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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,653

    Default Individual Radio Configuration (very pic heavy)

    This is a follow up to my post in the thread asking about handheld two-way radios. http://www.warriortalk.com/showthrea...42#post1787642 I said that I’d post a bit about how I utilize the Baofeng UV-5R and integrate it into my kit in various mission configurations.

    As you can see there are quite a few accessory options available for these little radios some are good and some not so much. The big three that are worthwhile are Batteries, Antennas, and Operator interface items.

    commo1.JPG

    Batteries
    The first thing that we need to understand about battery life and radio transceivers is that the life of the battery is directly related to how much we transmit and how much power the radio is transmitting during the push. Suffice to say that if we talk a lot on high power then the battery is going to drain much much faster than if we only receive or monitor. The unit comes with a small (1800 mah) Li-Ion rechargeable battery that is the same size as the radio body. This battery is nice in that it keep the total package quite small (smart phone size) and I have gotten a full day of moderate use out of a single charge.

    commo batteries.JPG

    However if one wishes to push (transmit) at higher power settings or talk a lot then an extended battery pack (3800 mah) is worthwhile. This battery is longer and increases the total size of the unit by about 1/3 in my opinion these radios are so small already that the increased size is a non-issue compared to the increase in stored power. As a reference I used my radio on high power and during the entire 3-day Rural Patrolling course without a recharge.

    **Also keep in mind that cold temperatures will suck the life out of batteries so keeping a spare in a warm pocket on your parka is good business.

    Antennas
    The standard antennas that come with the units are fair and certainly they work, however there are lots of better antennas available that are still quite affordable. A higher quality “High-gain” antenna will increase your ability to transmit and receive farther and more clearly. Radio nerds get really crazy about antennas and for good reason but I like to keep things simple so here is what I use on mine. Nagoya 10.5" Dual Band Antenna (144/430Mhz); this is a flexible (whip) antenna that I find gives a good compromise between size and capability.

    commo antenna.JPG

    For years I have been using extension cables to route my radio antennas to locations on my kit that are more ergonomic. For example I run the whip antenna on the back of my body armor on the opposite side from my radio. Just keep in mind that antenna orientation will have some impact on performance so play around with what works.
    commo antenna2.JPG

    Operator Interface

    This is a huge factor because when we break it down to the simplest terms we need to be able to “Shoot, Move, and Communicate”; and we need to do those three things near simultaneously.

    There is no such thing as a one size fits all situations when it comes to interfacing with our comms and METT-TC absolutely applies here. For example; in situations where hearing protection is a requirement the hearing protection can be an inhibitor to communication. Or when we need to have the maximum use of all of our senses we need our comms to be minimally intrusive. So I use slightly different setups for different missions.

    For direct action, or vehicle operations electronic “hear thru” earpro is my go to. For many years when all of you good tax payers were footing the bill I used various Peltor brand headsets that were purpose built to provide hearing protection and commo system interface while also amplifying sounds via built in microphones. Peltors are great but are also pretty expensive and they don’t interface well with non-military radios.

    commo PC.JPG

    I have been using Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic earmuffs for the last few months, and I have to say that they actually have better acoustics than my Peltors and at a fraction of the cost. They have an audio input jack that allows me to slave them into the audio output jack on the radio hand-mic mounted to the front of my plate carrier. To talk I simply talk down into the mic and can access the PTT (push to talk) with either hand. Additionally I have never been a big fan of boom mics, finding that they get in the way more often than not.

    commo sniper.JPG
    For other missions such as for a Sniper or DM, I typically don’t like to wear a lot of kit and prefer just a smock with lots of purposefully placed pockets. In this case I have the front left pocket modified to hold the radio. An elastic loop keeps the radio secure and the antenna is routed alongside the radio by use of a short extension cable.
    commo sniper1.JPG

    I actually like the basic earpiece/mic that comes with the radio for this setup as it is very slim and unobtrusive, a reinforced access slot in the back of the pocket allows the cord to be run inside of the smock and up to the collar where the combination PPT button/mic is clipped. Again this is easily accessed while in the prone even while on the gun.
    commo sniper2.JPG

    When patrolling I like to mount the radio on an inside pocket of my chest rig and route the antenna up the shoulder strap where I had some elastic loops sewn for this purpose. I use a single ear bud plugged into the hang mic’s output jack this allows for silent monitoring of radio traffic and easy talking into the handset. I sometimes will clip the handset to the "center-mass" of my shirt collar as well.
    commo patoling.JPG

    Hope that this gives you guys some ideas for running your personal coms.
    Cheers
    T.

    "VICTORIOUS WARRIORS WIN FIRST...
    AND THEN GO TO WAR,
    WHILE DEFEATED WARRIORS GO TO WAR FIRST...
    AND THEN SEEK TO WIN." Sun tzu


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    West Texas
    Posts
    759
    Good information.

    I like the idea of putting the radio in the pocket for sniper/DM ops so that you still have easy access to it. I always just went one size larger on the blouse/smock when building my ghillie suits so that it would fit over my gear. Obviously, this makes access to the radio more difficult.
    "So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people." - Tecumseh

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    West End, NC
    Posts
    692
    Awesome write up, as usual.

    When I worked the projects we used the Baofengs with standard batteries. They were small enough I could clip the whole unit on the hole cut for the speaker mic on the Propper ICE Polo shirt I wore a lot out there. I like the Baofengs and plan to get a couple.
    I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

    When every instant counts, help is only minutes away...

    "Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,653
    Quote Originally Posted by shooterb View Post
    Good information.

    I like the idea of putting the radio in the pocket for sniper/DM ops so that you still have easy access to it. I always just went one size larger on the blouse/smock when building my ghillie suits so that it would fit over my gear. Obviously, this makes access to the radio more difficult.
    Yeah....perhaps I need to do a write up on these smocks.
    Cheers
    T.

    "VICTORIOUS WARRIORS WIN FIRST...
    AND THEN GO TO WAR,
    WHILE DEFEATED WARRIORS GO TO WAR FIRST...
    AND THEN SEEK TO WIN." Sun tzu


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    421
    Great thread. Did you say what kind of range you were getting? To be more specific, how far away, on average, are you consistently getting 5x5 comms?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Snohomish County, WA
    Posts
    1,891
    Nice write up as usual.

    Have you tried any of the throat mics and vox setting with the Baofeng radios? I had thought about trying a set up like that after doing the team shooting in the RGF3 class.
    The government selectively enforces laws, so I selectively follow them.

    RGF-3: December 2014
    CRG-1: March 2015
    CRG-2: June 2015
    CRG-2: June 2016
    PGF : January 2017
    0-5 Feet: October 2018

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    47
    I've been looking for a high quality medium length extension for my Baofeng extensions to do exactly what you have in the third picture. Where did you get it? Also, what's the quality of the connectors like? They look pretty good in the pics.

    - Alex

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Serenity
    Posts
    5,294
    I looked up the radios and they seem to cost between $25.00-50.00. Is this the same radio?

    Can it work anywhere in the world?
    "Why should I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away. An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as the king can." Benjamin Martin, The Patriot

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,653
    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    Great thread. Did you say what kind of range you were getting? To be more specific, how far away, on average, are you consistently getting 5x5 comms?

    That's sort of a loaded question brother..... in that there are several strongly impacting factors, such as power, frequency and terrain.

    Uniform freqs (UHF) = Less range but good penetration of micro terrain (FRS and GMRS are in this bandwith)
    Victor freqs (VHF) = More range with the right antenna, but not so great in close terrain. (These are also the common HAM freqs)

    But to answer your "loaded" question; in terrain like at your place 2 miles and 10+ in open terrain (line of sight)
    Cheers
    T.

    "VICTORIOUS WARRIORS WIN FIRST...
    AND THEN GO TO WAR,
    WHILE DEFEATED WARRIORS GO TO WAR FIRST...
    AND THEN SEEK TO WIN." Sun tzu


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    556
    TFI

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