If you’ve recently bought yourself some walkie-talkies to use, then you may have a number of questions on how to get the best out of them. Walkie-talkies are very simple to use since you just need to press the button and speak for your message to be heard on all receiving devices.
The question is how do you know which frequency and channel you should be using?
“What walkie-talkie channel should I use?” is a common question for new users, so read on to find out how to pick the most suitable one for you.
How Do Walkie-Talkies Work?
Walkie-talkies work by communicating via radio waves. Technically speaking, radio waves are a known part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and they travel at the speed of light rather than sound. The sound of your voice is transmitted almost instantly by radio waves, in a straight line, to its destination, at which point the message is read and translated back into the sound of your voice.
Walkie-talkies typically operate on two different frequency types which are very high frequency (136MHz to 174MHz) and ultra-high frequency (403MHz to 470MHz). In general, the lower the frequency, the more extended distance range you will have. Do take note though that if you have many obstructions between you and the end user, higher frequencies are better for transmitting messages due to the shorter radio wavelength that can penetrate barriers more easily.
What Is a Walkie-Talkie Channel?
When you buy a set of walkie-talkies, you will find a number of preset channels available to you that operate at different bandwidths. Some walkie-talkies offer you the ability to set your own channels which is handy if you want to make sure that you won’t be sharing the same airwaves with another group of users nearby that may be using the same model of walkie-talkies. Each preset (or custom set) channel can be shared with the other users in your group so that you can all communicate with each other on that single channel.
Having a number of channels on your walkie-talkies allow you the ability to communicate with different groups of people so that you can have group “A” communicating on channel one, group “B” communicating on channel one, and so forth. This means that you can interact with who you want to and when you want to without relaying that same message to people that don’t need to hear it.
What Walkie Talkie Channel Should I Use?
You can set your walkie-talkie channels to suit your needs. Walkie-talkies available on the market generally operate on either, very high-frequency channels or ultra-high-frequency channels with some offering dual-band technology so that you can communicate on both.
Communicating with people further away in rural areas will be best done on lower frequency channels than if you are communicating with people in urban areas with obstacles between you and them.
Communicating with People Outdoors
If you are outside and have little or no obstructions between you and the receiver, then the range presented by VHF is excellent, and you should look for walkie-talkies that operate on VHF bandwidths. The radio waves are wider on this frequency so they will struggle to penetrate through walls if you are in a building but if you need to communicate with someone on the far side of a field, then channels set to very high-frequency levels are best.
Communicating with People Indoors
If you need to communicate with a group of people in an area that will have lots of obstructions between you and them (such as inside a building with many floors), then you should choose a walkie-talkie set that operates on ultra-high-frequency channels. Ultra high frequencies have shorter radio waves that allow for better penetration through solid surfaces.
Best of Both Worlds
If you want to communicate with people inside of a building as well as over long distances, then you are best off buying a set that is dual band. Dual-band walkie-talkies will allow you to set some channels at a very high frequency and some at ultra-high frequency giving you the best of both worlds!
When answering the question “What walkie talkie channel should I use?” you should think about how you want to use the devices.
If you need to communicate with just one group of people who are all in the same building or nearby buildings, then you will just need one pre-agreed channel to use on the ultra-high-frequency range. On the other hand, if you want to communicate with several groups, then you can assign each group a different channel number so that your message is going to exactly where it needs without other people having to listen in, unnecessarily.
Devices that offer both VHF and UHF channel selection offer the most versatility, and you no longer have to buy multiple devices for different groups, but just set the channels to the best frequency to suit your situation and whereabouts.