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Racing Radios and Question?

Q: What is the difference between Digital and Analog Racing Radios?

A. Simply put, the coverage is MUCH better with Digital. There is no static so a team conversation is perfect all the time. With Analog you might get static as the range comes into play due to distance and/or terrain. For the most part when static occurs your communications will be poor at best. Digital at that point is still perfect. As a racer I am still blown away at how good digital is but with that being said I still run analog radios in our team car and they work great!

Q. What is the difference between UHF & VHF Racing Radios?

A. The UHF wave length works in and around objects such as trees, hills, buildings, etc. VHF works best in line of sight so it's used in aviation, marine and off road environments. For road racing, UHF has a better ability to travel through things, i.e. metal, concrete, trees, etc., it is also less susceptible to interference. VHF is more used in Off Road and Off Shore racing.

Q. What is the wattage rating on a radio?

A. The standard rule is that you should get (1) mile per watt. So a 5watt handheld radio installed correctly will give you coverage on circle and road racing tracks (depending on terrain as stated above). Higher wattage is more helpful on longer race tracks, tracks that have a lot of obstructions, building, trees etc. Also when there are many other people around you using radios, i.e. a very crowded Pit Lane.

Q. What are privacy codes (DCS & CTCSS)?

A. They are a set of selectable unique tones that the assigned channel/frequency put out that allows only the radios programmed with that specific code to be able to hear or transmit among themselves. Example: ch freq = 455.0000, ctcss = 126.4; only radios with this configuration can talk & hear each other, someone using freq 455.0000 cannot hear them or cannot be heard by the first party.

Q. Should I use privacy codes?

A. For Road/Circle track Racing, Yes! The only time you will not use it is when using Off Road Racing Radios. For the most part they just run open Freq. with no sub tones.

Car Install Questions?

Q. How should I mount the radio in a car and run the cabling?

A. The Radio should be mounted in such a way that any shock or vibration is minimized, and that it is protected from weather elements. If you are using the rubber antenna that comes with the radio, then location is also important to optimize the performance. Mount the radio as high as possible in the car, but not right up against the roll bar or the roof panel, as that will act as a shield to the antenna. Usually the roll bar behind the driver’s seat is a good location. The cabling should be routed where it won't get caught or pinched and as far away from other electrical sources as possible. Any metal shielded connectors should not come in contact with any metal framework on the vehicle; a piece of electrical tape works well here.

Q. How to mount PTT?

A. When coil cords are involved, such as on a PTT, enough slack should be allowed to turn the steering wheel from lock to lock without over stretching the cord. The cord must be mounted to the wheel so that it pulls on the cord and not the button. A small hole drilled close to the hub with a zip-tie holding the cord just before the coil section works best. There also needs to be enough slack on those vehicles that have removable steering wheels. Lastly, route it where it won't get pinched while turning the wheel.

Q. What is the difference between IMSA and NASCAR style cabling?

A. The basic difference between the two is, IMSA is a (4) wire connection and NASCAR is a (3) wire; where the grounds for Mic and Speaker are separated for IMSA and are tied together for NASCAR. IMSA can be used in intercom systems to offer complete duplex communication between driver and co-driver. Some radios such as Motorola, Vertex Digital, Kenwoods and Baofeng radios require the IMSA style. Most systems we have sold over the last 20 years have been the IMSA style. The only other time this cabling becomes important, is if you have multiple drivers; what type of connections do the have on their helmets. Adaptor cords are available to convert a IMSA helmet to NASCAR drivers helmet ONLY!

Q. What is the difference between IMSA and Off Road Connections, they look the same?

A. The only difference is the way they are wired at the connector. We can build jumpers that can offer the ability to run an IMSA helmet kit to work with an Off Road system or the other way.

Q. For Racing Do I Need An External Roof Mount Antenna?

A. There are (2) different types of systems. If you have a tin top car you need the standard coax which uses the roof as the ground. If you have a fiberglass or carbon fiber car you will need to use a ground plate under the antenna, so make sure to order the Deep Mount system with ground plate. General rule of thumb for any radio is, the higher the antenna position, the longer the distance that can be covered. That being said, unless done properly it may not be better than the existing Antenna on the Radio. For tin top cars, the top of roof is a great location. Open cockpit cars can sometimes get away with the antenna on the radio as long as the Radio is positioned high enough with the Antenna pointing up.

Q. What should I do if I have Extra Coax?

A. NEVER NEVER NEVER take the extra coax and wrap it up with a zip-tie (Antenna Loop)! Run it around in the car and away from power sources.

Q. Our team radios work perfect in the pits but not when the car is on the track?

A. 1.See above (antenna loop is the #1 issue we see). Next, make sure the ground is good and you are running the correct antenna setup (tin top vs. fiberglass and UHF vs. VHF).

2. Check the mic location in helmet kit and crew headset (see Helmet Install). Again, we see this over and over... The mic must be touching your lips!

3. Check to see if the antenna coax is broken (Omen Meter) from the Gold tip at the BNC in the car to the roof top removal connection.

Ear Buds and Helmet Install Questions?

Q. Is it difficult to mount the microphone helmet kit in the helmet?

A. 1. Our Helmet kits come with all necessary mounting hardware as well as step by step instructions. This usually take about 10min to install. You will need a Drill with 1/8" diameter bit, a Pop Rivet Gun and removal of some of the foam padding from inside. If you work on a race car, you can handle this task.

2. All microphones must be mounted or flexed up to your mouth. If you own a helmet with the mic behind the padding move it, your incar communication will be much better.

Q. What is a noise cancelling Mic?

A. This is a special Microphone that is used in high noise environments, it allows only the intended sound to be picked up, for this reason, these microphones need to be very close to your mouth (almost touching your lips). Many times people will complain that they have their volume on the radios turned all the way up and they can't hear. This is usually due to the crew person wearing the headset and not having the mic close enough. From 0"-.1/2" make a big difference. This is also why the Mic in the Helmet is on a flexible boom.

Q. What are "Custom Earmolds"?

A. The typical Pro/HD Style Earbud come with a foam earpiece on them. For some, this works just fine, for others, they have difficulty keeping them in the ear. Our Custom Earmold Kit, is a DYI Kit that makes an exact impression of your ear and replaces the foam piece. They serve a number of purposes, from staying put in your ear, offers greater noise blockage and they help to strain relief the delicate wires on the Earbud transducer.

Q. What about using helmet speakers vs earbuds?

A. This is an opinion item; Earbuds will block more noise, thus allowing you to hear the communication, better for louder cars, while some don't like to have objects in their ears. Earbuds are typically more costly and also more delicate. Speakers mounted correctly in quitter cars will work very well. The best system for speakers is newer helmets with ear cups built right into the helmets. Stilo Helmets are a good example.

Q. Why are those earbuds so costly?

A. 1. The small foam tips that fit into your ear canal are built from Hearing Aid Transducers (Knolls) are very small and very expensive, but they offer the best quality you can buy for auto racing. They are the same units that are used in custom ear molds as well.

Crew Headset Questions?

Q. What is the difference between the Behind the Head (BTH) headsets vs the Over the Head (OVH) headsets?

A. OTH have only one strap or band that goes over the top of the head, BTH style Headsets have (2) bands, one over the top Velcro strap and metal bar behind. OTH units tend to be less weight and the SRC Pro F-1 unit is fantastic for endurance racing or long hours of use.

Q. Difference between Flex Boom and Wire Boom?

A. Over the years we have changed out all of our headset wire booms to the Full Flex Boom Pivot Styles. We have noticed that the wire booms tend to loosen up and lose parts over time where as the flex booms have less working parts to break or get lost.

Q. Do I need a remote antenna for my crew?

A. This is a situational call. If you take any of these 5 watt radios in an open field (no obstructions) they will be able to transmit up to 4-5 miles away. Now this is far greater than any straight point to point distance at any race track, so why does "drop out" occur? Any time there is an obstruction to the antenna, power transmission will be reduced, i.e. your body, buildings, trees, earth, other Radios, etc. So it really depends on the performance you are seeing at the types of track you run... flat, least obstructions better than hilly, treed tracks, i.e. Sebring or Daytona, vs. Watkins Glen, Road America or Laguna. The other item as mentioned previously, the higher the Antenna the better. We offer a very simple 2.5 dB gain antenna that fits right on your crew handheld or a Pit Box antenna system. If you are having drop out issues at the far end of our track this will really do the trick!

Q. What is the Scanner Jack and how do I use it?

A. This is a 3.5mm mono jack on the ear cup of the Headset, usually opposite the coil cord connection. It allows you to plug any other audio device into the headset and the person wearing it can now hear two audio streams at once. This could be music, monitoring other teams, corner workers, track officials.