Should I keep my hand mic plugged in?

You just got your new Ultimate package installed in your UTV. As you go through some of the extra parts in the box, you notice the hand mic hanging out there. Your radio connects to your intercom so it may seem like you don't really need to bring along the extra parts, but we have some points for you to consider about that!

We understand that you will be wearing headsets or helmets (both of which have microphones built in) while you are riding.  The hand mic comes into use when you are stopped, resting, waiting or making a repair and you don’t have your helmet/headset on your head.  You can simply plug the hand mic into the front of your radio and communication with your friends or help is much easier.

That said, we DO NOT recommend you leaving your hand mic plugged into the radio at all times. Every time that you push your push to talk button on the steering wheel/grab bar the hand mic will be activated in addition to the helmet/headset mic.  This will introduce unwanted background noise into the system.  Simply keep your hand mic in a tool bag or storage area until it is needed; and you will be happy that you have it with you. 

We also recommend keeping the mic jack cover installed on your radio when you don't have your hand mic plugged in. This helps keep dust and water out of the inside of the radio. Lost your mic jack cover? Buy a replacement here

Microphone Placement

Most people don't know, but microphone placement is one of the single most important components of your communication system. At PCI, we use noise canceling microphones that are specially designed to pick up your voice - not your engine, wind or shock noise. For the microphone to best determine what noise is what, the mic literally needs to be touching your lips. If you are having a hard time hearing anyone over the radio, ask them "how far away from your lips is that microphone?" If their answer isn't, "It's touching my lips!" then it is too far. When a co-driver has a microphone that is too far from their mouth, drivers will often turn up their volume, introducing other noise into the intercom system.

Always have the microphone centered left to right and top to bottom directly in front of your mouth and project your voice directly at the microphone. This is even more important for soft spoken people and children. DON'T YELL! You should never have to yell into your microphone, in fact yelling or excitement often makes you even harder to understand. Try to remain calm (which can be tough in a race environment), relax, take a deep breath, know what you want to say before you begin speaking, and clearly talk out, directly into the microphone.

These tips apply to anyone with a helmet or headset, get some mic socks and get comfy with your microphone - it will make the person on the other end of the radio a much happier person!

PCI Race Radios Helmet Microphone Options

 

PCI Race Radios carries a selection of microphones for your helmet. Upgrade your helmet to one of our noise cancelling microphones for the best in communication.

 

Standard Low Gain Microphone

This Microphone is the standard on all helmets and headsets. Our low gain microphone was designed to work with intercom systems.

Standard High Gain Microphone

Utilized in our "Motorcycle" and "Short Course" Packages, this high gain microphone increases voice volume over hand held radios.

 

Extreme Microphone 

This low gain microphone is a military spec mic ideal for extremely loud exhaust. It's a must for open window vehicles with a V8. Made in the USA.

 

Gentex High Gain Microphone

This small, compact, military microphone is ideal for helmets using a hand held radio. (Short course, motorcycles) Made in the USA.

Gentex Low Gain Microphone

This small, compact, military microphone has a low gain modification and works best with loud exhaust. A must for use with a PCI Satcomm system. Made in the USA.

 

In Summary, here are the uses and microphones we recommend:

  • Intercom in a UTV with stock, quiet exhaust = Standard Low Gain Mic.
  • Intercom in a vehicle with Loud exhaust, V8 = Extreme Mic
  • Hand Held radio on a quiet bike or car = Standard High Gain Mic
  • Hand Held radio in a race vehicle = Gentex High Gain Mic
  • Intercom in a vehicle with loud exhaust, V8 that would like smaller mic pellet and all Satcomm = Gentex Low Gain Microphone 

The truth about CFM

Fresh Air systems in the racing industry are measured in CFM because that's the number printed on the fan. That number may be accurate at the business end of the fan out of the box, but a lot more comes into play when you add a housing, ports, hoses, how it's mounted and how the hoses are run.

Different motors and housings create different torque and will more effectively push air through a hose and into your helmet.

Part Velocity (ft/min)
RaceAir Boost 3200-3600
RaceAir Max SingleDual and Quad 2700-3200
RaceAir Flow Single 2400-2800
RaceAir Lite 1600-1800
RaceAir Mini 1200
Competitors M3 3000-3600

All numbers above are measured using a digital anemometer at the end of a 6' RaceAir hose. The range is due to different angles/bends of the hose we tested during the study. Keep in mind when mounting your RaceAir hoses, several bends will decrease airflow. RaceAir Mini number is measured at the output as it is mounted directly on the helmet without a hose.

Proper Antenna Mounting

A bad coaxial cable or an improperly mounted antenna can restrict two-way radio range from miles to feet. 

Mounting your antenna properly determines the range of your two-way radios. Radios transmit the most range with a ground plane and our 3db gain racing antenna. An aluminum roof with an antenna mounted in the center - with no obstructions (roof rack, light bar) 18" in every direction will provide the farthest range.

If you have a roof rack, light bar, you are mounting to a tube or roll cage and will not have a "ground plane" for your antenna - you need to exchange your 3db gain racing antenna for a "No Ground Plane Antenna."

If you have a roof rack - always mount your antenna at the highest point of the roof rack and use our No Ground Plane Antenna.

No Roof? Pick a spot in the middle of the vehicle. The intersection of tubing can help act as a ground plane. Mounting the antenna to a corner triangle tab, using our No Ground Plane antenna will work best.

Do not run radio coax and intercom helmet cables in the same wire loom. RF can bleed over when transmitting, putting noise into the system. Never run coax or radio power cables near MSD or other ignition equipment. They create noise! If the coax is close to the MSD, the RF bleed can be so powerful it can actually turn the vehicle off!

When tie wrapping the coax to the frame, be gentle! Do not crush the coax. If your coax looks flattened, kinked, frayed or worn, replace it. A $29.95 part can ruin thousands of dollars you have invested in a great communications system.