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Old 09-01-2013, 11:25 AM
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Radios, milsim events, and the new player

It is amazing how large this community has grown in just a few short years. It is great to see the sport gaining popularity the way it has, and so many new faces on the field.

For the new player who has never been to a structured event before, please be aware of the type of event you will be attending. If you will be attending an open play event, it will most generally be okay to show up with a gun, mask, and BBs to have a good time. But if you are planning to attend a milsim event...even if it's an open play event, you should make sure to include a radio on the list of gear to bring. At these events the CO does not have time to find each squad and issue orders. He depends on radio communications. If those communications are broken, chaos and confusion are sure to ensue from those further below on the chain of command. What you end up with on the game field is a bunch of people standing around wondering what to do next.

The radio not only allows the CO to give orders, it helps the game flow the way it was designed.

Don't have a radio? Be sure to hook up with a squad who has at least one radio. If the squad you are running with does not have a radio, this needs to be brought to the attention of the CO so arrangements can be made to get a radio on your squad.

So if you are planning on going to a milsim event, a radio should be right up there with gun, mags, mask, BBs, deathrag, and water.

Just some observations from the field...
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:23 PM
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I will add, once you get a radio, learn how to use it. Invest in a quality headset so that you are not constantly hot mic'ing.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:33 PM
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what radio models should player be looking at to buy? obviously a whole team could all get the same brand/model, but what should a solo player buy and expect to be able to communicate with others who have different radios?
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:42 PM
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It all depends on the field style and format you gonna play. If you want to take no chance, you need to go with a programmable and long range radio. For examples, many players use the GP68 on the cheap end and Motorola CP200 on the high end.
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebucketmouse View Post
what radio models should player be looking at to buy? obviously a whole team could all get the same brand/model, but what should a solo player buy and expect to be able to communicate with others who have different radios?
Yeah, Blade is right. There are too many factors to consider when deciding on that "perfect" radio. Where will you be attending your most events? What is the terrain like? The shape of the field? Is it a large field? How seriously are you involved in the sport?

The list could go on of things to consider, but the most obvious and deciding factor will usually be cost...so...

If you are an individual player just getting in to airsoft or milsim style gameplay, you can buy a cheap FRS radio and be able to communicate just fine MOST of the time across the majority of the fields here in Ohio. You will not be able to communicate across Hidden Springs Ranch with an FRS radio. It is too long. You may have problems at Fallen Warrior as well because it is also a large field. Keep in mind terrain drastically reduces the range of those cheap radios.

Even a cheap radio will allow you to communicate though. You may have to relay messages if you get too far from your command, but you would still be in the loop. I would suggest a cheap radio to start with. Put your money in to a good solid primary [weapon] platform, and a good comfortable rig first. Once you are on a team, THEN you can worry more about improving your comms.

Having any kind of radio that will transmit and recieve ( careful on UHF frequencies, I think a license is required.) is better than having no radio at all. What becomes a problem is when everyone decides to talk about lunch, or who constantly has that open mic but no one can ever find.

This post came about because of an operation that SHOULD have ran smoothly, but fell apart due to the fact there were a total of about 5 radios on the field. If I remember correctly, one of them had a dead battery. When the CO must go squad to squad tracking them down to give them orders... things will not go as planned. But I would expect that at a milsim event (Operation) there would be more radios on the field.

This is a lesson WE learned at the field. A lesson we have taken to heart and have rectified the problem at our end, but our end at that event was to help ref., and unfortunately we couldn't do much about it after everyone was already there. They played the game. I think everyone had fun while they were fighting. But there were lulls in the action when no one knew what they were supposed to be doing. That is not what you want to see at an Op. and that is not what people expect when they go to one.

A lot of time and planning goes in to these operations no matter where it is held or who is organizing. They want to give everyone an intense experience where all have fun. Not once has any event organizer set out to plan a bad event. But no matter how well an organizer plans an event ( and I am speaking specifically of events normally listed as Operations.) if you truely want the desired effect, communication is a must.

Hehehe...if you know me you will know exactly how to take this, if not.... I'm really not a horse's behind even though this may come across like I am... but if you are going to go to an Operation...play the damned role! It is a MILSIM event. A military unit would have communications. This is usually not a problem....it can be though.
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Last edited by Wraith; 09-14-2013 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:23 PM
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I went with the Baofeng UV5R. It is immensely popular on Amazon, and it seems to do all the functions I will need.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebucketmouse View Post
I went with the Baofeng UV5R. It is immensely popular on Amazon, and it seems to do all the functions I will need.
You DO have an amateur license don't you? Oh you're going to use it on FRS/GMRS frequencies? Well then that's another matter. It's illegal as it has a removeable antenna , is over powered and is not certified for those services.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mac50 View Post
You DO have an amateur license don't you? Oh you're going to use it on FRS/GMRS frequencies? Well then that's another matter. It's illegal as it has a removeable antenna , is over powered and is not certified for those services.
No one really cares.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:34 PM
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No one really cares.
Lol, exactly what I was thinking.
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Old 09-16-2013, 04:48 AM
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I was actually planning to get my license eventually. Not for airsoft, but it just looks like something good to have.
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Old 09-16-2013, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonezy View Post
No one really cares.
Amateur radio operators do. And we ARE mandated by the FCC to be the " amateur radio police"
It's not too difficult to get your Technician license. Is it worth an $18,000 fine?
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:36 AM
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technically ALL GMRS radio requires a 85$ license and is only good for 5 years.
FRS radios are exempt from the fee but if you have a FRS/GMRS radio you need to pay the license fee.

That being said, I think the license is bull. why the heck would the government allow manufacturers to sell millions of these GMRS radios but only a few thousand people have actually licensed them. They should make the licensing be part of the cost of the radios.

If you are looking into a radio for airsoft, avoid the gimmicky "our FRS radios have a range of 30 miles". FRS transmits at a maximum of 1/2 watt, GMRS up to a maximum of 5watts.

That pretty much means your 5$ walmart put together by kids in china radio "yells" as loud as the 300$ Icom radio. The difference is the quality of the antenna and internals.
the more sensitive your antenna and the more cohesive the internals can work together to filter out the trash in the airwaves and translates in better reception.

Oh BTW I have to rant here guys...
Sub channels are STUPID!!!
OMG this radio has 10 gazillion sub channel for each channel!!!
All sub channels do is basically use the base channel but adds a carrier to the transmission that enables the receiving radio to only allow that same sub channel to be received BUT anyone tuned to the channel will hear it so it's no private to only you and your party. by this I means
my radio is on channel 16 sub 0, 3 teams are using 16 sub 1, 16 sub 2 and 16 sub 3
Yeah the guys on 16 sub 1 only hear other people on 16 sub 1 but anyone on channel 16 sub 0 will hear EVERYONE using channel 16 sub whatever.
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Old 09-16-2013, 02:53 PM
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Nforcer, that is good information about how the sub channels actually work.
If I am understanding that correctly then team could theoretically be assigned one channel with command being assigned the base channel ( say channel 2 sub 0) and each squad assigned a sub channel of 2. Each squad would hear their transmissions without hearing the transmissions of the other squads, but command would be able to hear all squads?

Does the base channel also transmit to all sub channels?
As you can tell I really know nothing about how the channels / sub channels work. I myself never bought anything more than those cheap Cobra FRS radios. They always seemed to work well enough. I HATE the earbud/ mic that comes with them, but they can be replaced with something better. I honestly believe it is better to run with no earpiece/ mic than it is to use the set that comes with them. For some reason they seem to hot mic once they have been used for awhile.
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Old 09-16-2013, 04:33 PM
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If I am understanding that correctly then team could theoretically be assigned one channel with command being assigned the base channel ( say channel 2 sub 0) and each squad assigned a sub channel of 2. Each squad would hear their transmissions without hearing the transmissions of the other squads, but command would be able to hear all squads?
Yes, however, remember that in a given area, if yore than one radio transmits on a channel at a time, they interfere with each other. So the people wet to ch 2 sub 0 in your example would hear all those other squads "stepping on" each other all day, and it would be quite useless.

From the perspective of the squads using sub channels, they wouldn't hear the other squads, but the interference is still there, so your squad mates may not even hear your transmission because, unbeknownst to you, someone in another squad was transmitting at the same time as you, and the interference cancelled you out. This is why at larger events comms break down when prolific use of sub channels is employed.

Quote:
Does the base channel also transmit to all sub channels?
No. The base channel can only be heard by other radios on the base channel (no sub tones).

The term "sub channel" is really a terrible misnomer. They are really sub-audible tones sent by the radio that you don't hear, but receiving radios do. If the receiving radio is set to a specific tone, and it "hears" it on a transmission, then it "turns on" the receiver and allows you to hear the message. If it doesn't hear the right tone, then it doesn't turn on. If no tone is set on the receiving radio, then it turns on for all transmissions on that frequency.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:12 PM
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Thanks for the info D Man. Those things are good to know.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:45 AM
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The whole "sub channel" thing was a dastardly move by radio manufacturers to make it look like their unit was better than another. The real term is Continuous Tone Code Squelch System, and its purpose is to filter out white noise without also filtering out weak transmissions.

If airsoft players remember ANYTHING about radios, this should be it.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by India View Post
The whole "sub channel" thing was a dastardly move by radio manufacturers to make it look like their unit was better than another. The real term is Continuous Tone Code Squelch System, and its purpose is to filter out white noise without also filtering out weak transmissions.

If airsoft players remember ANYTHING about radios, this should be it.
Or the fact that the first thing that goes down is comms.

Granted radio communication is a great asset for airsoft, implicit communication and good orders are far more necessary.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:53 AM
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Or the fact that the first thing that goes down is comms.
In my experience, the will to communicate fails before the equipment does.
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