort, both radio services are sufficient to use. However, FRS can only reach 1 to 2 miles (depends on terrain conditions), so it’s best to use it in a smaller area.
If you plan to use your dual-band walkie-talkie in a larger area with more signal interference chances, the GMRS will offer greater power and more options for you. If you want private communication with your friend located more than 3 miles away, turning into a GMRS channel is the best way to go. You can also utilize privacy codes to prevent interference in communication.
Make sure to buy a dual-band walkie talkie while offering FRS and GMRS radio service channels. This does not only enable you to work in any situation, but you can also enjoy any communication without signal interference.
Conclusion – What Walkie Talkie Channel should I use?
There are different channels to use, depending on the location. If you intend to use a walkie-talkie in large open areas with fewer obstructions, you can use a VHF radio. On the other hand, a UHF band is meant for indoor activities. Because of its short wavelength, it can penetrate walls, buildings, and trees easily.
Meanwhile, if you want a walkie-talkie that can do both, it’s best to use a dual-band with UHF and VHF frequencies. Also, it has more than 22 channels, which a UHF radio usually has. You can use a dual-band walkie-talkie wherever you are. As a result, it will save you more since its dual purpose.
No matter where in the world you are or in the situation you are in, it’s best to consider the best type of frequency band or channel for your walkie-talkie. It will save you costs and utilize what a walkie-talkie can provide.