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Walkie talkies for gamekeepers, beaters, guns, pickers-up.
Communication - walkie-talkies

On most shoots the keeper and a few others communicate by walkie talkie.  On some shoots I've been to a number of beaters also take their own walkie talkies so that they can listen in to what is going on - it makes for a more interesting day.  On one shoot there must be about 10 of us with walkie talkies …. very handy when you are well spaced out, (er, that means ''a big distance between beaters!") or can't see what is going on, as you can hear it instead!

Walkie-talkies are great for those of us who are a tad deaf too from all that shooting without ear-defenders years ago!  In addition, somebody just shouting instructions might not be heard against a strong wind or over a long distance.  So you may be given hand/arm signals.  Having been on the receiving end of these I can honestly say that at best they are often difficult to understand and at worst, impossible!  

One problem I have encountered is that it can be difficult with modern, digital walkie talkies on PMR, to find the channel being used by the keeper.  Some of the older Motorola and Kenwood walkie talkies in use today seem to operate on 'different' channels.  A low channel number of say 2, might be picked up by my scanner as an 8.  A high channel number used by the keeper might be 'invisible' to my scanning walkie talkie as it is perhaps 'out of range'.  So, a channel 8 used by the keeper might not be acceptable by my walkie talkies.

That tends to be caused by the 'licensing' of certain channels and the fact that PMR is only 'open' in the immediate vicinity.  I have PMR walkie-talkies, which most of my shoots use .... yet some have 'licensed' systems which I cannot 'reach' unless they are on a channel my walkie-talkies can 'read'.

The other thing to bear in mind is that although most modern walkie-talkies have a 'scan' facility, some only show the 'channel' being used for output.  So, channel 8 might enable you to listen in to what is going on, but should you find the need to communicate you cannot do so.  You need to find the channel subset (0-99) for being able to be heard - and many modern walkie-talkies will not pick it up from a scan.

It is worth trying the sub channel that is the same number as the main channel eg 8:08, 2:02 etc as that is how the defaults are set on many walkie talkies.  However, whoever set up the walkie talkies may have changed them to between 01 and 99.  Zero (00) is an open sub channel for sending, so if the walkie talkies are all set to, say, 7:00 then anyone scanning will find channel 7 as the main channel and be able to talk to all the other walkie talkies.  This can cause interference from neighbouring shoots or others using walkie talkies.  So it is common to choose between 01 and 99 instead.

 
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