September 23, 2021
You are probably familiar with the push-to-talk (PTT) button found on most two-way radios, that starts transmitting when the button is pressed, but have you ever wondered, “what is VOX on a walkie talkie?”
VOX, also known as “voice-activated transmission” or “voice-operated exchange,” is a switch that begins transmitting when you start talking, making it hands-free. Unlike the PTT, the VOX microphone is ready to transmit whenever it detects noise over a certain frequency threshold and stops when you finish talking.
Because VOX is activated by sound, rather than just voices, it could pick up background noise and start transmitting. VOX walkie talkies have sound sensitivity settings to avoid this, so you can set your radio to begin transmitting only when it detects sound over a certain decibel level. Many walkie talkies have both VOX and PTT capabilities, so you can switch between the two.
When people speak, they naturally leave short pauses between their utterances. The circuitry of VOX walkie talkies cleverly factors this in by including a delay that stops the circuit from deactivating transmission every time you pause. This is sometimes called a hang timer.
The major advantage of VOX for two-way radios is its hands-free capabilities. There are numerous situations when using the PTT function on walkie talkies is not practical. This is especially true since the COVID-19 pandemic when the importance of limiting touchpoints to reduce the spread of infection has become apparent.
Communicating through your walkie talking without using your hands is valuable in any professional environment where both hands are often needed. These can include parking lot attendants directing traffic, forklift drivers, and caterers who need their hands to prepare and serve food. In these instances, VOX technology is preferable to PTT.
Now that you understand the value of the VOX function on walkie talkies let’s take a closer look at three of the best VOX two-way radios.