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Wireless and Hard Wire Communication

With the use of electronic underwater communication, a direct, clear communication link is established between divers as well as divers and the surface.  This means there is no misunderstanding what was meant by the rope or hand signal. If a diver needs assistance, he simply advises what assistance he needs. Surface personnel and/or other divers then render that specific assistance.


One of the growing problems with the use of electronic communication is the over dependency of it. Some teams are so dependent on electronic commination's that if the communications are not working that day, they can't dive for safety reasons. So, rather than converting to hand or rope signals and accomplishing the mission, they stop diving. This is not where you want to be as a solid, well trained dive team.


Electronic communication basically comes in two forms:


1. Wireless

2. Hard wire




Wireless or ultrasonic communication has improved over the years in many ways.  Many of you old divers can remember diving with wireless units that were not very dependable. Adjustments were always being made to keep them working.  With time you got tired of making the adjustments and went without.  For this reason, many teams are convinced that hard wire is the only way to go.  However, some modern wireless units are quite dependable and if the diver has a little practice in adjusting their controls, they can provide excellent communication.


Before making a choice, here are some of the good and bad points of wireless communication:



  • Complete mobility

  • Quickly assembled and allows for rapid response



  • Can lose its communication link if the transducer (antenna) is covered or blocked. Example:  Divers' transducer is covered by equipment, or surface transducer touches the bottom or is behind an obstruction.




Hardwire is used by many teams around the country because of the added safety involved in having divers tethered to the surface.  Hardwire systems are also easily adapted to work with the surface supplied air systems in use today because of our ever-growing pollution problem.  These systems add additional safety by maintaining constant, clear communication throughout the dive and are usually less expensive and less complicated than wireless.


What are some of the good and bad points of this system?



  • Provides complete communication link at all times with diver

  • Can be easily used with surface supplied air systems

  • Provides a constant link between divers and the surface



  • Because the diver is connected to the surface with an umbilical cord, entanglement is a risk

  • Diver's freedom of movement is compromised

  • It can only be used effectively on certain search patterns


Many teams today are going "wireless," that is, they are purchasing wireless systems due to the affordability and freedom these offer (no wires).  So, let's look at wireless systems a little closer.


Underwater communication comes in three grades:

  • Sport

  • Commercial

  • Military 


When looking at the three grades, they differ in cost, features and performance capabilities. The sport grade is cheaper than the commercial grade and has fewer features and a lower performance rating.  Of the three, the commercial grade units are designed for the public safety diver and thoroughly meet his needs.  The military grade has a higher range output and usually comes with its own frequency.  However, the military grade also costs more than the other two.


Ocean Technology Systems OTS -

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