Walkie-Talkies, Two Way Radios for Communication

Walkie Talkies
Learn about walkie-talkies and how they are used in investigative work.

What are Walkie-Talkies?

Walkie-talkies, also known as two-way radios, are hand-held, portable, two-way radio transceivers. The walkie-talkie’s development during the Second World War has been variously credited to Donald L. Hings, radio engineer Alfred J. Gross, and the engineering teams at Motorola.

Similar designs were created for other armed forces, and after the war, walkie-talkies spread to public safety and eventually commercial and job site work. Major characteristics include:

  • A half-duplex channel (only one radio transmits at a time, though any number can listen)
  • A push-to-talk (P.T.T) switch that starts transmission

Typical walkie-talkies resemble a telephone handset, possibly slightly larger but still a single unit with an antenna sticking out of the top. Where a phone’s earpiece is only loud enough to be heard by the user, a walkie-talkie’s built-in speaker can be heard by the user and those in the user’s immediate vicinity. Hand-held transceivers may be used to communicate with each other or with vehicle-mounted or base stations.

Private investigators use walkie-talkies and two-way radios to communicate with other private eyes, usually during a surveillance mission where two detectives are physically separated.

Buy Walkie-Talkies / Two-Way Radios

The following are recommended walkie-talkies and two-way radios for private investigators. View a list of the best-rated models on Amazon.com.

Uniden GMR3689-2CK 36-Mile GMRS TRU Waterproof Two-Way Radios with Headset Jack, two radios (Yellow) – Uniden’s GMR3689-2CK waterproof radios are lightweight, palm-sized radios that have a 36-mile range, 22 channels plus 142 privacy, and 143 group codes. In addition, they have advanced features like direct and group calling with ID. These walkie-talkies are also completely waterproof, making them the perfect choice for sporting events. They are a great way to stay in contact with family and friends, hiking, skiing, or nearly any activity where communication is vital. (This item is currently out of stock)

Motorola Talkabout MC220 Two-Way Radio Series: One of the rugged “Value Series” models, the MC220 has a range of up to 16 miles and is designed specifically for active families. Combining General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) technology with Motorola engineering, this radio is ideal for dynamic outdoor communications. Functional New Design: The Talkabout MC220 is designed for great looks, as well as solid, practical, weather-resistant operations. The sleek, rugged housing protects the radio, whether used on the playground, in the neighborhood, or at the mall. (This item is currently out of stock)

Full-Featured Privacy: The Talkabout MC220 has a total 22-frequency capacity, with 38 privacy codes to reduce interruptions. The Motorola QT functionality allows the radios to be set so they can communicate with other compatible Motorola products, adding yet another level of distinction from the other manufacturers. Accessories for Operations: This model features an accessory connector, permitting the use of a headset for easy hands-free operation. Power to Spare: These radios are sold in pairs – charge up the built-in NiMH power source or drop in three AA batteries, and you’re ready to start talking.

The Cobra CTX425 is a Micro TALK 2-way radio, two-pack up to a 25-mile range. This unit consists of:

  • 22 channels
  • 121 privacy codes (38 CTCSS codes/ 83 DCS codes)
  • 8 NiMH rechargeable AAA batteries
  • 2-port desktop charger
  • Hands-free operation (VOX), a 10-channel NOAA radio, a backlit LCD, a scanning function (channels/ privacy codes), a single pin speaker/ microphone/ charge jack, a 10-channel memory, selectable hi/low power in GMRS, call alert (10 selectable tones), key lock, roger beep (selectable on/off), keystroke tones (Selectable on/off), a low battery indicator, battery/ power saver mode, signal strength meter, auto squelch, a maximum range extender, and a belt clip.

Garmin Rino 120 GPS / FRS / GMRS has a voice scrambler and vibration mode for top-secret calls. The Rino 120 has state-of-the-art GPS navigation and 2-way communications combined, with enough memory to download detailed mapping for driving, hiking, hunting, fishing… or just about anything else you can dream up. It’s waterproof, can send communications up to 2 miles using FRS channels, 5 miles using GMRS channels, and can “beam” your exact location to another Rino user using “position reporting.” And because the Rino 120 had standard FRS / GMRS capabilities, you can talk to friends or family who own conventional FRS / GMRS radios. There’s also a voice scrambler and a vibration mode for silent calls.

They have a Transmission distance of up to 2 miles using FRS and up to 5 miles with GMRS (using GMRS frequency in the U.S. requires an FCC license); the walkie-talkie has external voice activation (VOX); Ergonomic design for one-handed operation, with the call, press-to-talk (PTT) and page mode buttons on the side, power/backlighting button on top, and volume and zoom buttons in front; Unique 5-way cursor for channel selection and volume adjustment in FRS / GMRS mode, and quick map planning, entering and selecting functions in GPS mode; Voice scrambler and vibration mode for silent calls; This product has a built-in highway map of the United States.

Please post a message below if you have any questions about these walkie-talkies or other handheld radios. Also, learn about how police officers use codes for radio communication.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.


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