Author Topic: Official's Wireless Device protocol  (Read 1510 times)

Offline FrankG

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Official's Wireless Device protocol
« on: July 06, 2017, 11:19:03 AM »
My state sports association has approved wireless communication devices for football officials this year. They are recommending Midland GTX. Since this will be the first year of using these devices, does anyone have a protocol (rules of the road/do's and don'ts) for using them amongst your crew? I understand that the coordination of its use is important to be effective.

Offline IA Linesman

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Re: Official's Wireless Device protocol
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 12:35:40 PM »
Our crew have used mics for a couple of seasons now.  A couple of big things for us;
1. No talking during live balls.  Our radios are always open so we don't use PTT.
2. Assume that everybody in the stadium can hear you, especially if you are using standard 2 way radios.
3. Don't let the radios substitute for good mechanics and crew signals.  While you assume that both AD's are listening, you can't assume that the rest of your crew are.

They are an amazing tool and I really think our crew is better because of them.  We get high marks from coaches because of our communication.  Like penalty enforcement options so while WH is asking the captain, I'm telling the HC what the options are.  It's up to captain and coach to communicate at that point.

Offline FLAHL

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Re: Official's Wireless Device protocol
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 12:52:12 PM »
We've used them for both of the last 2 years.  Here are some things we've learned:

1) Buy radios with rechargeable batteries.  They're more expensive up-front, but less expensive in the long run.
2) They're great for things like relaying the number of the player who committed a foul to the appropriate wing, reminding the crew of the number of time outs remaining after one is taken, asking the clock operator (part of the crew for us) to reset the clock, reminding all officials that a water/heat time out will be taken at the next clock stoppage, and lots of other situations.
3) After some trial and error - we decided that we would not use them after the RFP - we're focused (or should be) on the play that's about to happen
4) They are not a substitute for a crew conference.  If the BJ and wing need to decide whether we have a catch or an incomplete pass, they don't use the radio for that.  If both wings have a pre-snap flag, I still ask them to come in and make sure they both have the same foul
5) Agree on a way to acknowledge that a message is received.  Even in a space as small as a football field, not every official will hear every message (at least not with our $25 radios)
6) There are some channels that are open and free to use by anyone.  There are other channels that you can use only if you have an FCC license.  I'm not sure how anybody would ever catch you, but there is a fine for using the ones that require a license unless, of course, you have the license.
7) It's unlikely, but technically possible, for anyone nearby to stumble onto your channel and listen to you, so it's always a good idea to be careful about what you say.  You never know if the prom queen's grandmother is listening to you!

Hope this helps.

Offline scrounge

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Re: Official's Wireless Device protocol
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2017, 12:59:29 PM »
Our crew uses the Midland GTX, I like them a lot. The stock earpiece headsets are...well...adequate but that's it. We're upgrading to the behind the head headsets. But the radios worked great last year, the lower power FRS channels are perfectly fine (it is a dual band radio, including FRS channels and higher power GMRS channels legally requiring an FCC license).

We don't have formal protocols per se, but like other posters mentioned, some common sense practices. The radio has both channels and settable security codes - use them. It will greatly reduce the likelihood of unauthorized listening. But discretion still applies.