How Do Two-Way Radios Work

Also called transceivers in the technical parlance, two-way radios are radios that are capable of both receiving and transmitting signals and content, usually in the form of voice data.

Communications become possible between two persons each operating a two-way radio provided they meet on the same radio frequency called a channel, where each of them can both transmit and receive voice data.

The early forms of two-way radios operate on half-duplex mode, which means that while the device can both transmit and receive voice content; it can only do so one at a time. So an operator of a two-way radio can only either talk or listen but not do both at the same time.

The first design of the two-way radio had it in a stable base configuration similar to a telephone landline. Eventually, a hand-held portable configuration of the two-way radio was developed, which was widely referred to as the walkie-talkie or hand-held radio.

Evolution of the Two-way Radio

With modern and technological advancements, however, two-way radio has evolved.  Operating on full-duplex mode has become possible, which means an operator of a two-way radio can already talk and listen at the same time while communicating with another operator from a different location.

Full-duplex mode uses two different radio frequencies or channels to facilitate both transmitting and receiving voice at the same time, making simultaneous two-way communication possible. While transmitting and receiving are carried through separate radio frequencies, technology has made it seamless, making it look to the communicating persons that they’re just talking in one channel.

The cellular or mobile phone of today is a perfect example of a two-way radio on full-duplex mode. Both persons on each end can talk and listen at the same time, making full conversation possible as if they’re talking in front of each other.

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