How to Get More Range From a Walkie-Talkie

By Maya Austen

A walkie-talkie is a portable bi-directional radio transceiver that allows for wireless, short-range two-way communication via radio wave signals. The range power of a walkie-talkie is primarily determined by three factors: the power of the walkie-talkie’s transmitter, the power of its antenna and the environmental conditions in which the walkie-talkie is used. Environmental factors such as hills, mountains, valleys, canyons, curves and structures that block the line of sight of the walkie-talkie’s radio signal impact its range. The FCC has strict rules against physically modifying FRS and GMRS walkie-talkies to increase range. You can, however, use environmental conditions to your advantage to improve range.

Step 1

Install fresh batteries in the walkie-talkie to ensure that it is receiving maximum power.

Step 2

Move away from large structures that can obstruct your radio signal such as buildings, trees and so forth. If you are indoors, move closer to a window. By moving away from these obstructions, you improve the environmental conditions through which the walkie-talkie’s radio signal travels. When the signal has a clearer line of site, it can travel farther.

Step 3

Go to higher ground. This will give the walkie-talkie greater range because the higher your ground the fewer the obstructions that lie in the path of the radio signal. Also simply holding the walkie-talkie above your head can sometimes improve the signal range for the same reason.

Step 4

Use the walkie-talkie in moist weather conditions such as rain, sleet, snow and fog and in muddy or marshy terrain. Such conditions tend to increase the radio signal range. Radio signals do not travel as far in arid conditions. Because of this, using the walkie-talkie at night (when conditions are less arid) also tends to improve its signal range.

Step 5

Look for elements in the environment that can serve as conducting guides for the walkie-talkie’s radio signal, such as railroad tracks, wayside wires and suitable contours in the terrain. Position yourself in front of these guides when broadcasting a transmission. The signal will travel farther.