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Bike 2 Bike Communication.... where to start

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Teflon-Mike
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Joined: 01 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: 09:51 - 27 Jun 2011    Post subject: Bike 2 Bike Communication.... where to start Reply with quote

Right, Bike 2 Bike Communications. Its a Frequently Asked Question, and every-one tends to start at the wrong end, looking at the actual radios....
Bear with me, I WILL get there, meanwhile, an audiophike, many many years ago gave me a pair of hgead-phones and a bit of advice...... "Shit IN, you get SHIT out" doesn't matter HOW good the equipment is, if it dont have a decent signal, or a decent pair of speakers on the end, it will NEVER sound good.

When it comes to Bike 2 Bike radio, pretty much the same is true; but we have a few other things to consider, and the MAIN one is that the noises need to be in your hat. You are wearing a crash helmet, so you want speakers in it to hear whats said on the radio, and a mic so you can say things INTO the radio.

AND, you can have the best headset in the world, if you have loads of wind noise over the top of it, you aren't going to hear it very well, and half of what you say will be lost on the breeze.

Meanwhile, when you dont have anything to say or hear... you want to be comfortable!

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/101B0184.jpg

THIS, is the kind of earpiece/mic you get as an acessory with many PMR Walkie talkies. These are NOT very good inside a helmet.

First of all, they are 'in ear' speakers, and perhaps 1/2" deep. With the crash helmet lining pressing them into your ear-ole they are uncomfortable... IF they even go inside the hat, and aren't plain painful. And if they aren't, then chances are your crash hat is too loose a fit to be worth a damn in an accident!

Next up, the microphone boom... well its short, and if you do pull a crash hat on over the top, its as likely to go up your nose, or poke you in the eye as sit anywhere near useful to talk into.

And they are cheap and nasty, and 'adequete' for 'hands free' operation of the radio, in 'normal' walking around kind of situations. They are not wonderful in 'noisey' envriments, like inside a crash helmet.

First warning; idea that you can buy a pair of walkie talkies, with headsets for about 50, 'complete' and that will give you 'ALL' you need for bike to bike comms, well, if you are relying on this kind of headset, think again. I'll come back to the radio's later, but thius kind of earpiece/mic is pretty much useless for bike 2 bike work.

On CBT or Rider Training, you may have had a School Radio, and that will have had an earpiece a bit more like this one.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/ear1.jpg

Sometimes called a 'Jaw-Mic' or 'covert earpiece', the head-phone speaker doubles as the microphone, picking up your voice through the vibrations in your jaw bone.

Rider Schools use them, but PURELY for students, and purely as speakers, the microphone function normally dissabled, so that the instructors dont have to listen to thier screams..... But if they did enable them, they are horrible, even when not used in a helmet they dont work brilliantly as a microphone, but inside a helmet, they pick up all the vibration off the helmet, as readily as they do your jaw.....

The Instructors will have a 'propper' dedicated designed for teh job HELMET head set like this:

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/0480_12.jpg

Or more likely, as most instructors prefer flip front helmets, the version for the 'open face' helmet that has a microphone boom.....

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/Bi8FgQmkKGrHqYH-DIEsTtVz7TBLRbd8ckQQ_12.jpg

These have a number of advantages, and the first one is that SIMPLY they are more expensive, and 'better' quality bits of kit.

The 'cheap and nasty' earpiece/mic that comes 'free' with your 50 PMR pair, is not much different to what you can get in the pound shop, to plug into a computer, just has a different plug on the end, and even at a quid, it has a huge mark up on it.

And being DESIGNED or at least optimised for motorcycle helmet use, not only do you get 'slim' fitting headphones that will fit in your hat more comfortably, both the earphones and the mic will be electrically 'tuned' better for the noisy enviroment they are expected to work in.

MOST actually calim a nose cancelling microphone, which in truth isn't as sophisticated as the name implies, but the microphone will have been 'tuned' for sensitivity of frequencies in teh vocal range, and to be less sensitive to the kinds of nioise frequencies you get in the back ground, high frequency wind noise, being the main one.

There are a lot of these on the market, with different connections for different radios, and in different packaging, but there are probably only three of four different makes.

Most likely one you are likely to come accross is the Oxford Bike 2 Bike PMR intercom, that contains these kind of headsets, whcih you can actually buy seperately for about 15. They aren't at the 'high end' of the market, but they are pretty reasonable for the job, and I believe they are the same make as the ones Maplin sell in thier own box for about 30. One I got For Snowie, was 20 from Knights Electrocom.

IF you want bike to bike communications, THIS is where you start, with a PROPPER headset.

But you still have to fit it in a hat. NOW.... mentioned the discomfort and pain of the cheapo earpieces, and the covert mic, which is more comfortable, but only really any good as an earphone.

As supplied, the instructiond for 'propper' motorcycle headsets, suggest sticking them inside your hat, on top of the lining..... they usually come with velcro hooks on the back of the speakers and mic, so that they will 'stick' to the material of the lining, Or you can peel the backing off the 'loop' side of the velcro and use the sticky tab to glue the pads in place.

First option: sticking to the lining with the velcro hooks..... I have NEVER got a set to stay comfrortably 'in place' this way. Second option; attaching with teh sticky pads; they stay 'better' but the lining still shifts.


Some people leave the headphones 'loose' on the velcro hooks, then put hat on, and push the pads up into place over thier ears, and find that acceptable.

Two things.... the first is, its a case of FINDING whatever works BEST for YOU..... second is, DONT think that the headphones HAVE to go DIRECTLY over your ears... or that the mic has to go RIGHT infront of your mouth.

I have found that having the headphones under my ears, or behind them, can be more comfortable and work as well or better. Likewise the mic can work better above your mouth or below it, or to one or other side.

You need to experiment a bit to get best placement, as well as best comfort, and THEN best operation.....

However; little trick....

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/101_0184.jpg

Photo doesn't show this to BEST effect, and unfortunately I cant strip it out to show you how it all goes together, BUT, I did this to my helmet a lot of years ago, and every helmet since.

RATHER than trying to place the mic and the speakers INSIDE the lining of the helmet, and right where you THINK they should go..... I found that most helmets you can 'wiggle' the innser padding out of with a little careful... well, wiggling!

Shown here is my Shoie, which are partucularly easy to take apart; Snowie's Nitro and my AGV were a bit harde, but not impossible.

THIS part on the liner, is in the LESS critical area of teh chin piece, where there is actually no shock absorbing material, and the cheek peices, which dont actually offer much shock absorbsion, as they are bearing on the soft flesh of youe face, not your skull, so its NOT so critial to the crash protection...

AND if you are careful, you can sort of squash the headphones IN to the lining between teh shell and the foam, JUST beneath and infront of your ears, so they are around your jaw.... this means that IN an accident they are less likely to have any adverse effect, and the speakers themselves WONT be pushed into your head....

Its all compromise and trade offs here, but I think this is a reasonable one.

SO, the headphones have been burried into the liner. Same with the mic, burried into the inside of the padding on teh chin piece.... the wires neatly routed and kept in place with duck-tape!

Then the chin padding re inserted into the helmenbt and the trim re attached to tidy it all up.

There is now NOTHING between head and helment liner, so its as comfy as the lid was without a headset, AND the speakers and mic dont get in the way or moved about pulling the hat on or off....

And it only takes an hour or so 'fiddling' to do.....

In operation, works very well, the headphones can still be heard nice and clearly through the lining of the hat, and the microphone still picks up voice clearly... and in fact, tucked a little out of the wind, and JUST that bit further from your mouth, actually works better... or at least I have always found, on, probably half a dozen hats I've wired like this now.

No garentees, but, worth a crack, if you are struggling.

SO, onto The rest of the system.

VOX vs PTT
VOX is 'Voice Activated Transmission, PTT os 'Push To Talk' activated transmission.

Two Way radio's have 'simplex' operation, or are called 'transievers'. The reception circuits recieve a signal from the areal, apmplify it and output it to the earpeace or speaker. When you want to transmit, the radio is turned backwards and the signal from the microphone pumped through the same (or parts of the same recieving) circuit OUT of the areal. They can EITHER transmit OR they can recieve... they can do BOTH, but NOT at the same time...

Now, conventionally Transievers, whether PMR446 or any other system USUALLY 'recieve'. Switch them on, and thats what they do, listen to whatever frequency they are tuned into and put that signal to the earpiece. To transmit, you conventionally flick a switch or push a button, which flips the circuits and opens the microphone, and pumps the signal from that out the areal.

THAT is 'PTT', and in MOST motorcycle headsets, you'll get a PTT switch with it, that can be quickly attached or removed from the bike via a velcro strap around the bar grip..

VOX, on the other hand, is a simple cicuit that monitors the noise level on the microphone, but doesn't transmit it. It simply looks for a noise of higher than normal volume, and when it senses one, flips a relay activating the transmit ciircuits.

This can give you 'Hands Free' operation. Which can look useful for bike to bike comms, but, it is not without problems, and MOST people using radios regularly on a bike, opt for the better reliability of PTT.

Using VOX you say: "Testing, Testing, One-Two-Three" and what came out of the other radio is ".Ing, One-Two-Three". It Clips the first Testing and half off what you said..... This is 'VOX Lag'.... and it is bludy annoying.

Better raidios have better vox circuits, and may have less lag, but it will still be there. Some of the very best radios have sophisticated filters so they only look for the frequencies of speach sound, and measure the levels in that spectrum to deturmin whether to turn on the transmit function, BUT, remember how it works, and now leave your living room, and get on a motorbike, with exhaust noise and wind roar, and worse wind wipping up around teh chin piece of your helmet....

VOX can render the radios totally usless, as they are constantly on transmit, thinking that changes in exhaust note or wind resonance is you talking...... or they are clipping the first part of what you say into the microphone, and turning off the mic halfway through a sentence as you pause for words or sounds in your speeach, particularly s's of 'sybilance' make the VOX ciruit think you have stopped talking and its listening to wind noise...

VOX is a convenience, but it is FAR from perfect. again, its better on more expensive radio's but not always MUCH better. Hence why regular users so often go PTT.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/101B0187.jpg

This is the PTT button on Snowies headset, and its common to most of those on the market. Its neat and tidy and convenient. Its water proof, in its rubber housing and plastic mount with velcro strap to go round teh twist grip.

I found it a bit 'awkward' becouse I have big hands and there wasn't enough room on the grip for IT an my hands... especially on Snowie's bike which has heated grips and a moulded boss taking up 1/" of grip space where the wire for the heating element comes in.

So, becouse of this, ANd cheap-skating.... I made my own 'slim line' version!

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/101B0183.jpg

Bit of stanless steel plate I had lying around, some plastic to give it some 'body' to grip the bar grip, two bolts to attach rubber bands to secure it, and a 50p push to make switch from Maplin...

Took an hour or so to craft.... you can make something similar however you preffer really. Clever bit is the wiring, and even THAT isn't THAT clever.

Most Radios have the headsets 'wired' for 'mic' priority, so IF the microphone is plugged in, and there is continuity through the circuit, they transmit, if there is no continuity through the mic circuit, they switch to recieve, and put signal to the head phones..... so ALL you need to do, is cut one of the wires to the mic, preferably the live, rather than common earth, if the jack they are going to is common earth.... and splice in the Push to Make switch, on a length of coily wire... when teh witch is pushed, makes the mic circuit, radio transmits, let the button go, circuit is broken, defaults to recieve.

If you wanted, you could convert an existing button on your bikes standard switch cluster to be the PTT switch, maybe using the 'flash' button...... or you could maybe drill the switch housing and add a new button, if you wanted... thing is, there's nothing 'magic' about it, all t is is an on off switch on the mic circuit!

And THAT really, is about it for the 'Show & Tell' stuff, for a while. Lets get back to the FAQ, of reccomends for Bike to Bike radio comms.....

To recap, so far I have sais START with a decent, and bike specific headset, becouse they are better optimised for the job, tend to be a LOT more comfortable, and work far better, and usually have these Push To Talk switches, making comms a lot more reliable, without VOX lag, clipping or sensitivity problems.

CAREFUL headset fitting, then helps get the best you can out of the headset, and permenantly fitting inside the liner can really help make them most comfortable, easiest and least hassle to take on and off, ANd give better sound and transmission, with least distortion or back ground noise....

So... so far we are off to a good start, but we haven't talked about real HARDWARE yet, or actual radios.....

OK... so two common 'reccomends, that pop up, without all my explanatory waffle!

The FIRST is Autocom, the second is Oxford Bike2Bike mike.

First of all, OXFORD Bike2Bike.


These sell for roughly 50 a user set, and comprise of a dedicated helmet headset and a PMR446 'Walkie Talkie Radio'. As an 'all you need in a box' starter solution, its a PRETTY good place to start, especially if you can find a set discounted to about 30 on e-bay. Buy two, and you have a pair of PMR's and a pair of propper motocycle helmet headsets, for about 60 - 100, which is what many people are prepared to pay.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/CC0f9QmkKGrHqZhgE0f0lifVHBNMdT2CRQ_12.jpg

The headsets, are available individually for about 15, so they are the 'cheaper' dedicated m/c headsets, but they seem 'OK' ish. The Radio likewise, is a 'not bad' radio, I believe made for Oxford by Alan. (Oxford are a marketing company, not a manufacturer)

Reports on how 'good' they are vary, from 'rubbish' to 'excellent'. I suspect a LOT of that is down to expectation, more to the fitment of the headset, but MOST down to the limitatuions of the PMR446 radio system they work on.

These radios, are from a reputable maker, but they are low end radios, and as such not LIKELY to offer the best performance, though for the money, they probably do well.

So, lets look at the other end of the scale, and the other mush vaunted system, the Autocom.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/KGrHqIOKioE31J1hhOBNi1y3oMw_12.jpg

First thing about 'THE Autocom' is that it is neither a radio, nor a headset.... the Autocom 'system' is based around a 'multi device interface'..... its a box of tricks..... that lets you plug multiple 'audio devices' into it, and switch between them. Its a very CLEVER box of tricks, but then for prices starting from over 150 it bludy well ought to be!

One shown, is the Duo, which for around 200 comes with two high end headsets, and on its own, powered of the bikes battery, offers rider to pillion communication.... but you can plug in, or 'connect' any manner of audio devices through it, say an Ipod or MP3 player for tunes, or a Sat Nav, so you can hear the voide directions, or a mobile phone, or I dont know what else.... AND it will give priority to signals from different devices and either turn off or turn down the volume on them to play one over another....

So, say you are riding along, listening to Meat-Loaf, and your pillion wants to tell you to slow down, it will tuirn down the music so you can hear them, or it will turn off both so you get a turn instruction from your Sat-Nav.... all really 'cool' stuff.

Main thing here is to make it offer bike to bike comms, you need to plug it into a radio.... and Autocom reccomend a couple of radios to plug in, both from Kenwood, and both, like the Autocom, high end, (EXPENSIVE... no EFFOFF expensive) PMR446 sets, from Kenwood, the cheaper of which being a 150 a hand set radio!

So, the autocom is NOT a cheap Bike to Bike comms system, its a bludy expensive one, and its NOT even that, its simply a fancy interface FOR a PMR446 Radio....

AND as far as PMR446 Radio goes, how well it works has very LITTLE to do with the Autocom, its all down to the PRM446 radio plugged into it, and you could do the same job, simply buying the high end PMR446 that autocom reccomend and a high end headset to plug straight into it WITHOUT the 150+ of autocom box....

So, lets look at PMR446, 'Licenec Exempt' radio. Becouse THIS seems to be what we are REALLY talking about, after headsets.

Base line here is the OXford Bike 2 Bike, which I have said at 50 retail, a user set, radio and headset, is a pretty cost effective start.

PMR446 radios, start in price at around 10 a pair, in bubble packs in Aldi/Netto/Liddle 'offers', and go up through mid range radios in the 50 to 100 a hand set range, to really high end sets pushing 200 a pop.

With PMR446 you REALLY get what you pay for... or probably better to say, you DONT get whet you DONT pay for!

PMR446 'Licence Exempt' is a quite sophisticated radio standard, exploiting regulations for 'radio transmission devices' in a frequency allocation, reserved fro consumer products, where devices do not need an operators licence to use them.

The frequency range allocated is very high in the radio spectrum, and intended for short range transmission, hence it is also strictly limted to a VERY small transmitter power.

It is INTENDED for such 'stuff' as alarm remote key fobs, garage door openers, radio controlled toys, and 'that kind of thing'... and these days, the number of 'wireless' devices that use 'licence exempt' frequencies is huge, everything from baby monitors to wirelss keyboards or wireless headphones.... probably even wireless kettles! EVERYTHING seems to be going 'wireless' these days!

Anyway, first of all, it was presumed, when it was concieved and the frequency allocation 'blocked' for consumer products, that required or 'acceptable' range would be small.... I mean you dont want to turn your car alarm on from three miles away or open your garage door before you get to the end of your drive, or have your wireless keyboard in a different street to your computer, do you?

So, the regulations that permit 'walkie talkies' on these frequencies dont REALLY encourage it. If you wanted half decent radio voice transmission, over a decent range, you'd select a much lower frequency allocation, where you get a much more robust signal, that ISN'T destroyed by obstrutions so easily, and ask for a higher transmitter power you you could bang out a beefier signal, that would get through or around obstructions a lot more reliably.....

You would NOT try and work within the limitations of the very high 446MHz frequenct range or a mere 1/4 wat transmitter power.......

No, you'd ask for at LEAST 4w of transmitter power and a much lower frequncy allocation, maybe around 26/27MHz.... Actually no, you'd ask for something more like 30 or 40W of transmitter power, down in the MW frequency, something like 1MHz.... but you wouldn't get it.... you'd get 4w transmitter power and 26Mhz.... becouse they blokced THAT out years ago and gave it away as 'Licence Free' or CB Radio, which was DESIGNED for the job of transmitting voice over more reasonable ranges, reliably..... and I will come to this later, becouse it is by FAR the more superior 'system' than PMR446..... but it is little used, becouse, first until a couple of years ago it wasn't entirely 'free' there was a one off, licence registration fee, and secondly, people still assocaite it with the Dukes of Hazard Wannabees in beaten up old Ford Carpri's with big wip areals with confederate flags painted on the roof!

So.... PMR446 EXISTS to exploit a loophole in legislation, and utilise this 'free' bit of the airwaves, TRYING to make the best of a less than ideal, short range radio frequency and incredibly small transmitter power.....

At BEST, PMR446, has a useful range of PERHAPS 10Km or 8miles, in IDEAL conditions, which basically means a clear line of sight between the radio areals, and good quality radios operating at near bang on maximum permisseable transmitter limit, and sending a VERY clear signal to VERY sensitive reciever circuits..... becouse if you dont have the power to should very loud, you have to talk VERY clearly, and listen very carefully.... and THAT is how PMR446 eeks out the limitations of the system, permitted in 'Licence Exempt' frequencies.

BUT, you only get that clear speach and careful listening from higher quality, more expensive radio sets, where they are made with the best quality components and assembled, balences and tuned to a very high degree of accuracy.

'Cheap' PMR sets REALLY just cant have that good a quality components or circuits, especially when they are trying to boast the 'featuires' like higher end PMR's of LCD display, PLL Tuning, and selectable chanels, multiple call tines and whatever else, for the same price as a pair of 'matched frequency' single chanel, Toy Radios, like Action man walkie talkies.....

So, your 10 a pair bubble wrapped PMR's are likely to be pretty much useless for bike to bike comms, and a waste of time trying to plug them into dedicated motorcycle headsets that probably cost at LEAST three times as much as the radio...... even if they work, they are not going to offer very good range or reception..... line of sight, and THEN not over a great range. You might be lucky to get more than a few hundred metres out of them practically.... fine for your kids on the beach, NOT for rider to rider comms on motorbikes.

For THAT job, you need to be looking up the price range, and realistically at sets in the 30+ a hand set bracket.... which means that the Oxfords, including a 15 headset for under 50 are probably only JUST in the quality range that is likely to work.

And at THAT price, you are only JUST getting over the threshold of the cost going into the product to give it the features that make it look like a 'propper' PMR446 and starting to make it work like one..... to actually start seeing the benefits of the better circuitry and sensitivity and getting close to useful reliable ranges, you need to be looking at the 50 a hand set price bracket.

Add 20 for headsets, and you are talking maybe 150 for a half 'decent' PMR446 set up.... and probably short changing yourself, becouse only 20 further up teh price range you start getting into the higher end hand sets that really CAN deliver, names like Cobra, Midland, and Motorola, rather than Binatone or Realistic.....

Probably the best 'rated' PMR446 on the market at the moment is the Intek MT50-50 multistandard PMR446, which retails for about 70 a hand set, and is rated as being able to compete with high end sets twice its price for performance, and is much loved by (illegal) radio modders, becouse it is a multi standard radio, and can be re programmed to use other non PMR446 complient frequencies and even higher transmitter power.... but I dont endorse such antics, its illegal...... (Regs say that PMR446 units must be factory 'sealed' and using one that is 'unsealed' is an offence.. you have been warned)

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/e849_12.jpg

IF you want to base a system on PMR446, though this is the sort of conclusion you come to, IF you actually want it to 'do the job'; reliably and well.

A pair of radios with free 'button' earpiece/mics and VOX activation, all for 50... yes, its cheap, and it can work, just about, but you WILL quickly find the limitations and problems I have described and deem it a 'waste of money' and give them to some kids to play with.....

The 50 a unit Oxfords, twice the price, are more likely to be 'useful' and a better starting point, but like a 50 pair, I suspect that many find thier limitations and short comings irritating, and would either quickly abandon them, or keep the headsets and upgrade to 'better' PMR radios.

As a System to base bike to bike comms on, it really has very little going for it, as said, if you were starting from scratch for a radio coms system, it is NOT where you would begin, it only exists to exploit a loop hole, and its only real merit is availability..... loads of PMR446 radios available, and compatability with the number of people that already use PMR446, becouse if you walk into argos or look in the magazines thats ALL they are offered....

If you want to turn up to group rides, and talk to other attendees, chances are IF they have radio's they will have PMR446's, and if YOU have PMR446, you can talk to them......

And THAT is its only real merit.

If you want much more reliable, more robust, bike to bike comms, between two users, and you are both going to kit up to talk to each other, and dont mine (or actually preffer!) being on a different system to every one else... then you ought to consider 'Licence Free' CB radio.

Aluded to this earlier; its NOT what you would ask for if you had a clean sheet of paper and wanted really good mobile radio..... but its what the government gave us for the job, and these days, theres no licence or registration fee, and you can buy a CB Set as easily as a PMR, and have sixteen times the transmitter power, on a much more robust frequency allocation... using more versatile hardware.

Starting point is the same, the headset, but you plug it into a CB radio, instead of a PMR.... I have PMR and CB, and the headsets will, with adaptors lug into either system of radio.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/101_0180.jpg

Just to give you an idea, here are a few of my radios.

Far left is 'The Brick'. This is an 'old' 40UK Chanel 'Eurosonic' Hand Held CB. Next to it, broken down to show how it comes apart is the Midland Alan 42 Multi, 80Ch Hand Held CB, which is a lot more compact. Between thier areals is a 2 coin for scale. Then next is an Uniden PMR446, and next to that, just for scale and comparison, my Nokia mobile.

The Erosonic 'Brick'is a bit err big, and it takes ten AA batteries, and isn't the most elegant radio you can buy, but it does the job. And you can buy them in working order on e-bay, second hand for about 20-30. I actually bought that one, for about that price nearly ten years ago, to give CB 'a go' for car to car comms on green laning expeditions in Land Rovers... proving its worth, and the limitations of a hand held, inside a metal box, I later got a proper car mounted 'mobile rig' for the Rangie. But, for bike to bike, I pulled this out of the glove box, and making up my own adaptor set and Push to talk set, to connect it to the speakers and mic in my helmets, that were originally there for a rider to pillion intercom, its CHEAP bike to bike comms..... OK its cumbersome, but for 25, and some old bits of wire and a switch? This is better than high end PMR quality coms for LESS than 'cheap' PMR prices......

The Midland 42 Multi, was bought second hand to 'partner' the Eurocom, for bike to bike comms. Its a far 'nicer' radio, and has a lot more features.... most of them unused, and a lot more chanels. Its also a Multi standard Radio, like the Intek PMR, and can be easily reprogrammed to use frequency allocations for other countries... not that I can think of many reasons I would want to, but still.

Brand new, these radios can be bought, with warranty and accessories, for 'about' 120, which is compatative with higher midrange, lower high end PMR sets. Second hand, mine was virtually unused, and I paid 65 for it, though more typically they go for around 75.

The 'Cheapest' brand new Hand Held CB on the UK Market is the Maycom AH27, which I believe is made by the same company, Midland Alan, and is a 'cut down' version of the Midland 42, and takes the same battery cases and accessores, but doesn't boast the fame features. Its retail is about 100, but if you shop about you can get them for perhaps 80. Curiousely they seem to fetch near thier new price second hand on e-bay, so dont expect to snaffle a half price bargain, they seem to fetch about 70ish. If you want 'cheap' second hand hend held CB, best bet is the bargain priced Eurosonic.

These 'modern' CB Hand Helds are very compact. They are modular in design, and usually come with two battery boxes, one for 1.5v alkaline batteries, another for 1.2v rechargeable batteries of your preffered type and capacity, with integral charging circuit and socket (for which you get a wall charger) Or you can remove the battery compartment, and attach the 'battery eliminator' to run off a car cigarette lighter socket.


Idea here is that so equipped the unit is about the size of a conventional 'mobile' CB microphone' and can be hung in a car, and powered by its power cord, while plugged into an external vehicle areal via the same adaptor, for more optimum range and reception, curtecy of longer areal.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/101_0182.jpg

The short 'Rubber duck' areal, is a limiting factor to Hand Held CB performance, but with sixteen times teh transmitter power, and on more robust trnasmission frequency, it is still far better than the incredibly restricted performance of a PMR446 set and its very short integral areal!

For bike to bike comms, there is then the pottential to run a hand held CB off the bikes 12v power supply, and if you were keen to use a longer external 'car' type areal....

And I do have ideas along those lines. However, the benefits for bike to bike comms are probably not huge. In teh Range Rover, between cars I regularly achieve useful comms over ranges of a couple of miles or more, even without line of sight between areals. With the Hand Helds in pockets, on the bikes, I have not yet been in a situation where I have actually LOST comms over the range they offer, 'as is'... and they have normally been in the 'low' power saver mode, limiting transmitter power to 1W, four times the power and twice the effective range of a 1/4w PMR.... they work pretty good up to a mile or so.... if I need more than that, can always flick them to high to double the range again... and if THAT isn't enough..... well, probably time to stop and use the mobile phone ANYWAY!

If I was going to permenantly wire CB to the bike, I'd probably NOT use the more expensive Hand Held CB Sets anyway, but much cheaper, car type mobile CB sets, making up an adaptor to wire the headset and PTT switch to the mobile Mig and external speaker sockets.... Mobike CB rigs start at around 45 for a basic set, to which you'd need to add maybe 15 for an areal and 5 for an areal lead... rather than starting with a 90 Hand Held and then spending more money on adaptors and areal and leads.....

Anyway; thats the story. If you want 'Decent' bike to bike comms, start with a propper head set, and spend time getting it to fit nicely and work well in your helmet.

You then have the choice between PMR446 radio's or CB Radio. PMR446 is more widely available and more commonly used, and the better bet if you want 'compatibility' to talk to other riders. If you want better, more reliable and longer range communications, between a smaller or more select group of riders, maybe you and a riding buddy, CB is far more robust, versatile, and reliable, and offers a lot more usefulness.

If you want 'Cheap' bike to bike comms.... well, Cheap PMR is tempting, but the PMR's I have were 45 a hand set, when I got them seven or eight years ago, they are far from 'cheap' PMR and they are only barely 'useful'. Best bet for 'Cheap' PMR with some chance fo doing the job is the 50 a user set, Oxfords, if only becouse you wont have to buy a proper headset on top of that... if you can find them discounted on E-bay, might even get them as cheap as a Maplin headset on its own! But dont expect TOO much from them. By price alone, they are only JUST into the qulity range where they stand some chance fo being useable, rather than 'useful'.

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/101_0187.jpg
(Snowie's hat & Radio)

But at that kind of money, second hand CB and a bit of improvisation, make do, DIY and make your own... you could have a system that offers the sort of usefulness of far more expensive PMR based systems.. and to all extents and purposes, as good as more expensive CB systems!

And actually... well, the headset and PTT I have MADE, basically from bits of old scrap, actually works BETTER on either radio, then the proprietry headset we bought Snowie.... I dont have a big PTT switch in teh way pushing my litle finger off the end of the grip to start with! while the 'in lining' speakers and mic, are far more comfy and work much better than snowie's set, attached inside the lining as per instructions.....

http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/teflons-torque/XX-Forum%20Posts/101_0183.jpg
(My Hat & Radio, with scratch built connectors & PTT, for 'high end' comms, at pocket money prices!)

And, Autocom? Well, everyone says its 'the best'.... BUT, its NOT a bike to bike radio. Very clever system, but its bike to bike comms are only ever going to be as good as the radio you plug into it.

Couple of 'googlies' to end on; there are possibly a few alternative systems.

The first I'll mention is the 'Helmet PMR'... a novelty, its a PMR radio that atached to the outside of your helmet with sticky tape and velcro, and has hard wired earpiece and microphone to slip in the helmet... Its popped up a couple of times.. and basically.... its neither decent headset nor decent PMR.....

Second is the 'Blue Tooth' rider to pillion, or bike to bike intercom. Uses Blue Tooth digital transmission system, between rider and pillion, I believe its reasonable, but the blue tooth system, is like 'Licence Exempt' radio designed for very short range wireless communication. The claimed range, even in ideal conditions, 'bike 2 bike' is really only a couple of hundred meters.

Lastly, mobike telephones. With hands free operation on many models, and increasinly common 'freinds' tarrifs that allow up to an hour long 'free' call between declared numbers.... in areas of good reception, such a tarif could be exploited to give very good range and reception, compared to broadcast radio.... but only between two people.

And as post script, there ARE other radio systems; marine radio, aviation radio, ameteur radio and 'taxi' radio, to name a few, that work on more useful frequencies and allow higher transmitter powers, but their use is governed by paid for licences and are not 'freely' available to the general public.

Post Post Script? ILLEGAL radio. I aluded to the fact that you can get easily modified PMR Radios. Or buy PMR Radios with higher transmitter power and or which are programmed to alternative frequencies for different regional regulations. You CAN get hold of commercial radios, Taxi radios, which have a fewquency allocation over lapping that of PMR446 being a common one, or 'old' Ham radios that can have almost any power or any frequency ranges.... of you can modify CB radio to have higher power output... all things are possible...... its a question of legality.

Of the more common illegal radio; high power forreign zone PMR is probably the more common. Often pop on ebay "4w PMR" Direct from China, or as sold in Austrailia where thats the power limit they have.......

Two things.... first, if you pick a PMR that works on alternative frequencies to UK PMR, you are buying all the short comings of a PMR by way of inconvenient frequency allocation, without the convenience of compatability with other UK PMR users, AND using them you are breaking the law..... second, It's been reported, that radios shipped to the UK mail order, whether from eithin the Euro Zone or outside, are often intercepted and impounded by HM Customs & Excise, who write to the delivery adress advicing them that equipment will not be released without a valid user licence being provided.... if the equipment does not conform to a licenceable UK radio spec, and or you dont have a valid licence, you MAY never see your radio.. or the money you paid for it.......

So... there you go.... probably a LOT more about PMR446 and CB radio than you even thought any one could be arsed to tell you... but I did anyway!
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LongJohn22
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PostPosted: 23:31 - 27 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Magic, thanks for keeping it brief, Mike!
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potato
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PostPosted: 23:51 - 27 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked

I'm outta here......


P.s, that white helmet needs a wash lol. Sick
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whitedevil
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PostPosted: 01:58 - 28 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concise and to the point as always. Aerial good read
thanks Laughing
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Ayrton
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PostPosted: 15:32 - 28 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite a good read.Im looking for a radio to talk to my brother with, so i guess il go with the CB after reading this. Thumbs Up
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Bendy
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PostPosted: 15:42 - 28 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best thing that Autocom does is the automatic volume adjustment. When you speed up, the wind noise increases and the Autocom increases the volume to compensate. When you slow down and the wind noise decreases, it decreases the volume.

As an aside, consider why you actually want bike to bike comms. Isn't being disconnected one of the great pleasures?
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Kris
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PostPosted: 15:51 - 28 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would anyone want bike2bike comms with Teflon?

Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

j/k Wink
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chris-red
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PostPosted: 15:58 - 28 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bendy wrote:

As an aside, consider why you actually want bike to bike comms. Isn't being disconnected one of the great pleasures?





Teflon-Mike wrote:
"NO, LEFT YOU SILLY BITCH"

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Teflon-Mike
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PostPosted: 19:15 - 28 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bendy wrote:
As an aside, consider why you actually want bike to bike comms. Isn't being disconnected one of the great pleasures?

chris-red wrote:
Teflon-Mike wrote:
"NO, LEFT YOU SILLY BITCH"

That looks ALMOST like a genuine quote, Red... though I'm sure I would have actually said "No! your OTHER 'Left' y'daft BINT!" Laughing

But Bendy does have a good and very valid point. "WHY" do you want Bike to bike comms?

Kris, y'chiky runt... err... good question... answer is, most probably DIDN'T, but mandatory requirement for them to HAVE to stick an earpieace in and listen to me rant at them for a couple of hours if they wanted me to sign off thier CBT cert....... Wink

SCHOOL RADIO
Its where I have used B2B comms most, and thinking about it, worth a mention, because the sets LOOK like high street PMR's, and the radios used on Training are oftem most people's first intro to Bike 2 Bike, and expect High street PMR's to work just the same.

It's actually up to the school what system they use, but most use 'Commercial' PMR. They are, to all extents and purposes, the same radio's as high street PMR446 sets, BUT.... they are reprogrammed to a different frequency range (sometimes covering a 'bit' of the PMR446 spectrum) and usually a higher transmitter power, often about 1W, and they are operated on a 'Taxi Radio' operators licence.

They are still 'Short Range' but with four times the transmitter power, they aren't as short range as high street PMR446...

They basically AREN'T PMR446, even though that's what they look like, and you cant buy them off the shelf in the high street.

So, WHY do you WANT Bike to Bike comms?

This is the first reason; during training, it may be a mandatory requirement. As a Student though, shouldn't be an issue, School should 'sort you out' with whatever you need, to be compatible with them.

Having your own 'Decent' headset may be useful though, but whether School would let you plug it into thier radio, even if you had the right adaptor, may be another matter!

For Snowie and I, well at the moment, I'm 'Pretending' to be an instructor again.... that's the 'main' reason we have them, while she's learning....

She doesn't want to be stuck on the bunny seat.... she wants to be on her own bike!

HOWEVER, mentioned my 'DIY' headset started out as a Rider-Pillion set...... with radio's what we have is 'wireless' Hat to Hat comms, not necesserily 'Bike to Bike'.....

When I got the PMR446's, I originally intended them as purely wireless 'Rider-Pillion' comms, and for 'across the campsite' comms at Rallies..... used as plain walkie talkies. ("Have you found the tent yet? where is it?" and "No, I've given up, I'm back at the bar!"... "ERR, OK, I can see the bonfire, I'll head that way, get me a Pint in!")

Previousely I had a wired 'Oxford' Bike Mike rider pillion intercom, which like the Autocom 'Interface' had the facility to plug in an external sound source..... idea of how long ago this was, THEN it was a really advanced 'Walkman' cassette player..... it was sterio and had 'Auto Reverse' to play both sides of the tape! Embarassed

I have to say, Rider to Pillion, comms is very very useful, probably more so than Rider to Rider... well... if you carry a pillion a lot!

And I err.... used to carry a lot of different pillions, once upon a time..... and shall, say no more!

Being able to talk to your passenger, can give them a lot of reassurance, and make them more comfortable, and less, err.... 'wriggly' in the saddle, especially if they are new to pillion riding, and like most of my pillions, shorter than the rider and have little more to look at than the leather between the riders shoulder blades! Adding music into that, can also make them more relaxed and less 'bored'...

Also saves bruises, when they can YELL at you through the headset "STOP! I want to get off!" rather than beating you about the head, legs and arms... which you might take as "This is fun, Go faster!" or simply makes you crash!

Bike to Bike, between riders, has many uses. How useful it is depends on what you want or need from it.

On 'Group Runs', if you have a number of riders following a set route to a meet or something, it can help the leader in organisation; if you have some-one riding point, leading the way, and some one else riding 'tail end charlie' at the back, so leader can call junctions and tail end charlie can count every one through, or tail end charlie can call problems, if some one drops behind or has a 'problem'.

If others 'in' the group are mic'd up, then you can get a bit of 'banter' going as well, and it can make you feel more 'connected' and involved, on group rides, but depends how 'chatty' every one is.

Buddy rides, maybe just two of you, following your noses, or heading in a general direction, well, its a bit like a mini group ride, but you can 'chat' as you ride, make suggestions on different routes and things 'as you ride' rather than stopping to talk.... if you want to get a lot of riding it, it can 'add' to what you are up to.

Normally, you will have an 'idea' about what you 'want' to use radio for.... but it wont be until you have tried it, and found what you CAN use it for, that you'll actually start finding out what its really useful for, or not, and either exploiting it, or spurning it......

Back to Bendy's comments on 'The Autocom'.....
I was probably a little dismissive of it in my main post..... it is a VERY powerful bit of kit, and the only reason I 'dismissed it', is not because its not useful, but because it is NOT a bike to bike communications system, it IS merely an interface, bike to bike comms comes only from plugging a two way radio IN to an Autocom control box.

If ALL you want is bike to bike comms, then you wont actually GET that buying an Autocom..... unless you buy a Radio as well... and as said, you could as easily buy that radio and simply plug in a 30 helmet set direct, to get Bike 2 Bike comms, and as 'good' bike to bike comms, the reliability of transmission and reception coming from the radio, NOt the Autocom interface.

The Autocom DOES have a lot of useful 'features' and functions, though, and as said, you can plug in a lot more than JUST a radio... it can offer rider-pillion comms, and other audio sources, like MP3 for music, or the voice instructions from a Sat-Nav, or port in a call from your mobile 'phone, and it can mix and level the volumes from each source and automatically adjust volume against back ground noise, and 'stuff'....

I dont know how many devices you can attach to an autocom these days, or what features you get with each 'set'... there are a number, and they all have 'options'.... and Autocom users usually really DO rate them.

My main experience of the autocom is actually in an open cockpit 'weight shift' microlite, with a 500cc Rotax two stroke engine and a five foot frigging wooden propeller spinning INCHES away from vital bits of my anatomy...... many many years ago, where it was a 'pilot-co-pilot' intercom, hooked to Air-Traffic radio, on over ride, and the (Then VERY basic) GPS, which didn't give 'voice' instructions for turn by turn directions, but audible 'beeps' as you approached way-points.... I was never quite brave enough to get into my mate's MKII Escort Stage Rally car, that had one, as Driver-Navigator intercom... I had watched three people tumble out the passenger seat and vomit, and knew my guts weren't THAT strong!

Anyway, Autocom have been going a very long time, and thier systems are very well respected, not just for bike to bike communications, and they do work very very well, and are very versatile bits of kit..... But, on thier own, they are not a bike to bike radio, merely an interface...... whether the features and functionality that interface offers are WORTH what they cost, is something you have to look at and weigh up for yourself.....

Starting from scratch, and most wanting to 'get in' to Radio Comms 'Cheaply' and try it, I don't think its really relevent. Its something to look at after you have given bike to bike radio a 'go' found out how you use it, and IF you use it, and then whether you really 'need' or 'want' the extra functionality an Autocom can offer.

As Bendy suggests..... unless you have specific NEED of bike to bike comms, often its something that after using it a few times, and the novelty has worn off, you don't bother with... or its something you'll 'get' for a major 'Tour' that after your ten days round France gets stuck in a draw and forgotten about.

If you have spent 50 on a matched pair of 'cheap' PMR446's from Argos, and they get chucked in a draw deemed 'Crap'... its not a HUGE waste, but still a waste... and being a little more clued up as to the subject, knowing the limitations of the PMR446 system, and how to get the best from it, for very little more money, the 'experiment' could have been a lot more successful, and you could get a whole lot more out of Bike to Bike radio.... maybe still got chucked in a draw after just a few uses... but not deemed such a waste of time.

Title of thread was "Bike 2 Bike Communication.... where to start"

And, salient points are:

1/ Start with a proper Helmet Headset, and mess with it getting it to 'work' for you in your hat, both for best sound and comfort.
2/ Know the limitations of PMR446 radios, which is the most prevelant system available, and that to stand a chance of useful reliable comms, 'Cheap' PMR's are unlikely to be useful.
3/ More expensive PMR446 units are much more likely to work well, and deliver what you expect, BUT PMR446 isn't the only system available. Licence Free CB is just as accessible, and 'just' about as 'cheap' as the better PMR446's more likely to do the job, and CB is likely to do it better, and can, as a system be expanded even further to do it even better still.
4/ PMR446 is cheap and readily available, and more people use it, if you want to talk to other radio users. CB takes a little more 'finding' and can be a bit more expensive, works better, but fewer people use it. So who do you want to talk to? Which would work better for your needs?
5/ Other Radio systems exist, like School Radio, or Taxi Radio, Marine, Air-Traffic, Ham etc. And then there are 'illegal' radios, so know what you are buying into.
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Pedd
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PostPosted: 20:11 - 28 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

potato wrote:
Shocked

that white helmet needs a wash lol. Sick



saw that myself Sick a little bit of sick came up when I heaved http://files.myopera.com/supergreatChandu8/albums/5466862/th_vomit-boy01-vomit-puke-sick-smiley-emoticon-000652-large.gif
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chillyman0
Nearly there...



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PostPosted: 14:44 - 29 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another Hit for the Autocom as with Bendy...

The mic on the Autocom kit is pretty nifty too, it works on some sort of ambient pressure sensors or something, basically detects the ambient noise that would be coming from all around the mic and then pics up noise from your mouth that will only be coming from one side thus only activating when you speak. I use this system(rider to pillion) and can say that the majority of the time the VOX is flawless, no lag at all, and even tested at 130mph will only activate when you start to speak and will cut out perfectly when you stop speaking.

Good write up tho Teflon Mike! Thumbs Up
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Ayrton
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PostPosted: 22:01 - 29 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does this type work the same as a handheld CB or is a completely different thing?:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CB-RADIO-/250841818783?pt=UK_ConsumerElectronics_SpecialistRadioEquipment_SM&hash=item3a6756669f
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Ditto
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PostPosted: 22:35 - 29 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jesus, ill be buggered if I'm reading all that as I'm not looking for one at the moment, but I'm sure I will be in the future so bookmarked Thumbs Up
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Pedd
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PostPosted: 22:46 - 29 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

elobire wrote:
Does this type work the same as a handheld CB or is a completely different thing?:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CB-RADIO-/250841818783?pt=UK_ConsumerElectronics_SpecialistRadioEquipment_SM&hash=item3a6756669f


works the same except its a damn big unit lol, runs off 12v and meant for car installs (or home with psu) nothing stopping you whacking it in a topbox etc and wiring up a headset, P.I.T.A tho may aswell get a handheld

Ooh that reminds me I have a fully banded midland alan boxed here with a decent whip too, remember the fun that was had with the P.A onit aswell hehehe
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Teflon-Mike
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PostPosted: 00:56 - 30 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pedd wrote:
elobire wrote:
Does this type work the same as a handheld CB or is a completely different thing?:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CB-RADIO-/250841818783?pt=UK_ConsumerElectronics_SpecialistRadioEquipment_SM&hash=item3a6756669f


works the same except its a damn big unit lol, runs off 12v and meant for car installs (or home with psu) nothing stopping you whacking it in a topbox etc and wiring up a headset, P.I.T.A tho may aswell get a handheld

Ooh that reminds me I have a fully banded midland alan boxed here with a decent whip too, remember the fun that was had with the P.A onit aswell hehehe


+1 pretty much.

For 'Cheap' CB, a 'mobike rig' ie car mount is an ecconomical way to go.

CB Hand Helds brand new start at about 90, mobike 'rigs' start at about 45, and you can get a complete 'starter' outfit, with aerial and leads for about 60ish, and run off 12v bike supply.

To wire to a headset and PTT switch you'd need to be a bit creative though, and ideally get a rig with external speaker socket, most mobike rigs have thier own internal speaker, seperate from teh rig, so you'd want to interupt that with external speaker socket or cut into the circuit to take sounds to headset speaker, and you'd have to rewire mic plug to headset mic & PTT switch....

Not beyond doability. As much creativity would then be needed for mounting though, and top box or tank bag, or in a fairing or 'something'. whether you want it fixed permenantly, or demountable, etc....

Main thing though would be mounting and wiring the aerial, but most importantly, setting it up, you'd want, and especially with second hand kit, and SWR meter and patch lead to test the antena 'resonance' and tune it to your rig, or you risk blowing its transistors.

THAT is a big risk with second hand rigs.... has previouse owner blown it up... and how would you know?

Other one, and I suspect maybe the case with the one you linked... is it a UK Legal CB set?

UK Legal frequency allocation is on FM around 26MHz, with 4w transmitter limit. We have forty allocated channels for the 'UK' band, pus another 40 channels that are commen EU bands...

My Aeurosonic is a UK40 chanel set, it can only transmit and recieve on the 40 UK allocated Channels.

My Midland 42, is an 80 Chanel rig, that has two bands, one for UK40, one for the EU40.

There are a lot of 'rigs' out there that are not UK compleient.

Some rigs may be 40Ch but from other EU countries and only have thier domestic frequencies, so wont work on UK40... or EU40.

Euro 80 rigs, may have 80Chanels, and cover EU40, but not the UK40, may have german or French 'domestic' chanels instead.

Then there are wold sets, that may be on a completely different frequency range, and American AM sets crop up commonly, especially in older rigs, as that one looks like......

Only the UK & EU 40's are legally useable in the UK.

Some more modern rigs, like the Midland 42 are 'Multi-standard', and can be programmed to different regional settings to offer legal channels in that duristiction.

So, on my Midland 42, turn it on and hold a button, you can click the up down bottons to reset the zone..... but my seven year old Midland 98, which is still an 80 channel rig is preset.

As said, Hand Helds are the more user freindly, and for 30 or so, a battery powered Eurosonic is a pretty good starting place.... and you can run it off a 12v supply, via a power socket on teh side, if thats what bugs you.
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Pedd
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PostPosted: 19:39 - 30 Jun 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

that one linked was a binatone 5 star, so yes was uk legal Smile basically the same as the york 863/harrier cbx /rotel 240's iirc the midland alan I have here is "muppet" n "mid" plus others,

Muppet = uk legal 40ch
Mid = midband 40 ch
others = 8 various bands with 40ch each lol. (not technically uk legal) pfft


muppet n mid freq list
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yaro
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Joined: 25 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: 20:15 - 25 Jul 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post Teflon-Mike. However, you don't mention what's the usable range of these Eurosonic radios. I've got a set of ES200 CB and although the quality of the signal transmitted is by far better than what I remember from my riding school the usable range is no more than around 300 yards in straight line with no obstacles on the way so not that great really. Unless you get more from yours I wander how's that compare to PMRs.
yaro
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Teflon-Mike
tl;dr



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: 20:32 - 25 Jul 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

yaro wrote:
Great post Teflon-Mike. However, you don't mention what's the usable range of these Eurosonic radios. I've got a set of ES200 CB and although the quality of the signal transmitted is by far better than what I remember from my riding school the usable range is no more than around 300 yards in straight line with no obstacles on the way so not that great really. Unless you get more from yours I wander how's that compare to PMRs.
yaro

The range of the Eurosonic I have is a bit variable, like all CB's.
Tend to get a LOT more than 300yds though!
Usually 'around' 1/2 mile 'on the road'.
They take ten AA batteries, and run at 12v.
If you use Nicads, 1.2v, that's fine, but suggsted if you use 1.5v Alkaline to use only eight, and a pair of 'nail' cells.
Mine came with tn 1.5 Alkalins in it..... and that's how I have used it.
If you are running Nicads or nails, will probably b down on range.
Other 'Thing' about the Eurosonic, is that it is a 1W CB, not 4w.
Has a 'Hi-Lo' button on the front to boost transmit to 4w, but doesn't 'latch', intent to save battery power unless at limit of 1w range...
So, if d rated with poor quality batteris or limited volts from nail cells, and never used in Hi Power, no range will never be that great.
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yaro
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Joined: 25 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: 20:44 - 25 Jul 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never run them on AA batteries but connected directly to the battery of my bike and set to High. So far I had no chance using them outside of the town but in clear visibility where my mate was right in front of me in straight line and no high buildings around so I suppose it won't be any different on the motorway
yaro
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Mike Hunt
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Joined: 28 Nov 2012
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PostPosted: 17:48 - 22 Feb 2013    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bit of a thread revive, but full of good info. Was thinking about getting the scala g9 powerset, for rider to rider comms. Has anyone here, ever used them or another type? I've read reviews and they seem good but just want to check here as it sounds like mike knows what he's talking about,
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dandiy
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Joined: 03 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: 20:56 - 11 Sep 2013    Post subject: Bike radio Reply with quote

Hi
I have been attempting bike to bike comms with a friend using an Alan pmr radio and a Starcome unit for 4 years with minimum success,never seemed to be able to get consistent reliable communications in spite of using an antenna produced for pmr use.
We decided(because of wear and tear reasons)to replace the radios we use
I have a friend who is a radio ham and he recommended a BeofenG UV5 radio.The change was amazing most of our problems are gone,we have now reliable communications within about a 2 mile radius EVEN in towns
S if you want good bike to bike look at the Beofeng UV5 range BUT be aware of the need to programme it via a PC
Hope this helps you
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bamt
World Chat Champion



Joined: 15 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: 07:17 - 25 Mar 2014    Post subject: Re: Bike radio Reply with quote

dandiy wrote:

I have a friend who is a radio ham and he recommended a BeofenG UV5 radio.The change was amazing most of our problems are gone,we have now reliable communications within about a 2 mile radius EVEN in towns
S if you want good bike to bike look at the Beofeng UV5 range BUT be aware of the need to programme it via a PC
Hope this helps you


Thread necro, because it was linked to by TF in Communicating on a bike!, and I think this is a fairly important point if people follow the advice to get a Baofeng. You need to be aware that whilst those radios will work on PMR446 frequencies, it isn't legal to do so - they have too much power, and the removable aerial means that you can mount something more efficient onto your bike frame to increase the range even further. Legal PMR446 radios should have a fixed antenna, so the range of the system is limited. Part of the reason that they are license free is that they are low power/low range, so interference should be minimal.

The only legal way to use them is with an amateur license, and operating within the amateur bands. Whether you'd ever get caught in the UK using them sensibly on the PMR446 frequencies is another matter.
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