Legality of "Walkie-Talkie" at the Championship

Can someone tell me if it is legal to use radio communication devices? (usually called “Walkie-Talkie”)
We look for a good way for the drive team to communicate with the stands (between matches),
we couldn’t find any rule prohibiting the use of them but we worry it is still forbidden.

It is illegal to communicate with anybody outside of the driverstation during a match. I do not know what the rules are if you wanted to connect from lets say the pits to the stands.

It will be used only between matches (during queuing).

R84: Other than the system provided by the ARENA, no other form of wireless communications shall be used to communicate to,
from, or within the OPERATOR CONSOLE.

That’s the only rule I could find, but that’s about controling the robot. I know FTC has a specific rule on communications during a match, but nothing inbetween.

There should be no rules against what you’re describing, but keep in mind that cell phones have a pretty rough time in arenas.

See section 4.14 of the Admin manual

Please read the following common site restrictions and adhere to them in order to promote an orderly, safe, pleasant and exciting competition.

Do not use walkie-talkies

Thank you!

Maybe buy a couple of prepaid/“burner” cell phones?

Are you Heisenberg?

I am a big fan of texting when the drive team is not easily reachable. however, the Edwards Dome does not always let that happen

How about a string and two cans?

The biggest problem with using walkie-talkies that I see is the fact that that’s how FIRST runs the event. (At least in my experience)
ref squads are each on a walkie channel, scoring/FTA have a channel, then all of the other people who run the different areas of the event.

There may not be any channels left over with 8 fields going on!

There’s a new distributed antenna system operating inside the dome and convention center so cell coverage and capacity should be much better.

Thats why the rule exists banning them. It has nothing to do with strategy, its simply to keep channels free for event staff to use. Like you said at a normal event there’s various channels in use, and with 8 fields going on it will get even tighter. The last thing you’d want to do is stumble across a field channel, or worse the EMT channel and cause confusion.

One year at Championships…I can’t remember which year. I asked Pit Admin if we could use a 2-Way Professional Radio. Not a “walkie-talkie”.

Something like this:

We was on a UHF freq that did not interfere with the event radios, and they gave permission to use the 2-way radio from pits to stands. But the radio could not be on the drive team of course.

Is it a case that these rules say DO NOT USE “walkie-talkie” but if you have a professional 2-way radio, that they give you permission to use it? Anyone else gotten the “ok” to use a 2-way radio?

I don’t view a 2-way radio as a walkie-talkie. I have shown the same radio to some of the Regional Events FTA/Pit Admin and District Events FTA/Pit Admin, and sometimes they said “ok” sometimes they said “no” even when I showed them it was not a “walkie-talkie”. I assume if they started to allow 2-way radios, that everyone would have them. This year in Indiana, we had the same FTA for all the events we went too and was told “no” at the first event so I assume the ruling would be the same for the rest of the season events we attended, so we just left the 2-way radios home for every Indiana event we went too.

A Push to Talk phone is the same thing or a phone call works the same too…That’s what we do when 2-way is not allowed.

Early on during a match our robot got stuck on the scoring platform. Our drive coach thought it was funny so he took out his phone.

One yellow card later we have learned a lesson.

We used an app to communicate to our drivers and pit when we would be running around, as well as talk to our person on field for alliance selections. The app ran off of cell data and was useful for being able to keep in touch while roaming around to scout or strategist. When on field the drive team would simply unhook the headphones and put them in their pockets. During one match while we were stuck waiting for close to an hour it helped because we radioed our pit guys to bring us a new battery and the laptop charger.

OP is from Israel. My guess was that they were looking for a quick solution to accruing roaming cell charges. If they have GSM phones, there’s probably a way to get US SIM cards, but I’m not sure how complicated a process that takes.

My team is from Mexico, what we do is buy US sim cards. There is a data plan that for 3 dollars a day gives you 200 MB and unlimited calls and texts.

a reeeeeeaaaaaaly long string

Like suuuuuper long.