Ever wondered why the two-way radio, or the walkie talkie remains popular even in this age of cellular phone?
Many people believe that the walkie talkie is but an old and outdated version of the cellular phone which cannot be father then the truth. But to be fair, it is easy for people to mistake the cellular phone and the walkie talkie as indeed similar technologies. I mean why not, they are both handheld communication tools and is primarily utilized for voice communication despite the many other photo, video and internet connectivity features of the modern cellular phones.
Signal versus Frequencies
And yes indeed, people cannot be blamed for asking the question, why do people still use two-way radios? Or for the average consumer, why would I buy a walkie talkie?
Well, cellular phones have almost infinitely far more uses, has advanced capabilities and is generally smaller and more mobile than even the most advanced and most modern brand and model of the walkie talkie. That is a given. But then a cellular phone works using satellite network signals which is based on cellular sites. Without these sites, a cellular phone will not work which will make all of its many features practically useless too. In other words, despite the many features of modern mobile phone, they would not matter without a cellular site or signal.
Walkie talkies on the other hand do not need cell sites and signals. It only needs frequencies which is naturally present in the airwaves. As such, it only need to lock into a certain frequency range to be connected to another walkie talkie. Once connected, the frequency signal becomes the virtual line over which the gadgets can transmit and receive information or communicate. Short of saying, a walkie talkie can work when and where cellular phones cannot: in isolated places, indoors, under tunnels, in open seas, during extreme weather conditions, in times of electrical failures.
Practical Uses of the Walkie Talkie
Thus in Singapore, the walkie talkie is used inside offices where there are poor signals. Outdoor lovers use walkie talkies for activities to keep in touch with companions during hiking or hunting trips where there is no cellular phone coverage. Parents also use one-way walkie talkies to monitor their babies inside the house where signal coverage is poor.
But to be fair to the cell phone, walke talkies have limited coverage. Even long-range walkie talkies in Singapore can only be used in limited distances unlike the cell phone which can be used to communicate with someone halfway across the globe. Likewise, walkie talkies cannot support continuous ‘talk’. Since walkie talkies have integrated microphone and speaker system, users would have to press a button to speak and release the button listen unlike cell phones with separate microphones and earpieces that allow natural, uninterrupted talking and listening.
But again, walkie talkies are best used for very specific situations when and where there are no cellular signals or during times of emergency situations. During these times, extended chats are completely unnecessary. Stated in another way, the walkie talkie was never really built for lengthy conversations because emergency situations do not normally involve such conversations. In many cases, walkie-talkies in Singapore are used only for to verify reports, check status, carry simple instructions and messages or at most, report certain incidents. This is why the walkie talkie remains useful in law enforcement which require uninterrupted and efficient communication systems.