Using Walkie-Talkies and Global Positioning System Devices in the Countryside

Other than mobile phones, walkie-talkies and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices can help you to stay in touch in the countryside. Here you can learn about the types of devices that you can use while enjoying Hong Kong's natural environment, and how they can help you and others.

Staying in Touch with Walkie-Talkies

Walkie-talkies are handy for keeping in constant contact within a group. They operate at either 27 MHz or 409 MHz and do not require a licence as long as they meet the technical requirements set by the Communications Authority. Walkie-talkies that operate at 409 MHz are usually smaller, and are suitable for short-range communication. The Office of the Communications Authority's website provides lists of those models that do not require a licence.

List of 27 MHz walkie-talkie modelsList of 409 MHz walkie-talkie models

Possible Limitations of Walkie-Talkies

The communication range of walkie-talkies can be reduced by the rugged terrain through which you are travelling, and can be affected by weather conditions. So you should always be prepared for possible emergencies in which you cannot rely on walkie-talkies alone. It is crucial to prepare a backup such as a mobile phone, and you should also learn about the locations of public pay phones and free emergency helplines that will be nearby before you set out.

Using Your Walkie-Talkie to Help Others

One benefit of using a walkie-talkie is that it can be used to communicate with other hikers outside of your group. All hikers are encouraged to monitor channel 9 to pick up emergency calls from other hikers who could be within range. In this way, you might be able to offer assistance, or call in outside help in case of emergencies. You should make sure the tone squelch of your walkie-talkie is disabled and the code setting is "00", which will improve the reception and make it easier for you to make an emergency call should the need arise.

Using a GPS Device to Determine Your Location

You cannot communicate with others using a GPS device, but it could be handy in helping you to identify your location to emergency services. A GPS device by itself or as part of a PDA or mobile phone can locate you precisely on an easy-to-read map. These devices are simple to find on the market and are lightweight, so they are easy to carry when you hike.

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Last revision date: January 2020