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Thread: Bike to Bike Radio Recommendations

  1. #16
    michaelkellett
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    Spoiledbiker.com sells an adapter thing (looks a little homemade, but I'm sure it works) that allows you to hardwire a Kenwood FRS radio to a 12v line. I actually contacted several branches of Kenwood and Motorola's customer service people to inquire about radios that had dedicated 12v power connections, and neither manufacturer offers anything like that. They all recommend "just use our nifty rechargeable batteries and carry the charging cradle, power adapter, etc. with you"... Yeah, right!

    This is what I bought: http://www.amazon.com/MIDLAND-75-822...9521289&sr=8-2

    It's about $63 bucks, comes with three power source options (AA batteries, rechargeable Ni-Cad pack, and a cigarette lighter plug) and works with it's own rubber antenna or an external antenna.

    I use mine mounted on the side of my topcase with the rubber antenna in place, and it works great. It's wired into my StarCom (they make a dedicated cable for it, just like AutoCom and others) and is actuated by my handlebar-mounted PTT button.


    The only downside to this mounting option is that I cannot make changes to the channel, squelch or volume while moving, but that has not proven to be a big problem. I'm considering moving the radio unit to the front of the bike at some point, and using the antenna adapter to run a FireStick antenna mounted on my rear subframe. That will tremendously boost the range of the radio and allow me to operate the radio controls on the move.

  2. #17
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregfuess View Post
    That sounds very good, do you have to replace the batteries often? I was hoping to use the motorcycle battery to power the radio, or is the Autocom or Starcom capable of doing that? Appreciate your help.

    Greg
    Often, when you power the radio from the vehicle's battery, you have to isolate the grounds between the audio and the power. Otherwise feedback or noise will distort the audio. So if you do use bike power, use the isolating power or audio wiring harness most mobile audio system manufacturers provide.
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  3. #18
    Registered User DPeakMD's Avatar
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    Went on a group ride today so we used FRS radios as this is what most people had available.

    Some observations: FRS frequencies are closely spaced and therefore must use a tighter value for deviation. These are FM, so frequency is modulated to encode the signal. The narrower the frequency range, the less information is encoded. The narrow bandwidth of FRS/GMRS gives the signal a tinny quality and makes it difficult to understand. This is compounded as the signal quality degrades over distance.

    Interference is a problem in almost any developed area. Cities are also where a group really needs good communication to announce turns and stay in touch if chopped up by stoplights. Most of the interference is not from other FRS users. It is intermodulation distortion--which is particularly obnoxious sounding!

    But, then again, I fell any form of communication can make a group ride better!
    Dallas
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  4. #19
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    We have the Kenwoods tied into the Autocomms for several years and experience none of the issues you report. Always clear unless trying to understand Chatterbox users.Then it sounds like marine VHF bands and very scratchy( never got the hang of understanding the squeal of that when out in the Gulf!) Other users with Baehr or Autocomm set ups are typically very clear as we also use the Etymotic earbuds and ground loop isolators. Our only issue is passing thru towns where other users are on that particular frequency, such as the case after the tornado in Mena Arkansas a few months back, or the tow truck operators in any town.We have an alternate designated channel we try, which usually gets us back to only us on it. As far as distance, depends on terrain...flat prairie is a few miles, canyon carving is line of sight or when each of us is on the outside of a turn not blocked by terra firma. We set the radios upright as possible in the tankbags with the antenna out in air unless it's raining hard.
    The helmet speakers have never worked well in our Nolans unless cruising at 20MPH.I have removed mine and only use the earbuds

    just another set of observations...yours may differ. Still nice to have the ability to use in urban warfare traffic situations as you mention.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
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  5. #20
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    Autocom to Talkabout cable?

    Quote Originally Posted by lionlady View Post
    Hubby has a Starcom and I've got Autocom. We've had good luck using Motorola Talkabout radios. They work fine within sight range, and depending on terrain, etc. will work out of sight as well. We've been using them since we got "wired" for communication. A couple years.

    Only thing is that the radios need to have the antenna pointing skyward or they don't transmit very well.

    Considering you can get a pair for $30-$50 they're a bargain.

    P
    I am looking to connect my Autocom to a walkabout. It appears that the 2 devises require a different diameter plug. Is that what you experianced? and if so, how did you overcome?

    Thanks,
    Marty

  6. #21
    RTFlyer
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    Quote Originally Posted by danstl2002 View Post
    The amateur radios are a no no unless you are both licensed.
    Just to be clear...FRS radios do not require an FCC license and may not be modified to increase range or signal strenght (boosting output or attaching external antennas) and shouldn't need to be when used as bike-to-bike comms. GMRS radios do require a license and may be modified.

    I'm not sure what an amateur radio is by deifnition.

    I have a Scala Q2 and it's adequate. I would go with a Starcom set-up if I had it to do over again.

  7. #22
    RTST
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    Wife and I have been using Starcom 1 Advance and ICOM F21GM radios and are very happy with the operation of both. So here is another vote for Starcom.
    Larry

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFlyer View Post
    Just to be clear...FRS radios do not require an FCC license and may not be modified to increase range or signal strenght (boosting output or attaching external antennas) and shouldn't need to be when used as bike-to-bike comms. GMRS radios do require a license and may be modified.

    I'm not sure what an amateur radio is by deifnition.

    I have a Scala Q2 and it's adequate. I would go with a Starcom set-up if I had it to do over again.


    VHF 144-148 mHz
    222-225 mHz
    UHF 420-450 mHz

    You can not transmit on any of these frequencies unless you have a Ham Radio license. The license is pretty easy to get but you will have to take a rest and have a call sign issued by the FCC.
    Berry Griffin
    Modesto CA

  9. #24
    John. jstrube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerA View Post
    Scala Rider Q2 - works great.
    +1, you can also pair with a buddy & switch back & forth... Let the women pair up & the men, then swap!

  10. #25
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by serazin View Post
    VHF 144-148 mHz
    222-225 mHz
    UHF 420-450 mHz

    You can not transmit on any of these frequencies unless you have a Ham Radio license. The license is pretty easy to get but you will have to take a rest and have a call sign issued by the FCC.
    In addition to the frequency allocations which are various from below 1MHz to above 1.2 GHz, amateurs may design, build, and use their own equipment...receivers and transmitters.
    BMWMotorcycles, fun when they're running...
    My other bike is a BMW.
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  11. #26
    Registered User kgadley01's Avatar
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    +1 on the J & M setup, we have one on all three bikes......
    AKA SNAPGADGET
    Lifes too short to ride an ugly Motorcycle

  12. #27
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    The Scala Q2 works well enough for me and is easily transferred to another rider / passenger.

    PLUS, my iPhone connects to my Zumo 550, and the Q2 connects to that.

    The range is at least 1000 ft or more.

    Voice quality is excellent and load enough that I can hear through my Big Ears hearing protection.

    Music quality SUCKS!!!! Forget music, don't think about music... completely SUCKS!

    Otherwise, simple, easy, affordable and they work.

    RobStar

  13. #28
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    I think youÔÇÖre going to be disappointed with the useable range on any of the handheld FRS/GMRS radios using the stock rubber antenna, I was. The remedy was to purchase a 4 watt Kenwood GMRS running through an Autocom and a Maxrad 3dB gain non ground plane antenna mounted to the side of the top box, Yeah I got license. I now experience more range than I would ever need, not tested it for range really but I do know communications at least 2 miles on the open road have been perfect.

  14. #29
    Toadmanor
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobStar View Post
    The Scala Q2 works well enough for me and is easily transferred to another rider / passenger.

    PLUS, my iPhone connects to my Zumo 550, and the Q2 connects to that.

    The range is at least 1000 ft or more.

    Voice quality is excellent and load enough that I can hear through my Big Ears hearing protection.

    Music quality SUCKS!!!! Forget music, don't think about music... completely SUCKS!

    Otherwise, simple, easy, affordable and they work.

    RobStar
    How do you answer or make a call on your iPhone when hooked up this way?

    I don't think (or can not find) an auto answer command nor a way to make a call without a hand on the iPhone.

  15. #30
    Registered User lionlady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyH View Post
    I am looking to connect my Autocom to a walkabout. It appears that the 2 devises require a different diameter plug. Is that what you experianced? and if so, how did you overcome?

    Thanks,
    Marty
    Which 2 devices? The Autocom and Starcom? Since we're not trying to use the Talkabout radios in BOTH bikes at once, each of us just got the appropriate connector for the radio to our own communication system.

    P
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