One of the most common questions that buyers have while getting a walkie talkie is its range, which is the distance that the walkie talkie can reach. So how far can walkie talkies reach?
Since the range is one of the most important aspects that people consider while buying one, this article will have a brief answer to this question. So without further ado, let’s jump right in!
The range of a walkie talkie is greatly affected by several factors, such as location, model of walkie talkie, type of radio frequency used, and much more. For that reason, it’s quite difficult to set a specific range that a walkie talkie can reach.
However, given that you use a premium walkie talkie in optimal conditions, a long range one can reach up to 50 miles.
Yet, the majority of commercial options offer a more reliable and realistic range of up to 35 miles.
Let’s have a quick look at some of the main factors that can affect the range that the walkie talkie can reach:
As a rule of thumb, most walkie talkies out there have a maximum range of “line of sight”. In other words, if you can’t see it, you may not be able to hear it as well.
The reason behind that is that radio waves propagate from the source (walkie talkie) in all directions.
However, if these waves hit an obstacle in the way, they can be reflected or deflected to another direction, which greatly impacts the signal and prevents it from reaching the other end.
These obstacles can be in many forms, such as thick forests, buildings, hills, or mountains. In fact, even heavy atmospheric changes such as blizzards can be a difficult obstacle for radio waves to function properly.
For that reason, a lot of people believe that in a plain field, the maximum distance for walkie talkies is basically the horizon.
The device you’re using has a great impact on the maximum range you’re using. Walkie talkies on the market vary in terms of materials used as well as power output, which is measured in watts.
Ideally, the higher the wattage of the walkie talkie you’re using, the higher its range is going to be.
This happens because a higher wattage device is able to propel the signal at a higher power, which overcomes the pressure of air and obstacle resistance and deflection power.
One thing you should know about power and wattage is that the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set limits for the commercial wattage of two way radios, so you need a specific license in order to operate high-powered walkie talkies.
There are plenty of radio frequencies used for transmitting waves of walkie talkies. Some of these ranges are more suitable for long-distance communications than others.
This includes the Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Ranges. But, like the power of the device. This aspect is also controlled by the FCC, so you might want to obtain a license in order to run your walkie talkie in such frequencies.
Regardless of the wave you’re communicating in, the range of the walkie talkie is always quite limited. However, there are plenty of ways to maximize or even extend your two way radio range. Let’s check them out:
While the maximum range that commercial walkie talkies can reach can be in the tens of miles, not all the two way radio devices out there allow for such a distance.
For example, if you have a walkie talkie with a maximum range of 5 miles, its range will always be limited to that distance no matter how suitable and unobstructed the terrain is, as long as you’re using it on its own.
A repeater is an amplifier device that is used to retransmit the signal that it receives, acting as a relay station that is capable of extending the reach of the walkie talkie beyond the device’s range.
Ideally, you should install these devices on a relatively tall building to benefit from its broader coverage.
Older devices, as well as antennas, will suffer from a weakened signal. Also, it’s highly unlikely for a broken antenna to perform as well as it was by fixing them with conventional methods. That’s why opting for a new and improved antenna with a larger coverage can help you extend your range/
If you’re using the walkie talkie with the same battery since you’ve bought them, you’ll notice that the range has noticeably diminished.
Always make sure to have a fresh set of high quality batteries on you while using the walkie talkie to make the most out of its range.
Now that you have a better idea about the maximum distance that a walkie talkie can reach and the factors that can have an impact on the maximum range it can offer, here are some of the walkie talkies that offer the longest ranges on the market:
- Uniden SX507-2CKHS Radio Walkie Talkie — Maximum range of up to 50 miles
- Cobra RX680 2 Watt Rugged Walkie Talkie — Maximum range of up to 38 miles
- Midland X-TALKER T77VP5 FRS Walkie Talkie — Maximum range of up to 38 miles
- Midland GXT1000VP4 GMRS Two-Way Radio — Maximum range of up to 36 miles
- Motorola Solutions T475 Extreme Two-Way Radio — Maximum range of up to 35 miles
With that said, you now have a brief answer to the popular question “how far can walkie talkies reach?”.
As you can see, the answer to this question varies depending on a wide range of factors, including the model used, the power of the device, the antenna, the type of waves, and more.
If you’re looking for extended communication, you should consider installing a higher antenna, using the device in the less obstructed areas, and communicating through VHF radio waves because they over the longest ranges when unobstructed.