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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After being the “forum guy” for over a year with Rugged, I’ve found there to be some common questions that people ask me about our equipment. Anyone who’s messaged me for help or advice knows that we love to help you fully understand everything there is to know about our products. The only problem is a lot of the questions I field are done through PM’s and not available for the rest of you guys to see. Therefore, I’m making this thread to cover some of the most common questions I find people asking me.


“Why do I need an intercom? Can’t I just use a radio?”

An intercom is a device that allows passengers in the same vehicle to talk continuously through headsets or helmet kits. Each helmet kit or headset is built with speakers and a microphone to talk and listen through. The advantage to using an intercom system is to be able to clearly talk back and forth to passengers with minimal background noise. With the background noise reduced, the off-road adventure can become much more pleasant.

2-Way radios allow you to communicate to another vehicle with a radio that is on the frequency/channel. A 2-way radio can also be connected to an intercom system. Combined together, you can now talk freely to all passengers in the vehicle and communicate with others in your group outside the vehicle.

So back to the question - can't I just use a radio? Sure, but try sticking your head out the window of your car while on the freeway and try and talk to your passengers. The same goes for loud offroad vehicles. It’s quite difficult to rely on yelling to communicate back and forth. Also, if you're required to wear a helmet, hearing the radio is difficult, and there would be no way for you to respond over the radio.

With intercoms and helmet kits, speaking, listening, and transmitting becomes clearer and simpler. The intercom is the "hub" that delivers clear audio from all sources and devices into your headset or helmet kit for the best in communications.


“What’s the best radio for me?”

If you're always going to be within a couple miles from your riding group, a handheld will work just fine.
If you want the most cost effective option, then the RH5R is our best choice. Not only is this an affordable 5 watt option, but also runs both UHF and VHF bandwidths. This radio is small, easy to use and offers a variety of accessories to make even better.



If you need a radio that can withstand harsh environments such as rain/mud, we have the 5 watt HX400 handheld radio. It's a bit more expensive, but the quality and lifespan of this radio is worth the extra money:


Handheld radios are great because they are portable and easy to carry. Their only downfall is limited distance to communicate with other people.

If you need more power and range from your radio, then the 50 watt mobile radio is your next option. Our most popular mobile radio is the Vertex VX2200 radio which is a 50watt VHF Race Radio. Correctly tuned, this radio can transmit up to 25-30 miles (plus or minus for terrain). You will find this type of radio in a lot of desert race trucks, or used as a base camp radio setup. This radio is the most expensive option, but well worth the money if you spend a lot of time in the desert with friends and family.





“The music volume on my VOX intercom (357, 660, 686) is very quiet and doesn’t mute when I speak”

This is normally caused when your VOX dial is set to be too sensitive. If the VOX is set too sensitive, the intercom thinks that you’re speaking all the time, and the music is being lowered to accommodate when it thinks your talking. The trick to setting the vox is first to put your microphone as close to your lips as comfortable, intermittently touching your lips while you talk is best if possible. While speaking into the mic, turn the vox dial until you can no longer hear yourself talking into the mic (this is called side tone, when you can hear yourself talking from your own speakers). If you have music playing through he intercom at this point, it should raise back up to proper music level and you wont be able to hear your side tone. Now turn the dial back until the music drops back down (or you hear side tone again) and stop right there. Keep in mind though, when the vehicle is not moving, the ambient sounds are much quieter than at speed. The faster you go, the louder it will be, and you may have to lower the VOX sensitivity slightly so background noise doesn’t key the mic. After a little bit you should be able to find that “sweet spot” on the VOX for your vehicle.

“Are you guy’s going to be having any specials soon?”

Good question! We actually have a newsletter you can sign up for that will get you the fastest notification of sales and specials we are offering. Click here to sign up! We also have a pretty beefy clearance section of our website that I update with items quite regularly. We have everything from display model intercoms and refurbished radios, to discontinued headsets and cables. Often times, you may even be able to piece together a full intercom kit for much less than you’ll ever see one for sale. Products move in and out of that section fast so check regularly if you’re looking for something. It also never hurts to shoot me a PM to see if I have any demo/clearance items that may not be up on the website yet.

If you have any questions that pertain to communications equipment, feel free to get in contact with me here, through PM or give us a call. I will be updating this thread regularly with more frequently asked questions to provide a resource for anyone looking to get more info about our systems.
 

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Questions? heheh,

Well, since you asked...
I've wondered about this and the best solution.

I'm getting an ACE.
I'd like to get an in-dash radio to keep up with others on the ride, 3-6 miles apart on trails head set and helmet options and... (I don't always wear a helmet....)

eventually to a "Base unit" in a Home base, Truck camper....
and...

another unit in a RZR XP1, i know it doesn't really matter on the make, but another RZR, that can talk radio, and with an intercom, bluetoothed or usb? for music (Gotta hear Johnny Cash (JC) on the trails right? and....

all 3 compatible with each other and other riders that happen to have radios.

Now the next question would be?
UHF or VHF or CB? As i understand it, you can get a Vhf or a Uhf not both but both with a CB.
I understand it depends upon the group you're riding with, but is there something that can be used for all 3 scenarios? and....

finally,
do you need a license to run them.

thanks much I know how to press the mic button if need be, but that's about it.

Anything beyond that would be helpful and again, in dash. not handheld unless the are soooo much better...

thanks much, heheh, you did ask right?? LOL..

fun...
 

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I ride with several people that use the small hand held family channel radios. Are the RH5R radios compatible with them? I am glad that you opened this thread, as I feel you are going to receive a lot of questions as well as giving us all an education on radios and accessories. THANKS
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Questions? heheh,

Well, since you asked...
I've wondered about this and the best solution.

I'm getting an ACE.
I'd like to get an in-dash radio to keep up with others on the ride, 3-6 miles apart on trails head set and helmet options and... (I don't always wear a helmet....)

eventually to a "Base unit" in a Home base, Truck camper....
and...

another unit in a RZR XP1, i know it doesn't really matter on the make, but another RZR, that can talk radio, and with an intercom, bluetoothed or usb? for music (Gotta hear Johnny Cash (JC) on the trails right? and....

all 3 compatible with each other and other riders that happen to have radios.

Now the next question would be?
UHF or VHF or CB? As i understand it, you can get a Vhf or a Uhf not both but both with a CB.
I understand it depends upon the group you're riding with, but is there something that can be used for all 3 scenarios? and....

finally,
do you need a license to run them.

thanks much I know how to press the mic button if need be, but that's about it.

Anything beyond that would be helpful and again, in dash. not handheld unless the are soooo much better...

thanks much, heheh, you did ask right?? LOL..

fun...
Alright, this thread hit the ground running! Take your seat class, lets get started. Setting up an Ace is a little different that other vehicles in the fact that it is only a one seater. This means there's not reason to really have an intercom as you're not trying to talk within the vehicle to someone. Luckily, it just so happens that we have our own ACe that we were able to work on and get the best solution. First you'll need a mobile radio, The VX2200 is our most popular and can come in VHF or UHF. Unfortunately we do not carry dual band mobile radios so your best bet would be to go with the band that your other buddies are using, more than likely VHF. We have this flush mount for the radio that can mount it right to the dash. Now to be able to connect your headset or helmet to it, you're going to need what we call a single seat harness:



Using a jumper cable from the radio, this harness brings together the PTT, the radio, and your helmet or headset. The volume is controlled of course by the radio, the PTT button on the steering wheel is how you transmit over the radio, and the helmet plugs into the nexus jack. On our ace we were able to run everything hidden so the only parts of the harness you see is the helmet jack coming out of the seatbelt harness, and the PTT on the steering wheel.

For your RZR, we have a complete kit right here that is made just for RZR's.

That intercom it comes with is designed to be for a 4 seat rzr, so if you get a 2 seater, the price will drop for the 2 seat intercom. That kit even comes with a mounting plate that replaces the center console/dash dry box thing and makes a nice clean flush looking mount. All our intercoms allow you to plug music into the fron of the intercom using a standard 3.5mm jack, but we do have a Bluetooth module that plugs into the AUX port on the back of the intercom, allowing you to stream music directly through your intercom to your headsets or helmets. Pretty nifty eh?

Oh back to the bandwidths. As I mentioned we dont have any MOBILE radios that support UHF and VHF, but we do have a pretty killer handheld radio that can use VHF and UHF frequencies. This guy here

It does get abotu 2.5 miles of range on the stock antenna (depending on terrain) but it can be upgraded with longer antennas or even external antennas that can boost range by more than 30%. (When we field tested those radios, we got about 2.5 miles of range, we swapped out for this ducky antenna on both radios, and were able to get about 3.5 miles of range before it cut out. Not too bad of a bump, and we didn't even have a clear line of sight) So if you don't need the crazy range of a mobile radio, a handheld is a very affordable choice that can offer more range in frequencies. But then again, it really does depend on what the other people you're with use. And if they're using CB's, you should try to help usher them out of the 90's and embrace new technology. Haha just kidding, CB's have their place, they just don't have the quality and range of their VHF or UHF counterparts.

ANd now to my favorite questions, Licensing. The FCC does require you to hold a license when using VHF radios. This can be deterring to some people but there's a couple things to keep in mind. First, going to your local community college and taking a quick test to get your technician license is as easy as driving to your local community college and taking a quick test. :) There's resources online that allow you to search for the nearest place that provides licensing tests. A small amount of time spent online going over the info that will be asked of you is all you need to be knowledgable enough to get your license.
Second, Keep in mind that the FCC is more worried about people blatantly abusing the airwaves over someone who's simply out riding with a group of buddies in the desert or on the trails. When in doubt, use the radio like you would use a microphone in church. You wouldn't curse, yell, argue, or blast music over a microphone in a church, so stay away from those things on the airwaves. Also, keep in mind, these frequencies are being used by other people than just you. If you encounter someone on a channel you're using that's getting "uppity" about you being on their channel, it's best just to find another open channel and continue on. No dramas on the radios please!

Alright, It's time for recess
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I ride with several people that use the small hand held family channel radios. Are the RH5R radios compatible with them? I am glad that you opened this thread, as I feel you are going to receive a lot of questions as well as giving us all an education on radios and accessories. THANKS
Yay! I'm happy to help out! Our RH5R does have the ability to transmit on the same frequencies used by GMRS/FRS radios (or commonly called walkie talkies) you can get at walmart, big 5, etc.. They utilize the UHF bandwidth and since the the RH5R is dual band, simply go to the same GMRS/FRS channel your set to on the walky talky (if you need help with this I can help) and you're good to go.
 

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...fact that it is only a one seater. This means there's not reason to really have an intercom as you're not trying to talk within the vehicle to someone.
Huh? what about all those other voices in my head.... fun..

Great review, thanks much "RR"... that helps quite a bit.
I like the indash on the ACE and i assume you run the headset line up along the roll bar and back down behind the seat for the helmet.

Also, what would you recommend as a Base, Truck Camper home base unit. one that would, I assume it's just a matter of channels, that it's all compatible

Thanks much for the info, it's a great start..

Can you briefly and in English so we can understand, heheh, tell what the differences are in VHF, UHF and CB (apparently not used as much anymore with Truckers on the road, too jammed with stuff)
Probably don't need to get into band width, more just like ranges on desert/trails/forests.. etc.. and issues with them bouncing around etc.

thanks..
 

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I am very interested in a radio system for the Ace. I have read your posts and the following equipment is a list of what I think I would need. I still am not clear on an antenna for the VX220. I am trying to piece together a list of components. I randomly picked a reasonably priced headset from your site. Please comment on what else I would need if I started from scratch. I would like to communicate with friends that have a radio and intercom in a RZR.

$400 VX2200 VHF or UHF Radio
$65 Radio Jumper Cable
$30 Flush Mount
$50 PTT
$139 H43 Headset

$684 Total
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have no idea why I didn't get any notifications about your posts.. Sorry guys. I'm about to leave the office, but as soon as I get settled at home, I'll reply with some answers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Oh man, Okay sorry to keep you guys hanging, My 4 month old is sick and between being covered in milk, drool, and other stuff babies make, I didn't have much time last night to log in, BUT I'm here now to help.

We were able to run the cabling like you said, Underneath the seats, up the harness bar, and up to the back of the seat where you plug in your helmet.

For a base kit system, i recommend this right here:

It's our VX2200 base kit and it comes with the 50 watt radio, antenna, and antenna mount and cable. Retails for $439

In essence, VHF is great for line of sight and can get the most range unobstructed, this is why it's most popular in off road. In an open desert or dunes, with a clear line of sight of the person you're transmitting to, the VHF signal will be able to travel more than 30 miles. UHF is a higher power bandwidth, but it does not go as far as VHF. UHF is able to penetrate through obstacles better than VHF which is why it's primarily used in circle track and road racing, but the signal degrades faster than VHF if you're in an area with clear line of sight. CB is the classic low power bandwidth used by truckers and jeepers. It's license free but it's not as clear, effective, or powerful as VHF. Here's a thread I made that explains in more detail the difference between UHF and VHF

Hayseed, You're really close, there's just one thing you're missing, a harness to bring all those parts together. Since you're using a headset, the HH-UNI will work perfectly. So to break it down:

$440 radio
$30 Flush mount for the radio
$65 jumper cable plugs into that radio
$85 HH-UNI harness plugs into the jumper cable on the radio
$33 Waterproof PTT plugs into the hh-uni harness then velcros to your steering wheel
$139 H43 Headset then plugs into the long coiled end of the harness

$792 Total


One thing though Hayseed, If you're looking to save as much as possible, give us a call, we're having a used/demo/refurbished sale going on right now where we have some headsets at a huge discount. Check out the full list of sale items here

Keep em comin!
 

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Oh Mann... a sick little one, ouch.. hehheh, Kudos to you for taking care of business with the "..Milk, drool etc.." heheh, funny, hope 'Baby' recovers quickly..

Thanks much for the clarification
Again, it depends upon the group you ride with, and you noted in the other post, VHF seems to be the Wave of Choice.

I was reading the other thread which just answered a lot of questions and clarifies it.
Me thinks VHF, with license, would be the way to go.
UHF appears to be blocked and on forest trails might not be the best. VHF might not be as far as 30-mi certainly but 3-5 miles should work?

Does that sound about right?

Mann, this is kewl, thanks for all the help and I hope "Baby" doesn't enjoy all the 'Milk drool etc" heheh, with a big smile as much as you do.. good luck and thanks again..

(also, a typo in your last messge
UHF is able to penetrate through obstacles better than UHF (should be VHF?)which is why it's primarily used in circle track
which might be confusing to others reading in the future as I plan on using this as a reference to others)
 

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Ok, reviving this thread a little..

I've ordered the ACE 900 and starting to "Trick it out"...

As mentioned earlier, looking for an in-dash radio, looks like the vx2200 with PTT and a headset AND helmet pads/speakers?

I have a full helmet but also on easy rides feel like just a hat at times, thus the headset.

I'm still having problems on which ban to use but am thinking that adding the little handheld for the "Other Option" might work.

Riding is mainly forest trails, some Moab, some desert so I'm thinking UHF for the main in dash setup and the handheld for desert/open places since is has a wider range.

I also understand, that it's the "Intercom" that allows the blue tooth music thing and since the ACE is a buggy built for One, I'd have to use an outside source, speaker etc... which is fine unless you have something that will plug into the back of radio? not clear on this..


Thoughts???

and ball park $$ $700? as I'm trying to figure it in on the options financing on the ACE purchase..

Thanks..

ps, of course I can call, let me know with whom to speak, heheh, but thought this request might help others on the forum too.
Thanks..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
More than happy to spend the time to share the knowledge for everyone.

Since you will be using a headset and a helmet kit, I suggest looking into getting one of our ultimate headsets. They have gel ear seals, cloth ear covers, and a hard wired cable all culminating in a much more comfortable experience. The main reason I suggest the ultimate headset though is because it's wired with the same connector as the helmet kit, the Duralink Nexus plug. Our standard headsets would work, you would just need an adapter to go from the 5-pin plug to the nexus style plug, which is comparable in cost to the upgraded headset that will work out the box.

As far as bandwidth, obviously you'll have to be on the same as the people you wish to talk to are using. This would more than likely be the VHF as previously explained. But as you said, having the handheld as a backup would allow you to do both. Now you mentioned getting the mobile UHF and a handheld for VHF, however something to keep in mind is how far away you get from the people you ride with in the forest compared to in the desert. I'm just assuming here, but I would guess that you aren't more than a few hundred feet from the others in your group when in the forest, but the desert you have more room to get further away from each other. Just a suggestion, but maybe swap and get the mobile VHF for more distance in the desert, and the UHF handheld for the short distance transmits in the forest.

For being able to stream music (JC right?), we have helmet kits that have a 3.5 mm jack on them that allows you to play music directly into your helmet speakers. Our headsets also have a 3.5mm port on the ear dome to do the same thing. Couple things to consider; since there's no intercom to regulate the volume of the music, you will have to make sure you don't play your music louder than the incoming radio transmissions. Also, the ultimate headsets don't have that 3.5 mm jack, so you would need to get one of the standard 5-pin headsets and use a connector like this to adapt it to the harness.

So to break it all down:
50 watt Vertex Base Kit (UHF or VHF radio, Antenna, Cabling) $439
Jumper Cable for that radio to connect to harness $45
Helmet kit with 3.5mm jack $105
PTT for steering wheel $20
Headset $159
Adapter for the headset to work with the harness $35
And of course the harness that brings all these components together $102

Then for the backup RH5R $85
and the jumper cable for that to connect to the harness $25

Now keep in mind this is all retail price. I have been known to sling some deals to people in the interest of getting them outfitted with some comms, so if you're ever interested in seeing what I can do to get you set up, shoot me a PM.
 

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Great, thanks much, really appreciate it...

Just got back from dealer on the new ACE and all the trimmings, I'll have to go with the hand set for now...heheh, or a megaphone...

but keeping it on the list as things down the line.
Thanks for all the help.. I'll be BAaaack... as Arnie would say...
 

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Ok, so sorry to keep coming back and I'd call, but thought other's might find it useful.

The in-dash set is out for me, a little more $$ than I thought for a single band.

So game plan is now, a hand held set with a head set and helmet set, steering talk button.

Radio:
The dual band, UHF/VHF one
I note that the Blue one is Dual band, but the more durable VHF HX400 5-Watt (preferred one) is not?

Headset:
As noted above, no change?

Holding bracket:
It's complicated, heheh...
Initially, I thought the little metal/plastic/nylon container mounted on the back bar.
Then thought about volume/channel access and thought of mounting on the dash which would then have the headset/helmet wiring? or could be routed as it would with the in-dash set?

So the question would be, sorry, last one and thank you for your time:
What would be the best, dual banded UHF/VHF, weather rugged handset to use. and thoughts on locations?

Thanks, one step at a time.


ps. I did just find the UHF/VHF EVX-531-G716D but it's pushing the $$ range...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That right there is a good option. It has the dual band radio, a mounting bracket for your dash, the hand mic for the radio, and an extended range ducky antenna. The RH-5R is the only handheld we carry that is dual band. It has a lot of features and can handle UHF and VHF, as well as receive FM radio, however it is not submersible. If you're looking for durability and water resistance, the HX400 is great, they just cost a bit more. Then there's the one you linked. That one is quite expensive but it's because it supports digital transmissions. It's not dual band nor submersible, so you'd be paying for the ability to transmit digitally with virtually no static (to other digital radios)

Something to consider is it's sometimes difficult to hear the radio without a headset (or helmet speaker) that would be why I suggested this kit previously to be able to use the steering wheel PTT and your helmet with the radio.
 

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The HX400 though, is just single band, UHF or VHF depending upon the unit you get..

So, I'm thinking I'll get the dual band, cause as you know, as soon as I get a VHF, I'll group up with UHF riders.. heheh,

The Blue is water resistant?
i'm just thinking of splash/drizzle stuff around it, not to dunk in a puddle, but just the moisture surrounding PNW drizzly weather..

Also, I'm assuming the head set will plug into the cable to use without a helmet...

Me thinks that looks like the ideal set up for now. That kit plus a headset, dash/bar holder and ducky antenna.

I should be ordering by end of month, who should I call?
PM if that works better, thank RR
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The blue radio is not technically water resistant, but you're not going to need to worry about a splash here and there. Just no dunking, heavy rain, or swamp riding haha.

Sending you a PM now.
 
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