What are privacy codes in walkie talkies?

What are privacy codes in walkie talkies, what are their uses and are they really private?

When purchasing walkie talkies, often times, you’ll come across a feature called the “privacy code” feature.

Walkie Talkie


Best Price on Amazon

Midland GXT1000VP4

50 channels | GMRS | 36 miles | NOAA Weather alert | Water proof | 142 privacy codes

Midland X-TALKER

36 channels | FRS | 32 mile | NOAA Weather alert | Water resistant | 121 privacy codes

Motorola Talkabout T800

22 channels | FRS/GMRS | 35 mile | NOAA weather | Bluetooth | 20 mile data range | 121 privacy codes 

Cobra ACT220B

22 channels | Wearable Walkie Talkie | GMRS/FRS | 12 mile | 10 hrs battery | Hands-free

Motorola Talkabout T402

FRS/GMRS | 22 channels | 35 mile range | NOAA weather | weather-proof | flashlight | USB rechargable

Midland - LXT118

FRS | 22 channels | 18 mile | Water resistant | License Free

What are privacy codes in walkie talkies?

The privacy code feature is sometimes called the sub channel, it was first introduced by Motorola as an added privacy feature for its walkie talkies.

The main function of these privacy codes is to eliminate interference on a channel, so you would set the channel and then set the privacy code in order to be able to hear only the people that you wanna hear that’s on that particular channel.

For your information, privacy code feature can also be used as a group.

As an example, if you and your partner wanna avoid other people on channel 5, you would use a privacy code eg.2.

So you would tune your walkie talkies to channel 5 and then set the privacy code to 2

So how does this feature work?

The privacy code feature transmits a low frequency squelching sound during the transmission, if your partner has a code, his/her device will only unmute transmissions that use this code.

Devices will mute out other transmissions that are without the correct privacy code.

This feature is designed so that, the walkie talkie disregards all the other messages that don’t have the same privacy code and gives you the message from the people using the same privacy code.

This makes it easier for two people to communicate, they do not encrypt messages but they simply make sure that you only hear what the other person is saying and not the hundreds of other people on that channel.

There are two type of privacy codes.


CTCSS stands for Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System while DCS stands for Digital-Coded Squelch

The difference between the two is that DCS does not send out low frequency sound as the privacy code identifier, it instead does it digitally.

Does privacy code make your conversations private?

No, other people will still hear what you say even if they don’t have your privacy code.

The only thing that this privacy code does is it eliminates 99% of the other uses on that particular channel and gives you the transmission of only person that you want to hear.

Keep in mind that the privacy code feature is only a filtering system and does not ensure privacy and security.