Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: bjshred on June 24, 2008, 02:50:38 am

Title: Communications on tour
Post by: bjshred on June 24, 2008, 02:50:38 am
I would appreciate any input regarding two way radios with helmet mounted mike and ear phones.  Range of couple of miles will be fine.  To stay in touch with riding partner easily.  Also any experience with solar battery chargers?  Thanks.  I love hills, hills make me strong.

Title: Communications on tour
Post by: whittierider on June 24, 2008, 04:23:03 am
Has anyone tried the small Family Radio Service (FRS) hand-held radios?  Perhaps those with a headset would do the job, except I suspect you'd still have to push a button to transmit.  Now that you mention it however, I'm interested.  I think they do have a range of a couple of miles.  The headset gizmo for tandems does not, as it has no reason to.

This message was edited by whittierider on 6-24-08 @ 12:24 AM
Title: Communications on tour
Post by: JayH on June 24, 2008, 08:53:25 am
FRS radios are line of sight, and have a couple miles range so I think the drawback here is not really distance but just line of sight issues as big buildings, etc.etc will affect the reception. There's a good wiki on it:

GMRS is more powerful but you need to do the hassle of getting an FCC license to use it!.


Title: Communications on tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on June 24, 2008, 01:27:51 pm
My experience is with mountain biking and cross country skiing.  FRS is in theory 2 miles, but besides hills, some vegetation will dampen your signal.  Most of the time, you can count on a mile.  I also moved up to GMRS, which is a lot of the same frequencies, only you can run with more power and a more efficient antenna.  This was a nominal improvement for me.  

I stopped pursuing this when cell phones became cheap and reliable.  All you need is good line of site to the tower.  Have you considered using cell phones?  They work most of the time.  

I did part of the continental divide in Colorado, and there was no meaningful cell phone coverage there.  So yes, a cell phone is not a universal solution.  Maybe a combination of cell phones and FRS radios would work for you.

I ran experiments on other frequency radios.  Don't waste you time on the CB band as you cannot carry a long enough antenna.  I also thought about short wave, but again you need an FCC license and are dependent on  whatever repeaters are available.  So GMRS is the way to go if you want a step up from FRS.

Title: Communications on tour
Post by: bogiesan on June 28, 2008, 09:30:25 am
I do not understand the need to stay in contact but that's just me. We
have found cell phones to be more than adequate. In those rare places
where phones don't work... you do it the old fashioned way: wait.
Maybe you backtrack. Maybe you let them take care of themselves.
Depends on your relationship and who's carrying the food.

solar charging systems can be easily researched on google. The payoff
is still rather negative; you carry more weight with the charger and
receive less output than you might by carrying the dedicated charger
and using electrical outlets or buying AAs along the route. Depends on
what you need to keep charged. For isntance, two-way radios take lots
of power to transmit. GPS takes lots of power. You may not be able to
keep both systems charged with a single solar unit.
If you decide it may work for you, try to standardize your energy needs
on a single size battery, say, AA.

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."