All About Walkie Talkies

walkie talkies were developed during World War II, initially for being used by the military, by an engineer named Alfred J. Gross working for a company called Galvin Manufacturing Company, which would later become Motorola. Galvin used to call them Handie Talkies, while other people call them handheld receivers. The device caught the attention of the Office of Strategic Services, which would later become the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Essentially, they are nothing more than a low level radio transmitter and receiver. Just like GPS many years later, this is another example of military technology that is now used by millions of civilians all over the world for a wide variety of reasons.


In the beginning, they were cumbersome, large, and heavy - just like many other electrical devices of its time. If you have seen older movies, you will have noticed the black, bulgy transistor with a big antenna held near ones mouth before speaking. It looked like a cordless telephone handset, only larger in size.


Also, just like other electrical devices, they have shrunk in size and weight, and are more portable and convenient. Their overall design remains the same: there is a mouthpiece to talk in on one end, and a speaker to listen from. Some newer models feature a compact earphone microphone, allowing for discrete conversations.


You should know there are licensed and unlicensed walkie talkies. The main difference is their radio frequency, as well as their price tag. Licensed ones transmit their conversations over a radio frequency that is isolated for a particular set of devices, such as a pit crew during a car race communicating with their drivers. Unlicensed devices are sold on common electronic shop shelves. Under an extraordinarily unlucky coincidence, you might find another pair of people who happen to be in the same area as you and who use the exact same frequency as those found in your set of devices. Licensed devices cost way more than unlicensed ones.


While today they are used as baby monitors or kids toys, these devices have helped many professionals throughout the years due to the practicality of the portable radio communications. Picture public safety, outdoor recreation such as campers and hikers, construction jobsites, and so on. Kids toys are usually made of simple discrete transistor circuits and have a code key - the button you press to emit Morse code or other tones. Serious devices use chips, have volume control, higher battery life, more available channels, and transmit to longer distances as well.


Especially considering campers and hikers, two way communication allows outdoor lovers to stay connected to civilization in case of an emergency, a health issue, wild animals, or even bad weather. This way, they can make their way back to camp or have professional help find them easily. However, the transmission range is greatly affected by factors such as trees, rocks, mountains, and hills. Even so, they can be literally a life saver in a place where mobile phones will hardly have any service for placing emergency calls.