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  1. #1
    always learning fitadude's Avatar
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    Exclamation lite weight w/ear-bud 2 ways

    I am going to go for a long 500 mile ride this fall for charity. I need a radio set up that does not have much weight to it with a ear-bud. Any suggestions?

    thanks
    a lot


    Does anyone know what the pro teams use?
    Last edited by fitadude; 02-29-08 at 07:34 PM. Reason: more info
    Kemo over and I did not die!!!!
    RIDE TO LIVE & LIVE TO RIDE
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    http://www.epinions.com/SanDisk_Sans...splay_~reviews

    http://www.epinions.com/SanDisk_Sans...splay_~reviews

    Both are AAA units. The m240 I own and it's very light. Radio signal is strong and mp3 playback is good.

    Apple Ipod/Nano/Touch look nice but once again with internal/propritary batteries you have two things to worry about. 1. Where to get power to charge it (requiring you to carry the AC/USB cord) 2. If the battery goes FUBAR and the unit is in good working condition it would cost you like 1/4 - 1/3 the price of the unit for a new battery.

    With AA/AAA batteries you can buy anywhere on your ride at any store or carry rechargeables and stick a 15min battery charger into you trunk bag (if you have ride support then put it with your gear that the ride is carrying) then charge it quickly when you're having dinner at a resturant or coffee break/etc or just buy a new cell at the convience store. Heck even trade M&M candies with fellow riders for some batteries.

    I'm not knocking internal/proritary batteries. They are nice. They keep the unit very small as the batteries inside are often li-ion or li-po with high energy and light weight but for any traveling it would suck if you did not have a way to charge the unit again.

    GoMadic has had some nice reviews from some road warriors sites. I like how you just carry 4xAA then carry the tips you need and you're good to go. Carry a tip for your cellphone and another for the mp3 player/PDA/gaming unit/gps/etc.

    You can find on Ebay under 'emergency charger' for the Apple and other portable gaming units names that can charge your device when you're out of power.



    http://gomadic.com/battery-backup-cat.html
    Zero_Enigma

  3. #3
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Zero_Enigma

  4. #4
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitadude View Post
    I am going to go for a long 500 mile ride this fall for charity. I need a radio set up that does not have much weight to it with a ear-bud. Any suggestions?

    thanks
    a lot


    Does anyone know what the pro teams use?
    You mean 2-way radios for communication, not music players, right?

    I don't have much advice , but I just wanted to make sure we knew what you're asking for. I've got a couple handheld Motorolas that got some use at car meets, but I never used an earbud with them. I suppose they would be light enough to carry in a pocket or, preferably, somehow on the handlebars (especially after 500 miles).

    I don't know of extra-light 2-way radios, but I'm sure they're out there somewhere by now. I might even say that finding a set that uses standard batteries could be a help when you're away from a power source for a long time. Have you found any yet?

  5. #5
    Elite Rep
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    Also something to note, unless you want to be cranking the volume on rides to be able to hear over wind / outside noises, its very worthwhile investing in some "in-ear" earphones". They isolate the sound so you dont have to have the volume up so loud, saving you and your batterys!

  6. #6
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Family Radio Service known as FRS is a license free 2-way radio system. Cheap, easy, and work well up to about 2 miles. General Mobile Radio Service also known as GMRS shares a few of the FRS channels and allows more range due to the higher power allowed. You will need an FCC license. Here is the link.
    http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/ind...general_mobile
    Best Buy has Jensen - Universal Ear Bud for 2-Way Radios.
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1108126066598
    You may purchase your choice of radios from this page.
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....&type=category
    I would suggest purchasing radios that use AA or AAA disposable batteries and carry a few in your blowout bag.
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  7. #7
    always learning fitadude's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Yes I am talking about 2-ways. I so not think that A Radio with head phones would be a very safe thing with traffic around.
    Kemo over and I did not die!!!!
    RIDE TO LIVE & LIVE TO RIDE
    Check out my blog for cancer fund raising nevergivein@wordpess.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member RhythmRider's Avatar
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    Check out some of the motorcycle websites....they usually have that kind of gear, some pre mounted in helmets.
    Hope this helps!

    http://www.cycletourer.co.uk/cycletouring/radios.shtml

    http://www.heeters.com/radios.shtml
    Last edited by RhythmRider; 03-01-08 at 05:58 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitadude View Post
    Thanks guys. Yes I am talking about 2-ways. I so not think that A Radio with head phones would be a very safe thing with traffic around.
    In that case then check out the RINO series. Gives you two way radio capabilities, GPS, and also if the other person has a RINO you can track them on radar (basically you can see where the other RINO is in your pack).

    You can turn the two way radio on or off. Same with the GPS if you don't need it then. It runs off 3xAA and works quite well. I've used it before in the FRS modes. That was before the GMRS was legally opened licence-free in Canada. Thus if you come into Canada you can use the GMRS without paying for any licences. The RINO's then did not have the GMRS firmware upgrade if you bought it in Canada but hey if you jumped the border you could get a GMRS model.

    Come to think of it I highly doubt any FCC vans will be rolling around trying to find you on your GMRS unit in the US of A when they're probably more busy trying to track down the guy with a pirate radio station and making all the TV's fuzz.

    I own a Motorola T289 which when I bought it new when the FRS's were in about thier 2nd wave of products I've seen on the market it costed me like $100/each unit. Now a days many generations have pasted and FRS units are as cheap as $15/pair. One thing I would like to note is that with the FRS/GMRS the claims you see on the packaging willonly hold true if you're in thier controlled enviroments and like on mountian top to mountain top with no obstructions.

    In real life the moment you're inside a building expect 1/2 range cut because of the wall penetration. WHen you're outside with the cars/trees/buildings I would expect ~70-80% of that claim. Once again this is in my personal experience. I think I've seen the T289 selling on ebay for ~$15-$20 a pair sold regularly by those with stock or selling thier old units. The T289 works well and has VOX (voice activated) control for hands free transmission. It's handy when you're working with cabling (network installs) and your hands are tied up while you're hanging on the ceiling but with a headset which can be found cheap on Ebay you can also use that as well while riding. Just make sure you get one with noise cancellation. The T289 does not have that beep-beep 'roger' sound whle talking which is a pro/con pending what you want to do with it but I always use 'roger' and 'over' to make sure the other ends gets me. One thing I like of the T289 is without that 'roger' tone each time you press the button you can silently listen in on other conversations at random places like of... big box stores (incidently that's how I found out about a sale on some stuff before hand and returned my stuff and bouught it weeks later saving $100 bucks when the CSR's in the store would not tell me of the upcoming sales ).

    I'm not sure what your riding spead will be. If you have a wide spread say 2km from the leader of the pack then the cheaper FRS/GMRS would be better if you're not that far from the main riders. If you have something like a long 5km stretch then you may want to get a more powerful longer range FRS/GMRS unit which will cost more ~$70 for some nice units around here. Most FRS's have a 'scan' mode which you can scan other channels other then your own channel to well either eavesdrop on other calls or find other people. During the great blackout of I think 2003 I was away from home with no radio (am/fm) and my cellphone was not working because the towers got cut off because of the blackout. Only spotty areas has reception but not in my area then. I happened to have a FRS on me. I scanned the channels and there were people talking and that's how I jumped in and asked what as happening and thus I found out of the situation of the power stations going down. Nice that the local HAM's started relaying info over the HAM stations then telling people as the info came in on the FRS channels they're on what's going on. Anyways, just stating i's usefulness of the unit.

    I think you're better off getting a unit that can take AA cells over AAA so that it can last longer while on the road and if you need power you can always buy the cells on the road.
    Zero_Enigma

  10. #10
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero_Enigma View Post
    The T289 does not have that beep-beep 'roger' sound whle talking which is a pro/con pending what you want to do with it but I always use 'roger' and 'over' to make sure the other ends gets me.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    I read somewhere several years ago that some TdF teams used this Alinco radio. Alinco has newer ones now. Users will need licenses, I believe. Not cheap.
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  12. #12
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litespeedlouie View Post
    I read somewhere several years ago that some TdF teams used this Alinco radio. Alinco has newer ones now. Users will need licenses, I believe. Not cheap.
    You'll need an FCC Amateur (HAM) Technician Class radio license to use this transceiver. This license is free as are all Amateur class radio licenses. The FCC certified testing group that gives tests do charge a minimal fee to cover costs associated with the required forms, postage, and travel to the testing site. Be warned! HAM radio operators take great offense to people using Amateur radios without a license and take great joy in hunting them down, collecting evidence, and turning in that information to the FCC resulting in those persons being arrested and issued substantial fines. Operating this equipment is also a Federal offense and convection results in that person becoming a felon resulting in loss of voting privileges, firearm ownership, and the ability to keep or be employed by the federal government. The current Technician Class radio license is a very easy test. Here is a link to more information.
    http://www.qrz.com/i/ham-radio-howto.html

    This link provides an interactive test allowing you to practice before taking the real test.
    http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl
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  13. #13
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    I use a single ear headset with wind-shielded boom mike by Pryme (400 series) when I'm providing bike-mobile comm support for a local century ride. Here's an example. If you are using FRS radios, check if they have a earphone/headset jack and find a version of the Pryme headset or similar with matching connector. I use a zip-tie to fasten the PTT switch to the handlebars. The cord is long enough to let me move around comfortably on the bike; I do need to take off the headset when I dismount. If you stick the radio in a jersey pocket and don't mind taking a hand off the handlebars to use the ptt, you can keep it all self-contained on your body. Some headsets use voice-operated (VOX) rather than a push to talk (PTT) button to transmit - I've found that idle conversation and wind noise and traffic noise can trip voice-actuated systems too easily and prefer the certainty of PTT.

    I'm not aware of any wireless/bluetooth systems like for cell phones, but I imagine they exist and will be overpriced.

    Regardless of if you are using FRS radios (with their self-contained antennas) or are licensed and using amateur VHF/UHF equipment, the performance of the radios (range) is going to be affected by stubby antennas next to the rider's body. I get better results with either my handheld VHF radio strapped to the handlebars with a longer but lightweight whip, and use a separate antenna attached to a bike flag on the century ride (which makes me really stand out, but I relish my "fred-hood"). You'll want to experiment to see how far you can communicate and if wind noise is a problem. The advantage of FRS is it is cheap and lots of people have them. Ham rigs offer a lot more capability, but require all operators be licensed and cost more. I second N4ZOU's comments on licensing.

    Since this is a charity ride, is this to use FRS or GMRS radios for communications support with ride organizers and SAG, or for personal use for a group of riders?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    All links don't work except the last one. Looks like Twentith Fox took them all down.
    Zero_Enigma

  15. #15
    Senior Member Goatbiker's Avatar
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    I second ks1g's use of push-to-talk over voice-operated-transmissions. A bike at speed creates more than enough wind noise to keep your transmitter on all the time.

    I picked up two FSR units on close-out at $15 each, and two VOX headsets for $20 each. I wired in some PTT switches and now can ride single file with friends and still have great conversations.

    Tom
    Goatbiking. "It's not the size of the hills you climb, it's what you smell like when you're done". So sez my wife.
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