GMRS Bluetooth adapters?

My question refers to consumer GMRS radios. I have a Motorola GMRS with a single prong headphone jack. In the past I have purchased a two way radio cable from Skullcandy to connect my radio (via that headphone jack) to my ski/bike helmet and using the wired PTT button I could send and receive radio messages. The wires frequently tangled and three cables have broken (can’t take the cold). Skullcandy no longer sells replacements, and anyway I want to go wireless. I have wired a bluetooth headset to my ski/bike helmet and want to be able to use my two way radio via that bluetooth connection. The Jabra A210 might work, but I would need a push to talk button or use the bluetooth headset buttons. How could I make it all work, and what adapters would I need?

I’m actually interested this too and have done some research, but haven’t got anything to actually work yet. The Jabra A210 has been popular with the amateur radio crowd and seems to be a viable option, the only issue is the pinout is backwards from most FRS/GMRS radio’s. I’m not good enough to reverse it, so I’m just needing someone to do that for me and I should be set.

The setup I’m trying to create is using a BT adapter in conjunction with our Cardio Scala Q2 headsets which are BT to BT headsets. My wife and have these communicators in our motorcycle helmets and the work great using their intercom feature and bike to bike. However, there are times we’d like to use FRS/GMRS radio’s to talk to other bikers and have more then a one on one conversation.

Here’s my thread over on ADV - showing the different ideas we have gone through.

I also picked up the Cardio BTAII adapter as another one that might work, but again, I think the pinout is backwards on the plug.

I am of the opinion that Bluetooth (BT) and GMRS radios don’t go together. At least not now. Not yet.

I know what does work…

The eCommerce site has a radio that, in my opinion, is the best bang for the buck for bike to bike (or person to person) use. The Kenwood 3302 is a mil spec radio and it works… I know, since I have it working for me now on my bike. Consumer radios or “price leaders” are good for very basic use. But put them into production where ‘wear and tear’ is an issue and you’d be better off with a robust radio solution.

As a history… BT is a good idea… that hasn’t grown up. Several riders in my group have ditched BT for hardwired. Why? Ease of use and reliability. The helmet to helmet concepts work well within a limited range. In real life as you travel the highways and byways, the operation is less than stellar as you may have experienced.

So, what works? For person to person communications using consumer rigs… you are on your own.

For bike to bike, you need a “handler” to take care of all the inputs being passed to the helmet. AUTOCOMM and BAEHR make units that have been known to work. Audio signals are processed by order of authority (i.e. the radio cuts out when a xmit comes in or you press the xmit button also know as priority signaling).

As stated on the ADVRIDER site, why not use the FRS radio as a way to stay connected… On any given trip I use two to three frequencies to stay with the folks I ride with… A leaders channel, ride channel and “tail of the train” channel. While the channel is quiet, my MP3 players do their thing… or I can switch to the on-board FM radio with ease.

I have found that monkeying with all this BT stuff creates a headache when you need to travel. In one case, a trip from UTAH to CALIFORNIA was painful for one rider as his BT dongle to “handler” system failed 2nd day out… and would never recover. He has since opted for wired when riding and has nary a mishap since.

Up to you… I have a 4 watt radio that is bullet proof tied to an antenna mounted on the rear case of the bike. It’s has a strong signal that blows folks away when you hear it. The COMM handler, while it was installed new on the bike, does everything I have asked it to (going on over 4 years now). I do not take phone calls on my bike… if they need to get a hold of me, they can do it when I’m not out trying to enjoy my 2-up life.

If you do get BT working, I’d like to know what you do… and how long it holds up. As stated previously, IMHO, BT and GMRS (with all the other possible annoyances being input to the helmet) are not quite ready for prime time. However, I am proof that a wired GMRS, pilot-to-passenger (and vice-versa), MP3 player (or any other type input that uses 3.5mm stereo plugs), FM/AM/Weather radio works. And works well…

just sayin’…

Hey Mark. Thanks for all that input.

I’m actually very satisfied with our Scala Q2 headsets. We’ve had them going on 2 years now and they have been working great. Since Cardio now has the G4’s out, we’ve thought about getting a backup set of the Q2’s since they have come way down in price. My Dad has the newer G4 that actually adds in up to 4 people at one time in a conversation, but it works better in theory then practice. IMOP, the G4 isn’t quite as robust as the Q2’s and some of the newer technology makes using them not quite as smooth, but they just did a firmware update to them that addressed a bunch of the issues users had, so they may be better.

For just my wife and I riding together, it would be hard for me to change to anything other then BT. The full duplex is very nice, its really nice being wireless, they have worked reliably, and we really have no complaints. Their range is pretty much only line of sight, but for the most part, that’s not an issue since we usually stay pretty close. Using consumer grade FRS/GMRS won’t really extend our range even that much longer, but it does open up options for more people riding and talking together.

I am familiar with the Autocomm and Baehr units, but at this point, I’m not reinvesting in a completely different setup.

I do understand what you are saying about consumer radio’s not being up to the every day task of riding and the stress they go through. There is definitely some truth behind that. A radio like the Kenwood would definitely handle that stress better.

If you saw in my last post on ADV, Sena (who has their own BT intercom system) has come up with what I was envisioning with a BT hub that handles the input/output of the radio in connection with the BT headset and other devices you choose. Whether or not they’ll design it to be able to connect to a competitors BT headset is probably not very high.

I do realize using this BT technology, you deal with things possible not working for failing, probably more so then hard wired connections. I guess its a risk though I’m willing to take to stay wireless. We’ll see if it works if I ever get something going.

Thanks for throwing your ideas out here. Its nice bouncing ideas off other riders and getting their input too.

While it looks good on paper, the real test will be using it in a production environment. I like the concept. Again, I question if it will work with all the other devices competing for our attention.

The part(s) that bother me? “Coming soon…” and where do you place the PTT? Or will any old PTT set-up wired into the box work?

If you try this, let us know on this board. I would be very interested in a review coming from someone who rides a scooter and uses a FRS/GMRS radio in the process.

For those folks who may want an alternative to a “handler”, this might prove to be an answer. Once it’s released, if anyone uses it and it works on their radios, no matter what brand or price range, let us know…

Good luck sir…

Yeah, that’s the true test is how it works. My biggest challenge with just buying that out of the blue is not knowing if it will actually sync with a Cardio headset?

I just found out about another BT helmet intercom system coming on the market. Its called the Uclear HBC100 - Their big thing is using speakers that pick up vibrations behind your ear around your jaw so you don’t need a boom mic. Results on ADV have been mixed so far and lots of guys really doubting that it will work that well.

Here’s the ADV thread -

They also are coming out with a FRS/GMRS type radio adapter I think called the WT300. So far, I don’t think its out yet either. -

Again, I’m not really interested in changing systems just yet, but it will be interesting to see if any of these companies get these devices to work reliably with their own systems?