Walkie talkies are now prevalent in a large number of industries from security through to maintenance. The history of this device can be traced in the military sphere although the first portable radios were developed in Australia by the law enforcement agencies. Ultimately walkie talkies are a way for mobile personnel to communicate with each other in real time, allowing for greater operational ability.
The handheld variety of radio was predominately developed during the Second World War, their invention being traced to Canada. They were created in order that military personnel would be able to plan strategy on the battlefield, reacting to events and devising ways to approach problems.
Motorola have been at the forefront of the development of walkie talkies for over half a century. The first device was the Motorola SCR- 300, released in 1940. This inaugural device however was in no way as portable as modern variants, requiring the user to wear an entire backpack that contained the circuits and wiring. Strangely however it is this device that is a true walkie talkie, troops terming it such during the war.
The first handheld models were instead termed ‘handy talkies’ by troops although this name fell out of use in post war years. During these early stages the handheld variants were operationally limited, not possessing the power for communication over a large range, hence the predominance of the backpack model.
The post war years saw rapid development of walkie talkies by both the allied nations and their soviet counterparts. Even after extensive development the device still had major flaws. Power was still not great enough for long distance communication meaning that the backpack variants were still predominant in military circles.
Even these larger models however required a system of repeater transmitters to be erected in order to achieve effective strategic communication. A major disadvantage of this was that if the enemy were able to knock down a repeater tower, communication in the immediate vicinity would be lost. This form of tactic was widely used by guerrilla fighters who realised that a lack of communication meant the disarray of enemy troops.
Walkie talkies today are still widely used by the military although the technology has been considerably improved; the biggest improvements have been in range and size although the development of headsets and mouthpieces has also been important. It is not just the military however that use the device, any industry that needs real time communication utilises walkie talkies; such industries include emergency personnel, security forces and even bar staff.
Developments have also meant more robust varieties are now available; this means that the modern device can be waterproof and more resistant to extreme temperatures and hardwearing environments. In addition development has occurred in the scrambling technology across radio waves; this development in particular has been useful for law enforcement agencies who wish for messages to remain confidential.
While true walkie talkies were developed for military purposes their usage today goes far beyond the original mandate. Not only are they used by companies all over the world but are also available as recreational devices and toys for children.
Catering for the communication requirements of so many industries is not easy, it is a task however that the walkie talkie is able to perform. Walkie talkies help protect our society through their usage by police forces worldwide whilst they also save our lives when being used by other emergency personnel. It is in the military however where the importance of the device is assured, it has been an integral part of the advancement of modern warfare tactics, without it the world would simply not be the same.
Source by Thomas Pretty