walkie-talkie (n.) wo-kE-'to-kE: a compact, easily transportable, battery-operated, radio transmitting and receiving set.

What good is a walkie-talkie? Walkie-talkies are best for communicating quickly between two distant points. Users include sports enthusiasts, custodians, security guards, and meeting planners. They're really useful when cell phone coverage isn't available.

Necessary evil. Have a large group? Give walkie-talkies to all the assistants and coordinators you can. This is vital for large group movements, reports Conferon's Bruce Harris, CMP.

Dead giveaway. In 1999, the San Diego Metropolitan newspaper revealed the best way to find a planner at an event: “Scan any corporate retreat and among the sea of smiling faces you will spot the meeting planner. Who is not smiling. Who is carrying a walkie-talkie.”

Can you hear me? The first military walkie-talkies had an effective range of about 30 miles. The average walkie-talkie today can send and receive messages from about a mile away.

Is the opposite ‘under and in?’ Familiar phrases and their meanings:

Roger — all right, OK.
Wilco — will comply.
Over — a transmission has ended, awaiting reply.
Out — a transmission has ended, no reply necessary.

In the field. Farmers were among the first nonmilitary industries to adopt the walkie-talkie for regular use.

We interrupt this broadcast … . In the 1930s, in the days before walkie-talkies, some police departments used radio communications in police cars. A Chicago broadcast station might interrupt a radio program to send an emergency message. The public got a taste of real drama — but so did criminals, who also tuned in.

Like an ‘S’ on your chest. Walkie-talkies scream authority, especially in the meeting industry, reports Bruce Harris, CMP. His three techniques: 1. Put the walkie-talkie in an outstretched hand; 2. Speak with great authority; and 3. Make decisive hand movements.

SOURCES: Conferon; The Lemelson-MIT Program's Invention Dimension Web site; http://sitka.triumf.ca/morgan/dlhings/index.html, Donald L. Hings, inventor (Web page maintained by Morgan Burke); A Founders Touch, The Life of Paul Gavin of Motorola, 1965, a bio of Motorola's founder; The Amazing Walkie Talkie www.sanjuan.edu/schools/arcade/walkietalkierm.html; Merriam-Webster Dictionary online; Flight Communication Terms, www.omencity.com/usaf/comm2.html

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