Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

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Sutho
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:55 pm
Location: Castle Hill, Sydney

Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by Sutho » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:31 pm

Hi all,

I thought I might share a communication setup that I have arrived at that some of you might be interested in. I have only recently acquired a bike again after many years without one. In 2010 and 2011 I hired a bike to do a 1 week trip around the High Country with some mates. First year was a KLR and the second was the 660 Tenere.
Some mates on the trip had a basic CB radio setup with a radio mounted on a RAM mount on the bars, and wiring to a harness which connected to a wire coming from the helmet with ear pieces embedded and a cheap mike in the mouth for one of the guys, and a throat mic for the other guy (a strap which goes around your neck with a mic inside it which picks up the vibration). The advantage of the throat mic is that you don’t get any wind noise, but the advantage of the mic in the mouth of the helmet is that you don’t have to put a strap around your neck every time you head off.

Anyway, the virtues of having radio communication are pretty obvious, particularly to me on those trips as I didn’t have any comms setup and felt deaf because I didn’t know what was happening with the next intersection coming up, etc. I should also mention that my ol’ man was in a support Landcruiser, also on the radio and relaying live directions from his laptop with GPS setup. The cb radio is also excellent for the front guy warning others behind of hazards and logging trucks etc. Also, the radio was useful in communicating to other vehicles (4wds) on the track and getting them to move over!

However, notwithstanding the virtues of the radios, the constant plugging and un-plugging of the wiring connection between bike and rider/helmet was proving very tedious after a while for the guys (and painful if forgotten about when walking away from the bike), as well as the wiring connections for both guys eventually failing due to constant use.

We set about trying to find a wireless setup which could be used to eliminate the wires and came across a couple of products produced by Sena which are excellent (I am only a customer and have no association with SENA). http://www.senabluetooth.com/

The first is the Sena SMH10 which is a bluetooth headset. This kind of product has been around for a while and a lot of road riders use them to communicate to one another, which is made possible thanks to the 900m Bluetooth range. The headset uses a boom mic in the helmet which I initially thought wouldn’t work in the motocross helmet with it’s open style due to wind noise. However, I am pleased to report that the wind cancelling technology in the unit is extremely impressive and wind noise cannot be heard by the receiver even up to around 100kmh. These units have 2 two channels so that they can be paired to both your mobile phone and another unit/rider. The unit has a button which can be pressed whilst on the go, which will dial the most recently dialled phone number. So you can phone your partner whilst on the road to tell her you’re running late coming home!

As good as the SENA SMH10 is, it’s not much use in the bush with its limited range and where you want to also communicate with a cb radio. It’s true potential really comes out when bluetooth paired with another SENA unit called the SENA SR10. This is a Bluetooth adapater unit which is mounted on the bike's handlebars and plugged into your CB radio also on your bike, and also with a PTT button which you strap on your bars to use with your thumb/forefinger. The SR10 will then transmit all signals to and from your radio wirelessly to the SMH10 into your helmet, for a complete wireless setup. Finally, the SR10 also has 2 channels so you can pair your mobile phone with it and can take a phone call and cb radio communications simultaneously in your helmet.

The SENA units are around $220 each depending on who you buy them from and well worth the money in my opinion for the breadth of communications options they provide to you, wirelessly. A lot of products promise but don’t deliver, but so far I’m very pleased with the performance and user friendliness of these products.
Finally, I bought mine from Mckay Associates who supplied the correct lead to match my 2 watt uniden radio so I could plug it into the SR10. Iain, who owns the business, was very good to deal with. http://www.mckayassociates.com.au/ (again, no relationship, just recommending a good company)

So hopefully this review has given some food for thought for those investigating a very tidy comms setup, which no longer involves plugging-in and unplugging everytime you get off the bike, and also allows mobile phone comms as well as cb radio.

If you have any questions, just ask and I'll do my best to answer them.

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Uncle Dave
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Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:51 pm
Location: Blue Mountains NSW

Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by Uncle Dave » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:22 pm

Hi mate, 1coolbanana and I have been using the SENA stuff for ages and generally have them working well. We upgraded to the latest units with the firmware updates and have been using the UHF with them successfully.

They are a great unit but there are still some compatibility issues with phones. :doh:
2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré
1989 Yamaha XTZ 850 Super Ténéré
1988 Yamaha XT600ZU Ténéré
1983 Honda XR 500
1978 Yamaha TY 175b

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1coolbanana
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:14 pm
Location: NW Sydney

Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by 1coolbanana » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:23 pm

Have to agree with what you say here mate.
Been using similar for a couple years now, the only main difference is that we have an extension 3db antenna connected to 5W Icoms which makes all the difference and getting a few k's range in the bush.
Without the antenna the range is still quite limited.
Overall the Sena gear in combo with UHF works a treat.
We have the whole setup hidden away and everything out of the wind, dust, rain etc and only have the PTT button on the bars and the antenna out back :D

Great for listening to the truck chatter on the long hauls and also great for the iPod.
The whole setup even has heaps of volume with earplugs.

Phones are frustrating at times :ne_nau:
Cowabunga dudes .......

Whitey
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Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by Whitey » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:35 pm

If you need to get my attention on a ride, come alongside and give me a slap in the back of the helmet, then point and/or make profuse gestures. :lol:
Graham
'08 KLR650

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Sutho
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Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:55 pm
Location: Castle Hill, Sydney

Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by Sutho » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:04 pm

Whitey I'm not surprised to hear your comment, I reckon there are a lot of blokes out there who see comms as a bit soft etc. Each to their own, but I love the gadgets and tech stuff when it works well, and found comms make a big difference on the longer trips. When they're not working well they are bloody annoying!

Hey Uncle and 1cool, I had noticed your antennas in some of the RR's and wondered what kind of setup you were running. I'm assuming you guys have all the gear in a top box or something? The PTT cable isn't too long, so how have you avoided having your kit bar mounted? Also, how do you use the scan functions etc on the radio if it's not front and centre? I would have very much liked a 5 watt icom, but on top of the cost of the Sena's the cost was starting to add up, so thought the 2 watt should suffice.

I figured I would put up a post about the gear because when I was trying to research about them, I couldn't find much in the way of reviews online.

Do you guys bother pairing your headsets to each other, or just rely on the radios?

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DustyWheels
Posts: 437
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 4:02 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by DustyWheels » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:16 pm

another vote for the Sena Gear, used a Sena bluetooth headset and Bluetooth Two way radio adapter on the Bingara Trip :thumb:
I might ride like crap, but I'm having fun, I think

2010 KTM 690 Enduro
2012 KTM 990 -

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1coolbanana
Posts: 1843
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:14 pm
Location: NW Sydney

Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by 1coolbanana » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:39 pm

Headsets are paired, when they drop out of range just push the PTT button to use the radios.
When back in range the bluetooth automatically re-connects.

In the KTM it lives in the glove box between the tanks

Image

And the PTT button lives here

Image

On the GS

It lives in a tiny little tank bag

Image

Image

Antennas are similar setups on both

Just made some mounts up for different options

Without box
Image

With box
Image

KTM is just a straight mount off the rack

Image

Bet your sorry you asked now .............. :lol:
Cowabunga dudes .......

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Sutho
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Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:55 pm
Location: Castle Hill, Sydney

Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by Sutho » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:32 am

Not sorry I asked at all! It's always good to see other set ups.

Still not sure how you change channels whilst riding? Also, how do you go using the PTT on your throttle side?

Here's my arrangement:

Image

Image

And my PTT button behind the clutch lever:

Image
Last edited by Sutho on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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1coolbanana
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:14 pm
Location: NW Sydney

Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by 1coolbanana » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:18 pm

Actually, I dont really bother trying to change channels while riding,
Either its on scan, 40 or whatever channel we are using at the time.
If I want to mess about with it, Ill pull over.

Right side PTT works really well standing or sitting with the thumb.

On the GS is on the left on top of the clutch lever assembly, works ok but not as good standing.
I will be experimenting a bit more with the button location on the GS.
Maybe make a little bracket so I can mount it where I want it.
Cowabunga dudes .......

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DustyWheels
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Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: Bluetooth/Radio Communication Setup

Post by DustyWheels » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:21 am

toecutta wrote:hey folks.. question about the bluetooth dongle

is there much of a delay between keying the PTT button and actually transmitting?
once the PTT button is released how long is it before the headset drops back into receive mode?

thanks in advance

jb

with Sena Bluetooth adapter there's next to no noticable delay when using the PTT button.
the time that it stays "open" or on channell is adjustable via the software.
I might ride like crap, but I'm having fun, I think

2010 KTM 690 Enduro
2012 KTM 990 -

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