Will Walkie Talkies work after a Major Earthquake?

A walkie talkie can be a helpful device during disasters and emergencies. If the power grids and cell towers are down, you can communicate with your family through it in case you get separated. Also, its ruggedness is suitable during calamities and other similar situations.

How about after a major earthquake has occurred? Will walkie talkies still work? Does the shaking of the ground affect its signal? This article will provide you with an explanation regarding this matter and some other relevant information.


Will Walkie Talkies work after a major earthquake? You will get the answer here. (©Thomas Dutour – stock.adobe.com)


Short Answer

Your walkie talkie will still work during or after a high-intensity earthquake. It is possible, since it doesn’t rely on cellular tower reception to communicate with other devices. Also, there’s no need for an internet connection or calling plan from a carrier for it to work. Therefore, even if there’s no power or mobile signal, you can still contact other walkie talkies.


Long Answer

The United States government has constantly advised everyone to always prepare for emergencies and disasters. It includes having a communication device ready at hand.

Sometimes, cell towers will be affected during calamities, rendering phones incapable of communication. In this case, a walkie talkie is the most obvious alternative. However, will it still be able to communicate after a serious earthquake? Let’s find out.


What is a major earthquake?

According to the Richter Scale (the measurement of earthquake magnitude), a major earthquake has a magnitude anywhere between 7.0 to 7.9. On this magnitude, people should be wary of severe damage to properties and surroundings and casualties.

When this event occurs, the ground will shake intensely, where objects or structures such as cell towers will collapse. Consequently, mobile phones will be incapable of transmitting messages and calls to other similar devices.


How do walkie talkies work?

It is essential to learn how a walkie talkie works to decide if it’s a viable option during emergencies or not.

Walkie talkies are two-way radio devices, which can send and receive voice content from other radio devices. Unlike phones that require cell-site signals, walkie talkies use radio waves and frequency to function. It is also powered with batteries that you only need to change every year or so, where a beeping sound can be heard during calls to indicate a need to change the battery.

Sometimes, several walkie-talkies might share the same frequency, resulting in other users hearing your conversation, as well as you hearing theirs. Luckily, many modern-day walkie talkies support multiple frequencies, lowering the chances of sharing channels with other people.

A walkie-talkie functions as a speaker by default, where you can listen to other people talking using the same frequency. On the other hand, if you depress the talk button, it will allow you to speak through it, hence the name “push-to-talk.” Unfortunately, it only allows one speaker at a time, so you need to wait for your turn after the person on the other end is done talking. Ideally, speakers will say the word “over,” denoting that their message is complete.


Will major Earthquakes affect Walkie Talkies?

After a high-intensity earthquake, walkie talkies will still work. In detail, even if there’s no power or mobile reception, you can continue communicating through it. Since it uses frequency and radio waves, it doesn’t need an internet connection or calling plan from a carrier to communicate.

Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the ground’s intense shaking affecting its signal. Moreover, if cellular towers fall or are damaged, walkie talkies will continue to function. Indeed, it is an indispensable communication tool for emergency and disaster response.


US Government Regulations on Walkie Talkies

Upon reaching this part of the article, you have learned that walkie talkies can work even after a major earthquake. As such, you might consider buying a set if you haven’t or using it if you already have. However, it is crucial to learn about the US government’s regulations on walkie talkies before doing so.

One way the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determines if a walkie talkie user is required to get a license is based on the purpose of use and location of use. If you intend to use it for personal or recreational reasons, there’s a good chance that you are not obliged to obtain a license. However, there are fines as high as $25,000 to $50,000 if you’re using a public radio device without a permit.

Quick Info: The Family Radio Service (FRS) system is open for families and private groups for short-distance and two-way communication. The FRS has 22 channels within the 462 MHz to 467 MHz frequency range.

On average, a two-way radio license costs around $600 and is valid for ten years. If you include a repeater with its dedicated permit, it could go up to $800. Therefore, it is cheaper to register your walkie talkie than paying a fine or penalty.

A user can register directly through FCC or seek assistance from the local radio shop where the device is purchased. Besides, some retail license-free walkie talkies are available, so you don’t have to comply with the FCC. Still, it is best to ask the retailer if you need a license for a particular walkie talkie to be sure.


Conclusion – Will Walkie Talkies work after a Major Earthquake?

A major earthquake can have a magnitude anywhere between 7.0 to 7.9. Commonly in this situation, objects or structures such as cellular towers will collapse and get damaged, rendering mobile phones incapable of sending and receiving information after it.

During disasters, communication is crucial for emergency response and rescue. However, phones and other devices that require cellular reception are unreliable during these times. Luckily, walkie-talkies will still work and are, in fact, generally used by responders.

Walkie talkies utilize the two-way radio system to transmit voice content to other devices using the same frequency. It uses radio waves, which are more resilient in harsh environments and calamities than reception from cellular towers. Therefore, even if there’s a flood or a major earthquake, you can still rely on walkie talkies for communication.

In conclusion, walkie talkies are an indispensable communication tool for safety and response during emergencies and disasters.



Founder of walkie-talkie-guide.com & TechVert.com. Tech enthusiast. Interested in gaming, computers, and walkie-talkies.

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