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WGI Enduro 10/16 - planning thread
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wdb  



Joined: 02 Nov 2002
Posts: 2024

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lets see , whats needed ,assuming you pay new retail for everything : each car/pit crew needs , radio $30-$50 headset $50 antenna and cable $30-$50 ,power wire/current reducer to avoid battery failure/having to change batteries at pit . optional $25 . so thats about $175-$200 per team + 1 setup if theres is an overseer/pitboss so thats that right at $500 new/retail . I believe the lower priced radios and headsets will work fine as long as you have larger better placed antennas . cheaper or used radios $20 antenna/cable $20 headsets $20 for 2 teams +1 = $150 . so thats 60 for the team thats gets 2 setups and 90 for the team that gets the pitbosses setup along with thier own ,afer the race

oh and 1 swr meter $20

oh and since I'm not a racer , I dont know what communications you may want to keep sonfidential , so maybe a few codes and a cheat sheets taped to the radios might be useful , like I need to go 10/100 sounds better than I need to use the crapper for some ideas ref. see link .

http://www.roity.com/rc/cbradio/cbcodes.html
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wdb  



Joined: 02 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

um I thought that a radio with VOX ( voice activation )you dont need the ptt button . but then I realized the the engine/exhaust noise from your/all cars will activate the vox and not shut off , so driver will never hear anybody trying to talk to him . so that means you need the ptt switch/button , right ? any thoughts
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wdb  



Joined: 02 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

since I'm not familiar with these radios , are there details that need to be worked out , like are different brands capatible with each other or will the crew chief need 2 setups to talk to both teams , if capatable , will both teams have to be on different frequencies to avoid confusion/interference with each other , and will that also be a problem talking to crew chief . maybe he can stay on a 3rd channel and teams change channel if they need to talk with him . the radios will need the 3-4 watt trans power , some of them only have .5 watt TP and that might not do .they'll need external jacks for headset , the charging jack might be a bad choice , you'll have to buy THIER bat paks and charger $$ , triple aaa bateries prefered ,might be a cig plug/transformer available that can be wired to the bat terminals dont need to replace batteries . an 8 foot whip antenna would work best for the cars roof , but they are called whip antennas for a reason ,under hard cornering/breaking they will sway ALOT , that might be distracting to other drivers and or get the attention of the officials ,getting black flaged after all this time and effort would be bad . might be wise to try and make do with a 4 foot antenna . these radios may not have replacable antennas ,so a coax cable connector might need to be attached to the back of the radios and wired into the antenna wires .these radios are almost useless without a larger antenna outside the car , so if for any reason this cant be done , these radios are a wash . 924RCER if you still have those old frs radios , it would probably save time and effort if you could get at least 1 ,$10 , 4 foot antenna and see if it makes a difference .before several hundred dollars are spent/ wasted .radio shack should have a few cheap antennas .if your car with a 4 foot antenna can transmit a given distance to the other radio that has the stock antenna , but the radio with the stock antenna cant transmit the same distance back to you ,you know the bigger antenna works as planned ,or do I have that backwards ? what else , anyone .

working out the details , thats the price ya have to pay when you cant pay the price of a pro race comm system .

the MIDLAND GXT300 look like they'll do the trick ,some want $16 for the radio and $27 for shipping , others want $27 for radio and $16 for ship . either way they are $45 a pair .

http://search.ebay.com/MIDLAND-GXT300_W0QQsokeywordredirectZ1QQfromZR8

heres a set $10 for the radios $15 for ship $25 total , not bad .
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=50625&item=5718114274&rd=1
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924RACR  



Joined: 29 Jul 2001
Posts: 8384
Location: Royal Oak, MI, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree completely about the antenna inside the car - that's why I wish a remote antenna. Unfortunately, these FRS radios are made with rubber-duck antennae, but without the provision to mount an external antenna, so that'll have to be hacked in.

A setup like Sampson has is still the best option, of course...
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924RACR  



Joined: 29 Jul 2001
Posts: 8384
Location: Royal Oak, MI, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Latest update on radios. I've talked to Sampson Racing Comm, and they confirmed that their foam earbud setup will work with the FRS radios, PTT, etc. I'm working on nailing down the details of what'll be necessary.

The other issue was using an external antenna. Shawn (Sampson) didn't have anything to help out in that respect. But we took apart one of my radios this AM - should be a piece of cake to modify it to use an external mag-mount antenna.

As suggested, we'll set it up once all the pieces come in and first try it out in my street car. We may even be able to compare the stock antenna vs. the mag-mount. We should be able to give a go-ahead at that point (for you guys to order your stuff), and then have our final dry run at Waterford the weekend before.
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ryoji  



Joined: 10 Oct 2003
Posts: 168
Location: NNJ

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. FRS radio uses .5w and good for a half mile area. GMRS depends on Watt power, antenna and line of site. GMRS may be good for several miles. All FRS and Most comb. FRS/GMRS unit has fixed antenna. GMRS unit has a removable antenna; however, as you know you're supposed to pay $70 for a 5 year license. I'm getting GMRS units, anyway, so we can use it as a scanner unit in the car if you do not have a license.

2. Rather my question is the ear buds - isolation earphone. This stuff is expensive. Actually the racing one is $80 and nice music/medical ones are over $150 and some goes to $300. How bad is "form small speakers" usually used by intercom for motorcycle headset or by Drivers Education. At DE, I did not have much problem using it. (I may be able to get this setup with mic at +/- $28 per helmet. One of my friends can make a connector on it for earphone, too. Then, you can use ear buds, if you want.) Or Can I use $10 ear plug (koss etc.) earphone, which also claims kind of isolation earphone, too.

So, what is your idea of earphone?
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ryoji  



Joined: 10 Oct 2003
Posts: 168
Location: NNJ

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read some of industrial ear muff or plugs are 20db of protection.

Can the following link one works?

http://www.fixup.net/tips/earbud/30db_sealed_earphone.htm
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924RACR  



Joined: 29 Jul 2001
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Location: Royal Oak, MI, USA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correct, they're 0.5W, minimal range. I don't expect that anything short of a proper UHF radio would give us any greater range through the course, due to elevation changes, etc. My first and most important goal is just to get 2-way communications ability on the front straight, while in sight. We could also add more radios and spotters at other locations around the course, if there are enough crew and access to the track - but it's not so important to me. Adding the external antenna to the FRS unit is expected to be easy, and to ensure the 0.5-2mi range. Right now, having the attached antenna inside the car pretty much kills range in my experience. But we'll test that.

Agreed on the licenses - another expense I don't plan on dealing with unless I go for the full UHF setup, for better functionality.

My current plan for a headset - go here, select Helmet Kits:
http://www.sampsonracing.com/sampson_racing_new/home_f.htm

The setup I intend to get from these guys should include a boom mike for inside the helmet and a PTT switch for steering wheel or center console.
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ryoji  



Joined: 10 Oct 2003
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Location: NNJ

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless you use Vertex Standard equipment from Sampson, pro setup I think under their category, they uses FRS/GMRS frequencies with higher watt with a license. So, it is the same thing I'm talking. The motorcycle guys uses this all the time with pitt button setup with noise cancellation mic, which is a boom for open face or small cup one for full face helmet. Since Motorcycle guys start buying these equipments and opens bigger market, the price in their market comes down over few multiple of 100%.

Since I thought JJ buys "in car related equipment", I mentioned here just helmet kit.
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924RACR  



Joined: 29 Jul 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed.

One of the things I'm still trying to identify is the components needed - what exactly is included in a "helmet kit" and what else would be needed to use a radio in a car? I think we need more wiring to connect the helmet kit to the radio, as well as to connect the PTT switch to the radio. It's confusing!
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wdb  



Joined: 02 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

is the PTT button inline with the mic , If so will that be a problem with driver changes .having to run the wire on the stering column . I was thinking maybe a few velcro tabs and run the wire down the drivers right arm and mount the button near the index finger knuckle . and use your thumb to activate ,so you keep your hands on the wheel . about the ear phones , I've never used ear buds , but if its not easy to get your hand in the helmet , if 1 comes loose , is that gonna be a problem ,also how important is it to hear whats going on around you , maybe only use 1 ear bud or speaker , or you might have to yell at the driver during pit stops , helmet/earbuds/engine/exhaust = WHAT ?. will it be a problem trying to hear the radio ,maybe a tape of the racecar playing in the streetcar during your test . heres a few cheap headset amps in case thier needed .

http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?category=937&type=store
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ryoji  



Joined: 10 Oct 2003
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Location: NNJ

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interface cable is just a wire connecting jack from radio to ptt wire and helmet set wire connection. Race Shop calls it "complete car harness". Ptt and its wire are the same for both. MC has waterproof ptt and hand-bar attachment tool. Race shop uses red push button. (Why is it red?) Connection is the same, there are two connectors and detachable. I think it is safety concern. I do not see any difference as a functional wire; except connectors. MC uses water resistance mini-DIN Connectors instead audio connectors. MC has a special finger ptt, which is kind of cool stuff. Small switch in your finger and squeeze to switch on.

MC guys call all speaker and Microphone as one unit helmet set and all wire are connected to one DIN connector. Car race shops call helmet set for microphone and wires from car harness to microphone and earphone jack connector. So, we need separately speakers or Ear Buds. Good thing is earphone can be replaced easily.

So, the radio is one issue clear cut difference, if we use FRS, it is cheap but short range. If GRMS, a unit is still cheap but need to pay a license but bigger range. When you spend more $, you get range. Simple.

Helmet set and interface cable. When I use MC stuff, it costs about $60 instead of few hundred. Especially I do not understand the price difference of interface cable. If I really want to use Race shop's helmet set, I would ask my Elec. Eng. friend to modify its connector. Now, my concern is speakers in helmet set. I know the Sampson uses small speakers for "Starter set" instead of ear buds. It may be good to modify to have connector to ear buds ? I think helmet speaker is a speaker and we can hear all noises. Ear buds kills all noises and just can hear the voice of radio.

wbd, I uses sometime ear plug on the race to eliminate noises. I think it is no worry of loosing them. I think it is just for the noises. However, as you mentioned, we may want to talk with pit crews who does not have mic! All those pro crews has own head-sets. We don't.
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John Brown  



Joined: 07 Nov 2002
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Location: Leesburg VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Impressive. A few general comments to be used in conjunction with your previous operating experience.

FRS only radios are limited to 1/2 watt. I would not expect to find that satisfactory perhaps even with an external antenna. I'm guessing the GMRS capable radios with the higher power ( to 5 watts) would be much better. So far as the GMRS license, I don't know how well policed these bands are. I've never messed with FRS or GMRS.

Someone made a comment that some track radios used FRS &/or GMRS channels. That may well be. In any case FRS/GMRS are around 460 MHZ in 14 and 23 channels respectively (with some overlap). The full up UHF commercial radios (which would be my choice money no object) are also around the same and so the performance from that standpoint is similar. The only difference would be power and simple audio quality. However, even so called commercial UHF is generally only 5 watts or less. Which is adequate.

Speaking of antennas. UHF may not make as much difference as you think. Then again, the cheap radios may have cheap ant so ... Many of the hand held radios nowdays do not use standard bnc etc. Simply buy radios from someone who will also sell the proper connector and mount and external antenna. That way you are sure of getting the correct 'stuff' as there are several kinds of connectors and mounts. If you get a standard external ant setup you may not need an SWR meter. The SWR meter is only useful when the ant length is to be adjusted or there is a matching adjustment at the ant or on the radio. You do not need, at UHF, ant so long they will sway in the wind. A perfectly good reasonably efficient UHF ant only needs to be 6 inch long. (This is a full size 1/4 wave antenna. Kinda a standard size for a vertical mobil antenna operated against a ground plane - the top of your car) Go ahead and cut the hole for a stanard Motorola mount or whatever is used now days. Mag mounts don't strike me as a smart idea on a race track. Those great big 'Firestik' ant in the links are for CB at around 28 MHz.

Most radios anymore have some kind of internal protection against operating into an improper 'load' (antenna).

Simply mounting the radio in a good spot in the car may help almost as much as the external ant. Try testing your radios at some extreme location where it gets noisy. Hold the radio in different spots in the car. Then try the same thing leaning over and placing the radio on the roof while using.

The keying circuit is usually proprietary to the radio make. They don't want to make it easy. So it is very advantageous to have the same brands, in some cases, even within brands you can get differences. And also the pushto talk setup should be purchased from a source which guarantees operability with the radio in question.

Vox will not work. Everyone both in car and out needs a noise cancelling mic and headset.

Wiring into the car power should be via whatever filtering (if any) the manufacturer requires, should be appropriately fused.
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AndyFranklin  



Joined: 08 Oct 2003
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Location: Novelty OH

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The helmet setup we use (and I think is rather standard) is the mic is built into the helmet coming out to a stereo 1/4" jack. The earbuds are separate, terminating in a 2.5mm jack. There is a 2.5 plug attached to the helmet which joins the 1/4 with the mic. One uses tip, the other ring, and there is a common ground.

After the earbuds are in place, tape is put over the ears to keep them in place. The helmet goes on, the two connections are made.

My suspicion will be that you will find FRS to be unusable, due to the limited range and lack of power. I will also admit to being spoiled by "real" radios, even though I will also use FRS at times, just not to the car.

If you can wire up the helmets, it is conceivable I could borrow ours. My plans are to flag that weekend since I have not been out to the Glen all year. All the harnesses are readily available, including the PTT buttons for the wheel.

That said, I would go ahead and leave everyone on the same channel and accept that there will be some crosstalk. This also allows car-to-car communication.
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jjadczak  



Joined: 03 Jan 2003
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Location: Accokeek, MD

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy, let me get this straight, If we all have helmet kits installed and of course two radio boxes (one per car) installed, you could bring with you the radios, head sets, and PTT harnesses for our use that weekend? Or am I just punchy from lack of sleep? If this is the case, why don't we focus on this angle for this one time. If we like what Andy's team uses than it would give us an incentive to save our money over the winter and go at it in 2005.

I've got to admit that this is way above my pay grade this discussion about radios, etc. Maybe the discussion has gone way past me but let's not go too over board with the costs. We've got some serious engine issues to fix on #35 which has turned out to be pricier than we originally anticipated. We can help pay for some of it, but let's try to do this within reason.

Whatever we go with also keep in mind we would have to install all this stuff either at the track or before we load up the cars when we have access to all the tools in the shop. If we go through Ryogi's guy to install helmet kits I'm guessing we need to Fed-Ex our helmets or is this something we could do at the track with our limited tools? We would need to get in touch with Jason about this to see if he can afford it too.

Ryogi has something in the works with the radio situatiuon for the SCCA race at the Glen in less than two weeks. We are going to have both cars there and we can also tests Ryogi's radios with my crew chief. Were also going to look for scales to weigh both cars to see what our corner weights are after we raise the ride height in the rear at the shop prior to that race. We'll then see if that adjustment helped with the corner weights.

Just some thoughts,


Jeremy Jadczak
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