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What is a Portable Two-Way Radio?

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  • Written By: Tess C. Taylor
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Today’s busy world requires having the ability to keep in communication wherever and whenever possible. Portable two-way radios are hand-held communication devices that allow users to talk directly to each other using advanced radio wave technology. By using a secure radio channel, users can exchange communication with each other within a certain distance range by picking up radio signals.

A portable two-way radio is mainly comprised of a small electronic device that includes a special two-way transceiver, an earpiece speaker and a microphone through which sounds pass between users. Instead of traveling along wires like a corded telephone, the sound is transmitted through high frequency radio airwaves on a broadcast receiver. The sound is sometimes distorted during this process, but for the most part is intelligible by each user and can be used to communicate effectively.

Two-way portable radios are also sometimes called “walkie talkies” and have been in use by consumers since the early part of the 19th century. While there seems to be some controversy over who actually invented the portable two-way radio and when it was first used, the two-way radio first appeared around 1938 when a high school student by the name of Al Goss attracted the attention of the CIA. His simple radio was later developed for military use. In addition, the founders of Motorola have been credited with the invention of the first commercially developed units.

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The portable two-way radio has many practical uses in just about every industry. For example, police, fire and medical teams use emergency two-way radios to communicate in the field and call for assistance on secure channels. In addition, many workers in the industrial and service fields use two-way radios to communicate faster in areas where other forms of communication, such as cell phones or loudspeakers, cannot operate well or have limited capabilities.

In addition to regular commercial uses, portable two-way radios are popular among outdoor enthusiasts of all ages who enjoy the freedom of being able to communicate in case of emergency or to keep in touch in the wilderness or in crowds. There are also many people who use these radios during sporting events, concerts and even when shopping to keep track of others in large places. The portable two-way radio doesn't require a paid service to operate and is a cheap alternative to using cell phones. Many cell phones also include the option to use a two-way radio as a backup to regular cellular coverage when immediate communication among groups is required.

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