Vex Competition 2014

For the Toss Up Games, it said that the robot is supposed to be programmed for the first 15 seconds. How are we supposed to start it without being tethered? By tethered, I mean I can only start it while it is connected to the orange cable.

You need to buy a competition switch. For you convince I have linked one here.

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We are using a VeXNet cortex micro-controller.

Does it come in the Vex kit?

No. It does not come with the kit. The competition switch plugs into the joystick. It allows you to switch between autonomous and driver ,and enable and dis-able. You can read about how it works in the attached document.
VEXnet Comp Sw Diagram-1.pdf (13.5 KB)

No it doesn’t, and you don’t need to buy it.
Just practice with the orange cable, and at competitions they have a special competition switch that can activate the Autonomous mode, just use the competition template in EasyC

If your are interested in the schematics of the field controller you can view that here.

Are you using the keys or do you have the joystick connected to the robot with a USB cable?

Also what programming language are you using?