handie talkie (HT, walkie talkie, handheld)

A handie talkie, often referred to by its abbreviation, HT, is a handheld, portable two-way radio transceiver.

A handie talkie, often referred to by its abbreviation, HT, is a handheld, portable two-way radio transceiver. This type of radio is sometmes called a "walkie talkie" or a "handheld."  Handie talkies are popular among amateur radio operators, especially on their VHF and UHF bands at 144 and 432 MHz. Handie talkies are widely used by security personnel, military personnel, and police officers. Most HTs are used in conjunction with repeaters for extended range.   Some HTs are designed for the 27-MHz Citizens Band (CB) radio service.

A typical HT is a rectangular box about the size and weight of an old-fashioned telephone handset. The antenna protrudes from the top end, and consists of a coiled-up element encased in rubber and wound around a flexible rod. This type of antenna, known as a "rubber duck," is not particularly efficient, but is convenient and rugged. Volume and squelch controls are usually placed next to the antenna. The frequency control knob or buttons are on the top end or the front. A speaker/microphone is contained within the box, as is a battery power supply. A small display shows the frequency or channel, received signal strength, and relative RF output power.  The transmitter produces RF power output ranging from about 100 milliwatts (100 mW) to five watts (5 W), depending on the service and the intended use.

Rechargeable nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH), or lithium (Li) batteries (see battery) are employed as the power supply for a typical HT, with a nominal voltage of 12 to 14 volts DC. Most HTs can be operated while recharging, which is usually done using an adapter connecting the HT to a 117-volt AC utility outlet. Some HTs have adapters that allow recharging from automotive batteries.

This was first published in September 2005

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