How Do Walkie-talkie Privacy Codes Work

While walkie-talkies operate within a specific radio frequency, it is also possible to experience a so-called interference from another walkie-talkie which is also using the same channel, especially if the device is within the range.

Depending on the design and power of a walkie-talkie, it usually has a radial range of between three to 15 miles. Some companies even exaggerate this figure by claiming that their device has a range of 20 miles or more.

The interference in walkie-talkie conversations can be compared to a ‘cross line’ occasionally experienced in landline phones.

When interference happens on a walkie-talkie, it is likely that the user will be able to hear what the third party is saying and so is the third party to the user.  This means that there is already an intrusion of privacy.

In order to avoid or prevent this unannounced interference from happening on your walkie-talkie, you and your friend or group of friends on the other end can simply change to a different channel or altogether invest in privacy codes.

Keeping privacy intact

Often called continuous tone-coded squelch system (CTCSS) or digital-coded squelch (DCS) encoding, this is actually a type of filtering system.

The speaker of your walkie-talkie will only activate when it receives a transmission from another walkie-talkie that precedes its message with a specific tone combination. But it should be remembered that the communicating parties of two or more must use the same privacy codes in order to work with each other.

However, even with privacy codes in place between communicating parties, walkie-talkie conversations are anything but secure since users only have specific channels to operate and the chances of many people operating on a channel similar to yours is very high. Transmissions on walkie-talkies are analogous to publicly-accessible phone calls. So communicating via walkie-talkies must be done with extra care always.

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