In telecommunications, a voice operated switch, also known as VOX or voice-operated exchange, is a switch that operates when sound over a certain threshold is detected. It is usually used to turn on a transmitter or recorder when someone speaks and turn it off when they stop speaking. It is used instead of a push-to-talk button on transmitters or to save storage space on recording devices. On cell phones, it is used to save battery life. Intercom systems that use a speaker in a room as both a speaker and a microphone will often use VOX on the main console to switch the audio direction during a conversation. The circuit usually includes a delay between the sound stopping and switching direction, to avoid the circuit turning off during short pauses in speech.
A special case exists, if there is enough energy to power the system directly. For example, a microphone may send a voltage, high enough, to directly operate a transmitter. 
Comparison with push-to-talk
Unlike manual push-to-talk (PTT) operation, VOX isautomatic; the user can keep his or her hands free while talking. But VOX also has some significant disadvantages that explain why PTT is still common.
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Most VOX circuits have a sensitivity adjustment, but unwanted (and sometimes undetected) VOX triggering can still occur on background noise, heavy breathing or a side conversation. Conversely, it may not activate when desired on speech that is too weak.
The VOX in a two-way radio can also be triggered by the loudspeaker carrying the other side of the conversation. This problem can beminimized with an 'anti vox' feature to decrease VOX sensitivity when the receiver is active.
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Transmitters and recorders have short but finite activation times thatmay clip the beginnings of phrases. Some modern VOX circuits eliminate this problem by recording or transmitting a delayed version of the input signal. An older way of overcoming this, used by pilots, and astronauts, as some of the first users of VOX, was to habitually preface every transmission with 'uh' in place of keying the microphone.
VOX uses a 'hang' timer, typically 1-3 seconds, to remain engaged during brief speech pauses. This means the last several seconds of each transmission or recorded segment are always silence. A VOX-activated recorder can delete the end of each segment but the user of a VOX-activated half duplex radio must wait for the timer to expire before he or she can receive again.
- ^Newton, Harry (2004). Newton's Telecom Dictionary. CMP books. pp. 901.
Many of the walkie talkies today got a feature called VOX that you might have come across too. It has become a norm in the higher-end two-way radios. Still, many don’t know about the walkie-talkie VOX, which is quite surprising as you’re missing out on something truly unique here.
Table of Contents
- What is a VOX?
What is a VOX?
Let’s get the VOX out of the box. So, what is it? The term VOX stands for voice-operated exchange. That might not still make things clear for you. Don’t worry!
It’s nothing complicated. It is a feature that enables transmission with voice command if I’ve got to put it simply.
In general, radios have the PTT or Push-to-talk button that allows the users to transmit the audio. But that requires you to push a physical button. VOX eliminates that press of a button. Like the Ok Google or Alexa on iPhone, it listens to your voice using a microphone. When it picks up the sound, it starts transmission between you and the other radio just like that.
That’s why you’ll find in many of the radios like Motorola or the other big ones advertising hands-free operation. This feature is making that possible.
How Does It Work?
The walkie-talkie you got should have the VOX feature in place. There should be a dedicated button that will let you enable the function on the device. Once that got help, it is ready to transmit with voice activation.
However, unlike the more advanced devices that we use with voice activation, the radios’ VOX function is not on par with them. That’s because the voice activation VOX is more of a sound activation system.
For instance, it will pick up any sound using the microphone on the radio that’s always listening for audio. When it gets the sound, it starts to transmit. So, it doesn’t require the user voice to start the transmission. Any sound can activate it. And that can be frustrating at times.
But don’t be disappointed as there is more to it. The more advanced radios that have the compatibility for the function has found a way to work around it with sound sensitivity settings.
Unless a certain decibel level gets detected by the radio, it won’t allow the transmission. Therefore, the radio won’t be able to transmit continuously, picking up just any random sound.
Then there is the opposite side of the coin—stopping of transmission on the radio. It transmits when it picks up a sound and stops when there is no activity. The sudden activation and deactivation will not make for proper transmission.
To solve that issue, the radio VOX introduces a delay option. If the radio has that, it will be able to prevent deactivation when there is a pause.
How Do You Use VOX On Walkie-Talkies?
Using the VOX feature isn’t that hard. You will find a dedicated button or a toggle switch on the walkie-talkie that might change between PTP and VOX, depending on what you want to use.
However, there is the need to set up the proper sensitivity level on the voice activation exchange. Now, this can be different depending on the model you use. But the basics are quite the same.
The sensitivity level will range from low to high. Let’s say, if you’re in the middle of a rave or a loud crowd, you might want to enjoy the lowest sensitivity level on the device. That way, it will pick the minimum sound from the surrounding.
On the other hand, for quiet locations like a jungle or mountain top, you can rely on the walkie-talkie’s high sensitivity level. That way, even from a distance, your voice will get captured by the microphone.
To do all that, find the right menu on your model, and then change the settings. It will get activated.
Now, there is another way where you might use a VOX headset. It is better to use such an accessory for the noisy conditions for various reasons. First of all, it lets you hear the transmission better, which won’t be possible with your walkie-talkie speaker. Then it also helps to pick the sound better. As the mic on the headset is closer to your mouth, it will receive it better.
Now, to set up the VOX headset, you’ve got to do just two things. First, turn the radio-off. Then insert the headset and turn it on back again. You will see your radio will detect it and show it on display.
You might not even have to turn the radio-off with many models to get the microphone on the headset detected.
Also Read: How To Connect Walkie-Talkies: Get Transmitting Right Away
How Do You Turn Off VOX On Walkie-Talkies?
It is quite hard to tell how to do it as each brand has its unique way of doing things. But I will try to give an idea of how it can get done.
To turn it off, first, go to the MENU on your walkie-talkie and then find the “VOX” function from the options. Now, it will display some things. What you want to do is select “OFF” by pressing the button and then push the PTT key on your two-way radio. Now, this is how most Midland radio works.
As I’ve told earlier, for other models, it can be a bit different. It is better to read the manual for help if you can’t do it like mentioned above. Or check out YouTube or the radio’s official website as they will have some tutorials to help you out.
What is the VOX level?
The walkie-talkie VOX level indicates the sensitivity setting for the sound to pick up by the microphone in an environment.
What is the difference between VOX and PTT?
With PTT, you’ve got to push the button every time to transmit the audio, but VOX does that with the voice—hands-free operation.
Is Vox A Credible Source
How do you get the VOX of Midland walkie-talkie?
I’ve mentioned it earlier, however, to give you a quick recap, go to the menu, find the VOX option, and turn it off and then push the PTT key.
Using the VOX feature on a radio can be of great help in cases where you’ve got your hands full. That’s why I’ve tried to give you some ideas. If your radio got one, now you can use it to take full advantage of it.
Keep the transmission going—long live walkie-talkie.
Also read: How Do Walkie-Talkie Work – Know It NOW!