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Walkie Talkies and PMRs Explored

Details of handheld radios, walkie talkies and PMRs. A look at what's on the market in the UK, and what you need to know about handheld radios


Talking Walkie Talkies!

When you were a kid, a walkie talkie was the best gadget in the world. For the boys at FileSaveAs, when we were youngsters, walkies looked like this...

OIld-style Walkie Talkie

And great fun they were too! The one pictured here, still owned by one of our team, had a handy-dandy morse code button on the front.

The downside of kiddie walkie-talkies, is the range. The walkies that we used to use had a pretty pathetic range... when they stopped working, you'd still be able to communicate by shouting.

In our day, the progression from the Walkie Talkie, was CB radio... with a range of miles, not yards, but you normally needed a base station and a fixed aerial. Sure, you had the distance, but you needed a licence, and it wasn't as convenient as a handheld walkie talkie.


Walkie Talkies Today

Here's a look at two of the walkie talkies on offer now here in the UK.

Cobra Microtalk

Standard PMR Personal Mobile Radios

You can pick up a cheap pair of walkie-talkies on the high street for around £50. Known as PMRs, these operate on the 446MHz band and don't require any kind of licence for use here in the UK.

Pictured here is the Cobra MT975 - £60 a pair from

These are fairly well-specced radios that can be used hands-free, and also as a baby monitor. They claim a range of 7 miles (assuming ideal conditions), but in practice, you're unlikely to get close to this.

For a more detailed look at this model, see our Cobra MicroTalk Walkie Talkie Review

Mitex Walkie Talkie

5 Watt Personal Radios

If you're after something that will give you a better range, then you need to shift away from the half-a-watt PMR devices like the Cobra. Instead, you way want to look at the more professional end of the market - radios that are up to ten times more powerful

Pictured to the left is the Mitex "General" - This operates in the 449 MHz band with a power of 5 watts. o use these legally in the UK, you need a licence from the UK spectrum regulator, OfCom. A licence is easy to apply for and at the time of writing, costs £75 for a 5 year licence.

The Mitex 5W professional radios cost in the £150 mark, and are also available from

More on these portable radios can be found on our Mitex Walkie Talkie Review

Mitex Walkie Talkie

Skype-to-Skype Mobile Devices

Looking for the ultimate walkie-talkies? Get two basic pay-as-you-go mobiles from3 - These offer free Skype-to-Skype calls, so you can effectively use these for free chat with each other anywhere in the UK.

We'd suggest you take a look at the INQ range of cheap Skype mobile phones, available from


Things to look for when getting a Walkie-Talkie

  • VOX: Voice activated transmission
  • "Roger Beep" - A tone sent when you stop transmitting, to let the other person know you're done
  • Channels - Most PMR devices have 8 channels, but use a system to allow extra privacy by offsetting channels. This "privacy" is done using CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System), or the digital equivalent DCS


Listen to the FrequencyCast UK online radio show
FrequencyCast Podcast IconPODCAST FEATURE: Our podcast team reviewed Walkie Talkies in Show 51
Listen to our podcast team's review online, or download it to your MP3 player.

Listen to Show 51 | What is FrequencyCast? | Add us to iTunes



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