Yeah but you don't hear to much about that on your local TV-5 or fox news, given I don't watch too much news. I occasionally catch a kid being arrested for holding up the a liquor store with a spring pistol but that's about it.
Puma is right about how we need to show the public what we actually are all about. That's why I run a Booth for my towns fabulous Fridays events every year. Which has gotten the OCAA and MiA in the newspaper and local media where I am at, honestly we need more people doing this kind of stuff all around Michigan. I'm hoping to pioneer something here, the more we socialize with the public, the more positive media we will get. Airsofters try to keep there spots out of the public eye as much as possible but I think we need to do the opposite, just do it in an informative and educational way.
You're not going to hear about someone using their radio without the proper licensing on your local news probably either, but it still doesn't change the fact that it happened.
Doing illegal and stupid shit isn't the way to get positive media attention.
That's what this is about and why Zorak made the comment. So now that this train has completely gotten off track, let's get back to the original topic. If you don't have the licensing for it, don't use it.
Just to shed a little more insight. The FCC has a lot more "Official Observers" now who are mainly licensed Amateur Radio Operators and GMRS licensed operators.
The reason behind this is largely because of the huge influx of people buying cheap Chinese business radios like the Baofengs for use in hobbies / sports / doomsday prepping or whatever. In the past dual band / programmable / business radios were pretty expensive, but now pretty much any kid can buy one.
There are tons of stories on some of the Ham Radio forums about people interrupting police / fire / emt calls, spamming Ham Radio and GMRS repeaters, ect. Basically people that have no idea what they are doing are buying them, figuring out they can hear people on certain frequencies, and try to talk to them.
The FCC is getting kind of pissed off about all the complaints from licensed operators, so they have started enlisting more Official Operators to track and report people like in the old CB days before it was deregulated.
Heck, with just the equipment I have, I was able to pinpoint the people within a mile or so who were broadcasting with too much power on MURS that we could hear at the No Limits field. I let the official observer know that they were locking down MURS 1 for the entire day sometimes broadcasting at close to 100 watts of power and they were found by radio tracking with directional antennas and reported to the FCC. (This was after actually talking to them on the radio several times letting them know what they were doing was illegal and they were not allowing MURS channels to be shared because their signal was so strong it was splashing on nearby frequencies.)
So to sum it up, stick to legal frequencies or get properly licensed. Heck, get your Ham Technician license which opens the old 900mhz band up to you. You can buy the old Nextel phones and use the PTT on them. You could also get 2m or 70cm DMR radios (Digital Mode Radio) and set up digital call groups for squads, platoons, individuals, ect. With a DMR radio I can talk simplex (no repeater) to somebody 15 miles away from me at 4 watts of power. You can do some really cool shit if you get your Ham license.
Post by Gunslinger on Jul 30, 2014 16:30:00 GMT -5
I have been actually looking into getting a ham operators license just because I think it would be fun. From what research I have been doing you can get a license fairly cheep and simple depending on the tier you want to broadcast on or how ever they license it.
I also have a Icom with the cable and software. BUT I for the life of me CAN NOT figure the software out and the guy I bought it from Via Ebay typed pour at best english and got shitty with me when I told him I am tech RE-tarded so I will bring it if there is some one who can help me figure the stuff out that would be cool provided I need it for channels I don't have that we want to have specifically for our group. that would be kick ass.
Last Edit: Jul 31, 2014 15:25:58 GMT -5 by Gunslinger
I'm a newcomer to this area, as I'm just starting to get my team involved in radio communications. Currently, we've been using GMRS knowing full well that is either illegal or frowned upon. I am looking for alternatives, but you guys are all speaking in a language I don't fully understand yet. I plan on doing more research, but is it possible that someone here would be willing to write a sticky-worthy article about the basics of radios and how it applies to airsoft? Or at least point me to something that I can use. So far I've been Googling stuff but it's hard to find a comprehensive guide that relates to airsoft.
Yes, using GMRS radios without a license is frowned upon. Are you going to get in trouble for it? Most likely no. You don't get into trouble with it until you start setting up repeaters or running encrypted transmissions. Using power greater than legal limits can get you in a tight spot as well. For example, my Ham radio in my car is dual band, and since it is MARS modded, technically it can transmit on GMRS and FRS frequencies. This would be illegal to do unless there is an emergency and other forms of communication are not viable. The reason it is illegal to do, is the radio is not FCC certified for those frequencies. The same thing applies to ICOM, Baofeng, Kenwood, and Motorolla radios that are sold as a business radio. They technically are not authorized for use outside of the intended frequencies even though they are capable of GMRS and FRS. They are sold to be used on the color dot frequencies with various tone codes in a business environment.
I know I have butted heads with a few people from Michigan Airsoft over proper radio use, and there are some people that choose to ignore what I have to say. I'll leave it at this.... If you are going to operate outside designated civilian use bands, you are in violation of the law. Getting reported / found by the FCC might be a slim chance, but the more you do it, the more people listen in. The more attention you catch, the more likely you will be to have an FCC inspector show up eventually.
I will give a good example. I saw a group at No Limits using Baofeng radios that had their radios programmed to a station near the MURS frequencies that is used in some areas (ie Band Plan Approved by the FCC) for use by law / police / fire for Search and Rescue. Now, in most of Michigan a different frequency spectrum is currently in use which is the 900mhz spectrum, but many departments still have their old equipment, and it is used as a fallback frequency in the case of the repeater network for their 900mhz system going down.
Now, tell me, how stupid can a person possibly be to talk about bombs, hostages, targets, and other tactical stuff on a frequency that could be monitored by the local police department?
There are not a lot of frequencies allotted to unlicensed radio operators. This is for good reason, because unlicensed people, for the most part, have not done research on the FCC band plan to know what is in use by various entities. One thing you always have to remember, just because you cannot hear somebody, does not mean they can't hear you. It is very possible to interfere with things if you select frequencies at random.
Stay legal people.
Last Edit: Jul 31, 2014 0:01:44 GMT -5 by Squirrel
+1 to staying legal squirrel, and that is precisly why your my radio goto guy. Cannot wait to see another solid comms writeup as this stuff is like wizardry or magic to most of us. I value every bit of knowledge you folks here provide me with, so I thank you oh masters of the disembodied talky box voices!
I agree with CSG1: Someone needs to make a thread explaining radio basics. I've tried researching it on my own, but its like a newcomer to Airsoft reading the P* FPS thread; I barely understand what is being said. I don't believe I've done anything illegal with my radio (it was programmed by a teammate), but at the same time, I don't know if I have.
Squirrel, it would behoove you (or someone of equal knowledge level) to whip something like that up.
Gabriel, I'll work on it after work today. I'm trying to come up with a bunch of topics to cover, and I'll have to do a little more research through the monstrous catacombs that are the FCC rulebook. FCC Part 95, and Part 97 are pretty ridiculous to weed through as it covers pretty much everything from 2200 meter wave length to 1 millimeter. Yah that's right, 2200 meter, like the way the Soviets used to communicate with submarines during the Cold War is available to properly licensed Ham Radio Operators.
Post by eagledriver on Aug 3, 2014 11:51:36 GMT -5
Sorry for the confusion guys but nowhere did I mention anything about using radios on commercial bands without licensing. I had meant this thread to discuss the thought behind stepping up to use of radios that I feel are better suited to MILSIM. Some of you who have played with me before would be the only ones who would have the benefit of knowing that I pull an STA for each event that I go to. Take OP Irene last year for example, TFR ran UHF and VHF frequencies at Zussman.
At bigger events or mountainous (like the Cove in Virginia) we license both MO (Handheld and mobile) as well as repeaters (MO3) operating at up to 50 watts.
Obtaining an STA takes a lot of patience as the FCC is not easy to deal with but if anyone would like more information I would be happy to help.
To be technical about it, most of the Baofeng, Puxing, or Wouxun radios are not certified under Part 95, and therefore cannot be legally used for FRS or GMRS. They also have the ability to transmit over 2 watts, and therefore are not legal for use on MURS either. Some are certified under Part 90, which is commercial, but they all can be used with a Amateur license on the Amateur bands.