2005 - Radio Communication

I was reading through the 2005 rules trying to find anything about radio communication. What I am referring to is radio communication between the “coach” on the field and someone in the stands (like we do in football).

I seem to recall something being said about this yet I can not find it in the rules. Can some one jog my memory?

Dang, I could have sworn that rule existed too but I can’t find it. There is a rule in the “At the events” section that says no two way radios are allowed in the pit area or near the playing field. Maybe that’s the one we’re thinking of?

I’m having a heck of a hard time finding this in the rules.

I’m absolutely positive it isn’t allowed though, and I know I’ve seen it before.

[edit] I wanted to look through the Q&A’s to see if it could be found there (I’m sure someone asked a similar question) but apparently FIRST took it down after the season ended.

Yah, I read the “from pits” thing, but what I meant was from the stands. So, can anyone find it or will we see all the team coaches wearing headsets next year? :slight_smile:

If it is indeed missing from the rules, and not hidden somewhere that all 3 of us missed, I’m sure it’ll be back in next year.

Haha darn it! Should have never made this post, maybe they would have missed it again! :slight_smile:

The rule stating no radio in the pits or playing field covers this. In addition, a Q&A stated that any wireless communication during competition is prohibited, be it cell phones, walkie talkie’s or Nextel. This is what shouting is for!

What it says:
COACH – A student or adult mentor designated as the team advisor during the match and identified as the
person wearing a “COACH” pin.
DRIVER – A pre-college student team member responsible for operating and controlling the ROBOT.
HUMAN PLAYER – A pre-college student team member designated as the only team member permitted to
introduce the tetras for their team into the field of play/to their robot.
4.2.2 Match Format
A match is 2 minutes and 15 seconds long. At the start of the match, all HUMAN PLAYERS, DRIVERS and
COACHES must stand behind the Team Zone Starting Line, 3 feet away from their Driver’s Station.
4.3.3 General Match Rules (GM)
<G03> Each team shall include one HUMAN PLAYER, two DRIVERS, and one COACH.

What is doesn’t say:
<Gxx> Each team,( EDIT deleted, too harsh) (added - may have as many COACHES as they wish outside the Team Zone)

Gentlemen polleese! If you don’t want a rule book the size of the World Book Encyclopedia, then quit looking for loopholes where there aren’t any.


(gets to work on his ginormous five-foot LED code-signaling board) :wink:

FIRSTSearch is undergoing a server change so it’s not currently available, but I found this after a quick search of the Q&A. I remember more extensive rules disallowing any form of communication between the drive team and anyone off the field, be it signs held up by the crowd or telecommunications.
Standard disclaimer regarding past rules not applying to future games.

In any event the purpose of the game rules is not to imagine and categorically list everything you should not do, but to give you guidelines of FIRST’s intent and leave it to your developing good judgment to know what’s acceptable and what is simply skirting the rules.

ID:1247 Section:7.12 Status:Answered Date Answered:1/19/2005 [font=Arial Unicode MS][/font]

**Q:**It’s clear walkie-talkies and two-way radios are not allowed. Is there any communication allowed between the COACH and someone in the stands, say, with a cell phone, during a match?
**A:**No.[font=Arial Unicode MS][/font]

ID:1560 Section:7.12 Status:Answered Date Answered:2/9/2005

**Q:**Will wireless networking be allowed at competitions?

**A:**Yes in accordance to the statement that follows below, BUT IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES is communication to people or devices outside of the driver station / Team Zone allowed. …

Thanks Mark.

As I said guys I thought I remembered a rule like this but could not find it. I was not looking for a “loophole”, it did not seem to be addressed at all in the rules. There is a fine line between trying to play within the rules and trying to bend them. It is common in many sports for a coach on a team to have radio communication from someone in the stands due to their different view and does not appear to “out of this world”. But thanks Mark, I appreciate you finding this.

Yea, I understood from your original post that you were just looking for what was allowed, not attempting anything sneaky. :slight_smile: My comment wasn’t directed at you. I only added that part because of the slight thread drift to legality issues, and the chance that some future reader might follow the drift of that thought.

P.S. The rules in 2003 were more explicit on this topic than later rules.

DQ8 Team members may not use any remote communication devices, such as air phones, walkie-talkies, etc., at anytime during a FIRST Robotics Competition event.
…Cell phones and pagers are allowed, but not in the Alliance Station.

There have been incidents in the past where team members were observed signalling their driving team from the stands. I remember one particular case in 2003 where a team was disqualified for allowing a mentor to use hand signals to indicate their robot’s position, as observed from an elevated position in the opposite-side bleachers. The rules-based justification was, I believe, that he was acting as a coach, and was therefore outside of the driving station, was not wearing a badge, and there was already a coach in the driver’s station. The reason for the convoluted justification was that there was no rule that simply said “no information may be deliberately sent to any drive team from outside of the playing field and alliance stations; violators will be disqualified”.

In the “old days” before IFI, the old RC systems operated on the UHF band, the same band those little disposable radios (FRS) operate. Any type of radio freq. interference would do crazy things to the robots. The current IFI systems operate in the 900 mhz band, and go crazy if an 800 Mhz 5 watt portable is used next to one. At the risk of upsetting someone at IFI, they are not the best in terms of RF. Rumor has it that IFI maybe going to 2.4 Ghz. (As if there is not enough there already! Then look out you will not be able to run your WiFi. That last statement was a joke!)

One of the problems that concerned everyone at the championship event was the lack of channels available with 6 robots on the field at once. At one time it was thought that they would have to stager the matches to have everything work right.

Thanks Tristan!
Very interesting, hand signals, makes since for the 2003 game. I do wonder how detailed they could get as “acting as a coach”. I think this is pretty clear if your interpretation is that you can be acting as a coach from the stands. but take this theoretical situation:
A robot tips over on the far side of the 2003 field (unable to be seen by the drivers). The entire team in the stands emits a groan from the stands. The drive team knows exactly what happened, it happened quite a few times in practice. They do their righting manouvers and get on with the match, win by a hair on a last minute play by them. The team would have taken well over a few seconds to figure out what had happened if they had not heard the crowed groan, therefore probably would have lost the match.

I know this sounds extreme, but as a soccer referee I deal with these kind of theoretical all the time, deciding how I would call it :slight_smile:

So are the referees going to get into the “intent” of the crowed or call it like it is, a signal from the crowed, whether intentional or not, which impacted the result of the match.

Just a lil’ brain food! :yikes:

And not only do you get situations like Ethulin described, but then there’s where a whole team starts yelling at the drivers to do something. Of course, the refs and drivers have a hard time hearing it over the other teams and music and crashing of robots, and this is extremely common, so they will likely let it slide.

Back to the original question, I think the general rule of thumb is, no talking to the coach during the match unless you are a driver, and definitely not by radio/cell phone/flashlight(Morse code and equivalents)/hand signals. Yelling at him is likely not a good idea because he may get distracted, and you don’t want that, do you?

If anyone is truly capable of reading and understanding Morse code while playing an FRC match, I think we should let them. I mean, that would be some crazy skills. Someone as skilled as that deserves to have a rule exception in their favor.

Agreed. But I really wonder what will happen when something like my situation DOES happen and the loosing team protests.

Absolutely nothing, because you described the most outlandish, implausible situation ever.

People are reading way too far into the rules.

All it means is no blatant forms of communication between the drive team and members not on the field. Ie: no radios, cell phones, or other verbal communication. No signaling to the drivers from off the playing field.

If you move on to “implied communication”, so to speak, FIRST would need to find twice as many refs so half of them could police the stands and make sure nobody groaned in the wrong place at the wrong time :rolleyes:

If they meant blatant they would have said blatant. The reason they did not is because one man’s blatant is another’s covert.
As a soccer referee we get into situations far more outlandish than this and do not disregard them as “outlandish” but we apply the rules and find the correct course of action.

In soccer we have things called “FIFA clarifications” similar to what FIRST has just for these kind of situations, but nothing is just disregarded for being improbable or unlikely.