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The Differences Between Walkie Talkies and Two Way Radios

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What is the difference between walkie talkies and two way radios?

As a Chinese, I think they are same. But as I learn more and more, I found they have a little difference. Here I will show something about them. 

The terms "two-way radio" and "walkie talkie" are often used interchangeably. Both are capable of sending and receiving radio transmissions. So what's the difference? It's mostly nothing to do with the radios themselves, just the way that different types of user refer to them.

Although the definitions of the two overlap, there are slight differences. These terms may be used differently in other countries, so it is, by no means, an absolute.

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Two-way radio: a radio that can both receive and transmit radio signals.

A two way radio is a radio that can operate two ways, that is, it has the ability to both transmit and receive a radio signal, as opposed to a radio that can only receive. A two way radio can either operate in a half-duplex or full duplex mode. Half-duplex allows the radio to transmit or receive in turn but not both simultaneously. Full-duplex allows the radio to transmit and receive at the same time. A two way radio is also commonly called a transceiver, because it can both transmit and receive radio communications. In either case, the radio operates two ways; it can send and it can receive.

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Walkie talkie: a handheld portable two-way radio.

A walkie talkie is a portable two way radio, particularly one that can be held in the hand. This type of radio, also known as a handy talkie, handheld transceiver or HT, allows you to talk on the radio while walking around, hence the name walkie talkie.

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According to these definitions, all walkie talkies are two-way radios. On the other hand, not all two-way radios are walkie talkies. For example, a vehicle or desk mounted mobile radio can't be a walkie talkie because it isn't handheld.

But, it can be one. In fact, most, if not all manufacturers of businessCBconsumermarine and amateur portable handheld radios or walkie talkies do not usually refer to their products as "Walkie Talkies", but as "Two Way Radios".

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This is understandable, considering the history of the walkie talkie. It originally referred to the portable backpack transceivers used in the military during World War II. More recently it became associated with consumer grade FRS radios. The term has also long been used to refer to extremely low power radios sold as toys and that stigma, while misdirected, still exists today. Given that, it's no wonder some folks shun products labeled as walkie talkies in search of a "real" two way radio.

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