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Author Topic:   Bluetooth and VHF radio
jmattern posted 04-06-2009 05:00 PM ET (US)   Profile for jmattern   Send Email to jmattern  
I need to be able to hear my VHF radio in an open boat at 30 + MPH. I am looking for a way to pair a bluetooth headset with a VHF radio with "speaker out" wires. There are many USB transmitters, but I can't find bluetooth transmitters with a 2 wire input. Anybody have any ideas?
jimh posted 04-06-2009 05:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you just want to have your radio's audio sent to a wireless headset, just look for a wireless headset, not necessarily Bluetooth. You can get some designed to plug into a computer, so the audio can be sent to them via the usual 1/8-inch stereo phone plug. The problem with this approach is finding a base unit for the headset that runs off 12-volts DC.

It might be simpler to get a VHF Marine Band radio that has a built-in Bluetooth interface. That way you will get both receive audio and transmit audio. Usually the Bluetooth devices expect to connect to a device which had the Bluetooth communication built into it, so there are not external inputs for audio input or output.

jimh posted 04-06-2009 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here's a wireless headset: asp?EdpNo=1740400&csid=_27

jmattern posted 04-06-2009 06:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmattern  Send Email to jmattern     
Thanks for the reply Jim. I was really looking for the ability to hear both the radio and all the ambient sounds that a single ear bluetooth earpiece would provide, as well as the light weight. Voice transmission is not an issue as I will just slow down and reply via the microphone. I have read that some manufactures are offering handheld VHF's with bluetooth capability, however I am looking for a method to retrofit my existing DSC VHF radio.
jimh posted 04-06-2009 06:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is a Bluetooth transceiver with inputs and outputs. This could be converted for your application:

I linked to a vendor because I couldn't find much on the manufacturer's website. Again, the problem here will be powering the base unit.

jmattern posted 04-06-2009 07:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmattern  Send Email to jmattern     
At first look this seems just what I was looking for, however, take a look at this review. It seems there is a problem [in establishing a Bluetooth pairing to other devices that lack a] keyboard [which is needed to enter the passkey for Bluetooth pairing]. Why this is a problem with a hard wired input I am not sure. What do you think?
jimh posted 04-07-2009 12:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am not endorsing the Motorola device as I don't have any experience with it. Motorola is usually a reliable manufacturer. It also appears to be the only Bluetooth transceiver base unit of its kind. After reading that review, it appears that using the Motorola Bluetooth transceiver might be problematic with some other Bluetooth devices which can't pair well with it.

As I suggested in my initial response, if you really want to integrate your VHF marine radio with a Bluetooth headset, it is probably easiest to get a VHF radio that already has a Bluetooth interface.

Chuck Tribolet posted 04-07-2009 10:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
How about a remote speaker on the console rail? I hose clamped
a little 2" (if it's even that big) West Marine speaker to
the top of the console rail. I have no problem hearing it
at speed.

Also, do be sure that bluetooth base unit is compatible with
speaker level outputs. They are usually compatible with
headset outputs which are a good deal lower power. A speaker
level output will likely fry the unit.


chopbuster posted 04-07-2009 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster  Send Email to chopbuster     
Some of us don't require any headset for the sounds of silence out on big blue.

Turn off the non-safety related crapola technology and you'd be amazed at what you don't hear.

jimh posted 04-08-2009 08:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
SONY makes a Bluetooth transceiver unit: ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1& productId=11035425

BellBoyBob posted 04-12-2009 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for BellBoyBob  Send Email to BellBoyBob     
I use Standard Horizon's powered external speaker mounted on my helm box for listening to radio trnsmissions at speed. The main radio is mounted in the cabin. The speaker is quite loud and clear-toned. I also found that the SH RAM mic has a speaker which is very loud as well. Both can be heard over all ambient noise on my boat. This might be the solution to yet another ancillary device.


Tom Hemphill posted 04-13-2009 08:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom Hemphill    
Another approach is to carry a portable VHF marine radio on your hip, with an external speaker/microphone clipped to your collar. Police officers and firefighters operate in high noise environments this way.
jimh posted 04-13-2009 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This particular discussion is focused on finding a solution to the problem of hearing a radio receiver's audio over ambient noise on a boat moving at high speed that involves listening to the radio audio on a Bluetooth headset. I am sure the advice to find other ways to listen to a radio is well intentioned, but it is really not of much help in solving the problem of connecting an existing radio to a Bluetooth transceiver so that its audio can be received on a Bluetooth headset.
Chuck Tribolet posted 04-13-2009 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
But the discussion of alternatives demonstrates that you don't
need a bunch of (relatively) expensive, non-marine-grade,
bluetooth HW to accomplish the task at hand.

Anybody seen a bluetooth headset rated JIS-7?


pglein posted 04-23-2009 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
I could only find one VHF radio with bluetooth capability, and it was a handheld.

I have been wondering myself about a one-ear bluetooth (or other wireless) headset that would allow me to listen to the radio quietly on my 36' trawler so that my guests and companions can chat, listen to music, and generally enjoy themselves, while I monitor VTS and Channel 16.

jimh posted 04-23-2009 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Standard-Horizon has the model GX5000S which is compatible with their BU-1 Bluetooth unit, BH-2 headset and CAB-2 charger, creating a Bluetooth option for a fixed mount radio. ProdCatID=83&encProdID=5B419F5BA5AD1E77D34FBFBF836F8D44&DivisionID=3& isArchived=0

You can also get the Bluetooth option on the GX5500S radio, an even more feature-packed model.

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