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Old 12-07-2017, 6:11 PM
KB7MIB KB7MIB is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Peoria, AZ.
Posts: 3,482

PTT is short for "Push To Talk", which is what any two-way radio is. You push a button to talk, and you release it to listen.

If that's what they used last year, then it was most likely user failure to understand how to use the radios properly that caused the issues, not the choice of radios. Going from simplex radios to repeater capable radios won't fix that. It will just allow more people to hear the lack of proper training of those using the radios.

1) You push the transmit button (PTT), wait half a second, then start talking. Don't start talking before you push the button, or at the very same instant that you push the button. This leads to the first word, or at least the first syllable of a word, being missed by everybody else.

2) When you are done talking and are waiting for a reply, you have to release the transmit button (PTT). You won't hear a reply if you keep the transmit button depressed.

3) Only 1 person can talk at the same time. If 2 or more people try to talk at the same time, odds are neither will be understood.

These are the usual points that those who don't know how to use a radio have trouble with. This is why everyone who is assigned a radio needs at least basic training with these points. They also should be taught to speak in a normal, clear voice. Do not raise the volume of your voice, and don't mumble words. Enunciate each word clearly.

Other issues include the volume knob being inadvertently turned down so low that the user doesn't hear anything, but they still try to talk to the other users, not aware that the volume has changed. Or the channel selector knob or button inadvertently changes the channel, putting that user on a completely different channel from everyone else, so the user won't hear anyone, and everyone else won't hear the user.

You should talk to the organizers and find out what exactly the issues were with the radios last year, as well as what make and model of radio(s) were used. (If more than one make and model of radio were used, were they all on the same frequency, with the same CTCSS/DCS, if any? If not, that's another problem.)

Decent commercial grade two-way radios on business frequencies should not have any problem covering a 1 mile distance. Stay away from cheap "bubble-pack" radios, such as FRS or hybrid FRS/GMRS radios. And make sure that everyone who is assigned a radio knows exactly how to use it properly.

Peoria, AZ
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