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Author Topic: Inexpensive in-car radio option
ChrisMH
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Okay, I admit it, I'm too cheap to spend $700 to $1,100 for my wife to yell "green, green, green" so I've looked for a less expensive option. I tried it out this last weekend at the NHIS regional and found that I was able to hear and talk all around the track and, most importantly, my wife's "green, green, green, came through loud and clear even though she was in the infield and I was at the far reaches of the back of the pack.

I purchased a pair of handheld Midland GXT600 GMRS/FRS radios (from Staples) and ordered the optional AVPH@ Motorcycle microphone/headset online. (The GXT 600 is currently priced online at 59.99 while the headset/mic is currently 49.95. The GXT is still available but just discontinued so you might get a good deal at Staples or elsewhere)

Install of the headset in the helmet was simple and the sound is strong and clear in both directions. I keep the radio in a pouch velcroed next to the seat and the push to talk button (which straps around a steering wheel spoke) has a long coiled cord to wind around behind the steering wheel. Nothing got in the way of anything else.

I've not used a genuine race radio so can't compare but this was perfect from my perspective for less than $200 including the FCC license you are supposed to purchase (I did).

John Mueller Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Okay, not the slowest anymore...

Region: SoCal
Car #: 13
Year : 1992
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Chris;
I too have been wanting to piece something like this together...

What is your Crew Chief/Wife using to hear you over the radio? Is there a specific headset that seems to works best with this set-up?

--------------------
Thanks,
John Mueller
NASA SM National Director
http://www.Weekend-Racer.com
#13 "Tiger Miata" - 2009 SoCal SSM Champion

ChrisMH
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Saw your PM and answered there - but for others. My wife is far enough away from traffic she does not need headset but I have a Racing Electronics headset (79.95) that works just fine with the Midland Radios.

Casey Z Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I have a similar setup that works very well. I bought the GMRS radios at walmart and then purchased the PTT, boom mike and ear buds off ebay. For the crew I recycled a set of flightcomm headsets from my flying days. Total cost less than $150 and it works fine.

There was a bit of soldering involved as connectors are a pain to source but overall very effective and inexpensive.

Having a spotter is very helpful in alot of ways. Green, green, green is good, but laptimes, talking about what the cars is doing and generally having someone to talk me down when I get mad is a good thing.

It amazes me that I often pull into the paddock and my crew chief wants more info on what the car was doing in T2 of lap three and I have no idea what he is talking about. Luckily with the radios he heard me tell him I had a big push but two laps later thought the car was perfect. Really helps to tune the car.

It is also good for asking him to come down to the hot pits and pull the fender off the tire every now and then...

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Z Brothers Racing / East Street Auto

Casey Z - 1.6 Kettle
MidDiv National #13

ChrisMH
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Casey,

I think I had seen another posting by you previously on this subject which may have been what got me to thinking about using the GRM radios. I was a little put off by the idea of having to solder connections so that's why I like the Midland radios - everything works with the standard connections.

Unfortunately (maybe fortunately?) for me, my crew chief is my wife and she knows even less about setting up the car than I do - I think asking her to come to the pit to pull out a fender might be pushing it a little though.

SWDouglass Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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John,
I am setting up the same midland system (Including the Motorcyle kit) for my car. A friend in a Pro7 tried it and said that his car was too loud and he couldn't hear. My solution is a pair of Ipod ear buds and "podfitkit.com" ($10)reusable Putty type stuff that will better secure the buds in my ear as well as help block out any outside noise. As close to custom fit earplugs for less than $20.00.

You can get the radios and motorcycle kit and extra earbuds at Fry's for cheap (I don't remember).

Sean

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31st in the nation. If I could keep the car on the track and put on the oil cap I could be in the top 20.

Dr.Dan Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
V8, nice! And good for you too!

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Does anyone know where you can buy the earpiece, like in the foam earbuds, only? I want to make my own custom ones. Looked everywhere. Just want the part that goes in the foam ear bud..D

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Daniel Mairani DDS...still here, just faster.
http://www.DanielMairanidds.com

Casey Z Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I just had another idea today for ear buds. I just bought a set of these today while traveling:

http://www.shure.com/PersonalAudio/Products/Earphones/SEModels/index.htm

I got the SE210's, not cheap but very effective at blocking sound and the audio quality is awesome from MP3. While flying home I thought they may work as a replacememnt for my foam ear buds I use in my helmet. I tried them with my helmet tonight and they seem to work just fine. There is also a $99 version that isn't listed on the Shure site.

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Z Brothers Racing / East Street Auto

Casey Z - 1.6 Kettle
MidDiv National #13

jwarren Verified Driver
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i purchased an inexpensive motorcycle radio kit for my setup last year, and lets just say it didn't go too well. the mic was far too sensetive, and it didn't allow anyone to hear what i (the driver) was saying. However, i could hear people in the pits talking to me loud and clear. So... If you're only really looking for a GREEN GREEN GREEN at the start of the race, then it might do the trick.

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Ridgespeed Racing

#51 J. Andrew Warren

http://www.ridgespeedracing.com

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Hey Casey,

I was thinking the same thing as you and bought these today at Fry's ($49.99). I'm going to try them this weekend. The picture on the website doesn't really show it, buy they have the same design as the Shure's you referenced.

Ed

Dr.Dan Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
V8, nice! And good for you too!

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Andrew, the motorcycle one I had worked great on the bike. It's pretty loud. Used it to talk to the passenger. The prob is the mic is voice activated, so it may not work. Ed those look good. We'll see. thanks guys!!!!!BTW I love that avatar

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Daniel Mairani DDS...still here, just faster.
http://www.DanielMairanidds.com

John Mueller Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Okay, not the slowest anymore...

Region: SoCal
Car #: 13
Year : 1992
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Guys;
I bought the Midland w/ the motorcycle helmet PTT kit yesterday from Fry's ($110)... I'll post my findings next week aft Willowsprings this weekend.

--------------------
Thanks,
John Mueller
NASA SM National Director
http://www.Weekend-Racer.com
#13 "Tiger Miata" - 2009 SoCal SSM Champion

Jonlee
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Just wondering if any of you that have tried the Motorcycle PTT or voice activated had any kind of info from the crew chief. Like what could they hear when you were talking? Would it be the Midland AVP-H2 Motorcycle headset for full face helmets that is the preferred set-up?
I like the idea of inexpensive and I wanted to order the helmet mike that some one on the other end can actually hear me talking!

Thanks for putting this inexpensive option out there!
-Jon

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Utah Region SCCA, R.E.
Drinking team with a Racing problem

John Mueller Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Okay, not the slowest anymore...

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Year : 1992
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Yeah, that exactly the PPT I use, it works perfectly. [thumbsup]

--------------------
Thanks,
John Mueller
NASA SM National Director
http://www.Weekend-Racer.com
#13 "Tiger Miata" - 2009 SoCal SSM Champion

Jonlee
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Thanks for the reply. Amazon has it on sale for $30.99 and free shipping. Also the pair of Midland GMRS radios at $48.99, also free shipping. I'll put in my order soon!

--------------------
Utah Region SCCA, R.E.
Drinking team with a Racing problem

John Mueller Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
Okay, not the slowest anymore...

Region: SoCal
Car #: 13
Year : 1992
Posts: 847
Status: Offline
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I actually never posted my findings/learning’s with this alternative to the costly radio set-up:

Right out of the box this was an ideal purchase for us... We can use the radios in my SM (with a PPT) AND use them at Disneyland when I loose the family.

For racing I zip-tie mounted an old camera belt-holster/bag to the rollcage just behind my left shoulder for easy open-window access for my crew to plug everything in.

I ran the PPT cables under the padding on the top NASCAR bar and mounted the PPT Switch on the starring wheel. This distance was slightly too long for the PPT wires putting a strain on the plug ends, enough that after a week one of the cables pulled out of the plug. So, I moved the PPT Switch to the rollcage downtube within 2” of my hand on the steering wheel. So, be aware that stretching the cables may not be a good thing (I added some silicon caulk and a mini zip-tie to the plug ends to satisfy my over build everything tendencies).

The PPT kit comes with everything you need for mounting the boom mic and speakers inside your helmet, again I added some silicone calk to help keep everything attached in the SoCal summer heat. When in a tight pack the speakers could stand to be slightly louder, but I am 90% deaf in my left ear so it might be okay for those with good hearing (I might try earbuds in 2008).

We did spend a few bucks to get my crew chief a proper headset so he can hear what I have to say… Nevertheless even with the headset the whole set-up cost around $200 and works well enough for my newbie butt. [thumbsup] If you have any questions or want photos please feel free to ask.

--------------------
Thanks,
John Mueller
NASA SM National Director
http://www.Weekend-Racer.com
#13 "Tiger Miata" - 2009 SoCal SSM Champion

Black Sweeper Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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If all you want is the Green, Green, Green I used my cell phone for a year. Put ear plugs on my cell phone, wear the ear plug under the helmet. While on the grid call my wife then secure the phone. She gives me the green and then hangs up. It works. The workers love seeing the cell phone in a race car. Last year I bought real radios.

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CFR/SeDIV SM # 8

   

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