Tuesday 28 April 2009

Shoot radios - what do you use?

There's no escaping modern communications. Even in the wilds of the Highlands, I can usually be reached by mobile phone if the caller is determined enough. That's a big plus for safety, of course, because it means there a good chance I can call for help if, say, I slip and break a leg.

And for shoots, estate workers, stalkers and the like, communications are a vital link between staff - which might mean the stalker calling up the pony boy (more likely Argo driver these days), the keeper checking the guns are in position, etc, etc.

There's a confusing array of equipment and technologies on offer, but what works best? It depends on your needs, of course. Plenty of lowland pheasant shoots manage fine with cheap, high street PMR446 radios; some of them just use the old-fashioned hunting-horn or whistle. Pigeon shooters chatting from hide to hide often use their mobile phones.

But for more demanding applications you need something altogether more robust and reliable. Until recently that meant going the route of a commercial 5W licensed system, using something like the IC-F15 series.

Recently, though, Icom have come out with an upgraded Digital PM446. It did well in a recent Gadget Show test (click here to view the video). For shoots that don't need the full licensed radio solution, this could be just the job.

What shoot comms do you use and why, and how good is it? Let me know by posting a comment below...

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