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let's talk about radios


bartman
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Dave,

Thanks! I was afraid it would be a special plug. I did some surfing on the web and found what looks like a reasonable headset (read that cheap). The Motorola 56320 headset sells for around $10 with free shipping. It's an ear bud style with boom mike and push to talk.

That wouldn't happen to be the one you bought from Radio Shack?

Cheers,

Tom

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Tom (and others),

I bought the Motorola T5000 Talkabout radios from "the Shack" about a month ago (now discontinued). And, yes you need to find/buy a Motorola headset/ear-bud because of their plug. I first bought an ear-bud from "the Shack" but when I got everything home, the fine print on the back of the package said that it will not work with most Motorola radios. When I took that back, I saw a set that had the 2.5mm mini adapter. The salesman let me take the mini adpater out of the package to see if would fit. It did not stay in. Stopped in at a Best Buy and found an ear-bud type with the push-to-talk button, 2.5mm mini plug...that one fits.

Here's a pic of that plug... the shape of the tip is just a little different than the normal 2.5mm mini plugs.

Dayton David

That headphone set looks exactly like the Jensen sets I purchased (both brands must be from the same source). As I don't find the ear-bud style in the Jensen as secure a fit for my ear as some others i have used, I will look into adapting the connector to allow use of generic headphones (without mics). If I find anything I will share the info.

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Rich,

Nope, mine doesn't work that way. I've got a pair of Motorola T6220 "Talkabout" units. There is only one headset/phone jack and it's too small for the iPod style plug - 3.5 mm diameter. A 2.5 mm diameter cordless phone headset plugs in, but doesn't stay in nor does it work!

Cheers,

Tom

Dave and Tom.....as is often the case....I stand corrected!!!

Back to my Dead tunes and cheshire cat grins:blue-music::blue-music::blue-music:

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Some have asked for suggestions for good units that provide maximum usability beyond monitoring team leader instructions. Here is some information to consider.

I have a pair of Motorola Talkabouts MR350 from Costco, packaged with rechargeable batteries, charger, and PTT (Push-to-talk) ear-bud "headsets". Great units at a great price. Check the reviews.

http://www.amazon.co...8/ref=pd_cp_e_1

However compatibility questions do arise on the Motorola units. As for batteries, no problems - AA compatible. Headsets are another problem. Forget plugging your MP3 headsets into these. Or your cell-phone headsets.

I haven't found any over-the-ear headsets or earphones that are advertised as definitely compatible with that model. Also, the units have, as I read the user manual, automatic VOX if you plug in VOX compatible headset - not what we want. The Motorola literature on their headsets list a number of compatible Talkabout series, but never the MR350.

So, I'm taking a chance on a Motorola over-the-ear receiver which should arrive in the next two days. If it works, then it with the MR350 should satisfy those who want a full function FMS/GMRS with great user feedback for a reasonable (not a no-frills) price. Features beyond what you need for team flying include NOAA weather channels, VOX, superb audio quality, maximum range, emergency calls to partners (like a group of hikers/hunters), sophisticated call filtering (those 22 FMS/GMRS channels are all open and can get noisy and busy). And, an LED flash light. As I said, this info is only for those who asked what they should look at beyond a basic monitoring unit for group flies.

http://www.amazon.co...&pf_rd_i=507846

If these pair properly (or not), I'll report in the next few days. :kid_smartass:

Edited by HedgeWarden
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Received the Motorola "Ear Receiver" and tried it with my Motorola MR350 "Talkabout" radio today. The "Ear Receiver" does not list this radio as compatible, but it is. Lots of volume. Decent fidelity. Pretty secure on ear. Decent price. This has the "stereo" (actually transmit-receive paths) sub-mini plug (2.5 mm). Only the receive is used, the transmit is via the standard mike in the handset. Fits left or right ear.

P.S. Ignore the comments on Amazon, and some of the specs. They have this unit confused with the unit with both earpiece and boom microphone.

Wal-Mart on-line has the unit also, but not our local store.

Hopefully this might help some of you with Talkabout radios, or contemplating buying them. I don't know about Alkaline battery compatibility of other Talkabouts, but the MR350 is very happy to run on 3 AAs.

post-2869-126714381452_thumb.jpg

A separate issue, maybe John can comment. The FRS/GMRS channels are divided into three groups:

1-7 FRS or GMRS

8-14 FRS only

15-22 GMRS only

Very old FRS only radios should provide channels 1-14. Hence, if the director uses GMRS (i.e. high power) in channels 1-7, the signal should be compatible with all old and all new radios. If the commands come on channels 15-22, then only the "newer" dual mode FRS/GMRS units will be usable. If old units are problem, the solution could be to use one of channels 1-7. However, these channels may have high traffic interference - just a consideration or two for which I raise the question without a definite answer.

(Me, today .. :blue-music::rev_clockwork: Yeh!)

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  • 2 years later...

I have radio questions confused_1.gif , thought I'd resurrect this thread just to keep all the info together.

Team Free Agents (read: NWish fliers without a proper team who commonly fly "team" anyway) is hoping to get more of our members equipped with radios. After reading through this thread and others, it didn't seem too complicated. Everything works with everything else, provided we're talking new/newish radios, and then you just have to make sure regular headphones will work. It's the regular headphones part that's giving me trouble. What have you all found that works for you? Or alternatively, anything to stay away from?

Yesterday I went to Fry's. I was looking at all the Cobras until I realized that every single one of them had just one headset jack, and it's 2.5mm, which means you can't use regular headphones. Anybody find adapters that work? I had already bought some, but they didn't work with my old motorolas.

I bought a set of midlands LXT380, because they accepted the double prong plug on all of the headsets available at Fry's. Got a midland headset in the cool "mossy rock" camo (no other color avail) so that any deer on the beach will surely mistake my left ear for moss.:kid_content: These work with the radios I got, and regular headphones work too. And they can talk to my old motorolas, so that's all good. But the volume doesn't go very low at all, I'm afraid if these are used on the line people might go deaf if the caller is even a little bit loud. And the beep that sounds when you turn the radio on and off must be disabled, otherwise it's excruciatingly loud. Turning down the volume doesn't affect that beep at all. :kid_brooding: Also you only get sound in one ear, no big deal, but are there any radios where you can get stereo sound? :blue-music:

Seems like the preferred brands are cobra, midland, and motorola. Anything else worth looking at?

I'm headed to Best Buy soon. I want to see if there's anything better than what I got, and I'd like to be able to recommend a good basic radio for anyone on the line who needs one.

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Along the same lines as listening to calls over radios, we have found that listening to music when flying teams is sometimes a challenge. Pittmans showed up the other day with a Goal Zero speaker/amplifier which plugs into your mp3 player, then the player goes inside the unit which then zips closed for protection from sand etc. Works great. Plays loud, volume is controlled by your player, and units can be "daisy chained" together, or far apart with head phone extension cords. Goal Zero does "road shows" at Costco stores. The units sell for $22.00 at these events. We got two at a Costco. Now we can "light up" the whole beach or park with one small mp3 player.

Check it out here:

http://www.goalzero.com/shop/p/24/Rock-Out-Portable-Speaker---Green/6:4/

http://www.goalzero.com/shop/p/24/Rock-Out-Portable-Speaker---Green/6:4/

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm set up now, but I'll just let you know what worked for the good of the order. :blue_wink:

FOR CALLING: I've ended up with a set of midland GXT 1000s. They are a little spendier and have way more features than I need, but they came with headsets, and I really like that they have a twist on-off knob rather than a too-small button that I can't find by feel. They are large, but the clips are great, they go on my back waistband, don't notice it's there at all. They were $65 at fry's. You can use regular headphones with these if you like, to receive only, but you'll only get sound in one ear (mono). The headsets they came with are fine, they work. The earpiece can be adjusted a little for fit, it's not obvious at first, but there's a piece that can slide. They could use a foam cover on the mic. As long as I was facing away from the wind, it was fine, but when I'd turn sideways, there'd be wind noise. I think foamies can be bought separately. The midland camo set I originally bought had foamies, and a slightly longer boom. The ear thing looks weird, but it was comfy enough.

You need to make them transmit continuously if you want to use them for calling. The vox feature will not work for this! Make sure it's set to OFF. There are fancier ways to jerryrig it to continuously transmit, but what I did worked just fine. I found a little stick on the beach, broke it to the size of the PTT button, and rubber-banded it on there. When I wanted to receive only, I just moved that stick to the side. Kind of funny, but it worked perfectly. There's also a PTT button on the headset, probably could just tape that down.

GXT 760s also come with headsets, and would be just fine too. Kevin had a set of those at Rockaway, they are almost the same as the gxt1000s.

FOR RECEIVING/LISTENING ONLY: The midland LXT models are nice and small and would fit in your pocket. Will also take standard headphones, mono only. The set I had and returned (lxt380) were $32/set at fry's. The lxt114 set was only 19.95 on the Fry's website. If I just wanted radios for receiving, I would've kept the lxt380s, or maybe found some lxt114s. I had a few reservations, see my previous post. You don't need a bunch of features, you don't need range, you don't need 50 channels. So why pay for all that? Unless you really want the twist on off knob--lesser models don't have it.

The cobras I saw all took a 2.5 mm jack. Standard headphone jacks are 3.5mm. I tried 2 different adapters, both of which fit nicely, BUT the radio then thinks it is transmitting. No good.

So far, all radios seem to work with everything else. One thing though, some radios have privacy channels, ie you can set it to channel 9, then privacy code 5, say. If you are trying to communicate with receive transmissions from a radio that doesn't do privacy codes, that won't work. So just set it to privacy code 0. (edited after reading Howard's comments, below. I think it is correct now. Please see his post for a much more thorough explanation.)

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Katrina,

I don't understand why the VOX would not work for you. confused_1.gif Is it a problem with the delay - e.g. when you say "NOW!" and the VOX kicks in on the "W"? That I would understand.

I would not expect much battery life in continuous transmit mode, though.

As for the privacy codes - they are transmitted at the beginning of a transmission. If a receiver is set for code 0, or to the same code as the transmitter, then it will turn on its amplifier (i.e. you can hear the message that follows the code transmission.) Otherwise, the receiver will ignore messages with a different privacy code than what it is set to.

Each brand and/or model may have different privacy codes, or no privacy codes at all - the codes are not specified by the FCC. So, it is essential for everyone to use code 0, or no code, as you said.

Good luck, and keep us posted with facts instead of this theory stuff.

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Katrina,

I don't understand why the VOX would not work for you. confused_1.gif Is it a problem with the delay - e.g. when you say "NOW!" and the VOX kicks in on the "W"? That I would understand.

I would not expect much battery life in continuous transmit mode, though.

Howard,

The vox feature on my radios is in perfect working order, but I found it to problematic for calling for the reason you mentioned. Even the most sensitive vox setting was inadequate IMHO. It is true that continuously transmitting eats up batteries. And yet JB, Mike Kory, Scott Weider, and if I'm not mistaken, Terry Wiggill, all choose this option over vox.

Good luck, and keep us posted with facts instead of this theory stuff.

While I appreciate your offer of good luck, I am already set up with radios that work and so are the people I fly with. My intention was only to pass along the little bit I've learned (after 3 stores and redundant purchases) in the hopes that it might be of use to someone else. And as I have now exhausted my limited, non-expert knowledge on radios in the last few posts, I have no plans to keep anyone posted with facts or otherwise.

Chuckrev just bought the midland lxt114 radios, perhaps he will update this thread on whether they work well or not.

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Howard,

While I appreciate your offer of good luck, I am already set up with radios that work and so are the people I fly with. My intention was only to pass along the little bit I've learned (after 3 stores and redundant purchases) in the hopes that it might be of use to someone else. And as I have now exhausted my limited, non-expert knowledge on radios in the last few posts, I have no plans to keep anyone posted with facts or otherwise.

Chuckrev just bought the midland lxt114 radios, perhaps he will update this thread on whether they work well or not.

Katrina,

You've already provided some good facts from experience to correct some bad conclusions I may have drawn from theory - or more to the point, dangling questions.

As for "good luck" - go break a leg. :kid_smartass: (Really trying to make a joke here. Did not mean the original post in an ironic or sarcastic sense.)

See you and the rest of the gang in Lincoln City, if we can get ourselves organized. :)

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  • 1 month later...

Fascinating topic!

I'm a lone flyer so it's kinda a mute subject at the moment but is there an app, either Apple or Android that could allow for this over Bluetooth?

The caller could have "master option" allowing them to only transmit, while the others in the group could have "slave option" allowing them to only receive.

Also the option of having the "master" to select the song for the routine to be transmitted with optional fade controls on the "slaves" to control the sound level of both signals.

AND both have the option of diving the signals to separate channels of left and right. Calls in left and music in right.

All done using mobile phone technology.

If there's not, well there should be!

Just a thought.

G'day, my name's Rob and I'm a Revoholic. Help yourself to what's in my bag.

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There are LOTS of walkie talkie apps in the android store, but someone needs to research to see which one would be best. There are versions that use data, and others that are blue tooth. For Verizon customers, the data type would be problematic at this time, due to Verizon not having data capable towers in the Long Beach WA area.

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I've been looking through the iphone apps, and I'm not getting much luck. It looks like all the bluetooth apps will only work between two devices. The others either work of a wifi network (LAN) or through the internet using wifi or 3/4g(WAN). The LAN apps might work if one person on the team can create a mobile hotspot and have everyone tether off of their phone. The WAN apps, I think would work without a problem so long as everyone has a decent internet connection. And in that scenario, we could even use something like Ventrilo or Team Speak.

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I've found "Walkie Talkie Standard" in the app store BUT the talk button is momentary. I was transmitting to 3 other iPhones and had an effective range of about 12 meters (40 feet). The transmission was mono through both earbuds.

WiFi option; I have a wifi dongle that can connect up-to 5 devices but have heard of some that do 7.

Low tech option; Build a FM bug, the type from electronics stores as a kit that kids use to spy on, and a couple of those pocket FM receivers. The bug starts transmitting the moment it is switched on and provides a constant signal. Could even, with a little research, purchase the kits and radios from another country that uses a different part of the frequency spectrum to eliminate RFI.

OR make it part of the demo that the spectators can "tune in" to the call. Give them that extra element of being part of the performance.

Rob.

G'day, my name's Rob and I'm a Revoholic. Help yourself to what's in my bag.

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Hmm, as I understand Bluetooth (with a little help from Wikipedia):

Bluetooth has nothing to do with WiFi (except sharing RF band space) or internet connection.

The idea of Bluetooth was to connect a device, say a mouse or a headphone set, directly and wirelessly to a servicing device, say a computer or a cell phone. It is intended for short distances only - like 1 or 10 meters, or with high power devices 100 meters MAXIMUM (call a meter a yard+ and you can see the distance is problematic.)

My experiences:

a. Bluetooth mouse to laptop - works great.

b. Bluetooth headset to cell phone (to play MP3s on cell phone to headset) - depends on which side of the body the cell phone is located.

c. Bluetooth "hands-free" in an auto, to cell phone - works fine within the confines of a vehicle.

Generally Bluetooth is a one-to-one link. However, there is a provision in the spec for "broadcast" to up to 7 slaves (a "piconet"). OK for teams of 8, but lacking in general usability (e.g. mega-fly grids). And the question of equipment - I am ignorant about how programmable the Bluetooth features of a typical cell phone is are - but I am not optimistic about piconet abilities.

Hey, don't feel bad about suggesting it! My training as a engineer makes me naturally critical of ideas - sometimes too much so. Part of the process of sorting out the possible for the merely interesting. (And usually missing the real game changing ideas.) :kid_frustrated:

I was contemplating suggesting an FM wireless microphone for the captain, and any MP3 players with FM radio reception capability for the team members. Unfortunately, I think the 100 ft maximum range allowed for these devices by the FCC makes this idea also impractical. Sigh. :kid_frustrated:

John, Terry, and Katrina have certainly demonstrated that FRS radios can perform continuous transmissions if forced to (except for some brands/models that specifically limit broadcast time.) And FRS has a range that easily covers an entire performance or even festival area. On the other side of that coin, FRS was not intended for continuous transmission. More like: "Joe, see deer?", "Roger, Roger!", "Where is Mark?", "Bang.", "Ow!" :kid_smartass:.

Now I think I have seen some cell phones that advertise "Walkie-Talkie" mode of use. I don't know if they are using direct unit-to-unit communication or if they are using a cell-phone transmission relay system. And again, "Walkie-talkie" mode of use is assumed to be short transmissions and long reception periods.

I am inclined to think there should be a better solution, short of Amateur Radio licenses for all the team leaders. :P

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So now a smartphone is going to be required equipment for team flying, huh? :)

The radios we used at the boot camp seemed to work just fine. I'm for staying with them as many fliers already have them. If the leaders turn the radios off except while actually flying, the batteries seem to last quite a long time.

Many of us do have smart phones, however many don't, and that would be a large commitment for some.

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For anyone needing a no frills, economical set of radios, Chuck Wiley recommended the midland lxt114 set. He said they worked just fine, no issues. They take a standard ipod-type set of headphones, mono only. I've seen them for around $20 online. He said they are being replaced by the lxt118 model.

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