Author Topic: Budget Intercom  (Read 187 times)

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Offline olly18

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Budget Intercom
« on: November 09, 2018, 22:18:56 »
Hello everyone, a query about intercoms, myself and a few mates are thinking of buying a few headsets
 and we don't want to spend a lot of money.  I know the old adage of "you get what you pay for" probably rings true in this case but is there any recommendations for some half decent sets , not too bothered about the fancy stuff like phone answering or music playing , just as long as we can keep in touch on the road,
thanks.
Pat

Offline tallpaul

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2018, 00:33:49 »
You'll find that answering the phone and music are the basic features. Two way with a useful range costs a bit more. If you want multi-way conferencing (3 or more speaking and more importantly listening simultaneously) then the cost is higher still. For rider to pillion only then cheap is OK but for "you and a few mates" then I think you are going to be paying more than you may be comfortable with.  The key to enjoyment is conferencing. Some cheap intercoms will connect up to four devices but it can only have a single channel open to one at a time. That is a total ballache when you need to let the others know something important, like an upcoming obstruction etc. Trying to fiddle with buttons to switch intercom channels with a gloved hand takes your concentration away from riding. I'm a big fan of intercoms. It's great that plan changes can be discussed on the fly or decisions on which chippy to go to without having to stop, or be giving random arm waving gestures. I only urge caution as getting a cheap one that doesn't work well for you will ultimately be rather frustrating.
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Offline TLPower

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2018, 06:28:11 »
 :text-goodpost: rather grown up I must say.

I have nothing to add op, other than it all sounds confusing.
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Online Ridaz

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2018, 09:29:20 »
When touring I normally ride with 2 other riders. We all have variations of the cheap bluetooth intercom sets, 2 from Aldi and mine from Amazon. This works for us in the way described by tallpaul above. There is no conference line chat, it's either rider A>B, A>C or B>C. To be honest it works for us as Rider C takes pleasure in not listening to us fight over the conflicting Sat Nav routes, where to stop for food etc. I find it easy to change from A>B to A>C on the move but 3 way conferencing would be better.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00JA80PEO?ref_=pe_1909131_77697001_tnp_email_TE_AMZLdp_1 this is a link to the unit I use and I'm fairly sure I didn't pay that much.

Alternatively you could fit the old school helmet clip as shown in the pic.


Offline SimonW

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2018, 12:08:37 »
I tried out the Scala top of the range bluetooth intercom with a friend and found bluetooth to be, well, shit. We tested them relatively carefully and they managed about 600 yards clear line of site. Through a building/trees/fences etc round a corner they managed about 50 yards (both of us outside, house in the middle between us). For all the convenience (over radios) of having the units self-contained on the helments, the range was dismal. So we went back to (legal) analogue radios. Slightly less convenient and more expensive than a cheap bluetooth unit, but very reliable, no digital artefacts (dalek farts!) and a range (depending on terrain etc) of 1/2 mile - 2 miles or so. Less of a range in built up areas if there are buildings between us, but not as hopeless as bluetooth (which, incidentally, is a really crap technology for lots of other reasons). We even managed a range of about 16 miles one evening, with me stationary on a high hill.

Offline mr_diver

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2018, 12:37:01 »
The bluetooth unit in Ridaz link is the type me and the mrs have used for years.

We did have a Scarla Q2 multiset back in 2013 and it went in the bin after 14 months.
The unit itself worked fine, but the speaker/mic base piece were shiyt. We went through 5 bases between us in 14 months. Either a speaker would go or a mic pack up. 2 replaced by manufacturer after 6 weeks, I replaced one at a cost of 50 6 months later when Cardo told me to sod off. Then both died 20miles into a 2,000 mile trip.
They went in the bin in Edinburgh.

But the 30 each (50 pairs) on ebay/amazon work a treat. I've had one unit beep and just die on me on the way to work a few months back.
That was one of the two we bought in 2014. I use it most days for the FM radio or bluetooth music from my phone.
Same range as the expensive ones, only down sides was you can't plug in my old ipod via cable and the cheap ones don't change the volume based on the background noise.
Oh and the cheap ones battery lasted longer than the Scarla ones.

Offline Fat Rat

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 12:37:27 »
Bluetooth was never designed as a distance communications technology, what they have achieved with it is amazing.

Consider UHF Radio's for your needs  :thumb:
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Offline olly18

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2018, 19:12:01 »
Thanks for all the info blokes, curious about the UHF radio , are we talking about the likes of the Motorola handheld with VOX and ear piece adaptors ?  what models of UHF radios have been tried and tested on motorbikes?
Pat

Offline Fat Rat

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2018, 19:23:43 »
Any Radio capable of covering the legal PMR frequencies will do (446MHz). Forget Vox, it's just not practical with the wind noise.

Search eBay for a BF888s and then look for the corresponding headset (Kenwood) with PTT button  :thumb:
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Offline olly18

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2018, 21:20:23 »
 :ty: Cheers for that.
Pat

Offline Dark-Strom

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2018, 21:28:30 »
Bikes owned: DT50, CD125T, RD350LC, KMX200, KR1-250, CD125T(again), GSX600F, R80ST, CBX250RSE, ST1050, DL650 AL2

Offline Fat Rat

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2018, 21:29:19 »
Yes
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Offline Fat Rat

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2018, 21:37:55 »
A word of caution, those radios are not technically legal. Stick to the PMR frequencies and you won't bother anyone.


PMR Channel   Frequency (MHz)
1   446.00625
2   446.01875
3   446.03125
4   446.04375
5   446.05625
6   446.06875
7   446.08125
8   446.09375
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Offline Dark-Strom

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2018, 21:45:54 »
Thanks,

and these are an example of the 16 channel units / PMR 446Mhz?
(Sorry a newbie to all this)
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BaoFeng-4PCS-Walkie-Talkie-BF-888S-UHF-400-470MHZ-Two-Way-Radio-16CH-Long-Range/392124470769?_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140122125356%26meid%3D8f7cf1089f0a4e00950dd2c752e9c58c%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dag%26sd%3D352459648146%26itm%3D392124470769&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851

And these are the frequencies we can use?
PMR/DMR Channel
Frequency (MHz)
 
1
446.00625
Default channel on most brands of radio

2
446.01875

3
446.03125

4
446.04375

5
446.05625

6
446.06875

7
446.08125

8
446.09375
Unofficial calling channel FM

9
446.10625
Unofficial calling channel DMR

10
446.11875

11
446.13125

12
446.14375

13
446.15625

14
446.16875

15
446.18125

16
446.19375

Bikes owned: DT50, CD125T, RD350LC, KMX200, KR1-250, CD125T(again), GSX600F, R80ST, CBX250RSE, ST1050, DL650 AL2

Offline Fat Rat

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2018, 21:54:50 »
I would stick to the first eight frequencies if I were you. DMR isn't legal in all EU countries and you don't want to stray onto the amateur bands. The absolute safest way is to buy a programming cable (the software is on this sites download section) and programme just the eight channels. You can add some CTCSS if you want but generally it isn't needed as you will be on the move.
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Offline Dark-Strom

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2018, 22:13:59 »
Brilliant, thank you. :thumb:
Bikes owned: DT50, CD125T, RD350LC, KMX200, KR1-250, CD125T(again), GSX600F, R80ST, CBX250RSE, ST1050, DL650 AL2

Offline olly18

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Re: Budget Intercom
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2018, 23:11:44 »
Thanks for all the "legwork" blokes, this forum is worth it's weight in Gold. :bow-blue:
Pat