I had the opportunity to work the Cascade Classic this year and the folks running the technical aspect of the event were from OBRA, the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. One of their duties is to supply the vehicles in the race with a communication channel and devices to communicate with. Many events have pulled exotic programs together such as paying for a ‘corporate cell plan’ and supplying every vehicle and official with a Nortel cell phone. Communications have sometimes turned into nightmares jumping into the thousands.
The folks at OBRA have a unique and considerably less expensive setup. They supplied the vehicles with Radio Shacks’ eighty dollar personal radios. These radios work off of the fourteen family channels that the lesser expensive walkabout radios use, allowing the motorcycles to run around with the smaller Motorola radios.
The models from Radio Shock are simple to set up as you only need to plug the power unit into the cigarette lighter, mount the magnetic antenna on the roof and then set the radio unit to the same channel as the others. It takes all of about five minutes.
Beside ease of setup and lower costs, these radios also save you time and money in the licensing department. Since they work on the family channels, no license is required for their use and no costly cell service.
So, if you are looking into radios for your tech program or team, you might want to look into Radio Shacks Personal Radios.
***These radios have since been cancelled from production, or at least from stock. A similar system can be created by acquiring a car adapter for the plug on a handheld radio.***