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jeffery7466

Questions on Radios

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Hello, I seems to have hijacked Nacoma's thread. So here is a new one.

So I've read a few different threads, and here's what I've gathered.

-Dont get Baofengs, or UHFs, they need a licence

-Get Motorola, binatone, or any other PMR446 radios.

-Get a radio with iVOX/VOX settings

-Don't get military replica

 

I realised that different PMR446 radios offer different number of channels. How many channels will I need, and will they be compatible with different makes and models?

 

Cheers

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Personally I wouldn't buy a Baofeng without a licence to cover it. Even at low power, it transmits at 900-1000mW which is nearly twice the permitted power on PMR446, Technically overpower. Worse, its very tempting in a game to just hit the high power selector and output a full 5W on those channels if you cant get through to teammates.

 

IMHO Binatone PMR446 aren't very good. Motorola are quite good, but this is more from experience rather than quantification.

 

Personally,I would go back to basics. Who do you want to talk to and over what distance. From that decide whether to go PMR446 or get an OFCOM licence. Then decide what kind of mic/speaker/headset you want to use for your loadout/needs and match that with the PTT and radio so everything talks together.

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Well that's no good then :( I've got 2 of the baofeng 888s with throat mic setup

 

Didn't realise you needed a licence to operate a radio, all I need it for is to talk with my kids and team mates when skirmishing

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The airsoft fields usually are in the middle of nowhere. If you transmit with 4W you will be transmitting about 3 miles (because of the terrain and the trees). Doesn't disturb anyone as long as you stick with the pmr frequencies. If you use 0.5W pmr, your range is 2-300m. That's fine for a skirimish, but nothing more.

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Didn't realise you needed a licence to operate a radio, all I need it for is to talk with my kids and team mates when skirmishing

 

You don't need a licence to operate a radio transmitter in the UK so long as it complies (or you operate it in compliance with) with the the UK's Licence Exempt rules, which for most people will generally mean they'll be using a PMR446 (Private Mobile Radio), aka a little 'walkie-talkie'. The rules in relation to those essentially boil down to: Maximum ERP (Effective Radiated Power) of the equipment is no more than 10mW (which limits its range to a few hundred meters in built up areas and a few miles out in the open) Frequency range: 446.1 to 446.2 MHz, which gives you 8 channels on analogue equipment and 16 channels on digital equipment. They are useful not only for your own comms in skirmishing, but also for monitoring 'the enemy' who are likely to be using PMR446s as well.

 

If you want more range (and privacy from those at a skirmish), you could use a 27Mhz 'CB radio', which (since 2006) no longer requires a WT licence (the licences were actually only 25 quid from the Post Office, but hardly anyone ever bothered to get one, so they dropped the requirement for you to have one lol). CB radios will give you more range, because they are allowed up to 4 Watts of power, and they'll also give you up to 40 channels, depending on the make and model, but the increased range may mean you'll have other people busting in on your channel doing all that 'Convoy-style, Breaker One-nine for a copy, this is the Rubber Duck in an 18-wheeler pulling in at Watford Gap services for a nosebag.' nonsense. Also note that the CB radio channels are under the regulation of the MOD, who can without notice jam those frequencies, and unlike with aviation band frequencies, where they issue a NOTAM telling pilots that they'll be jamming certain frequencies in certain areas, with CBs, the MOD can jam them with no notification at all to users, although to be fair, this does not happen that often, if ever really. Nevertheless, you can find compact mobile handheld CB radios second hand on fleabay for 20 quid upwards (and it's likely to be better build quality than a PMR446 radio for the same price, although probably a bit bigger). Since less people use CBs at skirmishes, it's unlikely that the other side will be eavesdropping on you, although as noted, the MOD might be interested in you mentioning over the airwaves that you're 'commencing a pincer movement on the machine gun emplacement' or whatever, and you'll lose the ability to communicate with most players who are using PMR446 equipment.

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The radios I have are 16 channel, 400-470mhz

 

Blacks ops Bristol use the very same radios I have so they must be ok

 

Like all airsoft stuff I have, its all for the sport

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I am getting more and more confused...

 

Take for example this random PMR446 radio I found: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Midland-G5-Licence-Comtech-Headsets/dp/B009UJ2M4E/ref=sr_1_29?ie=UTF8&qid=1412533132&sr=8-29&keywords=2+way+radio+pmr446

It says it has 8 channels - but has 968 channel combinations. WTF?

Then say I bought this Baofeng BF-888 radio: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Baofeng-BF-888S-Transceiver-Illumination-Flashlight-black/dp/B00BPNUJDY/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1412534683&sr=1-1&keywords=BF+888

 

It only has 16 memory channels. Does that mean that I have to arrange the frequency/channel (are they the same thing?) beforehand so I can programme it to match the PMR446 radios?

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I am getting more and more confused...

 

Take for example this random PMR446 radio I found: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Midland-G5-Licence-Comtech-Headsets/dp/B009UJ2M4E/ref=sr_1_29?ie=UTF8&qid=1412533132&sr=8-29&keywords=2+way+radio+pmr446

 

It says it has 8 channels - but has 968 channel combinations. WTF?

Then say I bought this Baofeng BF-888 radio: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Baofeng-BF-888S-Transceiver-Illumination-Flashlight-black/dp/B00BPNUJDY/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1412534683&sr=1-1&keywords=BF+888

 

It only has 16 memory channels. Does that mean that I have to arrange the frequency/channel (are they the same thing?) beforehand so I can programme it to match the PMR446 radios?

 

 

 

The first one has 8 channels you can talk on, but it has the capability to put combinations on those channels so that other radios with that same combination will be the only ones you hear and communicate with, so you don't hear other radios within range. Think of it like a cross between an intelligent squelch control and a 'scrambler'. It would stop other PMR users monitoring your comms, unless they knew your combination setting.

 

The second one would require you to reprogramme it to be in compliance with the Licence Exempt rules in the UK, but that's not hard, you'd need to download some software (free) to do that, and buy a cable in order to connect the thing to a PC so that it could be achieved. The memory channels is essentially its 'favourites' that it can store.

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Its very simple. You are not licencing the radio, you are buying a licence to operate on specific frequencies.

 

As had already been said, if you buy a PMR446 radio which operates on the licence-free frequency allocations in the 446MHZ band, that's fine as long as the radio complies with the terms of that arrangement (i.e max 500mW power, etc).

 

If you operate on other frequencies, you need some form of licence. A lot of airsoft sites have licences. We do for our milsims. Check with them to see if they cover your use of your Baofeng at their site.

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The first one has 8 channels you can talk on, but it has the capability to put combinations on those channels so that other radios with that same combination will be the only ones you hear and communicate with, so you don't hear other radios within range. Think of it like a cross between an intelligent squelch control and a 'scrambler'. It would stop other PMR users monitoring your comms, unless they knew your combination setting.

 

The second one would require you to reprogramme it to be in compliance with the Licence Exempt rules in the UK, but that's not hard, you'd need to download some software (free) to do that, and buy a cable in order to connect the thing to a PC so that it could be achieved. The memory channels is essentially its 'favourites' that it can store.

 

Close but not quite, even if you've got CTCSS enabled on a channel (say Channel 2 CTCSS code 26), anyone not using CTCSS will be able to hear it regardless. There's no scrambler or encryption going on, it just puts a tone on the transmission which enables the transmission to be ignored by radios not using that specific CTCSS code.

 

Likewise, people often think that putting yourself on Channel 2 and CTCSS code 23 (as an arbitrary example) and someone else on Channel 2 CTCSS code 22 will deconflict their transmissions, but both of those radios are transmitting on the same frequency (446.01875MHz) and will block out each other's transmissions if you transmit at the same time.

 

​There are only 8 PMR446 channels, regardless of the number stated, there are 8 channels:

1 446.00625

2 446.01875

3 446.03125

4 446.04375

5 446.05625

6 446.06875

7 446.08125

8 446.09375

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Likewise, people often think that putting yourself on Channel 2 and CTCSS code 23 (as an arbitrary example) and someone else on Channel 2 CTCSS code 22 will deconflict their transmissions, but both of those radios are transmitting on the same frequency (446.01875MHz) and will block out each other's transmissions if you transmit at the same time.

 

 

Then what the hell is the point?

 

Edit: Also, there is Analogue PMR (8 channels), Digital PMR (16 channels), and Digital TDMA (8 channels). What is the difference, and do I need to worry about them?

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I've looked at the baofeng UV-5R and thinking of getting it cause you can program all sorts of frequencies on the screen directly

 

I have the UK 466 freq's written down so would I program the 1st three numbers and the last 3 numbers on the keypad ???

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You don't need a licence to operate a radio transmitter in the UK so long as it complies (or you operate it in compliance with) with the the UK's Licence Exempt rules, which for most people will generally mean they'll be using a PMR446 (Private Mobile Radio), aka a little 'walkie-talkie'. The rules in relation to those essentially boil down to: Maximum ERP (Effective Radiated Power) of the equipment is no more than 10mW (which limits its range to a few hundred meters in built up areas and a few miles out in the open) Frequency range: 446.1 to 446.2 MHz, which gives you 8 channels on analogue equipment and 16 channels on digital equipment. They are useful not only for your own comms in skirmishing, but also for monitoring 'the enemy' who are likely to be using PMR446s as well.

 

If you want more range (and privacy from those at a skirmish), you could use a 27Mhz 'CB radio', which (since 2006) no longer requires a WT licence (the licences were actually only 25 quid from the Post Office, but hardly anyone ever bothered to get one, so they dropped the requirement for you to have one lol). CB radios will give you more range, because they are allowed up to 4 Watts of power, and they'll also give you up to 40 channels, depending on the make and model, but the increased range may mean you'll have other people busting in on your channel doing all that 'Convoy-style, Breaker One-nine for a copy, this is the Rubber Duck in an 18-wheeler pulling in at Watford Gap services for a nosebag.' nonsense. Also note that the CB radio channels are under the regulation of the MOD, who can without notice jam those frequencies, and unlike with aviation band frequencies, where they issue a NOTAM telling pilots that they'll be jamming certain frequencies in certain areas, with CBs, the MOD can jam them with no notification at all to users, although to be fair, this does not happen that often, if ever really. Nevertheless, you can find compact mobile handheld CB radios second hand on fleabay for 20 quid upwards (and it's likely to be better build quality than a PMR446 radio for the same price, although probably a bit bigger). Since less people use CBs at skirmishes, it's unlikely that the other side will be eavesdropping on you, although as noted, the MOD might be interested in you mentioning over the airwaves that you're 'commencing a pincer movement on the machine gun emplacement' or whatever, and you'll lose the ability to communicate with most players who are using PMR446 equipment.

one thing i would add on to is that with cb radios is do not use channel 9 as its an emergency channel

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I've looked at the baofeng UV-5R and thinking of getting it cause you can program all sorts of frequencies on the screen directly

 

I have the UK 466 freq's written down so would I program the 1st three numbers and the last 3 numbers on the keypad ???

 

If you already have the 888s, I would stick to them, the uv5r is a good bit of kit but if you only want the PMR channels then you can simply pre program them into the memory. No hassle, no messing just 8 simple channels.

 

It is too easy to inadvertently change the channel on the UV5r while its in your pocket, there is also a lot to break including the screen and button surrounds. The 888s is a bit more reliable and robust personally.

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If you already have the 888s, I would stick to them, the uv5r is a good bit of kit but if you only want the PMR channels then you can simply pre program them into the memory. No hassle, no messing just 8 simple channels.

 

It is too easy to inadvertently change the channel on the UV5r while its in your pocket, there is also a lot to break including the screen and button surrounds. The 888s is a bit more reliable and robust personally.

 

If I did get the BF888, how can I select different CTCSS codes on the memorised PMR channels?

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I was thinking of uv-5r because of the programming, I can have all the uk legal frequencys and program the others

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Then what the hell is the point?

 

Edit: Also, there is Analogue PMR (8 channels), Digital PMR (16 channels), and Digital TDMA (8 channels). What is the difference, and do I need to worry about them?

 

dPMR and dTDMA are perfectly usable standards but 99% of other airsofters will have standard PMR446 radios, no point buying a flash 16 channel dPMR radio if you can't use half the channels because no one else has got them!

 

I personally really rate the Baofeng UV5R, it's a bit of a pain to learn the features initially, but once you've got your head round programming it you've got a lot more flexibility than you would with a standard 8channel PMR446 radio. For example, at bigger games (like ground zero etc) the standard 8 channels get completely swamped by thousands of people trying to use them all at once, a license to allow you to use a different frequency range is cheap and will allow you and your team to use your own frequencies that will not only be quiet, they'll also be completely private.

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Many years ago I had some professional Motorola radios and I bought a licence for the team I generally skirmished with; own channels so nobody could snoop in, and as jcheeseright said PMRs get swamped at big games... or some players like to find a channel and 'jam' it to block other players communications.

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All very interesting and technical stuff guys, many thanks, particularly for the freqs.

What about the British Army issue PRC-344 PRR and its use in airsofting? Are there any legal issues? any practical issues with clashes or freqs etc?

Cheers for any advice or input

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As long as they don't contain prohibited frequencies and are programmed with the PMR frequencies then there should be no problems.

 

If you want to be a real nerd you can have a look at all the frequency bands available in the UK here: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/spectrum/fat.html

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If I did get the BF888, how can I select different CTCSS codes on the memorised PMR channels?

You will have to program the 16 available channels as needed.

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You will have to program the 16 available channels as needed.

 

 

So the CTCSS will have to be programmed into it as well? Like say I program PMR 446.00625 to memory channel 1, then 446.00625 CTCSS code 1 to memory channel 2, then 446.00625 CTCSS code 2 to memory channel 3, etc etc etc?

 

Then 16 memory channels isn't a lot. From what I remember as a kid, a basic motorola can do all 8 channels with up to 26 CTCSS each or something.

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