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Namaco

Is it worth getting a radio?

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I've always wondered. Is it any worth getting a radio for airsoft? Do a lot of people use radios? From what I've seen and amount of playing on my local site on TWA not many people use radios but as I plan on going to sites that are further away from me which makes me think people in there might be using radio. So tell me AF-UK. Is it worth getting a radio for airsoft?

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I use radio's and I've seen quite a few others being used. Their extremely useful. You can pick something up quite cheaply as well...

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Yeah - all you need is a basic PMR 446. You can get them fairly cheap, and they are small and light so it's not like you're lugging too much extra kit around. I always carry a radio, chances are there will be others there using them.

 

I'd avoid Cobra radios - good functions and price, but fussy on headsets! You'll need at least an earpice so you don't suddenly give your position away with loud radio chat coming in :) Look at Motorola radios :)

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Yup, it's worth getting a radio, for two reasons: First up, cheap PMR radios can be had in sets of two or four for not much money at all, which means you can gear a team up for next to nothing. Even if you play on your own, can be handed out to scratch team members to aid coordination, which is especially useful in CQB, where people on your squad can easily be out of sight. Cheap PMRs are often bright colours, since they are often marketed as kids toys or for fell walkers to whom high visibility colours would doubtless appeal, but if that bothers you, it is easily solved with a blast from some matt black or olive drab car spray primer paint and a bit of careful masking of display screens etc, and hey presto, looks like special forces micro radio gear.

 

Second, even if you don't have several PMR radios, they will enable you to monitor people who are using them (both friendly and enemy). Anyone who knows anything about warfare knows how much trouble militaries go to in trying to listen in on the enemy, and for good reason. Since this is the case, if you play regularly with others and use radios, some practice on brevity, code phrases and things such as the phonetic alphabet might come in handy.

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Radios are a game changer when used properly. 99% of the time they're not used properly though!

 

That said, when you get a few people working well together on radios it definitely makes a team more effective. For that reason alone I always have a radio on me for walk on games at the start of the day, if it turns out that it's not gonna get any use I ditch the weight.

 

For milsim games or when I'm playing with the team I always carry it, simply because I know it'll prove useful.

 

As far as headsets/earpieces go, if you're after practicality above all else then a speaker mic with an aux out to a bouncer style earpiece is the way forward. The earpiece won't impede your hearing, the mic will work and has a nice big button so it's easy to use with gloves on. Most importantly though, if you buy the same manufacturer as your radio you're guaranteed compatibility. If you go down the airsoft repro route then all you can guarantee is shonky wiring and compatibility issues.

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I've used a throat mic but for me it was uncomfortable so I went back to the standard army earpiece and mic

 

In civilian life now, I use a covert (clear tube) earpiece and mic that can clip on your sleeve or near your mouth on a jacket

 

My mic is located on the zip part of my combat jacket

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Radios are a game changer when used properly. 99% of the time they're not used properly though!

 

That said, when you get a few people working well together on radios it definitely makes a team more effective. For that reason alone I always have a radio on me for walk on games at the start of the day, if it turns out that it's not gonna get any use I ditch the weight.

 

For milsim games or when I'm playing with the team I always carry it, simply because I know it'll prove useful.

 

As far as headsets/earpieces go, if you're after practicality above all else then a speaker mic with an aux out to a bouncer style earpiece is the way forward. The earpiece won't impede your hearing, the mic will work and has a nice big button so it's easy to use with gloves on. Most importantly though, if you buy the same manufacturer as your radio you're guaranteed compatibility. If you go down the airsoft repro route then all you can guarantee is shonky wiring and compatibility issues.

 

Also, how does one use a radio properly then? :P

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Ideally, you want radio chatter to a minimum, I was taught in the army that orders/info shouldn't be longer than 10-12 seconds

 

You start with your call sign to the persons call sign, ie - 'Charlie 17 (your call sign) to Charlie 18 (there call sign)

 

Any orders are represented as

 

Hello zero (base camp or HQ)

Over (you want a response)

Out (end chatter)

Roger (you received and understood)

Affirmative (yes)

Negative (no)

Say again (you want them to repeat what they said)

 

That's about what I remember being taught, its always a good thing to learn the Phonetic Alphabet

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Also, how does one use a radio properly then? :P

 

Keep your messages short and to the point.

Identify yourself clearly and make it clear who the message is intended for; generally accepted format for this is "YOU this is ME, message, OVER / OUT" - people listen for their own name/callsign, saying it first switches them on to the fact the message is for them. If you lead with your own name/callsign they won't necessarily start listening properly until they hear their own name, which inevitably leads to them calling back to ask who it was that passed the message!

If you're reporting contact with the other team "my position" is not useful to people who don't know where you are. That goes for all reporting of anything location based (e.g. Five blue team members moving to the south of the ammo dump), if you cannot accurately describe the location then the information you're passing is useless and takes up time on the radio that could be used by someone else.

 

Those are just a few of my personal bugbears with airsoft-radio use, there's a hundred more I'm sure.

 

 

In fact, this is turning into more of a 'how to not be a dick on the radio' post... so I'll probably start a new thread for it. Watch this space.

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In fact, this is turning into more of a 'how to not be a dick on the radio' post... so I'll probably start a new thread for it. Watch this space.

 

Sounds like a good idea!

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Slight hijack (but on topic), has anyone got any links for a decent yet cheap radio?

 

Additionally are there any rules or regulations to owning one? If so what is an alternative?

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Alright thanks lads! Really appreciate for the info. Will probably end up buying one later on but when... God knows. Happily I know how to use radio in a proper way thanks to some milsim experience xD

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Simple answer, if you want to be able to communicate with teammates without having to give away your position too badly or if you would have to shout to get them then yes.

 

If you don't know anyone and you turn up on your own it probably wont be of much help.

 

Having said that, you will find people at a site normally use a basic set of radios as mentioned above that conform to the PMR 446 feq's, they are pretty much all compatible because the frequency ranges and stuff are prescribed by the government and fairly limited so its easy to pick up one cheap and use it. You may find that if you turn up and make a few friends with people on your team you might be able to join in the radio chatter.

 

I for one find there are too many functions on PMR446 that can't be turned off or locked out like the call button, and there is always someone who cant control this. Really annoying. My team use a higher powered set of radios, made by baofeng but they are overpowered for non licenced use. We now have a licence and a set of semi private frequencies, there are added rules, like using correct radio procedure and not swearing/being offensive. It cost £75 for these freq's for 3 years and one of the guys in the team filled in all the paperwork, we had to legitimise our existence somewhat, I believe his house is now our club address. The other advantage is that in open ground we can get crystal clear comm's over about 4 or 5 miles.

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Also, how does one use a radio properly then? :P

 

Think brevity and clarity; that's the key to good radio discipline. Identify yourself and who you are calling, i.e. 'Red One to Red Two', that sort of thing. Use the phonetic alphabet to spell stuff out if it's noisy. Most of the phonetic alphabet letters are more than one syllable (not all of them though) in order to make it clearer if a crackle or pop obliterates some of the sound. Also note that in addition to the regulation Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, etc for letters, numbers are pronounced differently than in normal speech in order to make them clear over a radio, so they go like this: Wun, Too, Tree, Fo-Wer, Fife, Six, Sev-Ven, Ate, Nine-Er, Zee-Ro.

 

Codenames should be two syllables in order to make them clearer through static and should not be anything confusing or synonomous with what they represent, since that would defeat the object of them being codewords of course. Thus, in the terrible movie Top Gun, Tom Cruise's character would never really have been allowed to use 'Maverick' as a callsign, since callsigns have to be approved, and the US Navy would never have approved a callsign which was the same name as the air-launched AGM-65 Maverick missile, which is in their arsenal of weaponry, since that might lead to confusion over the radio. In fact, to avoid confusion, US forces don't even use the word Maverick on the radio when they really are launching a Maverick missile, they use the codeword 'Rifle'!

 

Give your team a unit callsign and designate each member as a number, so if your team's callsign is 'Breadbin' for example, then you will have 'breadbin 1', 'breadbin 2' etc. The only deviation from this system is the leader, who uses the callsign followed by the word 'actual', so he or she would be 'Breadbin Actual'. The numbers are used in sequence when the leader wants a status report, so if Breadbin Actual requests ammo status, Breadbin 1 answers first, then Breadbin 2 answers, etc. Remember that 'Over' means 'I have stopped taking, and expect a reply', whereas 'Out' means I have stopped talking and do not expect a reply. Thus in movies when you hear people say 'Over and Out' they are talking utter b*ll*cks, and sound like total amatuers, because one is a contradiction of the other. If you need to communicate with two people quickly and the nessages are seperate commands, you use the word 'break', for example: 'Breadbin One from Breadbin Actual, move fifty metres east. Break. Breadbin Two, maintain overwatch on your position. Acknowledge.' Breadbin One would then acknowledge he understood by saying something like 'Breadbin one, understood, on the move.' then Breadbin Two would also acknowledge his order.

 

You can use other common brevity phrases such as 'Wilco' which means 'will comply', 'Roger', which means 'yes, understood', Negative, which means 'no' obviously, affirm, or affirmative, which means 'yes' (two rapid clicks on the transmit key is also commonly used to acknowledge stuff, or can also mean yes), 'Mike' means 'metre', 'oscar mike' means 'on the move', 'Winchester' which means 'out of ammo'. Google will turn up a lot of others for you if you wanna go all super authentic with code words.

 

Codewords are more common in everyday life than you think, for example, I was at St Pancras Underground Station a couple of weeks ago and heard 'Will Inspector Sands please report to the security office' being played repeatedly over the tannoy. Sounds innocent enough, doesn't it? In fact, most passengers on the platform were jokingly saying things like 'ooh, I bet he's in trouble', little realising that 'inspector sands' is code on the London Underground for a fire. Me on the other hand, was on the first train out of there lol. There are other codenames they use for bomb threats and such too, such as Mr Gravel and Mr Jones, so if you hear them on the Tube in London, get the feck out of there rapido lol.

 

If you have to report stuff, don't blurt out useless things such as 'look out, he's behind you!' because everyone who hears it will duck. Report it calmly, indicating who you are referring to. If you have to report a location, identify it from a landmark or location which everyone knows, and then give the distance in feet or metres, and bearing in degrees, assuming everyone knows which way north is (they probably won't), or if you are all advancing one way, you can use clock positions, i.e. three o'clock is right, nine o'clock is left, six is behind and twelve is in front etc.

 

If it's a WW2 milsim, you might wanna use the older phonetic alphabet, and be aware that this differed between nations, i.e. the Americans used Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy etc, whereas the RAF used Ace, Beer, Charlie, Don, Edward etc, the RN had Apples, Butter, Charlie, Duff, Edward etc. Needless to say this was confusing, so they now all use the ICAO/Nato one which most people know, i.e: Alpha through to Zulu.

 

Hope that helps.

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Ehhh.... close enough. bit americanised though.

 

Oh, and maverick is an authorised callsign, not for an individual but when I was working with the USN a couple of years back their CAP were callsign 'maverick'.

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Ehhh.... close enough. bit americanised though.

 

Oh, and maverick is an authorised callsign, not for an individual but when I was working with the USN a couple of years back their CAP were callsign 'maverick'.

 

Well, apparently, they callsign their AC-130 gunships 'Steel Rain'...

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Ehhh.... close enough. bit americanised though.

 

Oh, and maverick is an authorised callsign, not for an individual but when I was working with the USN a couple of years back their CAP were callsign 'maverick'.

 

Well sadly for us Brits, that's kind of the way things end up going since the Americans have a lot of sway with NATO, and not always in a good way. Witness the adoption of the 5.56mm round as a NATO infantry standard, despite objections from other NATO members. Being a pilot myself, I'm used to using typical British radio procedures, although I've noticed that a lot of Yank stuff is creeping into daily use on the airwaves over dear old Blighty. It's just the way things go. Ten years ago, most people had a coronary if you spelled 'colour' or 'armour' without the U, now people don't even bother mentioning it. Global Village and all that....

 

 

For a mission, i.e. CAP, yes, Maverick could certainly be an operational designation, but the chances of it being approved for use as an individual call sign which would need to be used in split-second conversations between members of a flight during combat are, I suspect, slim, as they would be with any other munition name, i.e. Sidewinder, Mark 84 etc. This would be especially true on the F-14 Tomcat, which was redeveloped into a multi-role bomber in its later years (AKA the 'Bombcat') before the F/A18 took over both CAP and CAS duties and the F-14 was retired. Both types being capable of carrying the AGM-65 Maverick, it certainly wouldn't be a great idea to give a pilot such a confusing callsign, although frankly, I wouldn't put anything past the US Navy, I know, I've worked with them too lol.

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a common misinterpretation. Roger means received and that is all. It does not mean understood for the simple reason that the operator may not be the intended recipient and is merely passing a message to their superior.

 

similiarly, the leader would have a separate and universal although in the real world it is different because they would not have a radio. After establishing comms the command would be 'fetch sunray'. The operator would then get the commanding officer then that person would use the radio themselves.

 

the easiest way to translate that into airsoft would be for the leader to be 0 which is always HQ but preceded by the team callsign ie Charlie Papa 0

 

conversely, GOLF is the only single syllable letter in the phonetic alphabet. It seems they missed that one. Gonads seems like a suitable replacement under the circumstances

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Yup, you are correct, Roger does literally only mean 'received', but I hear people all the time on the radio in aircraft using it to imply meaning 'received and understood', 'wilco' etc, so in practical terms, it does get used as that even though to do so is technically incorrect, which is why I generally use 'copy' or 'copied', so there is no doubt as to me meaning that I heard it and have 'copied' the info, i.e. in my case, scribbled it on my kneeboard if it is something like a magnetic heading to steer or a flight level I'm supposed to maintain.

 

Actually, 'Mike' is another single syllable letter in the phonetic alphabet. :-)

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I did wonder about mike but you could put a little emphasis in the ke to drag it out a little. Golf is just golf though

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they do that with 9 by adding an R on the end

 

there are some odd choices in there. November seems a little random considering the general concept appears to be 2 syllables for clarity. to be fair, that does make sense but then they throw golf and November in there to confuse people

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