Do Walkie Talkies Work Underground?

When you use a walkie talkie for personal or even business use, you expect it to work anywhere you decide to use it. But is that really possible? Can you really take your two-way radio anywhere in the world and still expect it to work properly? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “no.”

In fact, when it comes to things such as tunnels and anything else underground, most cell phones and walkie talkies won’t work well, or they won’t work at all. Some walkie talkies may work better than others, but walkie talkies tend not to do well with any underground structure such as subways and others.

Where to Use Walkie Talkies

Just because you can’t always use a walkie talkie underground doesn’t mean you can’t use it in some other challenging places. These two-way radios are great for communicating with family members, friends, and even co-workers, but you have to first learn which one will work best in your situation.

First, let’s take a look at the difference between UHF, or ultra-high frequency radios, and VHF, or very-high frequency radios.

If you are outdoors, you’ll want a VHF walkie talkie. Why? Because they operate at 136 to 174 MHz and are perfect for large distances. They have longer wavelengths and therefore can travel further. They are even great for open spaces, which is why they are popular with certain industries.

Companies such as businesses that operate in the air and on the sea often use VHF walkie talkies. They are excellent for wide open spaces where there are few, if any, interruptions that can mess up the quality of the interaction.

If you are indoors, it’s best to go with a UHF walkie talkie. Even though their wavelengths are shorter, you get stronger penetration with a walkie talkie that uses UHF. They operate at 400 to 512 MHz and can easily penetrate walls, trees, buildings, and many other structures.

In addition, UHF walkies usually have 22 different channels, so there’s a lot of versatility when using this type of two-way radio.

But what if you plan to use your walkie talkie both indoors and outdoors? There’s a simple solution for this scenario – buy yourself a dual-band walkie talkie radio. Not only do they offer both UHF and VHF bands, but they also offer a lot more channels. VHF, for instance, usually only offers eight channels.

What If You Need Underground Coverage?

Some walkie talkie companies claim to have products that will work in tunnels, but they usually work in conjunction with special antennas and repeaters. Different brands will likely have different results, but they are definitely worth checking out if this is what you’re most interested in.

Nevertheless, most walkie talkie companies do not recommend that you use their radios underground, especially if you need to go very deep underground. Walkie talkies are simply not made to provide clear communications in these situations.


Walkie talkies are used by both individuals and business people, and while they can work in a lot of different situations, underground normally isn’t one of those situations. It’s best to use your walkie talkies only as intended so you are not disappointed in the results.