Radio Use

So you spot incoming hostiles from a flanking position and want to warn the rest of the regiment without standing up, shouting and getting shot. Sounds like you need a radio.

In GC we use radios on the Analogue PMR 446 license free band. This means that the radios we use must comply with a certain set of regulations set out by Ofcom to regulate the user of this part of the EM spectrum.

The following might seem a bit complicated, and in truth you don’t need to know any of this to use one of the radios we have. This is more information for buying one or looking to use a radio you already have.

The channels we use are:

PMR ChannelFrequency (MHz)

The radios we use must be CE marked, operate at 0.5W ERP or less and be used to transmit voice or tone signals only (no Music or Data signals).

Standard PMR devices have fixed aerials and are traditional “walkie talkies”. Cost wise these can be expensive for decent ones that work out in the field but they are specifically designed for public and business license free use. (examples are Motorola TLKR T40, Kenwood TK-3401DT)

There are other devices available easily (from Ebay) that can be used in this capacity if configured correctly. Commonly used models are the Baofeng 888s and the Baofeng UV-5R , they are simple to use, look cool, have a good battery life, are relatively cheap (usually under £20 for 2 units including p&p) and can be used with several accessories like throat mics and earpieces that add some cool aesthetics and make their use much easier in Green Cloaks.

These models of radio are far more capable than we require (or can use on this band) and require some configuration. You cannot use them license free in the UK without changing the band that they operate on and reducing their power output. Thankfully this is quite easy to do using a special USB cable, a pre-made configuration file (available in the documents section) and radio configuration software called CHIRP.

If you are confident doing this go ahead and have a crack yourself, there are quite a few tutorials online. If not several people can assist with this and there will be a method of configuring these devices on site at most events. GOD is equipped to re-program the BF888, and will do so on request.

There are other devices that can be configured to operate within the PMR license free parameters but please be aware of what your equipment is capable of and be comfortable with its operation as to not interfere with other users of the radio spectrum. There are several people who can help with queries about this and advise in the best way to set it up to work with the rest of us at GC and within the PMR regulations.

So long and short radios are cool, fun, useful and not that expensive. The best ones for the system are the Baofeng 888s and Baofeng UV-5R. They can be masked in a web of confusion but if you are in doubt just ask, we rather you ask questions and get some help than struggle and potentially interfere with other people using different parts of the radio spectrum. Have fun, Over and Out.