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Thread: Grass Cutting Headset

  1. #1

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    Grass Cutting Headset

    Can anyone recommend a setup so that we can listen out on the radio while cutting the grass on our field? Don't want our tractor driver to get landed on by mistake!

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    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahramin View Post
    Can anyone recommend a setup so that we can listen out on the radio while cutting the grass on our field? Don't want our tractor driver to get landed on by mistake!
    If you're using a handheld radio or scanner, I'd recommend Plugfones:

    https://www.plugfones.com/

    They combine foam ear plugs with ear buds. They also have silicone plugs (like earplugs for shooting).

    I use these in my aircraft, they do a nice job of letting you hear the radio (I use a handheld). Friend of mine uses them to listen to music while mowing his yard.

    Aircraft radios have 150-300 ohm impedance, almost all other devices require 8 ohm speakers so the plugfones should work.

    Ron Wanttaja

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    Thank you Ron. Is there a scanner or handheld you can recommend? We're starting from zero.

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    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahramin View Post
    Thank you Ron. Is there a scanner or handheld you can recommend? We're starting from zero.
    I don't have experience with a wide range of devices; I've got ICOM handhelds and a Uniden scanner.

    The scanner is cheaper (it doesn't transmit) but, frankly, there's a high bar in usability. Took me quite a while to just get the thing to listen to 122.8; it wanted to scan. I'm not THAT much of a luddite, but for some reason getting it set up was difficult for me. I keep it in my car as the airport requires us to be listening to the CTAF if we're driving on the taxiways.

    A handheld radio won't (shouldn't!) have that problem, as you input the frequency and that's what it listens to. As a plus, of course, it TRANSMITS as well. So if you're mowing and someone calls on short final, you can warn them that it'll be a minute or so until you're clear of the runway.

    But, of course, you're looking at higher prices for a handheld transceiver. Personally, for your application, I don't think the make/model will make that much difference. Find the cheapest one and buy it.

    Ron Wanttaja

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    Sporty's has a cheap PJ2 handheld radio with proper jacks, then just get a cheap ASA headset.

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    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    Sporty's has a cheap PJ2 handheld radio with proper jacks, then just get a cheap ASA headset.
    Keep in mind that, while the PJ2 has standard headphone jacks, the audio output is STILL listed as 8 ohms, rather than the standard 150-300 ohms of the aviation headset. The standard headset will work, it just means the audio output will be ~6 dB lower. See page 27 of:

    http://www.sportys.com/media/pdf/newpj2manual.pdf

    Depending on how loud the mower is, the volume to a standard headset may still be adequate.

    It's really kind of funny: General Aviation is the only entity that HASN'T switched to an 8-ohm standard. US Military did so in the '50s, but our headset and microphones are still compatible with the 1920s telephones they were derived from....

    Ron Wanttaja

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    MEdwards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    It's really kind of funny: General Aviation is the only entity that HASN'T switched to an 8-ohm standard. US Military did so in the '50s, but our headset and microphones are still compatible with the 1920s telephones they were derived from....
    Interesting, didnít know that. So, with the cheapest Sportyís handheld you could use the cheapest stereo headset you could find at Walmart, and it would work better than a Bose aviation model? Radio volume anyway, not noise canceling or reliability.
    Mike E

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    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MEdwards View Post
    Interesting, didn’t know that. So, with the cheapest Sporty’s handheld you could use the cheapest stereo headset you could find at Walmart, and it would work better than a Bose aviation model? Radio volume anyway, not noise canceling or reliability.
    Exactly. Using an aviation headset DOES work with these radios, but you'll see a 6-8 dB loss of audio power. OK if you're flying a Bonanza and are using a handheld in an emergency, not so good if you're trying to use a handheld in a noisy open-cockpit airplane.

    See my write-up for more information:

    http://www.bowersflybaby.com/tech/amplitude.html

    Ron Wanttaja

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    Quote Originally Posted by MEdwards View Post
    Interesting, didn’t know that. So, with the cheapest Sporty’s handheld you could use the cheapest stereo headset you could find at Walmart, and it would work better than a Bose aviation model? Radio volume anyway, not noise canceling or reliability.
    Mike E
    Considering it was designed to be used specifically with aviation headsets and has the customer reviews from pilots of old ragwings to support it, I would NOT say it would work better with a walmart headset. Using lower ohm speakers will boost volume, but that's because they draw excessive power from the amp. A quick google for "impedance mismatching" will teach you more than you've ever wanted to know.

    Could even be a typo in the manual from the real manufacturer that's used to building 8 ohm radios, or just a measurement standard like how 48 watts can be 12v@4a or 24v@2a.

  10. #10
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    Considering it was designed to be used specifically with aviation headsets and has the customer reviews from pilots of old ragwings to support it, I would NOT say it would work better with a walmart headset.
    Whether a headset with a mismatched impedance is adequate or not depends on the user. I had a Flightcom ANR headset in my Fly Baby for years (Icom radio). Worked OK. As the years went on, the radio seemed to be getting quieter. My hearing going? My headset deteriorating? Either was possible.

    But adding a $3 Radio Shack transformer as an impedance matcher brought the volume back up again.

    Sure, those guys in ragwings might be happy with the straight headset. But they might be happier if they tried it with an impedance matcher. I fly one of them old ragwings, and am sure happier with my 8 ohm speakers or my impedance matcher.

    The neat thing is, this is easy (and cheap!) enough to test. Connect your aviation headset to the radio, lay the headset on the bench, turn on the radio, tune to an unused frequency, then turn up the squelch so you get a constant hiss. Then disconnect the aviation headset and plug in your commercial one. In my experience, the higher volume level with the commercial headset is immediately apparent.

    My winter headset is a Rapid Radios aviation headset that I modified by replacing the 300 ohm speakers with 8 ohm units.

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    Using lower ohm speakers will boost volume, but that's because they draw excessive power from the amp.
    No, I'm sorry... they draw MORE power from the amp (lower resistance!) but not "excessive" power. The specs for the Sporty PJ2 say:

    "Audio Output
    350 mW into 8 Ohms, 10%"

    It's *designed* to put a given power level into an 8 ohm load. That is not "excessive."

    Let's assume the radio is limited to 350 mW output. With an 8 ohm speaker attached, that's roughly 0.20 amps of current. With a 150 ohm speaker attached, that's 0.05 amps...a quarter of the current. The higher impedance speakers are going to have a harder time converting current to sound.

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    Could even be a typo in the manual from the real manufacturer that's used to building 8 ohm radios, or just a measurement standard like how 48 watts can be 12v@4a or 24v@2a.
    I'd have to have more evidence before assuming the published specs are incorrect.

    In any case, I doubt that *any* of these radios were designed from scratch. Little VHF radios are sold for a variety of purposes, and it's probably a minor change to put them into the aircraft band. In the old days, we'd just use a different set of crystals, but no doubt the kids have better ways of doing it.

    But it gets thornier when you reach the last stage of audio output. Every one of these radios has a speaker installed, and I'd be very, VERY surprised if they were anything but the 8 ohm units used in the Ham, police, and other VHF comm units sold by the company.

    So...if the same radio is also to be used with an 150 ohm aviation headset, it needs impedance matching. The question is whether the PJ2 includes a SEPARATE impedance matching section to handle the 1/4" output jack. I kind of doubt it, but I could be wrong.

    Just tested the adaptors for my ICOM ICA5 and IC23 radios. No sign of any internal circuitry... infinite resistance between the shell and the tip, and no resistance on any line from the plug at one end to the jack at the other. There's no impedance matching included. I really doubt other manufacturer's adaptors are any different.

    In any case...again, it's easy to do a sound test between the two types of headsets. Don't have to believe me....

    Ron Wanttaja

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