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Realistic Walkie Talkies and Two-Way Radios

Walkie-talkies may not be a thing for casual use anymore, but popular TV series Stranger Things definitely piqued the interest in these devices again. Some professions still use two-way radios of all kinds for work purposes as well. Realistic, a company established in 1954, is one of the brands that people often associate with walkie-talkie and two-way radios, right up to them stopping production using that brand name in 2000.

What are the Different Types of Two-Way Radios Available?

You can find several types of portable two way radios in the market, but the ones that individuals and business most commonly use are:

  • Citizen's Band (CB) Radio - CB radios are great for short distance communication, usually having 40 channels within the 27 MHz band. All users in a given vicinity share the channels, and only one channel can transmit at a time. CB radios do not require licenses to operate.
  • Family Radio Service (FRS) - This type of radio also requires no license, and can transmit optimally up to a 2-mile range. FRS transceivers send and receive data riding on 14 channels, seven which are FRS-only, and another seven, which share with GMRS channels. A lot handheld walkie-talkies are a hybrid between FRS and GMRS systems.
  • General Mobile Service Radio (GMRS) - A type of two way that can usually transmit up to a maximum range of 2 miles for portable handheld systems, these two-way radios require a license that enables a whole family to use it. The communication magic happens through 15 channels, eight that are GMRS-only and seven more which share with FRS.

Besides these, two-way radios also classify by their frequency bands, namely the HF, UHF, and VHF bands. Each of these bands have their strengths and weaknesses, which is worth looking into before you purchase a two-way radio.

What is the difference between a two-way radio and a walkie talkie?

While people use the two terms interchangeably, walkie talkies are actually subsets of the two-way radios. This goes to say that all walkie talkies are two-way radios, but not all two-way radios are walkie-talkies. This is because some two-way radios are not handheld radios, but instead fix to a particular base. Most products under the Realistic brand are portable two-way radios, and so you can consider them walkie-talkies.

Which type of two-way radio was the Realistic brand popular for?

The Realistic brand was mainly famous for their CB radios. Their most popular line was the TRC series, which included both handheld and fixed-base systems. Since the brand ceased to exist, you may now only purchase these CB radios as vintage items. The different models possess different characteristics. For example, some models have Push-to-Talk (PTT) capabilities, while others have automatic noise limiters or channel monitors.