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scalarider

Does anyone use bluetooth communicators?

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Hey guys- I'm the forum moderator at Cardo Systems, a motorcycle bluetooth communications company. We were curious if skydivers have a way to communicate with each other while in the air.

The reason I ask is because our communicators could keep groups of divers connected on a live conversation while in the air. Our modules attach to virtually all motorcycle helmets including 1/2, 3/4, and full-face helmets.

Another benefit I thought of is our 'Hot Dial' or speed dial feature that allows for a pre-programmed phone number (we recommend 911) to be called with just a simple button command. In other words, if things go sour in the air and you find yourself injured on the ground, you can make an emergency call just by tapping a button on your communicator.

They're designed to be usable in all ranges of weather, speed, and terrain that a motorcycle would face. Given that terminal velocity is about 120 mph in a stable, belly-to-earth position, our modules shouldn't have a problem maintaining a connection and transmitting voice communications. They have active wind cancellation and even an AGC feature (auto gain control, or 'speed volume') which cranks up the volume when wind noise is loud and automatically lowers it when speeds are low, such as at a red light (or on the ground after a jump).

We're interested in hearing everyone's comments and suggestions. We're not here to sell anything, so please feel free to share all thoughts and concerns.

-scala rider

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Freefall skydives last 60 seconds max. With wind noise, etc, I don't know of people having luck using Bluetooth for freefall (plus 60 seconds isn't much time to process what someone is saying and change what you are doing).

Under canopy it's quiet and there's much more time for coaching and communication. I haven't used your model in particular (I use Sena radios that we got for free as hand-me downs from sponsored teams) - but using Bluetooth radios is very common there (among canopy pilots, Canopy Relative Work jumpers and competition teams).

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+1 to a skydive specific model that can fit in a dytter mounting plate.

I'd like to be able to use something like that, but I don't like the big bulky packs that typically get mounted to the helmet on most motorcycle communicators.

As a student, I am having the most trouble with landing, and so would like to be able to have communication with an instructor (on the ground) to help guide me in while I sort out my flare timing issues and to help me with my pattern.

Generally my pattern is good, but my flare is always marginally out. Can't seem to get the knack of it so I often slide in or PLF when I would like to be able to land on my feet.

If you could make a device that doesn't have such a big box to stick to the helmet, I would be interested as it would help me with my learning now, but also be useful as I progress through the sport.
_____
SPLAT

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JP_1337

+1 to a skydive specific model that can fit in a dytter mounting plate.

I'd like to be able to use something like that, but I don't like the big bulky packs that typically get mounted to the helmet on most motorcycle communicators.

As a student, I am having the most trouble with landing, and so would like to be able to have communication with an instructor (on the ground) to help guide me in while I sort out my flare timing issues and to help me with my pattern.

Generally my pattern is good, but my flare is always marginally out. Can't seem to get the knack of it so I often slide in or PLF when I would like to be able to land on my feet.

If you could make a device that doesn't have such a big box to stick to the helmet, I would be interested as it would help me with my learning now, but also be useful as I progress through the sport.



A good canopy course will help a lot, and will use video to coach you on landings.

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Iago

Range may be a bit of an issue. For the previously mentioned markets a few hundred feet may be sufficient. If you want to break into the student market possibly 4k feet for a normal jump. If something goes wrong you can have a student at 10k and an instructor on the ground.



Bluetooth would not be feasible for those distances. FCC limits the power of BT transmitters, so don't expect anything to be reliable more than 30 ft or so.

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I assume all of these are broadcasting on FRS frequencies.

I have a Scena 20S and it does work for wingsuiting. The sound from free fall is pretty loud though, you have to shout and one to two word communication is best. The biggest let down is the range, it is touted at over a mile, but in the air is maybe only good out to 300 meters, standing on the road in front of my house with nothing between us, at max 200 meters.

At least for wingsuiting, push to talk with a controller in your left hand and using a regular land based (FRS) radio would work well but would require more wiring up than most people (including me would want to do). The appeal of the motorcycle systems is that it is all in the helmet, but the range sucks.

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I use the Sena SMH-10R for 2 way canopy formation competition and 1 on 1 training.

The unit is small and can be mounted with velcro to the back of the helmet greatly reducing snag potential.

Radios are a good idea for 1 on 1 but could cause confusion if trying to use them with multiple people. And at free fall speeds there just isn't enough time to switch between users.
diamonds are a dawgs best friend

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Anachronist

I assume all of these are broadcasting on FRS frequencies.

I have a Scena 20S and it does work for wingsuiting. The sound from free fall is pretty loud though, you have to shout and one to two word communication is best. The biggest let down is the range, it is touted at over a mile, but in the air is maybe only good out to 300 meters, standing on the road in front of my house with nothing between us, at max 200 meters.

At least for wingsuiting, push to talk with a controller in your left hand and using a regular land based (FRS) radio would work well but would require more wiring up than most people (including me would want to do). The appeal of the motorcycle systems is that it is all in the helmet, but the range sucks.




I bought these a few years ago and have used them both while skydiving and skiing and they have about the range they state. 1200 m or (4000 ft.)

And since they are dirt cheap (compared with sena) I think they are worth the money.
Battery is good too, no problem lasting a full day of skiing in cold weather.
The only downside is that you can only talk to one person at the time.

I have never tried them in freefall, pretty sure it won't work.

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countzero


Radios are a good idea for 1 on 1 but could cause confusion if trying to use them with multiple people. And at free fall speeds there just isn't enough time to switch between users.



Fancier ones use "private" channels, which are just encoded and change frequency really fast, if another radio is out of phase it doesn't even pick it up. Works well for group chat. Have only used that feature in VHF though so not sure how well they function in FRS.

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kawisixer01

To really get rid of wind noise I'd assume you'd have to look into throat mics. They are designed specifically for extremely noisy environments. They are also designed to pic up whispers, so are used in spec ops.



I only ever played with one throat mic and the audio was terrible, very garbled and robotic, you also had to push to talk (good or bad depending). But it was for when a regular mic was impossible (engine room of a ship). If there was one that produced a somewhat natural voice it might be worth considering but again, used with radios so lots of wiring and difficult/impossible to mount in a helmet.

I think the big issue is quality and convenience. If money and wiring up with a radio, a mic, and a push to talk were no issue, you could make a really great setup but it would be a pain to don and doff. It would also be very very pricy. There are also sealed mouth piece mics for using underwater but again, no one is going to want to jump one. At that point you might as well use a pilot oxygen/comms mask.

There are affordable bluetooth systems, but they are severely range limited. The Sena S20 would be adequate with a full face helmet if it had better range.

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We were testing communication devices not for skydiving, but for tunnelcoaching.
Using a standard PMR intercom with PTT was not bad with an earplug (see pic) for the flyer and the coach outside of the tube.
With the coach inside of the chamber right next to the flyers in the tube, however, the noise in the mic was too high.
On the other hand, standing in the visitors area and talking to your "hand" was a little funny ...
I guess a bluetooth device which can be easy switched for the flyers (> Audiblepocket ...?) in addition to a noisecancelling mic for the coach would be a nice benefit in tunnelcoaching for beginners.
For freefall, I guess CReW and Wingsuit will fit more into that as for FS or FF dives...
--------------------------------------------------

With sufficient thrust,
pigs just fly well

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Hi,

We have been using a set of G9s (or G9xs) for XRW and formation swooping for the last 3 years, mostly we have used it with 2ways, but on some bigger stuff we have four units connected. I seem to recall there is the option of getting up to ten people connected but it was just to much of a hassle. We both use G3 cookie helmets because of the microphones and cutting down on the wind noise.

Mostly the work very well and provide us with clear communications in the aircraft, to exit, through the skydive and through our respective landings. We do however have less freefall noise than most people unless we are flying dynamic (much faster airspeed). This speed is a little less than a traditional flat skydive, it is very hard to hear when flying head down.
I also use them on selected students when I am running canopy courses and want to jump / communicate with jumpers. They are absolutely fantastic for clear in air communication and make the skydives so much more fun. I get bored when we don’t use them for XRW

We can communicate from a fairly long distance, the range is very good – I usually take a 7-8 second delay from the aircraft (think the vertical and horizontal separation) and we can still usually hear each other.

The main problems that we have had with them are the following;
• Sometimes it randomly goes to radio mode and instead of talking we are listening to a radio station. This does not tend to happen on the jumps, but in aircraft. It can a real pain when this happens on jump run though.
• The units can be a real bastard to pair – particularly if you are adding in new units or removing others. Sometimes it works straight away other times no luck – even if it feels like you are doing the same thing. We always do this on the ground well before going on the jump – it is incredibly frustrating at times.
• It is a small snag hazard, but far less than most cameras
• It is one more thing that you can lose on openings
• They should not be used by just anyone – think extra distractions, more gear to check

I love using them, but we use them for something very specific – I don’t think that there is much use for regular skydiving. Once they are setup and working, it is gold. Battery life is pretty good as well
"Don't blame malice for what stupidity can explain."

"In our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart and in our despair, against our will comes wisdom" - Aeschylus

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