Turn an Old Phone Into a Walkie-talkie
New life for obsolete
Sprint is killing the
iDEN network in the United States. That's too bad, but if you have a
pair of Nextel phones you can turn them into very good two way radios
that will function even once the network has been completely
Many, if not all newer
phones have the “off network mode” also known as MOTO Talk which
turn the phones into walkie-talkies completely independent of the
phone provider's network. The radios don't use encryption, although
the privacy settings allow users to communicate with select private
groups and to individual units.
SIM card is
network service is not. I suspect any SIM card will do the trick.
Without one the phone just hangs up at a screen that ask to insert a
I tested a pair of
Motorola i576 phones
in an urban low-rise environment with hills and natural and man made
obstacles occluding the line of sight. One unit was stationary and
another was in a moving vehicle. I was able to transmit and receive
completely clear voice up to one mile (1.5km) distance.
It is reasonable to
expect that in a
line of sight applications the range would be far greater. The range
may also depend on the model of the phone. This article claims up to
6 miles (9.6km) line of sight range.
To enable the off
network mode simply
go to the phone menu, turn the Direct Talk on and make sure the
channel selection and privacy codes are matched on all the units you
intend to use.
When the Nextel
network is finally shut
down in 2013, all these iDEN phones will flood eBay and there will be
a lot bargains out there.