Words and Pics: John Danter
Comms is an intricate and misunderstood field, with a mind bending number of variables and options open to us.
Squad communications – using Baofengs or the bigger MBITR style units – also bring a whole new dimension and enjoyment to team dynamics and cohesion.
Regardless of what radio you use (and there’s a multiplicity of choices), you will face a dilemma as to where to locate it. One thing you will need is a radio pouch. Over the years I’ve had many. I have four to choose from right now…
When running a heavy radio like an MBITR, it will have its own momentum and can rattle if not secure. Radios, per se, are not very ergonomic. They are usually boxy and angular, and can dig in or chafe if not in the right place.
So here are a few placement options with points to note.
- A fixed antenna may end picking your nose or having an eye out, but you could invest in a relocation cable or flexible antenna (for full disclose I make and sell these through my company SNR Comms)
- In terms of routing, you may not be able to open one side of your plate carrier due to how you wired your antenna or relocation cable
- The radio may hinder weapon manipulation
- The radio may increase your profile, which isn’t convenient in enclosed spaces
- However, you can quickly get to your radio to change frequency, battery etc. This is a massive positive from my POV, so I tend to front mount
- As the radio is on your back, you cannot get to it at all. You have to rely on a teammate or removing your PC to correct a fault, alter frequency, volume, or to swap a battery
- However, it frees up useful front real estate and slims the user’s profile
- Also, antenna placement is already decided with no recourse to relocation cables etc
Some Pouch Choices
Blue Force Gear Multi-radio Pouch
One of the options shown here is the BFG Multi-radio Pouch.
It’s a great pouch as it stays open when the radio is extracted from the top. This makes the radio easier to remove and replace after field repair or adjustment. It can also be opened from the bottom to swap a battery.
Sadly it’s a MOLLE only option, but this is perfect for rear placement.
Crye Precision MBITR Radio Pouch Set
Crye’s MBITR Radio Pouch Set is a pair of very simple Tweave (a type of four-way stretch softshell) pockets for front placement only. The pockets secure using velcro under the PC’s front flap.
A very light option with almost zero bulk, it’s basically an elastic sock that you slip the radio into.
Despite its many advantages, it’s an absolute nightmare to reindex the radio after adjustment etc; especially if you’re wearing the PC it’s attached to.
Enter the Crye Precision AirLite Configurable Radio Pouch
Out of all the pouches I’ve owned, I have struggled to find a one stop shop. That was until I found Crye’s new AirLite Configurable Radio Pouch.
It’s smart enough to allow me to swap the velcro attachment panel to be left or right facing and it fits up front – although it is possible to field expediently mount it using MOLLE.
That’s because its shell comes with spaced slots – so that ostensibly, the radio ride height can be adjusted.
This pouch also stays open when you pull the radio out – being composed of Crye’s AirLite Structural laminate.
It’s also very svelte, so bulk is extremely low.
I’d also like to highlight the absolute beauty of the Crye AVS (reviewed here). Its Harness gives you a secure anchor point to mount the radio pouch, but also acts as a bulwark to prevent rubbing.
The cummerbund then goes over the radio. This holds it so tight you’ll forget it’s there.