Watching the experts talking on a handheld 2-way radio can be fun. It could also be a bit mystifying trying to understand some of the strange lingoes. But it won’t be strange or mysterious anymore by the time you’ve learned how to talk on walkie talkie.
For those who don’t know, walkie talkies are portable, handheld radios used in communicating wirelessly using radio waves via dedicated channels or frequencies.
The basic unit is battery-powered and consists of a transmitter and receiver of limited range. It also comes with a microphone, a loudspeaker that also acts as a microphone and a button, known as the Push-to-talk (PTT) button that needs to be pushed before speaking.
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In some of the best walkie talkies, the microphone is separated from the speakers. The modern ones come with ports for earphones so you don’t have to hold the unit in case you need your hands for other things.
But no matter how complicated-looking a walkie talkie is, all of them operate with the same concept: receiving and transmitting voice messages wirelessly via radio frequencies.
Because walkie talkie is a very simple device for communicating, talking on it shouldn’t be difficult. And in reality, it is easy to learn how to talk on walkie talkie just as it is easy to master the operations.
How To Talk On A Walkie Talkie: What You Should Know.
The assumption here is you want to learn how to use a portable two-way radio for communicating because you want to get one for private use. Perhaps, you are thinking of going camping with friends and you need a guide on how to talk with it.
The rather confusing language used by security personnel, workers in a huge warehouse, police, armed forces, etc., would be too much to learn as a beginner.
Besides, these people pass through several hours of practical, intensive training on the specific language to use that is unique to their organization. The basic steps, though, still remain the same.
These are the steps to follow when you want to communicate on your 2-way radio with somebody:
- Switch your unit on
- Make sure you tune to the frequency or channel the other party or parties are. The channels should be agreed on before anything else.
- Press the PTT button if you wish to talk.
The location of the PTT button depends on the manufacturer. Some put it at the top and in some models, it is located at the sides.
- When you finish speaking, release the PTT button so you can listen to the other party.
Use the standard ‘over’ to let others understand you are done talking and are ready to listen to them. This is important because of the way a handheld two-way radio works.
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Though it can transmit and receive messages, it can only transmit or receive at a time. It cannot do both at once. When the PTT button is pressed, the unit becomes silent and acts as a microphone only.
Releasing the PTT button instantly turns the unit into a receiver and the microphone immediately converts to a loudspeaker.
Important Etiquette and Tips for Talking on Walkie Talkie
Communicating on a walkie talkie, which is quite easy as you must know by now, is just a part of the whole business of talking on a 2-way radio.
All parties in the loop should work towards a common target, which is to make the communication worthwhile for all concerned. And to do that, certain rules must be observed. Fortunately, the rules are easy to follow.
The following are some of the basic etiquette to follow:
Use a language everybody understands – This should be obvious if you want your message to be understood.
You must all agree on the language to use and if you must use slangs, it is important everybody is comfortable or at least understand the words.
But if you are talking to some stranger, for example, the emergency services, stick to the standard language without the use of slangs.
Wait for ‘over’ – It is improper to interrupt others while they are still speaking. As a matter of fact, they won’t be able to hear you because their PTT button is still pressed.
Always wait for them to say ‘over’ before transmitting your own message. Remember to press the PTT button though or you won’t be heard.
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Avoid communicating secrets – Never pass on confidential or very secret info over radio frequencies. The channels are open and anybody with a device can listen in.
Secret messages or not, always use the privacy codes to give you a degree of privacy.
Get call signs – for privacy and security reasons, you should assign unique call name or signs to each member of the group.
This is great for identification and to weed out strangers who might stumble into your channel.
Avoid long messages at once – Try as much as possible to keep your message brief and concise. Long messages can lead to confusion as too many words tend to obfuscate vital information.
If the message is too long, the proper thing is to divide it into several short messages for easy understanding.
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Some Important Walkie Talkie Phrases To Know
If you want to take your 2-way radio communicating skills up several notches, there are some phrases you could use. You must have heard some of them being used by the pros and wondered what they meant, right?
Roger that – Understood
Affirmative – Yes
What is your 20? – What is your location or where are you?
Do you copy? – Can you hear me?
10-4 – Okay
Breaker 1-9 – I’m starting a transmission
Over and out – End of the transmission
What’s your handle? – You want to know a person’s call sign
By now, you must know that to talk on walkie talkie is not as hard as it looks while watching the professionals do it. As long as you remember to press and release the PTT button at the beginning and end of your message respectively, you’ve basically nailed it.
With time and constant practice, it would get easier and even the unique lingo and phrases would come to you easily. To be clear though, you don’t need really need most of these phrases if you and your group are clear about the basics.