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#144827 - 04/03/19 07:07 PM Radio Communication While Riding
InsaneDiego Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/06/17
Posts: 37
Loc: San Diego CA
Hello XT Posse-

Had a few great rides recently out in CA's Anza Borrego State Park. I have nearly always brought two-way radios, but kept it turned off and in my pack. I lend another to my riding buddy who kept it similarly. In case of fire break glass I suppose: in case of issue, stop bike, unload pack, find & use radio. Clunky at best, I'd say.

On Monday's ride (this is NO April Fool's joke) I decided to deploy them: turn them on, full volume, and obviously both set to the same channel. Then clipped on to either front pocket/sternum strap on backpack so easily reached and heard while on the trail. These pair of radios have a theoretical range of 20 miles, but it's more like a half mile to a mile on anything but flat, open plateau trails.

Well, lo and behold, 16 miles into the ride my buddy snaps his clutch cable. (He was not on an XT225) He calls me on the radio, and I immediately stop and circle back to him. Obviously I would have waited at the next fork or major intersection, but the radio enabled immediate contact between riders. So now this is mandatory equipment: fully charged, turned on, same channel, full volume, on the left chest within reach.

What do you all use for communications on the trail?

Regards
_________________________
Home Base: 33 N / 117.3 W

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#144830 - 04/03/19 07:48 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
Muniac Offline


Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 01/16/04
Posts: 5663
Loc: Montrose, CO
Jeannie and I have always had two way radio communications. Years ago Baja Designs offered high quality kits of aviation grade parts. You'd install speakers and a mic in the helmet then jack into your two way radio. We used Motorola Mag One UHF multi channel radios. A push to talk (PTT) button is a must on the handlebars as VOX doesn't work given wind and ambient noise.

I consider this a paramount safety feature. It has saved our asses on many occasions. For example, when riding on unknown trails a single rider can go ahead and explore. Then radio back if it's OK to get bikes through.

Cheap gear will break quickly. Trail riding is abusive on cables, strain reliefs, speakers, mics, connectors, buttons and radios. As a reference the Baja stuff was $185/helmet. A good UHF Motorola radio is about $260/ea. You'll get what you pay for. We've had that gear for many years and it's performed well.

Lots of option with coms so select what you're comfortable with. Remember if you need the coms in a critical moment and the stuff is busted, figure what that costs. Be safe riding.
_________________________
Evolve & Simplify
Be There or Be Nowhere! A Few Adventures & Video

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#144837 - 04/04/19 01:55 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
peejman Offline
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Registered: 06/03/13
Posts: 3125
Loc: East TN USA
I've never used radios. We just used the buddy system, in that it was your job to keep the person behind you in sight. If you can't see them, stop and wait a minute. If they still don't appear, go back and find them.

As mentioned, the range on the 2-way radios is really short in the mountains... they're mostly line-of-sight.
_________________________
This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.

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#144839 - 04/04/19 02:14 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
Muniac Offline


Platinum Member
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Registered: 01/16/04
Posts: 5663
Loc: Montrose, CO
I think most trail riders ride as you explain. I do when others join us. As for radios, ours are 2 watts UHF and cover a good distance.


Arizona Strip - 1/30/2012.

Especially when exploring slot canyons and washes. Difficult to maintain a line of site.
_________________________
Evolve & Simplify
Be There or Be Nowhere! A Few Adventures & Video

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#144848 - 04/05/19 10:14 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
Az4x4 Offline
Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 4163
Loc: Heber/Overgaard, AZ

I've ridden and hunted with and without radios. A good GMRS UHF unit with each rider or hunter can avoid worry and frustration, especially if you're out of range of a cell tower and your phone won't work. Mostly though I ride alone. Simply no one locally to ride with. Fortunately our cell coverage here on the mountain is good, so I'm never really out of touch..
_________________________
Lovin' life in Arizona's cool Mogollon Rim Mountain Country!!

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#144889 - 04/10/19 05:59 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
InsaneDiego Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/06/17
Posts: 37
Loc: San Diego CA
Thanks for the feedback, guys.
_________________________
Home Base: 33 N / 117.3 W

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#144908 - 04/12/19 10:22 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
patuca Offline
Bronze Member
*****

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 576
Loc: Cranbrook BC Canada
Mostly I ride alone too, for the same reason, no one to ride with and cell-phones and gps receivers make it safer. But cell-phone coverage in SE BC is very sketchy and GRS/FRS radios are only good for short distances. They work good for a close-by group, but not for a longer range call outside the group because even if the signal gets through, no one is listening.

I have been a licensed amateur radio operator for most of my life. Even in remote BC (and I'm sure in other countries) there are dozens of high-power ham VHF repeaters installed on mountain tops and the coverage is hundreds of miles. They're considered old-style in this computer age, but they have some major advantages.

An example is this mountain near my home, the elevation is about 7000 feet, and our local club repeater is at this location and it can be received in 2 provinces and 3 US States. Also, repeaters can be linked and patched to systems that allow even world-wide communications from a tiny hand-held radio.


This is my daughter and I on a recent trip a few years ago to Mount Baker. The actual radio club repeater is just off-screen to our left and it's a high powered repeater capable of covering a radius of 200 miles or so, and easily accessible from almost any point in the Columbia Valley as well as parts of southern Alberta and the norther tips of Montana, Idaho and Washington.

Even in the most remote and isolated areas a signal can usually be found by gaining some elevation or just moving a few yards. All ham repeaters here have landline auto-patch which means a ham in a remote spot can key up a repeater with a hand-held radio and access a telephone autopatch to make phone calls on the repeater landline system without any help or intervention from anyone else. The advantage of the system is it works without anybody else listening.

It's important here...there are only a few small towns far apart, very few people and on most rides you never see another person. When I say remote, I mean you are truly on your own.

It's a sure fire and dependable method although it's not suited to communications to a riding group unless they are all licensed, but for emergency medium-range communications to the outside world, it can't be beat and just having one licensed ham in the group will add to the security.

My transceiver is about the size of a small cell-phone, always charged and packed in my kit. It rarely gets used unless there is a serious problem.

Here's a shot of my XT500 on the top of Hall Mountain a few years back...about 8000' AMSL. On that day I phoned my wife using the VE7CAP repeater 40 miles away, and then contacted other far away repeaters directly and chatted with hams in Spokane, Alberta, Idaho and Montana..for them, I was considered "DX", (a rare and far away station) and I attracted lots of interest and that was fun.


It's easy to get a basic ham-license in almost any country these days, and it's worth it to have an independent, free and robust radio system, non-profit and with no reliance on commercial digital systems or the internet. I you're a ham, you OWN the system.

You can expand the features including using a system called APRS where your location and movement is transfered to the internet and available to an ordinary browser which is a great resource if you don't show up at home.

It's not only for emergencies...it adds to the fun of climbing a mountain...the higher you go the more range you have and you can chat and make new friends on repeaters hundreds of miles away with a tiny radio and just 2 watts of RF power and a 5 inch antenna.

Like I say, it's old-fashioned tech now, and I use my iphone more than anything, but it's always given me a feeling of security knowing that no-matter where I go on my bike, there is always a more wide ranging option than frs/grs or cell-phones.

patuca (VE7DLU)
_________________________
"this will only take a second..."

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#144910 - 04/13/19 11:30 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
peejman Offline
Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 06/03/13
Posts: 3125
Loc: East TN USA
Cool. Didn't know you were a HAM operator. I've got one of those cheap Yaesu handheld radios that I listen on, but I don't have a license to transmit. I try to remember to bring it when I'm way out in the boonies for the very reasons you mention.
_________________________
This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.

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#144919 - 04/15/19 06:44 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
Muniac Offline


Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 01/16/04
Posts: 5663
Loc: Montrose, CO
Not sure about the law but I think in emergencies you are OK to transmit. We have a couple of HAM radio operators in our area. They listen for emergency call ins. It could save a life, perhaps.

Patuca - Thanks for the comprehensive post. Ride safely.
_________________________
Evolve & Simplify
Be There or Be Nowhere! A Few Adventures & Video

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#144943 - 04/17/19 02:11 PM Re: Radio Communication While Riding [Re: InsaneDiego]
peejman Offline
Platinum Member
*****

Registered: 06/03/13
Posts: 3125
Loc: East TN USA
I'm sure I wouldn't get more than fussed at for transmitting in an emergency. I don't worry about it. I would like to get more into HAM, but's way down the list of hobbies I don't have time or money for.
_________________________
This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.

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