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Hello,

I have been moving up the ladder in the world of Airsoft, and I would like to look at getting a pair of headsets for me and my mate to use at my local CQB site, The Mall. However, U have absolutely no idea on what to get, what the costs would be like, or laws towards radios (I know there have been some issues with them). Any and all advice welcome.

 

Thanks,

Spaz

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Hello,

I have been moving up the ladder in the world of Airsoft, and I would like to look at getting a pair of headsets for me and my mate to use at my local CQB site, The Mall. However, U have absolutely no idea on what to get, what the costs would be like, or laws towards radios (I know there have been some issues with them). Any and all advice welcome.

 

Thanks,

Spaz

I've used cheap Motorola pmr446 radios at the malls but whatever you use take the environment into consideration. A building like the malls will screw with the range and reception of any radio set that's legal to use without a license!

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Any cheap PMR446 (personal mobile radio transmitting on 446Mhz) will do at a push, however, different brands and types take different headset pins and that is where the problems can start, since some cheap PMRs can have odd jack sockets, which makes finding a headset which will work difficult. I would recommend going for radios with the Kenwood type two pin connector, as this is very common and so compatibility with a lot of mics and headsets is assured. Pretty much all PMR446 radios will have 16 channels, and can be coded to scramble the signal so that someone else with a similar radio on the same channel will not pick up your transmissions, a bit like an 'intelligent squelch control', so the smart thing to do is buy a pair, so that you know they are at least able to do the same thing. so although there are only sixteen channels, you do not need to worry about someone hearing you comms.

 

As Lozart says, range can be affected by the environment. PMR446 radios in the UK are licence-free, but they must be limited in power for you to be able to use them legally without a wireless telegraphy licence (they must be no greater than 500 mW effective radiated power, and they must use an integral antenna). This means they are typically good for about five or six miles range over open unobstructed ground, which is more than adequate for woodland sites, but considerably less when inside vehicles or in built up areas. There have been cases where dxers (radio buffs) have made contact with PMR446s at ranges of 150 miles, but these are exceptional occurrences where atmospherics have probably allowed signals to bounce off cloud layers to get past the curve of the Earth. Having said that, I've used PMR446 radios at Trojan's Wear Mill site in Stockport with no problems, and that is a six storey (including the basement) 15 bay brick mill, with stone stairwells, built in 1790, so it's not a flimsy building by any stretch of the imagination, and you can talk to someone five floors away from you with no issues.

 

Since you are considering headsets, and probably throat mikes too, the smart way to go about it would be to ensure that you can get affordable ones of those with widely compatible pin types, and then match the radios to those. With that in mind, a good choice would be something like these Boefeng 888 radios:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/400-470-BaoFeng-Rechargeable-Headset-Headphone-black/dp/B00S16ISJ0/ref=sr_1_22?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1422791903&sr=1-22&keywords=BAOFENG+BF-888

 

However, you should be aware that it would probably be illegal to use them straight out of the box without a wireless telegraphy licence, since they will not be transmitting on permitted PMR446 frequencies, since they are capable of transmit and receive on a frequency range of 400 to 470MHz. PMR licence-free usage must be on frequencies between 446.0 and 446.1 (i.e. your sixteen channels will be between 446.00625 MHz and 446.09375 MHz). This is not a problem though, but it will require you to reprogramme the radios to permitted frequencies. So, in addition to the radios, you will also need to buy one of these, in order to connect your radio to a PC, so that you can reprogramme the legal frequencies into the radio's memory:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Generic-Quality-Programming-KENWOOD-Baofeng-Black/dp/B00G1WSUP8/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1422791964&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=BAOFENG+BF-888+programming+lead

 

or this:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Programming-Cable-Baofeng-UV-5R-Radio/dp/B0083H56MY/ref=pd_bxgy_ce_img_y

 

If reprogramming the radio sounds complicated, don't worry, it isn't at all. All you need to do is download this driver (there are a few, for different PC operating systems, so choose the right one):

 

http://www.409shop.com/shop_displaynews.php?id=292

 

Then download this software (there are instruction on how to use it at that link):

 

http://www.miklor.com/BF888/888-SW-ZTV68.php

 

It's basically just a simple spreadsheet interface, where you would type in the correct (i.e. legal PMR) frequencies you wanted to use. Of course you'd have to do it for both radios. The frequencies you want would be something like:

 

446.00625 MHz
446.03125 MHz
446.05625 MHz
446.08125 MHz

446.01875 MHz
446.04375 MHz
446.06875 MHz
446.09375 MHz

 

That software will also let you change the radio's default interface language from Chinese to English, which I assume you would also want to do unless you are fluent in Mandarin lol.

 

So, having sorted all that crap out, unless you want to use the radios as hand-held walkie talkies (difficult when you are holding a gun), you will want some other bits and bobs. You could go real basic and get one of these, and leave the cable hanging on your shoulder, a bit like you see many police officers doing:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2-PIN-Handheld-Speaker-Mic-Indicator-Lamp-BAOFENG-UV5R-888S-H777-KENWOOD-Radio-/201086267495?pt=UK_ConsumerElectronics_SpecialistRadioEquipment_SM&hash=item2ed1acf067

 

Or, you could go with something like this, with a PTT (push to talk) button:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B00CR009M0/ref=asc_df_B00CR009M024083740?ie=UTF8&condition=new&tag=pgmp-15-410-21&creative=22282&creativeASIN=B00CR009M0&linkCode=df2

 

Or you could go all 'Nam' with one of these replica Prick 25 radio handsets:

 

http://www.airsoftworld.net/z-tactical-h-250-handset-for-pmr-radios-kenwood.html

 

Or, if you want a throat mike and an earpiece, you could go with something like this:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2x-RETEVIS-Throat-MIC-Earpiece-PTT-for-Kenwood-RETEVIS-WOUXUN-BAOFENG-888s-UK-/181502001456?pt=UK_Headsets&hash=item2a425cc130

 

The important bit to note overall, is the pin type that your radio has for connecting headsets etc, so whatever you go for, make sure you know you can get all the bits you want to use with the pin type which your radio has.

 

Hope that helps. And don't say 'over and out' like they do in the movies, or you will sound like a twat, because that is actually nonsense as far as comms go. :)

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Wow, that's quite a large amount of information; thank you. I will look into it, and for your information, I do speak some mandarin due to my years in Singapore. :)

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