Learning how to talk on walkie talkie is necessary if you don’t want your voice to come out garbled on the other end whenever you hit the transmit button. And this involves following the correct voice protocol and using proper lingos that are much easier to hear over the radios.
Luckily, these lingos are not hard to learn, and you don’t need to be an expert to be able to understand and use them effectively.
In this article, I will try to touch on almost everything you need to do to communicate on a handheld two-way radio effectively. This includes setting up the frequency, sending and receiving messages, using radio codes, and some communication etiquettes to keep.
As you would soon discover, it’s not enough to know all the codes, and you will also need to speak in a certain way for your partner(s) to understand you clearly.
How to Talk on Walkie Talkie
Alright, enough of the talking, let’s get our radios ready by setting up the frequency.
Setting up Frequency
To set up communication between two or more radios, you need to set them to a single frequency. For this to be done, all the radios must be of the same brand and model and use a common transmitter and receiver.
Although you can add as many people as you want, we strongly advise you to stick with not more than 10 to 15 people on the same frequency, especially if you’re using cheaper radios.
If you have more people on your team, then consider going for higher quality models (which usually cost more), so you won’t experience any communication issues.
So how do you set up a frequency?
Check the Charge
Make sure the radios are fully charged before taking them out. Some models can be charged with a USB charger, while others will only use their charging stand.
Turn It On
Turn on the device. This can be done through a dial (usually located on top of the radio) or a power button, depending on the model.
Use the Same Frequency
Next, tune all the walkie-talkies to use a single frequency. Depending on the type of radio, this can be done through a dial on top of the radio, a wheel by the side, or a menu (for models with LCD screen).
Do this for one unit; then repeat the process for others. Thus, if you set the first radio to a frequency of “4”, then the other radios should also be set to “4”.
Test Them Out
It’s a good idea to have the radios tested just before they are split up. This will help you ensure they are within range or detect any possible issues that might stem from the antenna. In other words, you should test to make sure everything is OK before proceeding.
Test with Full Volume
To test a radio, set it to the highest possible volume. Then go ahead and push to “Talk” or PTT button to activate it. Hold down the button to record what you want to say and then release it when you’re done to broadcast your message.
The PTT button is commonly found on the side of the device and is usually the biggest.
Sync Again If Necessary
If the channel you selected is messy, change to another channel. This often happens due to interference. If there’s still no connection, try to sync the radios again by pushing the sync buttons on each device simultaneously.
For professionals such as security personnel or construction teams, it is advised to use the walkie talkie with a good earpiece or headphone to make your conversations private.
It also helps you to listen better by blocking background noise that might affect your hearing. Make sure the earpiece is plugged in before pressing the transmission button. If you can, purchase the earpiece from the same manufacturer to avoid compatibility issues.
Sending and Receiving Messages
Now that we know how to set up the frequency, let’s learn how to send and receive the message.
Below are the steps to follow:
Push the PTT Button
Press the PTT (“push-to-talk”) button to turn on the microphone. The PTT button is usually the largest button on the device. Its location largely depends on the make and model, but most of the time, it’s found on the side of the radio.
Start Talking on the Microphone
Once the PTT button is held down, it is time to transmit your message. Make sure your mouth is close to the speaker. Wait for a second or two before you start talking. There’s a chance the start of your message will get cut off if you start speaking immediately.
This kind of problem is more common with cheaper radios. Even if your radio doesn’t behave that way, it’s still a good practice to wait a little before speaking so you don’t end up repeating yourself.
Speak clearly and keep your words as short as possible. Long sentences can be hard to decode. In the same manner, avoid shouting, or you will end up muffling the mic, thereby resulting in an unclear voice on the other end.
Release the PTT Button
After you finish speaking, release the “Talk” button to broadcast your message. Then, hold the device close to your ear and wait for a response.
Using Radio Codes to Communicate
Communication over walkie talkies is usually done with radio codes, or more commonly, radio lingos. It’s very important you learn this lingo in order to be able to communicate effectively with your partner or in a team.
Below is a summary of some of the most common lingos. Once you know these basic codes, then you can give yourself a code name.
10-1 – “cannot read transmission” or “I need to take a short break” (usually to go to the bathroom)
10-2 – “can read transmission” or “I need to take a long break”
10-4 – “message understood”
10-6 – “stand by, I’m busy”
10-20 – “what is your location?” (often translated as “what is your 20?”)
Copy – “message was clear and understood”
Go again – “message not clear, repeat please”
On it – “work in progress”
Kill – “turn it off”
Standing by – “task completed, waiting for the next command”
Standby – “message received but can’t reply now” (usually when you’re busy)
Affirmative – “Yes”
Loud and clear – “radio is working”
Over – “done talking, your turn to reply”
Roger – “heard what you said”
And so on…
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you say over on a walkie talkie?
You don’t talk on a walkie talkie the same way you do on your mobile phone. Rather, there are selected words you use to ensure your voice comes out clear so your message can be understood. These words are called privacy codes or walkie talkie lingos.
What does 10 4 mean on a walkie talkie?
10-4 means “I understood your message.”
What does the call button do on a walkie talkie?
Also called PTT, this button is used to transmit your message.
Why do people say Roger on walkie talkies?
People say roger when they understand a message but might not be planning to act on it.
As earlier indicated, learning how to talk on walkie talkie is necessary in order to be able to communicate effectively. Hopefully, you’ve resolved all that by now. You’re not allowed to own a code name until you know a good number of the codes above. While you’re at that, we wish you happy talking!