Walkie Talkies For Emergencies

Family using two way radio

Two-way radios are an essential part of any prepper’s toolkit, especially in situations where conventional methods of communication like mobile phones and the internet could fail. These radios offer a reliable way to communicate over short and sometimes even long distances. But how do you choose the right one? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover important factors you need to consider and recommend some of the best two-way radios for preppers in the UK.

What Walkie Talkie Aspects Are Important When Choosing The Right One?


The range of a two-way radio refers to the maximum distance over which it can effectively communicate. This varies from model to model and is affected by factors such as obstacles and terrain. For prepping purposes, it’s advisable to go for a radio with a higher range to cover various scenarios. However, it’s important to note that manufacturers often quote range figures obtained under ideal conditions; real-world performance may vary.

Durability and Weather Resistance

As a prepper, you’ll need a radio that can withstand tough conditions. Weather resistance is a key factor, and some radios come with IP ratings that denote their resistance to dust and water. Additionally, a rugged build quality can withstand falls and bumps, ensuring your radio stays functional when you need it most.

Battery Life

A long-lasting battery is crucial, particularly in emergency situations. Many two-way radios use rechargeable batteries, while some offer the option of using disposable batteries as a backup. Look for models that offer extended battery life, and consider the availability of solar chargers or other alternative charging options.

Extra Features

Additional features like weather alerts, built-in flashlights, and SOS signals can be handy in emergency situations. These features, however, often come at an extra cost, so weigh their utility against your budget.

Why Walkie-Talkies Are Important Survival Gear?

Walkie-talkies, also known as two-way radios, are essential tools for emergency preparedness and is crucial part of the survival gear for preppers. These devices function independently of cell and internet services, allowing for uninterrupted communication even when standard networks are down, like in natural disasters or when infrastructure collapses. This feature is especially important in remote areas where cell service is limited or absent. Additionally, two-way radios are user-friendly and require little technical knowledge, making them suitable for individuals of all ages.

Moreover, certain sophisticated walkie-talkie models come equipped with extra features such as weather updates, integrated flashlights, and SOS capabilities, which can be crucial in emergency circumstances. Their operational range varies widely, from several hundred meters to multiple miles, providing adaptability for various crisis contexts. The channel system in these devices facilitates structured group communication, crucial for managing rescue or survival operations. The robust and frequently weather-proof construction of walkie-talkies guarantees their functionality in extreme conditions, offering a dependable communication method when it’s most needed.

Prepper holding a walkie talkie

Best Walkie Talkie Radios for UK Preppers

Now that we’ve covered what to look for, let’s delve into some of the best two-way radios available in the UK market. These recommendations are based on range, battery life, durability, and extra features.

Motorola T600 H2O Talkabout Radio

The Motorola T600 H2O is a solid choice, designed specifically for outdoor use. With a range of up to 35 miles in ideal conditions, it’s highly effective for most practical purposes. It’s also waterproof and floats, making it a great option for marine environments. The radio features dual power options, allowing you to use either its rechargeable battery or three AA batteries as a backup.

Uniden SX507-2CKHS

If you’re looking for a radio with an extremely long range, the Uniden SX507-2CKHS may be your best bet. It claims a maximum range of 50 miles under optimal conditions and is also submersible in water. The radio has a sturdy build and includes weather alerts, making it a good all-rounder for various types of emergencies.

Midland GXT1000VP4

This radio offers an impressive 36-mile range in optimal conditions and comes with 50 channels. The Midland GXT1000VP4 also includes a number of extra features like weather scanning and alerts, making it a multi-functional choice. Its battery life is commendable, and it offers a ‘whisper’ feature, allowing you to speak quietly but still be heard clearly at the other end.

Baofeng BF-F8HP

This model is ideal for those who want more control over their radio settings. With a range of up to 25 miles, it offers good performance for its price. The Baofeng BF-F8HP has a longer battery life and comes with a high-gain antenna for better signal clarity. However, it may be a bit complex for beginners.

Licensing Requirements in the UK

In the United Kingdom, the use of two-way radios is regulated by the Office of Communications (Ofcom). If you’re considering using two-way radios as part of your prepping equipment, it’s essential to be aware of the licensing requirements, as non-compliance can result in hefty fines or even imprisonment in extreme cases.

Simple UK Light License

One common license is the Simple UK Light License, which allows the use of radios with a specific set of frequencies throughout the UK. The license usually covers a period of up to five years and is generally straightforward to obtain, requiring only an application form and a fee. This license is suitable for most general use and prepping needs.

Business Radio Light License

If you intend to use radios for a business or organization, you may need to apply for a Business Radio Light License. This license permits the use of radios within a small geographical area and is also subject to an application and fee.

Business Radio Technically Assigned License

For more complex requirements, such as using radios across different sites or needing a specific frequency, a Business Radio Technically Assigned License is necessary. Obtaining this license is more complicated and involves detailing your specific needs and geographical use, but it allows for much greater flexibility in terms of frequency and usage.

License-Free Radios

Some radios are designed to operate on PMR446, a set of frequencies that don’t require a license for use in the UK and many other European countries. These radios are generally limited in terms of range and power but can be a good option for simple, short-range communication needs.

Amateur Radio License

If you’re interested in more technical aspects of radio communication, you might consider getting an Amateur Radio License. Also known as a Ham Radio License, this permits you to use a wide range of frequencies and equipment but requires passing an exam that tests your knowledge of radio theory and operating practices.

Compliance and Penalties

Failure to adhere to these licensing regulations can result in significant penalties, including fines and, in severe cases, confiscation of equipment. It is crucial to read the guidelines and restrictions associated with each license type and ensure that you are fully compliant.

Limits and Issues Using Walkie-Talkies in Urban Environments

While walkie-talkies or two-way radios are generally reliable forms of communication, using them in an urban setting comes with its own set of challenges and limitations. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when using walkie-talkies in a city:

Range Limitations

The range of a walkie-talkie is often significantly reduced in urban environments due to the presence of buildings, vehicles, and other obstacles that can obstruct the signal. Manufacturers often quote range based on ideal, line-of-sight conditions, which rarely exist in cities. In practical terms, you may find that a radio that promises a 30-mile range in open terrain only covers a couple of blocks in a city.

Noise Pollution

Cities are naturally louder environments, which can make it difficult to hear communications on your walkie-talkie clearly. This may require you to use accessories like earpieces or headsets to improve audibility, which can be cumbersome and may require additional investment.


Cities are teeming with electronic devices and various types of signals, from Wi-Fi routers to other radios and even microwave ovens. This crowded electronic landscape can create interference that affects the clarity and reliability of walkie-talkie communication. You might experience static, signal drops, or even complete loss of connectivity at times.

Limited Battery Life

In a city setting, you may need to use higher power settings to overcome the limitations posed by buildings and interference, which can drain your battery more quickly. Battery life is a critical consideration if you’re using your radio for extended periods or in emergency situations.

Building Penetration

The construction materials used in urban structures, like metal, concrete, and tinted glass, can severely limit the ability of radio waves to penetrate buildings. This means that even if you’re within a short distance of another radio, if one or both of you are inside a building, effective communication may be compromised.

Channel Congestion

In populated areas, the chances are higher that other people are also using walkie-talkies or similar radio equipment. This can result in channel congestion, making it difficult to find a clear channel for your communications. Some more advanced radios offer features like “privacy codes” to mitigate this, but these are not always foolproof solutions.

Walkie Talkie FAQs

What do they call a walkie-talkie in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, the term “walkie-talkie” is widely used and understood, much like in other English-speaking countries. The device may also be referred to as a “two-way radio,” especially in more formal or technical contexts. Both terms are used to describe a handheld device that allows for two-way communication over radio frequencies.

How much is a walkie-talkie license UK?

The cost for a Simple UK Light License, commonly used for walkie-talkies, is around £75 and is valid for five years. Prices for other types of licenses, such as Business Radio Licenses, can vary and may be subject to different terms. It’s essential to check the most current information on the Ofcom website or directly contact them for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing.

Hey there! I’m Mark from Preppers UK. With nearly a decade under my belt in the prepping world and a dash of martial arts expertise, I’ve created this space to share insights, tips, and tricks.