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Common Walkie-Talkie Problems and How to Fix Them

If you own a walkie-talkie, you will already appreciate just how robust and reliable they are. However, like all technologies, sometimes things don’t go to plan.

Where reliable, simple, and clear communication over shorter distances is required, walkie-talkies are the only choice. Used throughout all types of industry as a communication and safety tool, walkie talkies are also heavily used in leisure activities and even just for keeping tabs on the kids.

This versatility is one reason why they are built so ruggedly. Walkie-talkies have to operate in everything from sub-zero temperatures to tropical monsoons (not to mention rainy days in Ireland) and never miss a beat. It is no wonder then that just occasionally, problems arise.

If you are unlucky enough to find yourself with a misbehaving walkie-talkie, don’t worry, this guide explains the most common faults and how to fix them.

Walkie-Talkie Care

Before discussing the common problems, it is worth touching on the subject of caring for your walkie-talkie. The proper care and maintenance of your walkie-talkies will lengthen the lifespan of your radio and keep many of the common problems at bay.

Walkie-talkie care & maintenance isn’t complicated and doesn’t take long, but the benefit is a radio that remains as reliable as the day it was unboxed. To help you keep your walkie-talkies in fantastic condition, you can check out our complete guide to walkie-talkie maintenance.

The 4 Most Common Walkie-Talkie Problems

This section walks you through the most commonly encountered walkie-talkie problems and how to fix them. Most of these are simple, and to start with, we will look at the simplest of all:

1.    Walkie-talkie has a poor reception

If you are experienced with walkie-talkies, then you will likely already know all about this, but for beginners, this is one of the most commonly encountered issues and is easily remedied.

Much of the time, the problem of poor reception is simply down to the placement of the radio. This isn’t just where it is physically located either, although placing it inside a lead box will certainly degrade a signal!

Rather, it is the physical position of the radio that’s the problem. Antennas on walkie-talkies work at their optimum when the radio is held upright. Radios that are lying on flat surfaces can suffer signal degradation of 50% or more.

2.    Persistent Beeping Sound

This one can have several issues at the root of the problem and may take a little troubleshooting, but it isn’t a complicated process and can be completed quickly.

The beeping sound is a warning that something is amiss. Certain walkie-talkie models may play a particular sequence of beeps. If that is the case, then the troubleshooting section of the user documentation should pinpoint the cause of the error.

If this isn’t the case, the most common causes of persistent beeps are listed below: 

  • Battery – The first thing to check is the battery, try swapping it for a fully charged battery and check to see if that does the trick. If the beeping is consistent with a particular battery, then this is likely the end of that battery’s useful life.
  • Mic stuck in transmit mode – This can also cause persistent beeping. If you have a speaker mic, then try disconnecting and reconnecting it. If this doesn’t work, then the old “turn it off and back on again” trick often clears this issue.
  • Wrong Channel – This problem can occur as the result of a channel error. If the channel has switched, then the solution is as easy as switching it back to the appropriate channel.

3.    Poor Audio Quality

This is one problem where a little maintenance can help. A common cause of poor audio quality is simply a build-up of dirt and grime around the speaker vent and even the speaker itself.

This can be remedied just by carefully cleaning around the grill with a soft cloth, you can use ear swabs to get into tricky corners. In extreme cases, a quick blast of compressed air at a good distance so as not to damage the speaker can be tried. But to be on the safe side, a quick service by a trained technician is always a better option if it has got to that stage.

4.    Radio isn’t transmitting problem

Walkie-talkies are built to withstand a lot of abuse. However, the necessity of an external antenna is a point of vulnerability. Because it is the part of the walkie-talkie that is most prone to damage, this should be the first port of call when troubleshooting a transmission problem.

Transmission problems are more likely than not down to antenna damage, or it’s simply not being attached properly. The first thing is to make sure the antenna is seated as it should be. If it is, then the next thing is to carefully check the antenna for signs of damage. If any damage is found, then the antenna will need to be replaced.

Conclusion

Basic routine maintenance is the best way to keep your radio operating for years to come, but even then, batteries have finite lives, and antennas do break, so problems will always arise at some point.

We hope this guide has helped you identify and fix any problems you are having with your radio. If you need any further help, then our trained staff are always on hand to assist.

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Security guard doing some maintenance work on his walkie talkie.

Getting The Most From Your Walkie-Talkie – A Complete Maintenance And Care Guide

Walkie-talkies are known for being robust and long-lasting communication devices. But, like any consumer goods, a little care and attention will go a long way to ensuring that your walkie-talkie is your communication buddy for years to come.

At Walkie-talkie Solutions, we want you to get the most out of your purchase, so we have compiled a guide to help you keep your two-way radio in the best possible condition.

From battery care to cleaning, read on to find out more about maintaining your walkie-talkie.

Why is maintenance important?

Even the most rugged piece of equipment will deteriorate quickly if it isn’t properly looked after. Waterproof seals can perish, switches can seize or fail, batteries can fail, and grime and dirt can block speaker and microphone openings.

A few simple steps can greatly enhance the lifespan of your radio and keep it working at its full potential throughout its lifetime. Basic maintenance and care are all that is needed, so you don’t have to be comfortable with electronics or be handy with a screwdriver. Just a little diligence and some common sense are all!

Top Tips for maintaining your two-way radio

Walkie-talkies are versatile and robust devices, and, when looked after properly, will serve you well for years. But another great thing about them is that while not being entirely maintenance-free, all that is needed is a little care and attention.

1.    Inspect Regularly

How often you need to apply this care and attention is down to many factors, some of the common ones are:

  • Type of usage – If your walkie-talkies are used regularly in dirty, wet, or other harsh conditions, then it is best to inspect them daily.
  • Frequency of use – The more frequently the radios are used, the more frequently they should be inspected.
  • Age – Just like us humans, walkie-talkies can get a bit wobbly as they age if not treated properly! In particular, look at the battery life in older walkie-talkies and consider changing them if necessary.

If the batteries are removable, then remove them and look for signs of corrosion and leakage on the batteries and the terminals of the radio. As well as the batteries, the inspection should look for visible signs of damage, grime and dirt build-up, and whether the switches still feel as they should when operated.

2.    Store properly

The correct storage is critical if you want to prolong the life of your walkie-talkie. Much of this common sense, don’t store where it is exposed to direct sunlight, or in extremes of temperatures etc. But there is a good chance that your radio will be spending a lot of its life in storage, so it is a critical factor.

  • Cleaning – Cleaning your walkie-talkie before storage is especially important if it is to be stored for a long period. This stops moulds and fungus from growing and also prevents dirt from hardening over time and potentially damaging the radio. Even if your walkie-talkie looks completely clean, it is good practice to wipe them with a dry or slightly damp cloth before storage.

Important – Always check the manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance instructions first.

  • Batteries – Another factor to be considered for long term storage is the batteries. If they are removable, then do so before you store them. Also, for rechargeable batteries, it is best not to store them with a full charge. Fully charged batteries are “stressed,” and this can severely degrade their useful life.
  • Dry – Always ensure that your radios are completely dry before storing them. This can prevent both water ingress and can also prevent moulds from growing when in longer-term storage.

3.    Clean vents and grills regularly

Speaker and microphone grills, where present, should be cleaned regularly to keep the clarity of sound crystal-clear at both ends of the conversation.

Equally important are any ventilation vents on the radio. Electronic circuitry runs warm, and these vents are essential to dissipate that heat. Overheating is one of the major killers of electronics and making sure these vents are always clean will help keep both you and your radios chilled.

The easiest way to do this is by using a little antibacterial or specialised cleaner onto a microfibre cloth or cotton bud and gently cleaning the grills. Once again, it is essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions first to make sure there are no specific instructions for your device.

4.    Protect as much as possible when in use

Even the most robust and waterproof walkie-talkie should be protected from the elements where possible. This doesn’t mean not using it in the rain (this is Ireland after all!). All it means is that if there is an option that avoids the rain, then it is the prudent choice.

Over the short term, this won’t make much of a difference, but you can expect a walkie-talkie to last for years, and throughout a long lifetime, these little steps can make a big difference.

Both water and dust are known for their downright persistence, and reducing the exposure to them, wherever possible, is a great way to keep your leisure or business walkie-talkie radios in pristine condition.

5.    Battery maintenance

We touched on battery care a little earlier, but battery care extends, and maintenance is important at all times, not just when storing your walkie-talkie.

  • Whenever possible, don’t leave them attached to a charger after they are fully charged.
  • Always use the manufacturer’s charger or a charger that they recommend as suitable.
  • It is better to not fully deplete your battery before charging, however, at the same time, it is also not good practice to charge them every time the battery drops to 90%. A good aim is to look at around 30% as the optimum time to charge your battery.

Well looked after batteries can last for up to 18 months and still be capable of holding plenty of charge. However, many manufacturers will recommend that batteries be replaced after this period, regardless of their performance.

For specific battery guidance for your model, then it is best to check the manual or the manufacturer’s website.

Conclusion

A well looked after walkie-talkie should serve you well for years, and as you can see from the above steps, the maintenance needed is minimal. But this little bit of maintenance can add years of quality usage from any two-way radio.

If you have any questions or concerns about maintaining your radio, we are also here to help make sure you get the very best from your walkie-talkie.

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