In this article, we shall be answering the question Can Walkie Talkies Pick Up Cell Phone Conversations?
Walkie talkies, since they were first made in 1937, have offered a great way of communicating with friends and family. It has provided seamless communications even for staff, security operatives, and people in corporate institutions. Even kids have enjoyed this technology which dates back to the early 1900s. Recently, I came across this question – Can walkie talkies pick up cell phone conversations? – and I have a clue as to what would have prompted that question.
The short answer is NO. A walkie talkie cannot pick up cell phone conversations because it cannot operate on the same frequency as a cell phone. The frequency band where all walkie talkies operate is 27 MHz while the cell phone conversations are operated on higher frequency bands with the least being 698 MHz under the 700 MHz Band.
If you are not a fan of numbers or you dislike Physics, the information above may sound confusing. However, if you stay long enough on this page, I have broken down every detail there is to know about walkie talkies and cell phone conversations. I will also show you why it is difficult to pick up a cell phone conversation and why it was possible to do so before the modern version of cell phones was produced. Interestingly, I discovered a hack that could help you pick up cell phone conversations.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the detailed breakdown of the question: can walkie talkies pick up cell phone conversations.
Can Walkie Talkies Pick Up Cell Phone Conversations?
Walkie talkies cannot pick up cell phone conversations. Cell phone conversations are radio waves but they are transmitted on frequencies that are higher than what walkie talkies can intercept and listen to. While walkie talkies generally operate on the 27 MHz band, cell phones operate on the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and PCS Frequency Bands.
With your walkie talkie, it will be difficult to pick up a cell phone conversation. Even though they use radio signals, cell phones depend on a network of fixed antennas to transmit waves. This is pretty much unlike walkie talkies that simply require a radio device on the same frequency within range to communicate.
To pick up cell phone conversations, I saw a resource that suggested you can use a device called a Police scanner. I am not sure this works. I haven’t proved it but I explained it in the next section.
How Cell Phone Conversations Can Be Monitored
Everyone uses a cell phone today. Even kids have access to cell phones and the cell phone market is growing ridiculously with the introduction of newer models with more unique features. Some schools of thought believe that security is not often considered with the creation of these cell phones and some people claim to have recorded breakthroughs monitoring cell phone conversations.
To monitor a cell phone conversation, a person only needs to have a radio frequency scanner or a Police scanner and a digital data interpreter. These tools require a level of expert knowledge to operate in eavesdropping and monitoring cell phone conversations.
However, monitoring a cell phone conversation today is nearly impossible. The brand of cell phones produced today come with a different mode of communication security that makes it difficult for cell phone conversations to be monitored. Before 2000, cell phones used the analogue cellular phone communication model which made it easy to monitor.
Today, cellular phone communications are digital and even with a scanner and data interpreter, you may still be unable to intercept voice communication between cell phones. Digital cellular phone communications have become encrypted and many of the frequencies used for cellular communications are way beyond the reach of a normal Police scanner, explained AI Salbin, a Firearms and Tactical Instructor with the DEA.
According to Tim Dees, a retired cop of the Reno Police Department, in the pre-cellular era, mobile phone calls were sent over commonly-accessible radio frequencies. They could be overheard on any radio scanner. As such, listening to a cell phone conversation was possible. But with the current nature of cell phone conversations, it is far from possible to listen to these conversations even with a Police scanner.
Can a Walkie Talkie Communicate with a Cell Phone?
Walkie talkies are an excellent means of communicating with family and friends while you are out and about. They can be used in all sorts of situations, from camping trips to outdoor events like soccer games or concerts. But can they be used to communicate with a cell phone?
No. You cannot use a walkie talkie to communicate with a cell phone. This is because cell phones depend on cell towers to facilitate connection with other cell phones. Without a network of nearby cellular towers, a cell phone cannot work. For walkie talkies, these wireless, handheld radio devices have half-duplex channels through which they can send and receive radio messages from any walkie talkie or radio device on the same frequency. This is why it is difficult to communicate with a cell phone using a walkie talkie.
The inability of walkie talkies to communicate with cell phones is resident in the fact that walkie talkies send and transmit radio messages to other radio devices on the same 27 MHz frequency band. But cell phones need to have cell towers nearby to connect. Hence, a walkie talkie cannot communicate with a cell phone even though they are all radio devices.
Do Walkie Talkies Work if Cell Towers are Down?
In a world where our phones are more than just phones, it’s easy to forget that they’re still only a part of a larger system. Cell towers are still the backbone of the wireless communications grid, and when they go down, everything else falls apart. But what if you had something else to rely on?
Imagine this: you’re on a camping trip with your friends, and you get separated from them—but no one has any cell service to call for help because everyone’s phone is dead. So what do you do?
You could use walkie talkies! Walkie talkies are still widely available in stores like Walmart and Target, and they’re also easy to find online. They’ll let you talk back and forth without relying on cell towers or satellite connections—so even if your phone isn’t working, your walkie talkie will still work just fine.
Do Walkie Talkies Have Bluetooth?
Formally, walkie talkies did not have Bluetooth. But today, Bluetooth technology is being added to the production of modern walkie talkies. Therefore, yes, walkie talkies do have Bluetooth.
The technology allows users to connect their walkie talkies to a smartphone or other device that supports Bluetooth. This means that you can use your walkie talkies for more than just communication—you can also use them to listen to music or podcasts, or even make phone calls!
If you want your walkie talkies to have Bluetooth capability, make sure you buy them from a reputable dealer who sells products with this feature.
How Far Can Walkie Talkies Reach?
The range of walkie talkies is dependent on a number of factors such as weather/atmospheric conditions, frequencies, power, height, antenna, and obstruction. A typical walkie talkie is expected to communicate over 5 miles to 36 miles. The range of transmission between two walkie talkies is also dependent on the type of walkie talkies being used.
A walkie talkies transmission range will be lesser in cloudy and rainy conditions. You can also have a lower transmission range when there is no clear line of sight between walkie talkies. To get the most out of walkie talkies interactions, you should use them away from obstructions and in fair weather.
Do Scanners Pick Up Smartphone Conversations?
Scanners cannot pick up smartphone conversations. Smartphones use digitally encrypted data links, and it is not possible for a radio frequency or police scanner to intercept and overhear smartphone conversations. Generally, smartphone conversations are secure and too encrypted for a regular scanner to pick up.
However, law enforcement agents have a way of spying on smartphone conversations using a technology called “Stringers”. This technology acts as a base station, and when your phone connects to it, law enforcement agencies can decrypt and decode your conversation.
Can Ham Radio Pick up Cell Phones?
For whatever reasons you may have wanted to monitor cell phone conversation, trying to use a Ham radio will never get the job done. Ham radio equipment cannot be used to pick up cell phone signals. This is because most communications are printed on a very narrow bandwidth of 3.8 kHz for HF and 25 kHz maximum for FM transreceivers. They have “too narrow ” bandwidth to match up the transmission of a cell phone.
As such, it is impossible for a Ham radio to pick up cell phone conversations. There is no way Ham radios can pick up or interfere with cell phone conversations. The most you can do with the Ham radio equipment is to use it as a police scanner. Even with that upgrade, cell phone signals are way above their reach.
Final Thoughts on Can Walkie Talkies Pick Up Cell Phone Conversations
You may have good reasons to want to pick up the cell phone conversation of others, and I am sure some persons have evil intentions as to why they want to pick up cell phone conversations. However, regardless of your intentions, a walkie talkie cannot pick up cell phone conversations.
If we were still using analogue cellular communications, you can use a Police scanner to eavesdrop on cell phone conversations. But with the switch to digital cellular communications, it is not possible to pick up cell phone conversations anymore.