Exploring the Walkie-Talkie Monitor Function: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover the walkie-talkie monitor function, its applications, and how it can enhance your communication experience in various scenarios.
boy adjusting volume while using walkie talkie

Walkie-talkies are impressive because they give users enough choices. Several channels, types, privacy codes, and other remarkable functions help you customize your walkie-talkie experience. Among these features is the monitor function. 

Most times, you want to hear clear transmissions. But sometimes, you may need to pick up faint signals, and that’s where the monitor function comes in.   

The monitor function helps you listen in for faint and distant signals you would ordinarily have missed. This function can be helpful in many cases, especially when in an area with poor reception. 

Basics of The Walkie-talkie Monitor Function

The monitor function is a feature of walkie-talkies. It temporarily turns off the squelch function so users can listen to faint and distant signals manually. When you disable the squelch function, you can hear every transmission. Such transmissions include weak signals you would miss when the squelch circuit is on. 

Monitor Function and Squelch Function

The monitoring function relies on the squelch function. In short, the squelch is a mechanism that filters out weak and unwanted signals in the designated channel. Also, space is full of noise from the universe and other radio users. Without the squelch function, your walkie-talkie will receive constant static noise from the universe when you are not receiving any signal. And this is how squelch can help you with.

Usually, you can set the squelch level by adjusting it. Doing so will help you choose the threshold of audio activation you want for your walkie-talkie. If you put it high, your walkie-talkie will turn on audio when receiving strong signals. If you put it low, your walkie-talkie will be more sensitive to lower signals. 

side of walkie talkie with call and ptt button

How Does the Monitor Function Work

As soon as you activate the monitor function, the squelch turns off. Hence, your radio will no longer filter out signals. Instead, you will hear everyone on your channel. It will also disregard the code or tone if you use privacy codes. Then you will be able to listen to everyone on your channel. 

The monitor function is beneficial in remote areas or challenging landscapes where signal reception is poor. It can also help you find a free channel to use when your current channel is occupied. 

How to Activate the Monitor Function 

The steps for activating the monitor function may differ for different walkie-talkie brands and models. But here are the steps to generally follow: 

  1. Turn on the walkie-talkie and select the desired channel.
  2. Locate the monitor button or key on the walkie-talkie. They may label it as “MON,” “monitor,” or may even represent it by a symbol. 
  3. Press the monitor button, and you should hear a burst of static, which indicates that the walkie-talkie has deactivated the squelch function. 
  4. Press the monitor button again. When the static (white noise) is gone, this means the monitor function is deactivated, and the squelch activates.

Benefits of Using the Monitor Function 

Improved Situational Awareness 

In areas where signal strength is low, it’s easy to miss important information when your walkie-talkie squelch circuit is on. Monitor function enhances situational awareness by allowing you to listen to weak or distant signals that the squelch setting would have filtered out. 

Supports Longer Distance Communication 

The longer the distance, the weaker the signal. Hence, you can’t receive weak frequencies from farther distances when the switch squelch level is not working. Turning on the monitor function helps you talk to someone far from you but within your line of sight

Increased Safety and Security 

The monitor function can improve safety and security by helping users monitor their environment. It enables professional teams to be more security conscious. For outdoor activities, it can help groups talk to each other in poor signal areas to get help during emergencies. 

security using walkie talkie earphone to talk in vox mode

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you have issues setting up or using the monitor function on your walkie-talkie, here are some these troubleshooting tips to follow: 

  • Check the user manual for guidelines on how to activate and use the monitor function because it may vary between models. 
  • If your battery is low, it can affect the performance and signal reception of your device. Thus, make sure you fully charge your walkie-talkie battery. 
  • If you still cannot receive signals, try adjusting your antenna or move to a different location where there are fewer obstacles.

Tips and Best Practices for Using the Monitor Function

Follow Proper Etiquette

It is crucial to practice proper radio etiquette when using the monitor function. First, after you activate the monitor function, wait to see if anyone is talking. If you don’t, you will end up interrupting the ongoing conversation. So, always confirm that the channel is clear before you speak. 

Battery Conservation

Your battery drains faster when you turn on the monitor function. It happens because it always leaves the audio path open. Only turn on the monitor function when you want to use it to reduce battery consumption. 

Optimize Signal Range 

You can increase your signal range when you do these: 

  • Let your walkie-talkie antenna face up. 
  • Use an external antenna to increase signal range. You can also get a walkie-talkie with a higher output to cover more extensive ranges. 
  • The signal may be deficient because of obstructions. Go to an open space with fewer trees and buildings so frequencies can travel freely.
  • Match your walkie-talkie and antenna so you can communicate better. 

Alternatives to Walkie-Talkie Monitor Function

Dedicated Monitoring Devices

Rather than use a monitor function, you can use a dedicated monitoring device, like a scanner and specialized receivers. This equipment monitors specific frequencies or frequency ranges to help you detect any incoming signals on the channel.

Smartphone Apps

Sometimes, carrying a walkie-talkie may be inconvenient. In such situations, there are smartphone apps you can use. Some smartphone apps can work in the same way as walkie-talkies.

Apps like Zello and Voxer are great alternatives to walkie-talkies. But they use cellular or Wi-Fi connections. Hence, they are not suitable for remote areas where there may be no mobile coverage.

Compatible Accessories You Can Add to the Walkie-Talkie Monitor Function 

Some walkie-talkie accessories can improve the monitor function. These add-ons include:

  • External Antenna: An external antenna can significantly increase signal range. External antenna are most helpful in challenging environments where signal strength is poor. 
  • Wireless Speakers: Using wireless speaker microphones allow you to use your walkie-talkie hands-free. So you can focus on other tasks and simultaneously listen for incoming signals.
  • Earpieces or Headsets: Headsets and earpieces help you listen quietly to messages. When using these devices, you won’t disturb others. Headsets and earphones have better audio quality so that they can hear weak signals more clearly. 

Areas Where You Can Use the Monitor Function

Outdoor Activities

  • Hiking and Camping: Hikers and campers can use the monitor function to listen for faint or distant signals from fellow hikers. They could also hear emergency broadcasts or park ranges looking out for their safety while they explore.
  • Hunting: Hunting partners can effectively keep in touch and listen for transmissions from other hunters in the area. The monitor function can prevent clashes between hunters. It also helps monitor the movement of game animals by listening to their radio-collared tracking devices.
  • Skiing and Snowboarding: There are usually many people at ski resorts, so it may take a lot of work to stay connected on the slopes. The monitor function allows skiers and snowboarders to listen for incoming transmissions. They can also use a monitor function to hear coordinate meet-up points and receive updates on the weather condition or slope closures. In emergencies, users can again monitor local search and rescue channels for important information. 
man in ski equipment, wearing safety glasses, speaking on walkie talkie

Professional Settings 

  • Construction Sites: The signal reception at a construction site can be poor and can create communication problems. But the monitor function can help site supervisors and safety officers listen to all radio signals to ensure everyone is safe.
  • Security and Surveillance: Security personnel can be more aware of what is happening in the environment with the monitor function. They can listen in for potential threats and unusual activities from different channels. 
business people talking in quarry

Everyday Use

  • Neighborhood Watch: Neighborhood watch groups can also improve local safety with the monitor function. Members can monitor emergency channels and hear faint signals from residents who are far away. Hence, they can work better during emergencies. 
  • Family Uses: Families can use walkie-talkies for better communication, especially when they are outside. Parents can listen to their children to ensure they are safe and sound. 


The monitor function on walkie-talkies is an incredibly useful yet frequently underappreciated feature that can greatly enhance communication experiences in a variety of situations. By turning on the monitoring function, the squelch functions disabled for users to hear weaker or more distant signals temporarily, which can improve the communication experience and can give users more options while in an emergency.

No matter you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a radio specialist, or just using walkie-talkies on a regular basis, it’s important to be familiar with the monitor function and how to use it to optimize your communication experience. Get your hands on the monitoring function, and make it a part of your walkie-talkie skills.

About The Arthur
Picture of Kenny Zhang
I've been running a factory that manufactures two-way radios & their accessories. We want to share some knowledge and news about Walkie-Talkie from the sight of the supplier.

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