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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I have been shopping around for a good deal on a Voice activated two way radio system for the 400. The "chatterbox" systems are nice, but very pricey for us, so we've been looking to see what might work instead. Today, we finally settled on a pair of VOX radios from Audiovox that we found at Walmart for $39. It included the radios, rechargable AAA batteries for both, a charger base, AC adapter, cigarette lighter adapter, 2 boom mic headsets, belt clips and cases for the units. It works great. We had to change out the ear pads on the headsets (they were the cheap foam covers that do nothing for comfort) but we happened to have several molded rubber covers from our hands free cell phone mics that fit over it (with a little work) and now they fit very nicely, with a tight enough fit to block wind. We also had to snip off the "over the ear" attachments, because the pads in the helmets were making them dig in. Once all that was done, though, they're just what we wanted. The molded ear piece is comfortable, the pads hold it all in place, the boom mic runs right along the jawline and the chin strap holds the mic right up to the mouth for easy reception. I just drop the radio into my inside pocket of my armored jacket and run the cord up out the neck. The charger fits in the glovebox with the radios in it to recharge while we drive on long trips if the batteries die. You gotta put rubber bands around the base and the radios to hold them together while it's on it's side, but no problem for me. All in all, it's what we needed for a great price.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, they have a PTT function. When used, you can also have a "Roger Beep" sound when the PTT button is released to signal end of transmission. I forgot to mention that they have 10 shared GMRS/FRS channels, 8 FRS only channels, and 4 GMRS only channels, each with 38 subchannels. One question I have about it is are the channels standard between brands on two-way radios? In other words, if I were riding with people who had chatterboxes or another brand of two way, could we talk?
 

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I looked at several different radios today at Target. Most that combined FRS and GMRS had the same number of channels in each band. But the best way to know for sure is to compare actual frequencies used.
FRS uses 462.5625 to 467.7125, with each of 14 channels seperated by .015Mhz.
GMRS uses 462.550 to 462.725, 467.550 to 467.725, and 462.5625 to 462.7125Mhz (same as FRS 1-7, but with more power)
CB uses 26.965 to 27.405, with each of 40 channels seperated by .01Mhz

What chatterbox uses depends on what model you buy. Theres are FRS and GMRS specific models, as well as other-frequency models available in other countries.

Dave B.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They have a 6 mile optimum range, so I assume they would do fine, reliably up to 2 or 3 miles in real world conditions. My wife and i are taking them out today to play with them off the bike and get a feel for what they'll do. They work fine side to side, and I'm sure that the distances between two riders together on the road would make no difference. By the way, for an extra $20 or so, they have models that have the NOAA weather alert frequencies on them, which might be handy for those of you in unpredicatble areas. Our region isn't prone to surprises, so we opted for the less expensive set.

I checked the frequencies in the manual, and it's right on the money. 462.5625 - 467.6375 in the same increments. Sounds like you can mix brands without a problem.
 

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Hardillender, regarding the PTT: does it have a provision for a plug-in PTT cable that could then be attached to the handlebar?
 

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hrdillender,
Your Vox radio set-up sounds neat and, I assume nothing in the way of permanent installation in the helmets!?
Could you provide us with the Audiovox model/part#'s, etc...I know I would like to look into this type of communicator.
Enough with the hand signals when riding two-up.:roll:
Thanks,
GinDrinker
:D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
ted clement said:
Hardillender, regarding the PTT: does it have a provision for a plug-in PTT cable that could then be attached to the handlebar?
No, I don't think they're that cool. Sorry. We went out all afternoon goofing around with them, and they do work pretty well on their own, though. We tried them at up to a mile, and they worked fine on low transmit power (which saves battery). They have a high power setting for greater distances, as well. Now my only question about them is whether the wind noise in our helmets is going to affect the VOX functions. Didn't on the first try, but I guess I'll have to go riding and see...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No, there's no mounting needed. The cheek pad and strap hold everything in place just fine. It's the Audiovox GMRS6000-2PK with Bonus Pack.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We didn't want anything we couldn't upgrade later. That Motocomm thing looks awesome. We had to flip a coin between music and a radio, cuz we didn't want to spend more than $50 on the project right now. This way, we're not out too much to change later to something cooler, with all the inputs. Full-duplex would be really cool, too. These are single duplex, of course.
 

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hrdillender said:
Full-duplex would be really cool, too. These are single duplex, of course.
I could be wrong, but I think they're simplex: transmit and receive on the same frequency, and only one way at a time, rather than full- or half-duplex.

hrdillender said:
...they have 10 shared GMRS/FRS channels, 8 FRS only channels, and 4 GMRS only channels, each with 38 subchannels. One question I have about it is are the channels standard between brands on two-way radios? In other words, if I were riding with people who had chatterboxes or another brand of two way, could we talk?
As far as I know, they should work with other brands. The true "channels" (frequencies) are standardized. The 38 "subchannels" are actually "privacy" systems, and not true frequencies, but I think the manufacturers standardized on those, as well. (Since they aren't true channels; if you're using, say, channel 1 code 38 and someone nearby is using channel 1 code 15 (or whatever) you might get some interference. But at least you wouldn't be hearing each others' conversations all the time.)

Let us know how it handles wind noise at highway speeds. It sounds like a great way to get intercom and bike-to-bike at entry level prices.

 

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Discussion Starter #15
Nice to know the appropriate terms. I tend to put things into the contexts I'm familiar with, which in this case is internet Voice over IP. Services like paltalk refer to themselves as single duplex, but given your definition that would make sense, since they are not on the same channel. simplex makes more sense in this case. So I guess the "of course" in my earlier post isn't really. :wink:
Actually, I got my channel counts wrong as well (that's what I get for giving statistics off the top of my head). It's 7 GMRS/FRS, 7 FRS, and 8 GMRS channels with 38 "sub-channels" each.
 

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O.K. all of you techie junkies, I have a few simple questions. I don't need to speak to anyone since I don't do 2 up riding. My question is if I were to somehow strap a portable radio to the steering column would I be able to hear the music? What type of radio have people bought? Or would I be better off getting a head set and listening to the music that way. I usually don't like additional noise to my ears because I am already hurting from the windscreen and have not been able to find decent ear plugs that work. Or else I am just not putting the plugs in my ears correctly.

Evelyn
 

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I found some noise-cancelling headphones at Walgreens a fw months back. They basically listen to noises in the room and send a cancelling noise along with your music to your ears. The effect is that you only hear the music and nothing else. The processing is all done in a little module in line in the cable, not in the headphones themselves.

It occurs to me that I could cut/paste this module in line with my helmet headset and it might eliminate all noise from the wind or any other sources other than what's piped into my ears. BUT, everything I've read suggests that one should always be able to hear surrounding traffic and any sirens and such. My deaf brother might disagree, but the logic still sounds valid. I think some states ban helmet headphones because of the distraction or failure-to-hear sirens principle.

Any opinions?

Dave B.
 

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I was thinking about the same thing a few days ago when I saw some noise-cancelling headphones at a Brookstone store. I think there might be a problem to overcome trying to adapt this for motorcycling. The nose in your helmet is probably different from various places around your body on the bike. So the sensor should be inside your helmet, where it can pick up the actual in-helmet sound pattern and work to cancel that. If the sensor is outside the helmet, it will be 'hearing' the outside noise, creating an inverted wave to cancel it, and piping that into your helmet. But if that sound is different from what's going on in your helmet, it could actually be adding to the noise.
 

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Good point, frugality. In the house the module is in the same "space" as my head is. Assuming there's a microphone in the module, the solution may be as simple as burying the module in the helmet, or extending it's mic into the helmet. It can't be right at the ear, or it will hear the music coming from the headphones and cancel that. It may even create a feedback loop.

I haven't yet ridden on the highway while trying to listen to anything, so this all may be a moot excercise.
 
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