What is Zello and how to connect it to walkie talkie

What is Zello and how to connect it to walkie talkie

Zello is one of the apps that are good to have during natural disasters when the usual communication systems are down. It helps you to stay connected to your family, friends, or rescue team. While the app is free to use, you need to make sure that monthly plan on your cell phone works properly and be ready to pay for more in order to stay online during the catastrophe.

What is Zello?

This is a free walkie-talkie program for laptops, phones, desktops, tablets. While there was a rumor that Zello works without an Internet connection, it still needs it, either via wifi or from the cell phone network. Zello works like a police radio, but with the ability to make standard calls from phone or laptop. It connects you with other users through channels of the radio. Regardless of the distance, people can talk to each other there.

It will not work without an Internet connection, as you will not be able to send your message or receive it from others. If you need completely Internet free app, try Tenna, which allows you to send messages offline. It has its perks and cons as well.

How to start with Zello

At first, install the app. It is free and fast to install. Open the app in the store and download it. If you have a good Internet connection it will take a few minutes.

Now you have to sign up to the account. It is crucial to create your account. You will not have time to do that in the emergency situation, so make sure you are logged in. Even if you have to start from the beginning, the account can be created in a few steps. All you actually have to do is create a username and password, and write existing email address and an optional number of the phone. Check the spelling of your username as you will not be able to change it once everything is set.

Now add contacts. Once the app is working and connected with your phone, it can automatically reach your contacts. If there are numbers you want to add to Zello manually, you can search them by email, username or number of the phone. QR scanner inside the app helps you to add rescue stations as your contact. If you want to unfriend or block someone, Zello has such options.

How to reach contacts?

All navigation in Zello was made really simple in case of emergency. So, basically, it is about tapping and holding. Find your friends and family members in the Contacts in the menu. Tap the person you want to connect to. Now hold the button of the microphone to record the message you will send later. This button automatically activates walkie talkie. And once you release your message, this person you’ve chosen, will receive it right away. If the contact is not logged in or does not have a connection to the internet, they will hear your message when they access Zello.

Send photos to your contacts. At the upper left corner of your screen, you can see the small icon with a camera on it. You can tap it to make and send photos. Push it to activate camera mode, where you can control the flash, add texts or make a selfie. If you want to share the photo that is already made and saved on your phone, reach for the photo library on the device. You are able to tag the location and send alerts.

The toggle in shape of a triangle at the center of the screen allows you to add users to the conversation or add the coordinates of your location. Close to this toggle is bubble icon with the lightning bolt. This button starts the alert. The alert will continue to beep on the phones of your contacts until they stop it.

An icon with the image of the eye in the upper right corner gives you an access to the messages you exchanged with others. You are able to find the location of the place where the message was sent. You can also monitor all your calls via the tab Recents inside the main menu.

Manage your settings

Test the audio. You need to do this right after you installed the app. You can find the Echo among contacts in your list. Select it and test the audio. Connection quality can be tested by pushing the arrow button in the right corner below.

Change the interface. You can pick another theme for the background, making the screen darker. If you don’t want to hold Push To Talk Button every time you create messages, change it to quick taps.

Contact the support of Zello. Open Zello Options in the menu, where you can ask questions, read extra information, FAQ, manage your settings.

How to connect Zello to walkie talkie?

You can make a crosslink of Zello to DMR and analog in just a few easy steps. And the best thing is you don’t actually need expensive tools, except radios, of course. Any radio will be ok, as long as it has the right connector and vox channel.

  • Set the radio and analog on a simplex channel.

  • Go to Radio Settings in Menu and scroll down to Vox, make sure it is on and set to 1. One is the most sensitive volume.

  • Connect your laptop with Zello on it to the radio. You need two cables, one plugged into speaker port and other into the microphone. Make sure it fits with the similar holes in radio. If not, use special connectors.

  • Open tools in Zello, go to Vox and set the activation threshold. Regulate sensitive there and trigger time.

  • Go to Audio and make sure that the microphone is working, and recording devices are connected.

  • Zello app on the phone will automatically receive the message from the radio that is connected to the laptop. Make sure you are on the same channel.


Zello is a free walkie talkie app that can be handy in potentially dangerous situations. You will be able to track the location of your friends and family, make sure they are safe during a hurricane or other natural disasters. All you need is an Internet connection to keep in touch with them.