Walkie Talkies: Buying Guide

Walkie Talkies: Buying Guide

The  Walkie Talkies are one of the inventions of the world of telecommunications that have contributed most to bring people together.

Their robustness, technology and ease of use make them valid for all types of industries and environments: construction, hospitality, events, security, airfields, ports, educational institutions …

In reality, Walkie Talkies are still two-way portable radio equipment, better known as two-way radio in the world of radio amateurs.

These two-way radios are characterized by being both transmitters and receivers.

And, like all radios, they use waves to transmit voice, so when it comes to communicating, the two devices must be connected on the same wave spectrum to work.

Walkie Talkies: Advantages Over Mobile Phones

Many users will wonder, given the advancement of mobile phone technology, what is the point of buying a Walkie Talkie.

The reality is that the use of portable radios presents a great series of advantages over telephones, especially for professional use.

Furthermore, both telecommunications systems can be perfectly integrated, allowing their use in the most diverse circumstances.

  • Price  With walkies there are no fees, or you have to pay for calls.
  • As they are radio waves, walkies can work in any environment, even in areas where the mobile signal does not reach.
  • Simultaneous communication. With a Walkie Talkie, it is possible to communicate in a single call with several users at the same time, something impossible on a mobile phone.
  • More straightforward handling than a mobile phone. You need to find a channel and start talking.
  • Autonomy. The batteries are long-lasting and last much longer without recharging.
  • They are more challenging, more resistant and durable devices since they are designed to work in the most adverse conditions.
  • You only need to press a key and start talking (Push to Talk) without having to dial any number.

What Walkie Talkie to buy?

The technology of Walkie Talkies advances faster and faster, and there are them of all types and conditions.

Therefore, when choosing a device, you should first ask yourself some questions to find the type of equipment that best suits your needs.

This Buying Guide prepared by Tecnitrán will help you with the task.

Unlicensed PMR Walkie or Licensed Professional Walkies

When purchasing a walkie, you will need to choose between unlicensed PMR 446 Walkie Talkies (Personal Mobile Radio, 446 MHz) or licensed professional walkies.

Walkie Talkies Without License PMR

They are perfect for leisure activities (excursions, hunting …) but also for some professional sectors such as shops, restaurants, events or discos.

These devices use the PMR446 frequency, which allows its free use without paying anything for it.

Also, they are straightforward to use. They have to be charged and look for a free channel to talk. Other features:

  • They have 8 channels.
  • Meagre transmission power.
  • Short-range (between 4 and 10 kilometres without obstacles).
  • Within the range of PMR Walkies, Tecnitrán offers those of the Motorola CLP446, Motorola XT460, Kenwood PKT-23, Kenwood TK-3401D / TK3501 and Vertex VX241 brand.

Licensed Professional Walkie Talkies

They require the payment of a fee, which usually costs around 175 euros, to obtain a license for 5 years.

This license allows the use of a frequency exclusively for us.

They are chosen for professional use due to their large number of functionalities.

  • Greater privacy in communications, since it uses its frequency, which makes communications more secure against interference from third parties.
  • Communication is also more transparent, without interference and with less noise.
  • They have longer-lasting batteries than PMR walkies.
  • They also have more call channels (usually 16, but some go up to 1000 channels), allowing you to communicate with more people.

More extended range and higher wave power, helping to overcome obstacles such as forests, thick walls or buildings.

walkie talkie buying guide

UHF or VHF Walkie Talkies Where will I use my walkie?

You will also need to look at the frequency type of the Walkie Talkie.

There are two: UHF and VHF. It is vitally important that you be careful with this, especially if you are going to use your equipment with other devices since both types of frequencies are not compatible with each other.

Most models, however, allow you to operate on both of your choices.

  • VHF or Very Hight Frequency. This frequency range has a very long wavelength, allowing greater reach. They are ideal for use in large areas, in the open and without obstacles.
  • UHF or Ultra High Frequency.  They are shorter and shorter-range waves, but much more powerful when it comes to overcoming obstacles (walls, floors …), so they are recommended when the walkie is to be used in urban or indoor areas.

Lithium or nickel battery walkie: autonomy

  • Nickel batteries. They last up to 12 hours without charging.
  • Lithium batteries. They are much more durable (20 hours) but also more expensive.
  • Batteries Impres. Automatic reconditioning. It is a new type of Motorola battery that, when connected to a charger, communicates with it to inform its status and thus be able to bring it to the optimum operating point, reconditioning parameters if necessary.

Digital Walkie Talkies or Analog Walkies

The world of Walkie Talkies is immersed in full digital transformation.

It is an unavoidable process that offers multiple advantages over the previous analog system.

  • More sound quality. The signal from digital walkies is more constant and stable. Don’t get lost in the distance, resulting in less interference and better sound quality.
  • They have multiple functionalities, such as data transfer, text messages, GPS or background noise inhibition.
  • Security and privacy. They use less congested bandwidth and also have multiple encryption possibilities, making them ideal when maximum confidentiality is required in communications. To achieve this, analogue systems had to encrypt communications. Still, new digital equipment (such as the MtoTRBO series, the Motorola digital range of Walkies) have two forms of serial encryption: with a security key or through software ( which also protects against computer attacks).
  • Hybridization. Suppose you already have a fleet of analogue walkies. In that case, most digital equipment can also work in this mode, allowing the analogue-digital transition to be less traumatic, more progressive and cheaper.
  • More calls per channel. Digital Walkie Talkies allow up to two simultaneous communications per frequency (analogue only one) exponentially increasing the number of users to communicate with and lowering frequency costs.
  • Stronger and more resistant. They are more modern and robust equipment.
  • A higher battery time.  Most have lithium batteries, and we can choose between Impres batteries and chargers.

Submersible IP Walkie Talkies and Atex Walkies. Resistance and Protection

When choosing your professional Walkie Talkies, you should also take into account characteristics that indicate their degree of resistance and robustness, measurable by the degrees of IP protection and the ATEX protocol.

  • Degrees of IP Protection. Walkies Ingress Protection- They measure the resistance of the device against water (submersible walkies) and dust. The information is given with a figure consisting of two numbers.
  • First number: Measures the level of resistance against the ingress of solids (mainly dust). The higher the number, the greater degree of resistance it will have. This number ranges from 3 to 6. The 3 indicates a degree of resistance to solid objects greater than 2.5 mm. 4 to solid objects larger than 1mm. The 5 indicates resistance to dust. The six is the highest of all, and it points to a dustproof Walkie Talkie.
  • Second number: Measures the level of resistance against the entry of liquids. Like the first number, the higher it is, the more resistance it will show when submerged in water. 2 indicates resistance to splashes, 3 to water mist and sprays. The 4th to heavy rains and bad weather in general and the 5th to jets of water under pressure. From the 6th we already started talking about submersible Walkie Talkies, but for different periods. Those of grade 6 resist for a few seconds in water. Those of grade 7 up to 30 minutes. And those of grade 8 can be immersed in liquids for a long time without being damaged.
  • No resistance:  When the walkie does not show any degree of resistance to dust or water, it will show this figure with an X.
what walkie talkie to buy

Walkie Talkies for Explosive Atmospheres

ATEX is a type of certification that ensures that the device that holds it is prepared to operate in Explosive Atmospheres without catching fire.

That is, those in which there is a mixture of flammable or dangerous vapours or mists.

These types of walkies are essential for construction work, mines, for firefighters and do not have more than one watt of power. There are several types.

  • Zone 0. When the walkie must operate in an explosive atmosphere for a long time, such as in areas with flammable fuel (gasoline).
  • Zone 1. When the walkie must operate in areas where there is no constant exposure to flammable substances, such as gas stations.
  • Short periods. Solvent storage areas.
  • Group I equipment  (for mines and quarries).

       M1. The high degree of protection for mining equipment.

       M2.  Total reliability to work in mines.

  • Group II equipment (non-mining, more valid for quarries).

       CAT 1.  Valid for working in areas where the walkie talkie can sometimes be exposed to explosive substances (such as gas stations). CAT 2.  Safety for extraordinary conditions (fire).

       CAT 3.  Safety for everyday conditions.

Tetra Digital Walkies

Within the range of  Motorola Digital  Walkies offered by Tecnitrán, the TETRA models (Trunked Radio system) stand out.

It is currently the most advanced telecommunications system in the two-way radio market.

It is a protocol for digital radios that ensures the highest quality transmissions, as well as greater privacy and security, with the most advanced encryption and protection systems.

The system was designed to meet the unique needs of security and emergency bodies, such as police, firefighters, military or ambulances.

Although it is also used in infrastructures such as airports or train stations.

Its functionalities include its ability to access the Internet or telephone networks (both fixed and mobile).

That is, these walkies can be transformed into smartphones at the user’s request. Other advantages of this system are:

  • It can be used in all EU countries.
  • Greater efficiency and speed in data transmission.
  • They can communicate with each other, without the need for a network, but the devices must be within a small distance.
  • A single walkie can function as a repeater to amplify the signal.
  • Disadvantages: Its price (they are much more expensive), not counting the cost of setting up the network infrastructure, which makes it even more expensive.
  • If you want more information, take a look at some of our models, from Motorola, MTP (Walkie Talkies) and MTM (Fixed Stations) series.

Functionalities of a Walkie Talkie

Among the different extra functionalities offered by a walkie talkie, we find:

  • Hands-free function.
  • Scanner (scan function). Automatically scans the least congested channels to communicate.
  • Emergency call. It is activated automatically in case of an emergency through a programmable button.
  • Man Down. Man to Earth. When the equipment reaches a certain degree of inclination, the walkie enters emergency mode and emits a signal in case the user has suffered an accident—widely used in construction.
  • Individual calls/messages on equipment with display and keyboard.
walkie talkies guide

Accessories of a Walkie Talkie: Covers, microphones, headphones.

In case you need to buy an accessory for a Walkie Talkie, try always to make them the same brand.

  • Chargers and batteries. It is recommended to have a spare battery for your walkie, especially in those cases in which the equipment is not going to be charged for an extended period. There are also single and multiple chargers (when you need to charge multiple computers at the same time).
  • Auditive protectors. Protectors for construction sites and environments with high noise levels, such as airports. In many cases, they are required by law.
  • Micro speakers PPT. It is usually placed next to the shoulder or the flap to communicate quickly without removing the walkie and putting it in your mouth.
  • They are placed on the ear and are often sold with PTTs. Perfect for discreet communication, such as at nightclubs and for security employees.
  • To protect the walkie. Usually made of leather, but there are also transparent ones, resistant to water.
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