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Is there a difference between two way radios and walkie talkies?

Is there a difference between two way radios and walkie talkies?

date Released On 10th May 2016

Essentially, two way radios and walkie talkies are the same thing. The terms can be used interchangeably but because they’re often marketed in different ways, walkie talkies are sometimes thought of as a more basic product, promoted as a child’s toy, or used by hobbyists and business users with simple radio needs.

At Radio Trader, in common with most other commercial radio businesses, at least in the UK, we tend to use the term “two way radio”, and so over time this phrase has become associated with a highly functional professional radio product aimed at business users.

It’s easy to see how this usage may have given rise to the idea that a walkie talkie is an inferior product, but technically speaking, that’s not the case.

There’s really just one situation where a two way radio cannot be called a walkie talkie, and that’s where the radio is not a hand-held portable handset, but is mounted in a vehicle or on a desk (known as a mobile radio). As the name suggests, walkie talkies enable you to walk around.

In all other respects, there’s really no difference between two way radios and walkie talkies. Both are capable of transmitting and receiving a radio signal.

Walkie talkie licences and frequencies

The type of two way radios often marketed as “walkie talkies” tend to be the licence free variety. These radios operate on one of the pre-programmed frequencies in the UK within the band 446.0 to 446.1 MHz. If this is the sort of product you're looking for, we sell a good range of licence free radios by Motorola, Kenwood, HYT and Hytera.

Although there are many good reasons for choosing a licence free radio, they do have lower power, a shorter range and can suffer interference from other users on the same channel.

If you’re using the phrase “walkie talkie” interchangeably with “two way radio” however, your radio can be programmed to a dedicated UHF or VHF frequency which is licensed by Ofcom.

Don’t worry about the label – whether you call it a two way radio or a walkie talkie, let us know what you need and we’ll find exactly the right solution for you.

Get in touch with us for friendly, expert advice – call 0151 676 2888

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