GUIDE: FRS/GRMS Radios and Headsets
A good 2-way radio (aka Walk-e -alkie) is very helpful tool for airsoft. They are useful for scout to commander or commander to squad leader communications. I do recommend all players to have them so that they can listen (not talk) and stay informed to the flow of the game and to hear game instructions from the event staff. They are also a safety device if you get injured or lost on the field.
Learning how to talk and communicate in a military fashion using 2-way radios is a whole different topic and well worth learning to do properly. Too many newbs use them like cell phones and constantly talk on them like they were in their own war movie: “I’m moving in!” “We’re taking fire”, blah, blah, blah. You end up clogging the radio channel with useless noise. So, I don’t recommend them for intra-squad communication, as you should be doing that with your voice and hand-signals.
There are a number of brands with various price-ranges, like Motorola Talkabout, Midland, Cobra, and too many models which change every season. So I’ll go over the basic features you should look for in any radio:
Buy a radio that has both FRS and GMRS capability. FRS (Family Radio Service) requires no license to use and covers channels 1-14. It is limited to low-power broadcast and has a maximum range of 2-miles (more like 1 mile realistically.) GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) freequency cover channels 15-22 and can broadcast from 1w-5w of power with a range of 2-10 miles (though some claim more). Legally using GMRS channels requires you to buy an FCC ‘operators license’ (though few do.)
Also look for radios with ‘Privacy’ sub-channels. When you’re on a sub-channel, only others in that same sub-channel can hear your broadcast. But be aware that these aren’t secure from eavesdroppers. But they give you more options when there is excessive channel chatter.
This is Voice Activated Talk feature that you want to be able to TURN OFF. Because when turned on, it will activate the ‘talk’ button when the radio detects you talking but it can activate with any loud noise, such as your AEG firing or you talking to somebody near you. This clogs up channels big time! You want this OFF at all times.
Radios are powered with AA, AAA, or rechargeable battery packs. Bring spare batteries to a game and keep them with your BB’s and gear. When batteries get low on juice, you will experience drops in communication and an inability to make a broadcast.
It is vital that you buy a headset for you radio, as using radios with the external speaker can easily give away your position. Different brands have different jack types and configurations and may not be compatible. Try to buy a radio that comes with a ear-bud or headset. If you buy after market, make sure you buy the right kind. http://www.kawamall.com/cat_radio1.cfm
There are a number of more MilSim headsets and they do get pricey. I hope some of our members who own them can post here and give some examples. And there are MilSim throat-mics, read here: http://www.evike.com/forum/viewtopic.ph … mic#p34622
If you need a recommendation for a Radio, here’s two. Post yours and why you like them and don’t like about them.
Motorola Talkabout MJ270R
PRO: Reliable, good value, easy to use.
CON: Can’t turn off the close channel beep tone.
Cobra MicroTALK LI 6700
http://www.buy.com/prod/cobra-li-6700-2 … 72139.html
PRO: Small, long life lithium battery, variety of features
CON: Can not use regular batteries in a pinch