REVIEW: BC Link 2-Way Radio for "Group" Communications

Dec 21, 2007
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Kalispell, MT
INTERFERENCE

for those of you interested in the interference with beacons, I reached out to MIKE DUFFY to do some testing and he reports the following findings.....

For those of you not familiar with MIKE, he does a ton of testing and product development for BCA.

Brock,
I ran some tests with the BCA Link to check interference. Conclusion: When searching have beacon a full arms length away from body, no bend in elbow. Don't have someone talking on radio when searching. Don't keep beacon close to belly when searching. Best to have radios off while searching or have persons searching have beacon full arms length from body. Don't talk on radios during search unless emergency.

Had a T2 with 98% battery life sitting on the ground with a BC Link in a pack 1' behind it. I measured out 200' and used a T3 with a Float Throttle on my back with a BC Link in the pack with smart mic on shoulder strap to see how it was affected in the following situations:

BC Links off: Search range of T3 was 164'. This is getting 3 steady screen read outs in a row.

BC Links on and in stand by. Search range of T3 was 150' when held about 8' out from waist. Search range of T3 was 159' when held out at arms length fully extended with no bend in elbow. Also got a search range of 169' when held 8' out from waist, but #'s on screen did not drop steadily until I got into the 40-50 meter range on the screen.

BC Link near T2 is keyed (talking) when searching with T3. Search range of T3 is 153', but screen stays on same # and does not steadily decrease until you get in the 30-40 meter range on the screen.

My BC Link radio off, BC Link radio on standby at T2. My arm fully extended. Search range of T3 is 165'. 2nd attempt, search range is 156', 3rd attempt search range is 156'

BC Link radios on standby, arm extended full length. Search range of T3 is 154' BC Link affected search range 6%


Mike Duffy
Avalanche1.com
Avalanche education for mountain riders.
 
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plumnuts

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If the BCA radios had in helmet speakers and microphone along with adjustable VOX... I would buy in an instant.... the Cardio intercom just don't have any range but the in helmet system with VOX is way cool.... we don't use them on sleds but do use them on our motorcycles... but when you have to spread way out due to dust they are worthless...
 

christopher

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Christopher how do these compare (in range) to the 530hcx rino that you have?

Where did you see these for $119.00 the link shows $149.00 when I looked them up.
These are 1 Watt radios.
The Rino is a 5 Watt Radio.

There is NO COMPARISON in dense trees or long range.
Right now the Rino wins.

Would love to know why BC chose not to offer a 5 watt channel.
 

christopher

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If the BCA radios had in helmet speakers and microphone along with adjustable VOX... I would buy in an instant.... the Cardio intercom just don't have any range but the in helmet system with VOX is way cool.... we don't use them on sleds but do use them on our motorcycles... but when you have to spread way out due to dust they are worthless...
Agreed.
So long as we are CLOSE TOGETHER and in about 300ft of each other, the Cardo is a BLAST to use.

VOX w/in helmet on the BC would be a big step forward.
 

dtown

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Mar 12, 2008
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I've had a VOX setup for sledding before. Doesn't work well in my opinion. If you set it so that WOT doesn't trigger the VOX, then you have to yell in the mic to get it to trigger. The VOX also has a lag time, so you'll have words or parts of words get cut off at the beginning or a pause during your speech (when gasping for air when riding hard).

I installed a pair of Tork helmet speakers in my helmet to use with the BCA Link headphone jack. This works awesome. You can hear someone call you when WOT, but you still don't have to turn it up way loud. Several in my group have this set-up and it works great. You cover a lot more ground and spend a whole lot less time searching when everyone in your group has the ability to let you know where they are and if they got stuck.

If you like earbuds and want a cheaper route, you can make a custom molded earbud for $10 using an existing set of earbuds. I tried this as well, and it works great. I just prefer the helmet speakers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnmwllxh_Xg

FYI - It doesn't really impact hear-ability, but the headphone output of the BCA is mono, so it will only transmit to one of the helmet speakers (or earbuds).
 

Missy

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I got to try out my new BC's this past weekend! I love that I can hear someone when I am riding. With my Rhino I cannot unless I am stopped!

I also love that it is so easy to respond.
 

christopher

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James42005

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for those of you interested in the interference with beacons, I reached out to MIKE DUFFY to do some testing and he reports the following findings.....

For those of you not familiar with MIKE, he does a ton of testing and product development for BCA.

Brock,
I ran some tests with the BCA Link to check interference. Conclusion: When searching have beacon a full arms length away from body, no bend in elbow. Don't have someone talking on radio when searching. Don't keep beacon close to belly when searching. Best to have radios off while searching or have persons searching have beacon full arms length from body. Don't talk on radios during search unless emergency.

Had a T2 with 98% battery life sitting on the ground with a BC Link in a pack 1' behind it. I measured out 200' and used a T3 with a Float Throttle on my back with a BC Link in the pack with smart mic on shoulder strap to see how it was affected in the following situations:

BC Links off: Search range of T3 was 164'. This is getting 3 steady screen read outs in a row.

BC Links on and in stand by. Search range of T3 was 150' when held about 8' out from waist. Search range of T3 was 159' when held out at arms length fully extended with no bend in elbow. Also got a search range of 169' when held 8' out from waist, but #'s on screen did not drop steadily until I got into the 40-50 meter range on the screen.

BC Link near T2 is keyed (talking) when searching with T3. Search range of T3 is 153', but screen stays on same # and does not steadily decrease until you get in the 30-40 meter range on the screen.

My BC Link radio off, BC Link radio on standby at T2. My arm fully extended. Search range of T3 is 165'. 2nd attempt, search range is 156', 3rd attempt search range is 156'

BC Link radios on standby, arm extended full length. Search range of T3 is 154' BC Link affected search range 6%


Mike Duffy
Avalanche1.com
Avalanche education for mountain riders.
I took one of Mike Duffy's avy classes in late November this year. We asked about the interference issues. Im pretty sure he told us that the BC Link was designed to NOT interfere with beacons/transceivers, or at least very minimal interference. He strongly recommended the BC Link. I guess its a matter of opinion if 6% is a lot or minimal. I know i would prefer zero, but we all know that any electrical device can cause at least some interference. It seemed to me his testing was from long range. I would like to see some testing on beacon accuracy, say, within 10 meters or less.

My entire group bought these these this year and am super excited to use them. Will do some of our own testing when they come in and will report.
 

Bergie

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Apr 28, 2013
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fdsa

My riding group and I all have BCA beacons.

This year BCA was nice enough to give me 4 BC link radios for a sponsorship.

We haven't had a chance to test them yet. But I plan on creating a video for on the BC Link radios.

THANK YOU, I didn't think about this originally. However, I will remember to include this subject in my video (maybe with a demonstration).

Please follow my youtube channel for an update! Link is below!
 

Drewd

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Feb 2, 2012
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For $39 you can get a Baofeng UV5R. You can get an all weather handset speaker mic for a little extra.

It has 4 watts output and covers FRS, GMRS, and 2m/70cm Ham Radio band. Because it has a removable antenna and power output exceeds 1/2 watt FRS limit, a license is required for non-ham band use and of course a Ham radio license needed for Ham Radio frequencies.

I have a pair and used them extensively during the summer ATVing. The work better than anything else I have tried other than a "real/namebrand" 2m radio such as Yaesu, Kenwood, or Icom.

The only way I'd buy the BCA radio is if BCA comes with a VOX with helmet speaker and mic similar to the Collet Communicator. I own 2 900mhz Collet communicators and they work ok but I really like the cost, range and capabilities of the Baofeng.

Looks like BCA is trying to repurpose a radio they designed for skiers.

KX1J
 
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Solarguy

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We have BCA link radios and they work great, I can hear a call even when on the throttle. Easy to use with gloves on and never in the way with mic on the shoulder of your pack. Very Impressed,
 

blastco2

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se idaho


i recommend this antenna
http://www.amazon.com/SunFounder-AN...id=1418604318&sr=8-3&keywords=baofeng+antenna

this speaker mic
http://www.amazon.com/Rainproof-Sho...F8&qid=1418604619&sr=8-9&keywords=baofeng+mic

or this one
http://www.amazon.com/BAOFENG-Speak...F8&qid=1418604882&sr=8-1&keywords=baofeng+mic

this setup also works well and is included with most of the baofeng radios
http://www.amazon.com/Earpiece-Head...8&qid=1418605177&sr=8-11&keywords=baofeng+mic

here is the radio with the extended battery. i think most people will not want to in vest the effort to learn how to operate/program/use this one.
http://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-Trans...e=UTF8&qid=1418605504&sr=1-7&keywords=baofeng

here is a 6 pack of bf888's. these and a programming cable will be everything you need to get started. these really are very good little radios. read some reviews... i own a small herd of these and can say that this is the real deal. these are simple to operate once they've been programmed. mostly idiot proof.
http://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-BF-88...e=UTF8&qid=1418606060&sr=1-9&keywords=baofeng

and the programming cable. be sure to order the ftdi cable.
http://www.amazon.com/Genuine-BaoFe...8&qid=1418606320&sr=1-5&keywords=baofeng+tech

the programming software can be found at miklor.com
look for "chirp". its free for the dl.
:cell:






For $39 you can get a Baofeng UV5R. You can get an all weather handset speaker mic for a little extra.

It has 4 watts output and covers FRS, GMRS, and 2m/70cm Ham Radio band. Because it has a removable antenna and power output exceeds 1/2 watt FRS limit, a license is required for non-ham band use and of course a Ham radio license needed for Ham Radio frequencies.

I have a pair and used them extensively during the summer ATVing. The work better than anything else I have tried other than a "real/namebrand" 2m radio such as Yaesu, Kenwood, or Icom.

The only way I'd buy the BCA radio is if BCA comes with a VOX with helmet speaker and mic similar to the Collet Communicator. I own 2 900mhz Collet communicators and they work ok but I really like the cost, range and capabilities of the Baofeng.

Looks like BCA is trying to repurpose a radio they designed for skiers.

KX1J
 
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blastco2

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thanks for adding the picture!

just to be clear, the bf888 comes with a very good little uhf antenna. there would be no help in ordering the above antenna for this radio. the antenna in the link will only be worth ordering for the uv5r radio.
 
Oct 21, 2008
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flat lander MN
just tossing it out .we got 4 rca BR250 with mic this yr .first week of use was last week. they work great have mic clipped and zip tied to pack strap.
if hard on gas cant get full message but can hear talking. have to let off and say come again. if just mid gas u can get full message.
they work over a good distance never lost contact. even when both parties are at the bottom of diff sides of the mountain
I was kind of disappointed after they arrived when I saw the bac and the cost of them.
but after use I am no longer regretting. I guess once I set channel and volume for the day no need to adjust .and after use I can see where channel adjust on mic could be a issue
 

blastco2

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the bca is a good idea... but, like a lot of things, there are less expensive solutions that work just as good or sometimes better. for those that don't mind spending the cash and don't want to fool around with programming, bca is a good way to go.


Posted from Snowestonline.com App for Android
 

cateye5312

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the bca is a good idea... but, like a lot of things, there are less expensive solutions that work just as good or sometimes better. for those that don't mind spending the cash and don't want to fool around with programming, bca is a good way to go.


Posted from Snowestonline.com App for Android
I've tried about every 'low cost' solution known to man, including cutting up and installing earphones and mics in our helmets. I've used several different brands of FRS/GMRS radios including Motorola and Garmin Rinos among others. I never could find one that the VOX would work properly on when WOT or one that had a decent easy to use PTT button. I never really found one that I felt was satisfactory.

I now have the BCA Links and they are hands down better than anything I've tried before. I will be getting helmet speakers and a helmet mike eventually ( they take a 2.5 mm plug in and the one I already have is smaller). The only problem with them that I see is the preset channel selector. Contrary to an earlier post, it is pretty easy to accidentally change channels and lose contact with your group. I will either tape the selector down so it can't move or set all of the presets to the same channel.
 
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