The importance of Radio communication

Discuss about all kinds of radio`s sutable for airsoft games.
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The importance of Radio communication

Post by Thinker » 17 Apr 2008, 02:35

This is me trying to start a discussion on the importance of radio communications in games, perticulary Berget-Events, and inform a little more about radios.

I have been to many smaller and larger airsoftgames for the past ten years plus, although almost exclusively in sweden, but as I see it there is a big grey area called radio communication in many players minds. Everyone has some idea of the concept, but suprisingly few accually have radios on larger games.

I can say for the rest of the world but on your average swedish airsoft game, no matter size, you will find a few groups where everyone has a quite advanced cryto/scrambled radio for ingroup communication and a few for communication to other groups, some groups without any radios at all, and mostly groups that has one or more radio where the radios might not acually be on the same freqency band, just intended for communication to other groups.

I have a feeling the same apply to most of the groups going to Berget-Events, no matter which country, and the meaning of this thread is to try and change that.

First of all, I know radios isnt a priority for every group, nomatter the economy. But the implications on the game and organisation of groups, platoons and so forth is big to say the least.

- Basic effect on the group -
Not everyone in a group needs a radio, but a few, say two or more radios per eight or ten players makes the group more effective, and helps to organise everything from "where the hell are you now?" when people respawn, to being a moral boost since your little group doesnt feel quite so alone in a bad situation "oh shit, we got loads of enemies comming here". Without radios everything the group does have to be made by finding and talking directly to the other in the group. If a group splits up they better have a plan to meet up again, or be separated until they happen to find eachother. Talking freely exactly where you are and what you do openly on a radio might get you eliminated since the enemy might be listening, but to name a few points in the terrain, have a grid and a map and the problem with enemies listening can almost cease to exist.

- Communication -
Radios is really helpfull in larger games and perticulary over larger gameareas where there is a chain of command (COC)

Consider the following: A group without a radio, is a group thats hard to reach for the commander, you have to find them and give orders by mouth, or send someone to do it, and also the group cant give information up the chain of command ladder without the same action. So if you send the group on missions or give the group orders, you have to think that lack of radiocontact wont be important. Some tasks and missions can only be given or is prefered to those that you as a leader know you can reach, and that they can reach you with vital information.

Most recon and sentry duties basically need a radio link to the commander. For example a roadwatch/roadblock a kilometer away wont be able to contact base that the enemy is storming down the road, and theyre surrounded. Can be a nasty supprise for the base. Or if the allianses in a conflict changes, you have to find every group to inform them, miss and a few groups just might start a big and serious conflict with your new allies. Been on games that this has happened, and the entire game focus changed since a single little group who did have a radio didnt hear the "NATO is our friends now, so dont shoot NATO troops"...

A small group that the Commander knows always can be reached often ends up being more useful, having a larger impact on the game and getting more missions, than a larger group that might be better for the task.

- The radios -
You dont have to buy expensive radios, in most european countries, you can buy something called PMR quite cheap and atleast here in sweden theyre in lots of stores, its not a perfect radio, but its not a bad radio either. And its loads better than what you got for the money 10 years ago. In sweden PMR radios usually cost between 10-50 euros, the cheaper just lacks subchannels. These radios is very userfriendly.

If you want a better radio, but still on a budget, you can get a so called "chinese radio". They mostly sell online, thru ebay and more: Feidaxin, Jingtong, Linton, Puxing, Wouxun, Quansheng, Weierwel and more. They usually cost 40-80 euro delivered. Theyre generally quite good, but the exact features difference and some is more durable and resist water better than other. These radios usually have plenty of functions, and mostly you never use them. But it might be better to get a mil-spec that can stand rain and water before some functions you wont be using. They have to be programmed, and the manual is usually crap, there is good manuals, but some is really a decoding process more than reading.

Then there is the higher quality stuff, and known brands as Motorola, Kenwood, Icom and more. They doesnt have to be better, you always pay something for the brand itself.

But be carefull if your going to program a radio, do it right. You might mess up some really important radio traffic and make the wrong people really mad. Its better to use the right frequency and radio settings on a band that your allowed to use, even if the radio is somewhat stronger than the legal limit. You cant measure if the signal you recieve is from a half watt, or 5 watt radio, and remember. Power isnt everything. High transmitting power just drain the battery faster, it might give double the range, but it will give shorter battery time.

If you want to reach far and hear radio signals well, a good antenna and height is more important than transmitting power. Have the radio high up on the body, preferably with the antenna vertically over the shoulder, and if the signals weak, stand up. On the better radios, a better longer matched antenna can double the recieving distance or more. If youre in a deep ditch, with the radio in a pocket surrounded by metal magasines, and youre pressing the radio down in the ground with you body, dont expect to reach far. Its basically a worst case scenario. People that know what theyre doing, standing on hills and towers have reached more than 200km with standard 0.5W PMR radios.

Oh by the way: Subchannels, subtones, CTCSS, DCS and so on, is not really channels, thats just marketing speak, theyre really just filters that stops your radio from turning on the speaker unless the radio transmitting is useing the same filter setting. These are usually a number (1-38 ) or a frequency (67-250Hz). But it helps to stop hearing a lot of radio chatter thats not from the people you want to hear, so it have its uses.

And a final tip for radios on Berget-Events: Have extra batteries, and I recommend some form of headset. To Ducttape the radio on the vest shouldband works, but isnt recommended.

Always remember: Google is your friend. Use it.
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Post by conger » 14 May 2009, 13:41

Speaking of google ...

Have a quick scan through the folllowing link. It's good basic advise irrespective of what frequency band you are on.

It's from a search and Rescue information site, but ignoring the specific activity of the internet site in question, these are worthwhile guideline to review.

This information is from Foothills Search And Rescue

Conger Out
B7 NATO Foxtrott 2:2 Squad Leader
Keep it slow and silent but when in contact, loud and violent!

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