So now that we’ve made it through some of the fundamentals of comms (though some more remain), I thought I’d walk you through my starting point comms setup. Yes, there is a lot of Amazon gear here, but never fear, it will improve as we go on. My goal with this baseline is to show you what you can easily purchase that will get you functional.
First up, the ubiquitous BaoFeng BF-F8HP. Lots of reasons to like this radio. Is it the best out there? Absolutely not. But it is affordable and easy to find, so you can get you and your team up and working quickly. Plus it has its own cottage industry of accessories, so you shouldn’t have an issue finding gear to make it more functional for you.
Next, a shoulder mic with earpiece. Why do I want this? Because absent a nifty tactical headset, having your mic up by your face is much easier to use than having to pull your radio out every time you need to transmit. The earpiece keeps conversations private (at least audibly). This both cuts down on noise pollution in the team environment and keeps info away from prying ears. I do intend to attempt an integration of hearing protection into my comms gear using basic Howard Leights and an AUX cord. High speed? Not really. But it should be workable.
Finally, an antenna relocation kit and aftermarket short blade antenna. Having an antenna in front of you is beyond annoying – it can interfere with your ability to manipulate your weapon. An antenna relocation kit allows you to move your antenna to another location (usually your back) where it is out of the way. This particular kit is a Chinese replica of the MAST Antenna Relocation Kit from TCI. As Amazon kits go, it’s not bad, but it will probably be one of the first items I change out. There is no reinforcement at either end of the cable and the radio side does not offer any sort of seal to keep moisture or debris out of the antenna connection. In addition, the 90 degree connection is on the antenna end, not the radio end. While it’s not a big deal in my Tactical Tailor pouch, I would prefer a 90 degree connection for more functionality with different pouches.
I’m still working on cable management. Right now it’s just a matter of some One-Wrap passed through the carrier as needed. As I settle more on what gear I’m going to use long-term, I’ll likely try to find a better way to run the cables and keep them protected.
As I said, this is my initial setup. Virtually all of it will probably change over time, but the inexpensive nature of this initial gear allows me to be functional and test layout while not going deep in the hole only to find out I don’t have a good kit. It also allows me to test different mission profiles, such as search and rescue, recon, and neighborhood defense. Some of the items I’m looking to test or change are antenna relocation kits, headsets, push to talks, and wearable antennas. I’ll share the results here as I go.
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