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Thread: I Am Done Using Race Radios....

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Default I Am Done Using Race Radios....

    Back in 2007 I bought an expensive racing radio set-up. It came with a radio for the car and driver and another radio for one crew guy. I added all the wires to the car, I tote around a small suitcase with the chargers and additional paraphanelia and I had to have my helmet wired up. When I change cars, driving for an enduro team for example, I must sometimes rewire the helmet.

    The quality of the reception is OK. The biggest problems I deal with are:
    • Making sure the batteries are charged. Two separate chargers and making sure the set-up is ready to go at race time is a PITA.
    • Sometimes other teams or users get on the same channel and we step on each other, or there is static. It is also not a a private channel.
    • At many tracks there are dead zones or poor reception areas. Even at BRP I can lose contact down at Star Mazda when my radioman is on the tower balcony. It gets even worse at tracks like Road America or MRLS.
    • Lastly, I only have two radios and buying extras are very expensive, more chargers to plug in, batteries to maintain, etc.


    Let me tell you what I did at the SCCA Runoffs when I did not have the right cable for my in-car radio... that is a story I won't get into. I decided to use my iPhone and the OEM headset. I was not sure how it would work, but I gave it a try. The sound quality and volume is at least as good as my Motorolas. But the best part was I put a crew guy up in the tower by start finish to help spot the green flag and watch Turns 10, 11 and the top of 1. I had other friend over by Turn 2 and 3. I had another spotter by Turn 5 watching 4 and 6 as well. Then I had someone else go to Turn 8 and 9. They all had iPhones or Androids and the popped in their headsets. I had everyone dial up the conference line bridge from my office and it worked great.
    1. Cheap hardware people already have
    2. Private communication
    3. Communication on every portion of the track
    4. I can have up to 36 spotters... not that I will ever need that unless I go to the N-Ring
    5. Easy charging and
    6. Easy overall manageability of the system.


    PS. I can now also communicate with another team/driver if I so choose to add them to the call bridge.
    Last edited by Olitho; 10-21-2014 at 08:27 PM.
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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    No earplugs?

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robburgoon View Post
    No earplugs?
    Just the OEM Apple earbuds....

    I have a really nice Bose noise cancelling pair of earbuds I plan to use next time. I will report later how they work.
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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif emilio700's Avatar
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    We are experimenting with Bluetooth headsets and smartphones too.
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    But obviously I just dont get it. -fatbillybob

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    That is pretty cool Oli. Radios are a big distraction and always problematic. Mine are only a couple of years old and the batteries are already flaky. Getting all the radios working at once for multiple cars is always gamble. Cell phones by comparison are rock solid. Some tracks (Thunderhill) though have poor cell coverage so a cell phone solution there might not work well. You have the luxury of a conference bridge for tieing everyone together. Any ideas of how to handle linking everyone together without a 'corporate' bridge?
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    Spec Backhoe Champion redtopz's Avatar
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    Meh I use google glasses and skype with my spotters.

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    Spec Backhoe Champion redtopz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markn View Post
    That is pretty cool Oli. Radios are a big distraction and always problematic. Mine are only a couple of years old and the batteries are already flaky. Getting all the radios working at once for multiple cars is always gamble. Cell phones by comparison are rock solid. Some tracks (Thunderhill) though have poor cell coverage so a cell phone solution there might not work well. You have the luxury of a conference bridge for tieing everyone together. Any ideas of how to handle linking everyone together without a 'corporate' bridge?
    Thunderhill has a big verizon tower at the track now.

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    Senior Member fatbillybob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olitho View Post

    PS. I can now also communicate with another team/driver if I so choose to add them to the call bridge.
    Ricky Bobby here..."shake n' bake" baby!
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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    I can tell you that 500 million annual budget F1 team also can't get radio to work 100% of the time. You see an average of 1 driver per race losing radio contact. Very common with F1.

    I really would like to know how they do it at LeMan or The Ring. As it is a much longer track
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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Oli: what do you do if line gets dropped in middle of the race ? Do you have auto answer ?
    Supermiata S1, SuperMiata S2, Supermiata S3
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    Old timer craZee's Avatar
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    Oli,

    I will give you $5.99 for your worthless radio set-up.

    craZee

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    Yeah, I remember a BIG push in the late 90's to get more cell towers at tracks just for this purpose (and obviously communicating w/outside world)! Can't wait till' radios are obsolete.

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    Not Certified Slow SDSUsnowboards's Avatar
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    Real men use smoke signals to communicate. Some cars are better at this than others.
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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    We did a story on radio preparedness in Speed News back in November 2012. I liked the system so much I set mine up the same way. One plug charges everything.

    screen-shot-2014-10-22-9.27.18-am.png

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    Oli: what do you do if line gets dropped in middle of the race ? Do you have auto answer ?
    I have some thoughts on that. I think the best solution is to program an auto-dial that not only dials the conference call number, but programs in a slight delay and then automatically dials the bridge number and # key. That will re-connect the call automatically with one push of a redial button that should automatically appear if the call is dropped. That means I will need to put a holder for the phone on my dash and press the button for redial if there is a disconnection.

    I already periodically throw switches and press buttons on the dash now to get data from the Aim Solo DL and my dashboard indicators. Pressing redial in the infrequent occasion of a dropped call won't be a big deal. Every car I drive now has a ProClip and I have all frequently dialed numbers programmed to dial and enter extensions, etc. for my target callee.


    PS. With the radio set-up I need to press push to talk anyway and on occasion we need to change channels while driving. Changing channels on the radio while racing is tough. Between the gloves and the radio in the holder arms length away with the small dials and channel numbers is an exercise in fumbling around while racing.
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    Senior Member fatbillybob's Avatar
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    Is there a simple conference calling ap? Why have to call work and bridge and hook in each caller? Is that the only way to do it or just convenient for you?

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    That's super cool and all but you have an Iphone? I pictured you as an android guy.
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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbillybob View Post
    Is there a simple conference calling ap? Why have to call work and bridge and hook in each caller? Is that the only way to do it or just convenient for you?
    It is quite easy. Each caller just calls into the conference bridge number and then enters the code and the # key and they are in the conference call. I don't know how an app would make it any easier.
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    Senior Member Sampson Racing Radios's Avatar
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    Oli-

    Not sure what happed at the run-offs but I was there with the vendor trailer the entire week and would have been happy to help you out : )


    We have a Bluetooth System which works great. The key is a adjustable gain mic which you can turn up or down to control background noise. A couple issues with a phone (1) dropped call (2) its live all the time

    BUT... You can have your crew guy with noise cancelling crew headset (no radio or wire) in contact with you all the time.

    Crew headset:
    bluetooth hearing protection, racing radios hearing protection bluetooth, wireless intercom, wireless hearing portection

    Bluetooth helmet set-up:
    http://www.sampsonracing.com/product...al-evx-530.htm

    Hope this helps
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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sampson Racing Radios View Post
    Oli-

    Not sure what happed at the run-offs but I was there with the vendor trailer the entire week and would have been happy to help you out : )


    We have a Bluetooth System which works great. The key is a adjustable gain mic which you can turn up or down to control background noise. A couple issues with a phone (1) dropped call (2) its live all the time

    BUT... You can have your crew guy with noise cancelling crew headset (no radio or wire) in contact with you all the time.

    Crew headset:
    bluetooth hearing protection, racing radios hearing protection bluetooth, wireless intercom, wireless hearing portection

    Bluetooth helmet set-up:
    http://www.sampsonracing.com/product...al-evx-530.htm

    Hope this helps

    I agree, it was no fault of yours that I did not get the cable I needed. You know how the race track is.... crowded, spread out and we were all very busy getting the car reconfigured and prepped for qualifying in two different classes each day on top of the regular race prep workload. When it came down to the wire I figured it would be easier to use the cell phones, bridge lines and the mute feature on the phones where applicable. I personally like not messing with the "Push to Talk" button. I figure I can handle the nearly automated redial function on the race car phone. The real issue at that point becomes the headset/microphone set-ups as you point out. Having good noise-cancelling and adjustable gain is essential in the harsh sound environment of a race car. I am a bit dubious on Blue Tooth, but I might give it a try.
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