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Downs

Can we move away from using PL tones as a community?

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I've been pushing for this with anyone I play with here locally, who runs any kind of radio even if it's an FRS radio.

 

PL tones do nothing to help you with communications at least within the context of playing airsoft.  All they really do is cause problems for most players. 

 

1)They are not "private" in any way shape or form.  If you're running a radio with PL tones turned on and I'm running one with them off I can still hear everything you are saying.

 

2)It causes interference issues at busy events because you may be "walking on" someone else or they may be walking on you and not even know it because you are using different PL tones and can't tell when someone is talking on the same frequency.  PL tones do not offset the frequency or anything like that so you if you are using PL tone 88.5 and someone else is using 100.0 and you're on MURS "Bluedot" at 154.600,  you're still using the same frequency to talk.  This is why you sometimes hear weird warbling tones coming though your radio at busy events.  That's two people transmitting on the same frequency at the same time. 

 

3)Since "EW" is a war crime and includes listening in on the other team's radio traffic there is no need for "privacy", though as discussed earlier it's not private to start with. 

 

PL tones do have their place though IMO it mostly centers around repeater use not simplex use.  I have used it for simplex before hen we would get annoying random bursts of static while out hiking a few times.  Could have been from many sources but we added in a PL tone for the duration of the hike to keep that static from busting though every 10 or 15 seconds. 

 

Anywho, I think PL tones cause more issues than they solve and should just be done away with across the board unless there's going to be a "tactical repeater" in use.

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There is one consideration to think about.  

 

Running without PL tones means that your radio is set to the default quieting type squelch meaning that your audio opens when the system detects a carrier.    This MOSTLY works fine but many cheaper radios (I.E. almost every radio you guys use) will not detect quieting as readily as it detects the squelch tone.  

 

You are however completely correct in principal which is why what I would suggest (and have suggested the same in the past) is to assign a default PL tone of 71.9 (-2 on non programmable radios)  for every channel so that you get the same net result but still make life easier on the Baofengs and GMRS radio guys.  

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If you have a Baofeng you can re-program the squelch setting via CHIRP to be more functional.  This is beyond most player's abilities or radio skills but can be worked on.  There's step by steps to make it happen.  

 

But you have a point.  The weak front end of the FRS/GMRS radios is probably why they come out of the box on PL tone "1" most times. Which is where my paragraph after "3" comes in.  
 

I'd rather deal with a little static than listen to the double warble and have 3/4s of the team not be able to communicate because they used the wrong PL tone or can't figure out how to program their radio like at the Lion Claws event on Pendelton a while back.  

 

I think a standard PL tone as you are suggesting across all channels at all events would be a great idea as well. 

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Guest Specs

Ultimately I think it comes down to the radio user needing proper basic knowledge on the primary radio settings they should be tampering with between events. I remember running across one that Instagators did a while back on their forum site that was excellent, and the Mission Spec how to video is also quite helpful. 

 

Anyone that doesn't know how to set a basic freq and PL tone is neglecting their responsibility as a player with access to the comm matrix. 

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With most people switching to programmable radios, we are in the process of making an all encompassing SOI/comms matix that will give most squads the option for a channel outside of the FRS spectrum, as well as still having the FRS sprectrum available for those who only have bubble pack radios.  We've delayed it's large scale deployment so that we can account for other possible factions.  It's in the works for some of the reasons that you guys are stating.

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