A short piece just after completing the 2019 England vs Scotland game at Catterick, just to talk briefly about radios.
Doing big events with the Norvern Monkeys, I’ve rarely carried a radio at all. It’s something I’ve wanted to correct for a while now and I’ve been closely following the North West Mercs and Reivers airsoft teams who have supported us so well during England games the last few years. Their home site is the one used for Sniperworks, and both teams are very established and well organised. They run skirmish days as battlesims rather than just a Sunday skirmish, and all this practice means they’re very well drilled as a unit when it counts.
I do talk almost daily to a few of their guys and after hearing “the team that talks is the team that wins”, I wanted to know more about running an effective comms setup for the bigger games. The Norvern Monkeys are a very experienced and motivated team, and do dominate at big games. But there’s almost no communication in games and we’re not able to see what’s happening on the wider battlefield to be able to react accordingly, and have almost no intel or instruction being passed across from other sources. It means we’re not aware of incoming enemy, or where support and other assets are if needed.
It should be pointed out that even with limited comms, the Monkeys still scored EVERY objective given to us at this event bar one, which was contested and therefore the team did not give Scotland a chance. It is still a devastatingly effective outfit even if we can’t “see” beyond the area we’re in.
During skirmishes, I have four Motorola talkr radios which are cheap and cheerful, and very effective. But they only work with other talkr sets, and range is limited, especially in big urban areas.
Urban areas are a nightmare for radios. Whinny Hill FIBUA, Catterick Garrison.
I needed something more flexible, and something that could be programmed to different frequencies if need be (not that I had any idea how to and still don’t, but there was a teammate with the necessary expertise). And was given a link for baofengs. A lot of airsofters will be familiar with the standard baofeng UV-5R model, but there’s a better option. The UV-82.
Here’s a pic.
The major advantage here is, if you look at the display, that the UV-82 runs two channels simultaneously. For example, our local team network “monkeynet”, and potentially command or another team. Or, if you had several, a way to connect to every callsign on the entire battlefield and then relay information via the main channel to your squad. It’s a huge advantage and one we’ll be looking to tap into.
After doing an event at Catterick in the summer, and running the Motorola talkr sets, it became apparent that signal was an issue. Speaking to Reivers boss Crash, its more a problem at this site which is almost totally red brick built, which contains a lot of iron, therefore putting you inside a metal box each time you enter a building. The solution?
Crash custom makes these…
It’s a wearable antenna. And after a damn good field test in difficult terrain, I can say that it works absolutely perfectly with no loss of signal or distortion even when we were at opposite ends of the site. Forgot to take any pictures while it was set up, but I ran the radio on my left shoulder, and this flexible cord style antenna rand down loops in my hydration pack, and back up to the top, taped in place, to give you an idea of length. Being flexible, it can be threaded through anywhere on the rig, but is less bulky than a traditional whip style antenna, which will also be useful when switching back to a sniper role.
They are £15 each. Which, for the capability they give you, is next to nothing.
In addition, I ran the stock earpiece and dual ptt that came with the radio, which was a bit fiddly to locate the buttons on when wearing gloves but that’s something to look at in the future. Also in the box is the charger, a clip, and the instructions. It worked perfectly, and I’m very happy with it.
Here’s a link for the radio. It’s so cheap for what you get, and totally recommend it.
Also worth considering, if you’re doing a full weekend event (it will last the duration), is an extended battery for it. Again, very cheap and a really useful upgrade, link is here.
*UPDATE* I have since purchased a fist mic, instead of having an earpiece blocking my hearing and dropping out. It has a dual PTT included so you can still make use of the two channels. There are loads of these cheap fist mics out there for Baofeng radios, make sure you get the right one with the dual PTT, which is a pain in the arse to get hold of. Here’s a link if it helps.
The antenna, pm me.