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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

My buddies and I are thinking of getting communicators for the upcoming season. We think it would be quite a bit safer riding while being able to talk to each other at the same time :thumbsup: .
My question is, which ones do you guys use and like? What are the pros and cons of them? :wink:

Thanks,

Steph
 

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I've only got a couple rides in using the Collet Sno-Fones that I purchased last year, but I will share my experiences so far:

1) price & design- reasonable, pretty decent valure for the cost, I thought. I liked the design, the fact that the unit's battery is kept inside your warn jacket inner pocket someplace, and the part of the unit on the outside of the helmet was fairly small. Attaches using a "velcro" hook & loop system, which allows for fairly easy removal or transfer to a different helmet, I suppose. We just leave them in place on the helmet, though.

2) installation & setup - The install was pretty easy, at least in our case. We are both using a fairly inexpensive Bieffe full-face helmet. There were already small pockets in the area of your ears, and that is where the small helmet speakers velcro to the helmet liner. Some helmets may need more work to install the speakers, depending on design. The wiring for the speakers, coming from the radio unit itself, all tucked into creases in the helmet liner, virtually disappearing once pressed in there. These units are voice-activated, so you have to set the microphone sensitivity up to turn on when you begin speaking. I found this to be a small challenge, as the unit "beeps" in the speakers when the mic is activated, and then you also hear your own voice thru the speakers, at the same time that you are broadcasting to the other unit(s). Exterior controls consist of the mic sensitivity dial, a speaker volume dial, and a push-to-mute button, which mutes your mic until pressed again. The boom mic from the radio base unit reaches under the bottom of the helmet, and the mic ends up just touching your lips, when installed properly.

3) use - First off, I found it a bit tricky getting the mic sensitivity set just right. set too low, it will come on with wind noise in your helmet, or the engine sounds even. Set too high, and you need to really yell to activate the mic. What seems to work sitting in your house, isn't gonna be effective once on the machine and riding. Once you get the mic activation set, you will likely have to train yourself to speak in a manner that will broadcast well.

I tend to talk a bit too fast ordinarily, and had to keep reminding myself to speak slow amd more deliberately. They are not really useful for having a conversation while riding, but I did find them helpful to let my wife following me, know that there were oncoming riders, and icy spots where they happened. I found them to be more useful when stopped and going over a map, it was easier to hear than trying to hear someone yelling behind their own helmet. I do find the sound of my own voice thru the speaker somewhat distracting, if I could change one thing, that would DEFINITELY be it.

Often the mic would "think" we were done talking, at a slight pause in cadence, and there would be gaps and we'd be asking "What?" quite a bit.

it was difficult to really get the broadcast range figured out, as we are still working to get the mics set up properly, and sometimes I think that some of what we were saying wasn't getting through to the other person. were advertised as have a couple mile range, but I haven't seen anything near that yet.

Our units came with a "Groomer Beacon" receiver. Supposed to start beeping if you come upon a groomer on trail that also has a beacon transmitting. Never had a chance to test this yet, but I do like the idea at least.

4) opinion - I do not regret the purchase. I do look forward to getting them dialed in just right, but have struggled a little bit, partly because my wife is not the most patient when it came to setting it up, and unfortunately it's not something that one person can do by themself. They worked all day we were out in -30F weather, just got a little ice buildup on the mic due to it being right on my lips. I never even feel the unit itself on the outside of the helmet while riding. I do find it to be ALMOST in the way when removing my helmet, but am slowly training myself to be aware of it and be careful.
 

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I too have the Collet Brand but I have the Plat. 900 and not the snofone. I agree that they are great but it is tricky getting the sensitivity set. It seems if you get it set the way it should work then it will activate if you get over about 60 MPH due to the wind noise. If you get it set so it wont activate with the wind noise then you have to scream once (HEY usually works for me) and then once it is activated you can speak in a normal tone or volume. It got frustrating for us the first time out because our group of 4 all had them new and if one persons is set to low whenever his mich. activates then everyone in the group heres the wind noise until it shuts off. I really like having them and feel safer with them its just they are not dialed in 100% and I don't know if they can be. In the slower tighter twisties they work God but when you get on some open straightaways and build some speed you get a lot of noise.
PS we all have modular helmets and one BV2S
 

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My two brothers and I are looking at getting these as well. I think mainly for safety. We're going to check them out in two weekends while at the SNowmobile show. How much would I be looking at for the equipmet for three people?
 

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Bad news for you Collette doesnt have a display at the shows
I sell them you can PM me for info
 

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A group of us here in Western NY all have the Chatterbox GMRS units. I just got mine late in the season last year and only got to use it on 1 ride in St. Donat. They claim 5 mile range but a couple miles is more realistic with reliable communications.

They have a built in rechargeable battery and that lasted everyone all day except the 1 gabby guy and we were glad when his battery went dead. We all also use the push to talk feature, a small button mounted on the bars near the brake lever and I think this is the best way to go. 1 guy wired his up to the 12v on the sled so he never worried about the battery going dead.

We bought a bunch as a group and got a year end discount, I think $225 a piece tax included but I would have dig out the paperwork. I would buy them again and have since bought 1 for the wife, don't know if this is good or bad yet?
 

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I have been using the Collett 900 for the past three seasons and hear is what I have observed. the unit does not have the range they state unless every thing is ideal plus some. Once you get the mic adjusted things work pretty well. Overall I am satisfied with the purchase and feel they do increase the safety for the group I ride with. If you and your group are going to purchase them see if you can get a club channel this narrows down the interference from other communicators.

I noticed in an earlier email the statement about the groomer beacon the in NO DOUBT when it goes off, it is an intense beeping sound.

Good Luck
 

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Range is not always a good thing.We have an old set of collets and when we first got them it was somewhat annoying picking up other peoples conversations..This was somewhat helped out by the two channel models but since we ride in a pretty close group we usually only need about a 1/4 of a mile at most...Good resistor plugs will help you broadcast without buzzing and engine noise...Overall I think they are great.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info guys,

I think I'm sold and will get them :D . There's 3 of us who ride regularly and we've been in situations where having a communicator would have made a difference :bash: . Just look at my avatar pic, this was last year in Kapuskasing, one of these cold days where the snow dust from the sleds just wouldn't settle down :cussing: . I was trailing a good 30 seconds behind my buddies who had stopped at a road intersection, and the snow dust was equivalent to dense fog. By the time I saw them stopped, they were only about 50 feet from me. I hit the brakes and went off the trail in the deep snow. Since I had the brakes on, the front end pressure dug in the deep snow and the sled jacknifed. When my buddies turned around, all they saw was my sled doing a 360 in the air and myself doing the Superman thing. Luckily, the snow was deep and there were no trees around. I was OK and so was the sled, cracked cab only :whatever: . I was probably going a little too fast and should have been a good 2 minutes behind my buddies to let the snow settle down :confused: . Nevertheless I learned my lesson, but still would find a Communicator a good tool to let your buddies know when you stop, when there's oncoming traffic and when there's a hazard ahead...or broken down Polaris :lmao:

Steph
 

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My group uses the Chatterbox units as well. I have had only two problems with them in 3 years.

1. The push to talk button stuck a few times during one ride...replaced it and no more problem.

2. The microphone is large and I breathe heavy while riding (clean thoughts here) and the moisture seems to build up in the mic and then breaks it. Not fun for the GMRS unit as they are around $60 for another headset. I have fixed the problem with one of Kidrockers inventions which I am not at liberty to share...that is on him....

These units are awesome. I can use my mp3 player or even my cell phone with it (not that I would be sledding and talking on the phone). They have a a ton of channels so you can have a private conversation if needed. They also work with the small handheld walkie talkies in the stores so you can expand your usage of them. To elaborate on this I gave my wife one once and she showed up to get my son from me while we were out playing a little bit. You can also plug a rider headset in which is cool for tandem riding like in the case above. With the rider onboad there are no buttons and they too can hear the mp3 player and all you have to do is talk...no buttons.


The snofone seems cool but very limited. I like the chatterbox and am going to have to stick to it for a little while....
 
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