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

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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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