Author Archives: Chas

Intermediate Referee in American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). AYSO Referee since 2005.
Grade 8 Referee in United States Soccer Federation (USSF). USSF Referee since 2011.

TA-521 Full Duplex, Open Mic Radio – My Review

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Filed under Football (Soccer), Uncategorized
A set of Full Duplex Referee Radios for under $500? I just had to try them out!

A set of Full Duplex Referee Radios for under $500? I just had to try them out!

Note: NONE of the links I provide in this article are affiliate links. I receive no money for anything posted in this article.

All prices are in US Dollars, and are current as of March 2015.

Last week, I ordered a set of TA-521 radios from a company in China called TA-RF Security. I have provided their contact information at the bottom of this article. While I already have two sets of Push-to-Talk radios (RefTalk, and a DIY setup that I made using a set of Midland GXT1000VP4 radios), the key selling point of the TA-521s is the fact that they are open-mic (the microphone is always on, so you just speak without pushing any buttons), and full-duplex (you can hear everyone else even while you are talking).

At the moment, there are three popular full-duplex radio brands available to referees: RefTalk2 (pronounced “RefTalk squared,” currently priced at $2,100), the Vokkero series of radios (an entry-level, 3-user kit starts at $2,200), and the Eartec ComStar series (a 3-user kit costs $1,600).

I purchased my 4-user TA-521 kit for…wait for it…$504. Including shipping. It was actually $480; the other $24 went directly to PayPal in the form of transaction fees. (Note: As of September 2015, the price of the set has increased to about $525.)

Obviously, if you’re still reading, you want to know if these radios are actually good enough to compete with setups that are three to fours times as expensive. There is so little in terms of reviews of any full-duplex radios out there, and nothing at all about the ones I purchased. So, here is my review of the TA-521 radios. I will provide as much detail as possible, as objectively as possible. This will be a long post.

Another note: Throughout 2015, this article will be a work in progress while I continue to test the radios in game situations, and come up with solutions to any issues that I encounter. This article was last updated on September 9, with a price update.

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Unfair Advantages to One Team?

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Filed under Controversial Calls, Football (Soccer)
Are soccer tents an unfair advantage when one team brings one, and the other doesn't?

Are soccer tents an unfair advantage when one team brings one, and the other doesn’t? What if one team brings Gatorade, and the other team only brings water?

Two weekends ago, I arrived at a field for a U12 Girls game, and saw a bit of a commotion going on between the referee and the home team coaches. Not one to see a battle and immediately attempt to insert myself into it, I just ignore it and start my pre-match routine.

When it was over, I asked the referee what the problem was. He declared that the home team needed to remove the shade they had set up over their bench, because it was unfair to the away team, who had not brought one. He went on to say that, as the home team, if they want to use a shade for their bench, then they need to provide one for the other team as well.

I was curious why this referee singled out the home team in his decision, so I asked him what he would have done if it was the visiting team that had brought the shade. Almost proud of himself for knowing the answer, he said that he would have done nothing, because it’s not unfair if the visiting team does it. At that point I just dropped the issue. Read More »

How Do You Call Offside?

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Filed under Football (Soccer), Tips and Insights
MUOffside

You Make the Call: Is Berbatov Offside? (NOTE: Image has been Photoshopped)

I attended a local referee’s meeting recently, where one of the topics was (of course) Offside. Ignoring the fact that many of the speakers like to call it “Offsides,” one specific scenario did spark a huge debate among the 100+ refs in attendance that night.

The speaker in charge of going through the slide show presentation with us showed us the scene. At the moment the ball is played, the Assistant Referee should take a “snapshot” of the players in his mind. In this snapshot, the defender was standing straight up, and the attacker in question was leaning forward and running towards goal, much like Dimitar Berbatov in the image you see above (NOTE: I Photoshopped the image to better reflect the scenario. I also moved Rooney forward so i could make the image larger!). Read More »

RefPlanet.com Welcomes the Morris County Youth Soccer Association

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Filed under News

MCYSA logo whiteI would now like to welcome all visitors from the Morris County Youth Soccer Association (MCYSA) in New Jersey. I was very pleased to meet so many of you this evening!

Please take the time to create a username, then introduce yourself in the Discussion Forum, where you can reflect and ask questions all season related to refereeing.

Thank you for visiting, and enjoy the site!

RefPlanet.com Welcomes the Northern Counties Soccer Association

Filed under News

NCSAI would like to welcome all visitors from the Northern Counties Soccer Assocation (NCSA) in New Jersey.

Please take the time to create a username, then introduce yourself in the Discussion Forum, where you can reflect and ask questions all season related to refereeing.

Thank you for visiting, and enjoy the site!

Welcome to the NEW RefPlanet.com!

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Filed under News

RefPlanet.com is an all-around resource for referees, officials, and judges of all sports.

If this is your first time on the site, here are just a few of things you can do on RefPlanet.com:

  • Discuss experiences, situations, and approaches to the game (or just introduce yourself) in the discussion forums.
  • Create a blog (or journal) of your refereeing career (or read other referees’ blogs).
  • Check out the resource database to see how to get started as a referee in your area in any sport.

The site is still new, as you can the tell by the lack of posts the forum. But every site has to start somewhere, so don’t be shy! When we share experiences, we all become better officials. Introduce yourself in the discussion forums and get started on RefPlanet.com today!

The New RefPlanet.com is Under Construction!

Filed under News

My name is Chas, and I’m working on the new RefPlanet.com.

Until it is complete, you can still access the old resource database at http://www.refplanet.com/old-db/

The new site will have the following features:

  • Referees can create their own Referee Journals (Referee Blogs). When you create your blog, you can access it at RefPlanet.com/your_username <– UPDATE: I may not commit to this. It seems like a better idea to keep these in the Forums, where everyone can find each other’s blogs easily.
  • Discussion forums, where you can talk about anything in the refereeing world, argue calls, and more (you can also promote your Referee Blog).
  • The NEW RefPlanet Resource Database! Every link you will ever need in your refereeing journey! Addresses, phone numbers, directions, and guides on how to advance your career as a referee.