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Radios and You

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Radios and You Empty Radios and You

Post  Dragoncaptin Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:22 pm

Stolen from VAF.

I. Introduction:
One of my biggest pet peeves at a game is radio use. It's almost a guarantee that the one guy who really shouldn't be on the net will always be the one clogging it up. Once you get outside of the group you came with, radio use becomes so chaotic that many players abandon it all together or go to private channels. This doesn't need to happen. Radio communications can be an incredibly effective method of communicating with other squads within your larger force and passing along information. For that to happen, players need to take the responsibility to know how to use them properly.

This guide will not talk so much about the technical aspects of radios. I will leave that to someone who is more knowledgeable on that than I am. Here I will focus more on their actual use and how to do so in an effective military manner.

II. Radio-Telephone Operator:

First we need to discuss the role of the Radio-Telephone Operator (RTO). Some people probably don't even realize that this is a necessary role seeing how easy it is for everyone to have a radio, headset and other personal communication equipment. Even then, the RTO still matters and this role should be filled. Sometimes in smaller units the team lead operates as the RTO as well. In larger units, there is often a dedicated RTO. That part is really up to your unit's preference.

The RTO is your primary communicator and most communication will fall on his shoulders. His primary responsibilities include:
-Situation Reports (SitReps)
-SALUTE Reports

We will talk more about each specific report later. For now, just remember that the RTO's first responsibility is to talk on the radio. The RTO should carry at least one radio to communicate with the larger force (which I will refer to as the company). If you are using smaller radios and this is feasable, the RTO can carry one radio for company communications and another for within the squad. These two radios obviously need to be on two different frequencies. The RTO should also carry spare batteries in their equipment in case the radios go down in the field.

III. Proper Procedure:

1) Callsigns

Callsigns are crucial for radio communications because they allow people to identify units. Each person does not need an individual callsign, but each unit should have one. Here is an example:
Dagger 1-1
Dagger 1-2
Dagger 1-3

In this example, the company consists of three smaller teams. The 1 signifies that it is part of one larger unit while the second number tells you which specific team you are referring too.

Command callsigns often end with a 6, such as Broadsword 1-6.

Notice here that I used the theme of blades. Themed callsigns can help you keep them straight. You can use anything you want including animals (Fox, Bear, Lion), weapons (Pistol, Rifle, etc) or other grouped titles (Outlaw, Cowboy, Gunslinger). Get creative on this part.
Notice how Dagger and Broadsword sound different enough that they will not get confused in the event of static. This is important as your transmission may not always come in as clearly as you think.

2) Communication

Identify who you are talking to and then identify yourself by callsign.

Broadsword 1-6, this is Dagger 1-2.

Then proceed with your transmission.

I have two KIA and three wounded. In need of medevac.

After this, end the transmission with "Over" or "Out." Do not use "Over and Out" as it is redundant. Use "Over" if you expect a reply. Use "Out" if the conversation is over. Usually higher ends the conversation.

Broadsword 1-6, this is Dagger 1-2. I have two KIA and three wounded. In need of medevac. Over.
Dagger 1-2, Broadsword 1-6. Roger that. We'll send a bird your way. Out.

IV. Primary Reports:

1) Situation Report

A Situation Report is radioing to higher about any intel you have or just to check in at set intervals. For example, higher may want a sitrep ever twenty minutes, whether you have valuable information at that time or not.

Broadsword 1-6, this is Dagger 1-2. We have come across a small enemy village. It appears to be abandoned. Over.

If your check in time comes up and you have nothing to report, you must still call in. You can call in a "Sitrep negative." This means that there is nothing to report but allows higher to know your team is still alive.

Broadsword 1-6, this is Dagger 1-2. Sitrep negative. Over.

2) SALUTE Report

A SALUTE Report is called in upon contact. The format is as follows:
SIZE of the enemy force
ACTIVITY of the enemy force
LOCATION of the enemy force
UNIFORM of the enemy force
TIME of the contact
EQUIPMENT of the enemy force

These do not have to be given in their exact order, but make sure not to forget any of them.

This is called in as soon as the force takes contact by the RTO. This happens before the RTO gets engaged in the combat. If you are a small unit and have to break contact immediately, the RTO calls this in on the run.

TIME refers to when you made contact, not when you are making the call. This is not a problem if you call as soon as you make contact, but is something to remember when you are making the call on the run.

LOCATION refers to coordinates on a map. However, for airsoft purposes this may not always be feasible. If that’s the case, use very clear landmarks. “The big tree” will not help others find you and come to your aid.
Another solution to this is to assign certain terrain features (hills, valleys, etc) with some kind of identifier. If you go this route, make sure everyone on your team is familiar with these identifiers.

Broadsword 1-6 this is Dagger 1-2. SALUTE report follows. Three personnel in Afghan civilian clothes with AK-47s and a PKM are moving down the trail at location 04259329. The time is 1330. Over.

3) Medevacs:

I will keep this part brief, as many games do not require you to call in medevacs. Either way, it is a good idea to let higher know what kind of casualties you have. This allows higher to plan accordingly. Also, your other teams are on the same frequency so they will also have an idea of what your team’s overall combat effectiveness is.

Make sure you identify that you are calling in a medevac with something like “Medevac follows” so that the person on the other end is ready for the information you are transmitting.

V. Radio Relay:

If you have played in Virginia for any period of time, you've probably realized that it does not take much to lose radio communications. Many AOs around here are hilly and that cuts your range quickly. Radio relay can address some of this.

In a radio relay, your RTO serves as an intermediary between two other units. Your RTO receives a transmission from one unit and transmits it to the next. This allows information to be passed along over greater distance or less hospitable terrain.

If you can hear someone trying to communicate with someone else but do not hear a response, you may be in a position to perform radio relay. This is a great courtesy to other units. Remember to transmit the message as you received it so it does not turn into a game of telephone.

VI. Other General Tips:
Press on your call button and wait a second so that the first part of your transmission does not get cut off. This is a simple step that can get quickly overlooked once the engagement starts, but it is important.

Do not yell or talk fast in the mic. In the heat of the moment, this happens but in reality can cause you to spend more time on the net trying to clarify your panicked speech. Talk calmly and slowly so that your transmission is easy to understand. A fast, panicked transmission can and often will slow reinforcements from coming to your aid.

Talking to your squad or team requires a separate channel or other forms of communication. It clogs up the net when you are talking to people right near you. In reality, you should use verbal or hand signals when possible. Radio transmissions are for units who are not in immediate contact with each other and need to pass on information.

VII. Conclusion:

Players who chose to carry a radio have the responsibility to do so properly. A good RTO is an asset to his team while a bad one is a liability.

If anyone else has thoughts on radio use, post them up. It'd be great to get some more technical information from some of you guys who have it.

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