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Old 12-03-2021, 10:38 AM   #1
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Walkie Talkie with Headsets Hands Free

I have a question regarding what do people recommend ti use when you have someone of the foredeck and you as the captain want to communicate with them with a hands free unit?
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Old 12-03-2021, 10:59 AM   #2
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I have a question regarding what do people recommend ti use when you have someone of the foredeck and you as the captain want to communicate with them with a hands free unit?
Check out Eartec. We have 3 units as we often have an extra hand who wants to feel involved. The clarity is amazing. We are 72' and have no problem with the distance from bow to stern. We have the version with only one ear-pad which I prefer as it keeps your peripheral hearing intact.

The only drawback we have found it that we have to be very careful when bending over to secure lines etc. as they can slip off. Wearing them over a baseball style hat seems to solve that problem.

I am sure some will propose hand signals etc. and we have used those succesfully for decades, however there is no substitute in my mind for being able to communicate clearly and quietly when a hand signal simply will not do.
~A
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Old 12-03-2021, 11:35 AM   #3
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https://theboatgalley.com/communication-headsets/


https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/e...ts-for-boaters


I have personally used the Sena a few years ago--worked well with 2 headsets-easy to use but occasionally when trying to pair a 3rd or 4th head set it would become a little irritating.
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Old 12-03-2021, 11:38 AM   #4
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Do a search for "Marriage Savers" in the task bar above. Two of the many threads that come up are:

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...ers-50974.html

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...oth-50730.html

Enjoy!
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Old 12-03-2021, 01:53 PM   #5
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We used to use an older model and brand of hands free communication headsets. They were "self contained" in the double ear headset, had a relatively long protruding antenna, but often developed background noise issues and wind noise as well.
We later moved to the single ear, Eartec model. They are great in my opinion. Never experienced any issues at all. They worked effectively.

However, some additional advice. Tie a tether to them to clip to your PFD or clothing to ensure they do not fall off and end up in the water. Bending down and moving around could result in this type of accident under the wrong circumstances. With the "slave" unit, it is sometimes hard to ensure that it has been properly turned off, so a fall back is to remove the rechargeable battery between uses and/or carry a spare set of batteries.
Again, I do recommend them.
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Old 12-03-2021, 03:44 PM   #6
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Does anyone else look at the prices on these things and wonder why?


I buy a lot of electronic stuff. A pair of these things shouldn't cost as much as a top of the line cell phone. I'm willing to pay a premium for good quality, but these are so far out of bounds that I just can't bring myself to even consider them.
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Old 12-03-2021, 05:05 PM   #7
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Tom,
I know what you mean, they (Eartec) are not inexpensive!!
However, I found that they worked so well, by reducing stress levels during docking and anchoring by having complete well understood simultaneous hands free verbal communication at a conversational volume (so no yelling or wild demonstrative signalling), and probably reduced the possibility of missed or not understood communications possibly causing some kind of an accident. Certainly, I can say, we were both way more relaxed which to us, has a great value.

For us, it was well worth it (the accompanying peace of mind)!!
I am not affiliated with them in any way, just an owner.
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:29 PM   #8
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I assume both the captain and first mate have cell phones? Why not just get blue tooth ear piece? Easy peasy and doesn’t cost a fortune.
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Old 12-04-2021, 10:59 PM   #9
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I assume both the captain and first mate have cell phones? Why not just get blue tooth ear piece? Easy peasy and doesnít cost a fortune.


Thatís what we do, but of course thatís contingent on having a signal. Not everywhere has one.
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Old 12-04-2021, 11:16 PM   #10
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Thatís what we do, but of course thatís contingent on having a signal. Not everywhere has one.
Of course you are right. Itís just been so long since I was (knowingly) out of cell range, it doesnít occur to me.
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Old 12-05-2021, 12:24 AM   #11
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Many places I boat have no cell coverage, or are in places with circumspect coverage (in other words dropped calls with moments of drop out). One good thing about the Eartecs, they are very clear, all connected to the system can both speak and listen without touching the units, and their range is excellent.

Each to their own, but I value reliable communications.
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Old 12-05-2021, 08:49 AM   #12
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I have a question regarding what do people recommend ti use when you have someone of the foredeck and you as the captain want to communicate with them with a hands free unit?
We use SENA bluetooth headsets and they work fine. The other commonly-recommended option is Eartec RF headsets, but I have no hands-on experience with those.

I can tell you we tried cellphones with bluetooth ear pieces; that worked OK as long as we had cell service.

And we also tried family radios (FRS) with VOX mic and ear piece. That did NOT work all that great, because of the time lag/delay in VOX. Hadf to start each sentence with "One... two...three...four..." to get it to start working, and then whatever we really wanted to say. Also, these are simplex push-to-talk_ systems, so only one person can yak at a time.

-Chris
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:51 AM   #13
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Sounds like a good idea for a cell phone app.

The app would pair to another cell phone also running the same app, and they'd communicate over Bluetooth, rather than cellular signals. Range would be limited, but on most boats the distance from helm to anchor isn't that far, and is line-of-sight.

[EDIT:]

And, like every good app idea, there are already dozens of them out there. Here's the search I did on the Google Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/search...offline&c=apps

Now it's just a question of which are the good ones. And you'd still want a good headset with microphone.
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Old 12-05-2021, 12:22 PM   #14
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On approach my wife and I discuss landing briefly if same as always, as in Starboard tie preferred, more so if something is different. She then sets the fenders and prepares the docking lines.
Me on the CB and my wife just below with midship line in hand. We can talk without yelling.
Find this thread interesting but have not found a need for walkie talkies in hindsight where it would have been useful.

What is different for those of you that have or want these instead of a loud PA system (kidding)?
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Old 12-05-2021, 01:35 PM   #15
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Hand signals work well for communication between the upper helm and the bow, when anchoring.
We also have a pair of eartech (?) bought to make parking the motorhome less stressful. They work through all the fibreglass and heavy metal of the motorhome and are audible over the diesel exhaust noises present at the rear. Since we have no high noise level nor lack of sight between the bow and the upper helm, we haven't tried these for anchoring. For going ashore with the stern line, they might work very well, though we haven't yet tried them in that use.
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Old 12-05-2021, 01:45 PM   #16
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Which is the preferred system?
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Old 12-05-2021, 04:34 PM   #17
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Keith and Steve,
For us, with no flybridge and a Pilothouse with reasonably good vision forward, to starboard, and a bit more limited to stern, with the crew member on the outside on the stern, we found the headsets to be very useful. Easy, reliable 2 way communication. It does come in handy for "fine tuning" the necessary adjustments (as long as you both speak the same language without the sometimes "male-female" issues ).
Anchoring using hand signals does work, did it for years with the sailboat, but being able to easily "just talk" to select the exact spot, discuss conditions that might not have been apparent at the start, etc. is useful but probably not essential. Headsets also leave both hands free for "work" at all times while still being able to fully communicate. As stated by another poster, using the ones with only 1 ear piece also enables the outside crew or pilot to hear marina staff, etc. on the dock.
It is obvious they are not essential tools, but in my opinion, they do make many boat things easier. However, you do pay for this "advantage".
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Old 12-05-2021, 04:48 PM   #18
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Tom,
Your opinion matters. For pilothouse boats probably needed.

As for anchoring, my way, I position my boat over spot to drop anchor into the wind or current if any and go to the bow to lower the anchor. Once it hits bottom I let out line as needed. At the lower station, give a it a burst to reverse to set.
I do this and stay at bow to triangulate the set and observe if dragging having found a beer in my hand to pass the time.
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:03 PM   #19
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I do this and stay at bow to triangulate the set and observe if dragging having found a beer in my hand to pass the time.
Now I see your advantage: You have a fridge at your bow.
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:15 AM   #20
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What is different for those of you that have or want these instead of a loud PA system (kidding)?
I actually tried using the hailer for a while... but the result seems like you're yelling all the time. If I turned the volume down so it didnt sound like I was shouting, I couldn't hear wifey through the system.

And don't have great visibility around the sides of the boat, especially now with this newer one... so hand signals (which work fine for anchoring) aren't so great (for us) for docking. Besides, wifey prefers being able to watch what she's doing (instead of watching the bridge) and hearing instructions at the same time.


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Which is the preferred system?
Near as I can tell from reading, SENA and Eartec get the most recommendations and have similar followings. Not sure there's much functional difference between the two, so maybe headset fit is a bigger decider.

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