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Trail Comms?

Beerj

Sonzabitches!
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
3,776
Location
Amish Country
Now that we've got 2 rigs in the fleet, I've been wanting to get some comms figured out. I've asked Jake what they run in the BK buggies since they have both driver/passenger comms as well as vehicle/vehicle. He pointed me towards a $2k+ Rugged setup which seems to me might be a little overkill.

I did see that rugged has fairly cheap driver/passenger units that you'd basically just plug 2 sets of headsets into. But not sure how I'd make that work in conjunction with a gmrs unit.

Also wondering if the vehicle/vehicle setups are anything specific where you're on a closed channel or if they're just broadcasting over an open frequency.

I guess my wishlist is to have a pair of headsets in the buggy that can be used as an intercom (it's loud in there), but also be able to talk to another unit in the wifes jeep (doesn't need to be a headset). I'm totally new to all of this so it's been tough trying to figure out exactly what is capable of doing what I want, for under $2k each. Also, looking to go gmrs since it sounds like lot's of people are going that route.
 

untchabl

On the Rocks
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
332
Location
Bear Creek, NC
Our group has a few of those Baofeng radios from Amazon. Think they are around $50 with the charger and some extra stuff. Doesn't help with comms between driver and passenger inside a loud buggy though. We all have 4-banger weepow buggies so not an issue for us.
 

Lil ugly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2011
Messages
683
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Our group has also been using the Baofeng radios. I have not tried them yet but they have some headset options and a bluetooth option that lets you use earbuds with the radios. I have also been told that you can monitor two stations with the Baofengs, which would let you use one for your group and one for the buggy if its true.
 

Waffle

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Joined
Sep 6, 2016
Messages
210
I prefer a mounted mobile unit with a seperate antenna, but the main challenge in a buggy becomes water and dust. My solution was a waterproof TYT TH-8600 25w dual band that's rated ip67. For the antenna I use an 18" vhf Stico flexi-whip made of unbreakable nitinol. With this antenna I'm limited to one band (uhf or vhf), but I carry a second 4" Stico tuned for uhf just in case. For the mic holder I use the "magnetic mic" affixed to a radiused tube adapter I made, so no more fumbling around in the dark. Just get the mic close to the magnetic base and it instantly gets pulled into a secure position.




Just like the Baofung radios the initial setup can be a challenge. The main thing to remember is that channel programming isn't necessary. It's not what channel you use that's important, but rather what frequency the channel is. So, just go straight to frequency is my approach.
To help connect with those that bought pre-programmed radios from Rugged or PCI I made a card that lists what frequencies each of their channels are set at and keep this on me at all times.

#TOHELLWITHCB
 
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stuftmunky2k

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Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
386
Location
Marysville, ohio
I run rugged in the buggy. Yes they are expensive but if you watch they have huge percent off sales all the time. Yes they pricey but way worth it in my opinion think im $1600 all in on mine. Few guys in the group have rugged few run baofeng few run knock off mounted units. Makes a huge difference in a group to actually be able to communicate. And is nice the be able to talk normal to your passenger
 

Waffle

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Sep 6, 2016
Messages
210
Don't forget that Rugged Radios are in fact rebranded imports like Baofeng, TYT, etc. The TYT th-8600 that I paid $99 for was also the Rugged rm-250wp but they charged $250. For the 2-3x markup in price you're getting channels programmed, warranty, convenience and customer service.
You can build two import radio systems for less $ than one Rugged Radio system, using the same parts, if you want.
 

Beerj

Sonzabitches!
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
3,776
Location
Amish Country
I run rugged in the buggy. Yes they are expensive but if you watch they have huge percent off sales all the time. Yes they pricey but way worth it in my opinion think im $1600 all in on mine. Few guys in the group have rugged few run baofeng few run knock off mounted units. Makes a huge difference in a group to actually be able to communicate. And is nice the be able to talk normal to your passenger
Does yours have built in intercom? I see radios with heasets and intercoms but not sure if anything is a combo unit
 

Beerj

Sonzabitches!
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Messages
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Amish Country
Don't forget that Rugged Radios are in fact rebranded imports like Baofeng, TYT, etc. The TYT th-8600 that I paid $99 for was also the Rugged rm-250wp but they charged $250. For the 2-3x markup in price you're getting channels programmed, warranty, convenience and customer service.
You can build two import radio systems for less $ than one Rugged Radio system, using the same parts, if you want.
Convenience seems like a big part there. A plug-n-play gmrs would be nice but I'm sure the price reflects
 

Waffle

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Sep 6, 2016
Messages
210
Midland has some nice fixed mount GMRS kits complete with a stubby antenna. Personally I think these are the easiest to transition to for those familiar with CB but find dual band too complex.

As long as your group is able and willing to use UHF that is.

I'm not familiar with anything tied to headsets or comms between passengers, so some basic gmrs stuff may lack the extra plugs. Idk.
 

Beerj

Sonzabitches!
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
3,776
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Amish Country
Midland has some nice fixed mount GMRS kits complete with a stubby antenna. Personally I think these are the easiest to transition to for those familiar with CB but find dual band too complex.

As long as your group is able and willing to use UHF that is.

I'm not familiar with anything tied to headsets or comms between passengers, so some basic gmrs stuff may lack the extra plugs. Idk.
I talked to Rugged today. The radios seem pretty straightforward, as do the intercoms. But linking them together in conjunction with the headsets is where I was struggling. That said, I bit the bullet on their stuff just due to ease of installation/operation. The radios are waterproof which is nice. This way I know for sure that it'll all work together properly. The setup in the buggy will work so driver/passenger can talk to eachother without doing anything. Then each has a ptt button to "broadcast" through the gmrs. Can also Bluetooth my phone to the intercom so can take calls (not very important) and listen to music. In the jeep, it's just a gmrs radio. It's got a full exhaust so really no need for headsets or an intercom.
 

stuftmunky2k

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Sep 24, 2014
Messages
386
Location
Marysville, ohio
I talked to Rugged today. The radios seem pretty straightforward, as do the intercoms. But linking them together in conjunction with the headsets is where I was struggling. That said, I bit the bullet on their stuff just due to ease of installation/operation. The radios are waterproof which is nice. This way I know for sure that it'll all work together properly. The setup in the buggy will work so driver/passenger can talk to eachother without doing anything. Then each has a ptt button to "broadcast" through the gmrs. Can also Bluetooth my phone to the intercom so can take calls (not very important) and listen to music. In the jeep, it's just a gmrs radio. It's got a full exhaust so really no need for headsets or an intercom.
You will love it. Installation is easy. What i like about it the most is you dont hear the random noises the rig makes. Headphones cancel alot of it out. You are correct driver/passenger talk normally back n forth then when you want to talk to another car just press a button.
 

Beerj

Sonzabitches!
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Dec 7, 2014
Messages
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Location
Amish Country
Also, all in I'm at 1800. It's a chunk but after all this time of hand signals, yelling and poor cell phone service, it'll be a welcomed change
 

Warewolf SD

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Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Messages
129
Location
San Diego
One recommendation I can make is get a baofeng or rugged or whatever hand held so your co driver can get out and spot on radio and you can hand it to someone who doesn't have a radio if they piggy back into your group.
Side note... spotting your buddies through something nasty without needing to get out of your rig to make poorly coordinated hand signals or yell driver...no your other driver over and over again is the chit.
 

CarolinaCrawler1

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Joined
Nov 23, 2014
Messages
66
Location
Hickory
I picked up the mobile intercom setup from rugged radio. I abso-freeken-lutly love the intercoms. Once you have them, you'll want to use them in everything - even the jeep. I hook up a baofang radio to it and it works well. I also picked it up when they were having a massive sale.

If I were going to go gmrs and don't know much about radios, I would use the midland kits @Waffle mentioned. For $150 you can get everything you need in a nice plug and play kit. Would not be hard to adapt think to intercoms either. After the first of the year a gmrs license is supposed to drop in price too.

Having said that, if your in a tight group of people who always wheel together, I've been wanting to look into those little bluetooth things the motorcycle guys use. Like this;


I don't know much about these but I'm wanting to learn more. Your supposed to be able to link 6 together. That way your buddies could just pick one up and join in. Brennan Metcalf even adapted one to a set of 3m earmuffs. I'm looking heavily into this now.
 

Beerj

Sonzabitches!
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
3,776
Location
Amish Country
I picked up the mobile intercom setup from rugged radio. I abso-freeken-lutly love the intercoms. Once you have them, you'll want to use them in everything - even the jeep. I hook up a baofang radio to it and it works well. I also picked it up when they were having a massive sale.

If I were going to go gmrs and don't know much about radios, I would use the midland kits @Waffle mentioned. For $150 you can get everything you need in a nice plug and play kit. Would not be hard to adapt think to intercoms either. After the first of the year a gmrs license is supposed to drop in price too.

Having said that, if your in a tight group of people who always wheel together, I've been wanting to look into those little bluetooth things the motorcycle guys use. Like this;


I don't know much about these but I'm wanting to learn more. Your supposed to be able to link 6 together. That way your buddies could just pick one up and join in. Brennan Metcalf even adapted one to a set of 3m earmuffs. I'm looking heavily into this now.
After talking to the Rugged guy, sounds pretty simple to adapt just about any brand/style radio to the intercom. The biggest thing was the headsets. Some are radio sets, and others are intercom. Sounded like they would both work but would essentially be priority for whatever it's made for, and ptt for the other.
 

TBItoy

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Joined
Jul 2, 2010
Messages
10,740
Location
Dodson Branch, TN
I was looking at different Sena setups, they are pretty well known in the motorcycle area, but they also have other "outdoor sports" simple headsets and light weight helmet setups (like rock climbing, mtn biking, skydiving).
A couple of the headsets to throw on would be super helpful when someone gets out to spot or winch.

 

Beerj

Sonzabitches!
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
3,776
Location
Amish Country
Like Warewolf was saying, I'll probably grab a cheap, handheld to use for spotting or to loan out.

I'm curious now about the fcc fee's going down. I would assume it's possible to use the gmrs radios without the license. If that's the case, then I'll just risk it until next year and then pay the fee. That said, $7 per year now isn't exactly terrible either.

Just looked, fees drop from 70 for 10 years to only 35
 

stuftmunky2k

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Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
386
Location
Marysville, ohio
Like Warewolf was saying, I'll probably grab a cheap, handheld to use for spotting or to loan out.

I'm curious now about the fcc fee's going down. I would assume it's possible to use the gmrs radios without the license. If that's the case, then I'll just risk it until next year and then pay the fee. That said, $7 per year now isn't exactly terrible either.

Just looked, fees drop from 70 for 10 years to only 35
We never worry about the fcc stuff. Never been in trouble or anything. Funny thing we was way out at windrock and caught a helicopter or plane come over the radio. Was pretty cool listening to them talk back n forth but we was smart enough to not try n mess with them. The best part about having the group with the radios is the **** talking and chatter back in forth. Gets pretty funny at times.
 

Beerj

Sonzabitches!
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
3,776
Location
Amish Country
We never worry about the fcc stuff. Never been in trouble or anything. Funny thing we was way out at windrock and caught a helicopter or plane come over the radio. Was pretty cool listening to them talk back n forth but we was smart enough to not try n mess with them. The best part about having the group with the radios is the **** talking and chatter back in forth. Gets pretty funny at times.
That's what I'm seeing, fcc doesn't have the time or manpower to monitor that stuff so unless they get a legit complaint, they're not looking. And even then, it's hard enough to pinpoint a stationary radio, let alone one thats roaming around on some mountainside in the middle of nowhere
 

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