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Field Communications.

Evening All.

Most of you know i'm an IT techy by day, but I don't think any of you know i'm a wedding photographer as well. I work with my wife, who is the boss of our own business.

Next summer we are organising a large alternative wedding fayre. We have a team assembled and things are slowly coming together. One of the jobs I have been given is to research/purchase/hire radios so our event staff can communicate with one another.

I know it's not common for nerfers to carry radios on their rigs, however, i also know several of you do. Can anyone suggest a sturdy and reliable radio that is relatively cheap and doesn't violate any UK air wave laws. I'm aware larger scale vox systems need licensing. A few items on ebay that come relative cheap aren't uk legal out of the box. Apparently they can be programmed but does anyone know how easy it is to do?

I currently have an 8 person event team, each one will need a radio. I was looking to get 10 in total, in case of malfunction, team expansion or if I need to give one a member of staff of our host venue.

Any input, no matter how small, on make/model, UK Air wave law and licensing would be much appreciated.

We will be holding other events in future, so I prefer to buy rather than hire.

I may have neglected to mention to the wife about possible nerfing applications of the radios.  Shocked

My HvZ club just purchased some of these which have pretty good reviews. They haven't arrived yet but I'll give you an update when they do. I have no notion of whether they are legal in the UK, but I imagine they are because they're legal across the pond in the US.

Nothing made by Baofeng is technically legal without a license in the UK. Even though they can be tuned into the license-free 446MHz band their "low power" setting is three times greater than the maximum output power allowed on that band. That and they need frequencies to be programmed into them (the BF-888s in particular can't be programmed directly via the handset or without software and a USB/serial cable). It's a shame because they are bloody good value for money.

Unless you have a radio license you're looking at said 446MHz band only and 0.5W output only. If that's your limit, and you're not after really high end stuff, I'd stand by my Binatone Action 950s or the Terrain 750s (the next model down). Action 1000s and Action 1100s are just repackaged/reshelled replacement versions of the 950s with minor tweaks to comply with updates to the PMR446 regulations (it isn't illegal to use older radios on the band though and I think one of the "updates" is a really annoying transmission cut off if you talk for too long). If you can get hold of some Motorola Tlkr T6 or T8 radios cheap they'd be a good call too (my dad used to use those, or at least older versions of them, on site and they were damn near indestructible).

All of the above PMR446 radios list either 8 or 10km range claims depending on model (about the limit for 0.5W 446MHz comms) but that's over completely open land. 446MHz struggles to push through trees or buildings and, in those environments, that range goes down very quickly. Plus they don't need programming, you just select the channel/squelch code you want to use on the handset. I'm pretty sure all of them have VOX and headset capabilities too (the 950s certainly do).

Bear in mind also that PMR446 is an EU standard. You can use one PMR446 radio with pretty much any other so, if you don't want to, you don't have to get them all at once. All PMR446 sets have 8 set channels and half-decent ones have multiple privacy squelch codes on top of that. Sometimes the odd thing, like roger beeps the call function and the odd squelch code, are manufacturer-specific but they are just extra features anyway (the roger beep being a really annoying one which any good radio will let you turn off). If you stick with the same manufacturer, and approximately the same model (within a spec level or so), you'll usually be able to use all of the features on both handsets.


I was looking at the Baofeng ones too Scouts.

SSGT seems to be up this sort of thing so as a UK resident I would go on his recommendations.


Cheers Geez, that pretty much sums up all I need to know. I will look into the Binatone 950s. The venue in question is here

As it is a summer fayre, I would imagine that most booths will be set up in the fields and thus wouldn't be affected by buildings or trees, however as the venue itself will be giving perspective couples tours, I would need to take that into heavy consideration. Although it is planned for June next summer, I cannot rule out potential rain on the day. Would the 950s work inside aswell? Work as in minimal interference?

Big_Poppa_Nerf. wrote:
Would the 950s work inside aswell? Work as in minimal interference?

That's a good question. It'd depend on the type of building and how far away from the building the other radio was.

Actually saying that, the furthest I ever tested my 950s was on a canal. It was nighttime, we were moored out in the sticks before a flight of locks and I needed a khazi. Suffice to say, the piddly little things on those boats are practically useless so I walked to the nearest BW canal services with one of the 950s. The little trooper just about managed to make contact, from inside the concrete/stone services hut, with the other set which was a good mile (maybe two) away, over some hills, through some trees and inside a 15 tonne steel-hulled Faraday cage of a narrowboat. Not quite the 6mile/10km range claim but not bad at all considering.

I also occasionally pick up bikers on the radio from inside the house. Sometimes they just happen to come into range whilst I'm on the same frequency. The main road is only about a quarter to half a mile away but that is through some woods and a few buildings and I can hear them loud and clear.

That sounds like the ones then.

I will likely buy a pair and field test them in the depths of the hospital (that i work at).

Cheers SSGT, you have been most helpful.

No problem. Smile

Like I say, I'm very happy with mine and I can see why the radio community like them too (I did a bit of research before picking them myself, and that was about three years ago). My only real gripe with the 950s is the plastic belt clip. I've never broken one but I wouldn't trust it if I was somewhere where dropping the radio would mean loosing it. If you're pocketing the radio you can remove the clip anyway or you can attach a lanyard to a hole in the top of the clip. I got a set of cases/harnesses (the small Maplin ones) for mine, so I don't do something stupid like drop them in a lock, and they sit quite happily just below my left shoulder. It probably wouldn't look very good at a wedding but it is very practical. There is always the acoustic tube headset though...

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