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Thread: Communication systems???

  1. #1
    104879
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    Communication systems???

    I would like to purchase a good, reliable bike to bike comumication system. I am looking at the Chatterbox set up but it seems to get mixed reviews ranging from great to junk. Any opinions or advice from MOA members would be deeply appreciated.

  2. #2
    I have the Chatterbox GMRS-X1 and I have good success with it, and it works well bike to bike or as intercom too. My only real gripes are surrounding the charging of the battery. Even with the unit plugged into a hard wire setup on the bike it can still run the batteries down rather than running on the bike power...very annoying. Another gripe is that you can only charge the batteries in the radio and so you cannot have a remote charger while switching to spare batteries and continue using the radio. Lastly it would be nice for a manual that was detailed enough to teach faster, the many functions on the radio, thank goodness for aftermarket sites that provide more info than HJC do for their product.

    Other than that, the positves are the varied locations for mounting, the simplicity of attachment and basic usages and interfacing with external devices. The range of attachments are good for both open face and full face, price is better than Autocom and my buddies with Autocom don't seem to have too much to brag about versus their old Chatterbox units, the range is really about 5 miles except for going around mountains, some of the channels are reported to interface with Autocom channels (need to find those channel numbers), easy to switch channels or flip volume, if you get it wet it still works great after it dries out. Also John Brown ( a fine member of this forum of the MixIt fame) makes adapters that convert the PC plug on the back to interface with common jacks to listen to MP3 etc without the need for microphone (riding solo unless you like to play fighter pilots and listen to your own radio chatter in your helmet...lol).

    When I bought the ones for my wife and I, Autocom were not on the market and so the choice was easier. When Autocom came out I looked into them and could not find enough difference to justify the investment to duplicate what I already had with few additional benefits and so I stuck with the Chatterboxes and overall I have no regrets or disappointments other than the charging issue. If I had to do over again and equip myself from scratch I would still possibly select the Chatterbox for the portability features as we take them whenever we travel and rent bikes in other places and so do not need to wire up a bike just to use them, simply clip to the helmets or belt/handlebars and away.

    Good luck and hope it helped a little at least.

  3. #3
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
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    A lot of us use Autocom for it's many uses and it's truly is a great system with excellent service and company support. Mine is set up for bike to bike communication and it's fantastic. Autocom recommends Kenwood brand for communications and I'm very happy with their TK3131 which uses GMRS frequencies. When you talk to a fellow rider, you simply talk since it's voice activated. You can also mount an Autocom push to talk button as an option. Best scenario is for both riders to have full face helmets.

    The majority of riders haven't experienced the ability to verbally communicate with a fellow rider, but it's great on a day ride or long trip together. What's really cool is when you're like a half a mile apart and you still hear your friend super clear while you're rolling at 70+mph.

    You don't necessarily hold long conversations when you have it. It's more like "How many bars of fuel are you showing"? and your friend might say "Two bars" You might say "Let's stop at such and such town in forty miles" . . "Roger that" .

    I can warn my friend when I'm picking up radar or spot animals on the road or I can ask if he wants to stop in the town for lunch all without lifting a finger.

    Autocom isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for.

  4. #4
    104879
    Guest

    Thanks for advice on communication systems

    Thanks to those that provided advice on communication systemes. It is much appreciated!

  5. #5
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    I tried my brother's chatterbox before I got the Autocomm. I like the Autocomm much better
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  6. #6
    On the Road xsPain's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    Milwaukee, WI; Bay View area
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    +1 on autocom, and I don't use the Kenwood but a motorola FRS radio. It took some tweaking to get right (the sensitivity of the mic and wind noise), but once it was dialed in has been great for almost 2 years.

    Also good for rider to passenger, music and any other audio farkle you might be wanting.

  7. #7
    Rally Rat
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    We have Chatterbox. It works but isn't perfect. I've never tried Autocom on the road, so can't compare. The Chatterbox GMRS-X1 has better range, but from what we've seen, if you are over a knoll or around a tree lined corner, the range isn't near what they advertise. All in all it's better than nothing, but I'd like to try Autocom. Trouble is I already bought this, so chances of my SO approving another system are slim to none.

    john1691
    2000 K1200RS

  8. #8
    Loading the Bike trander's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
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    Pueblo, Colorado
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    My wife and I use Collett intercoms. The thing with Autocom is we have 6 bikes between us so we can't use an intercom dedicated to one bike. We don't use tank bags so that won't work. We have older model Colletts which work much better than their latest model.

  9. #9
    bored, bored ... dlowry's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    Snow Country, ON, Canada
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    +2 for the Autocomm units. We have one on my R12RT and one on my wifes Honda Shadow. I have to get her a new one for the R12CL cuz our daughter's taking over the Shadow.

    We've had two issues to date. The microphone on my wife's system is questionable but I am not sure if it because of her jet helmet or if I nicked something installing it. The second issue is self inflicted, I managed to run one of the cables to the XM radio where it got pinched by the steering stops.

    Get the ground-loop isolation cables. This ensures very little (if any) engine noise. I tried without with the XM radio, and then with - BIG difference.

    The audio quality of the microphone is excellent. The first time I took a call on my cell phone, when I told the caller where I was he wasn't ready to believe me until I showed him the set up.

    Cheers!

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