sail-world.com -- Stop shouting and get headsets - that work!
Stop shouting and get headsets - that work!
Wed, 6 Mar 2013
Good communication is crucial on board, and If you've ever tried to converse with someone at the helm when there's a dodger in the way or when the wind is blowing, you'll appreciate this new headset from Eartec, the Simultalk 24G.
It features a full duplex system, which allows the crew to converse simultaneously with no buttons to push and no delay. It's not voice activated—just simply turn it on and talk. The system includes deluxe padded headsets and Comstar belt packs that weigh only 2.5 ounces.
Here Karen & Jeffrey Siegel of interactive cruising guide ActiveCaptain fame tell about their experiences with headsets and how they ended up with Eartec:
One of the very best purchases we've ever made has been the acquisition of headsets for docking, undocking, and anchoring situations. We have become so dependent on easy, reliable communication that we purchased a second set a few years ago just in case one fell overboard or broke.
Over the years we've used them for so many other things as well - fuel filling so one person can watch the site glass while the other is pumping; running wires and plumbing through bulkheads; etc.
Since 2003 we've been using the toy models - you've seen them in use by many boaters. Today they're called the Mariner 500 and are offered by Cruising Solutions. The entire unit sits on your head and has almost fallen overboard a few times. They are also very difficult to use in windy situations.
Over the years we've noticed more and more interference with the Mariner 500's. At first we started picking up AM radio stations. But more recently we experienced very serious noise making the headsets a failure for use.
Yelling is just not an option for the married couple who intends to both stay married and stay cruising. Something had to be done.
The first step was to identify the problem. We knew the interference was coming from our own boat because we were experiencing it at remote anchorages. We installed a lot of new electronics over the last year so that was the obvious thing to check first. None of the built-in chartplotters, autopilots, AIS, VHF, or any other normal electronics caused any interference. One by one we turned on and off each item.
It turns out that the major interference is coming from the various power supplies from all of the different tablets that we use. iPhones and Android phones don't seem to have any problem. iPads were pretty good. But Android tablets and especially certain 12v-to-USB adapters and a variety of AC adapters spew out incredible noise. So we started doing a dance of turning off certain items whenever we used the headsets.
It was annoying but OK.
Two months ago we were getting out the headsets from their drawer and the head brace had been pushed in too far. Pulling it out ended up pulling apart the entire unit with wires dangling out. The spare set was pulled out only to find that the batteries were dead.
We realized it was time to get an adult set of headsets.
Understanding the interference issue, we looked around for models with much higher frequency support. We also wanted ones that had different ear/headpiece models for difficult situations and we wanted a set that wouldn't have a chance of falling in the water. Having them rechargeable was on our nice-to-have but not required list.
Our search found the Eartec Simultalk 24G. It uses 2.4 GHz, clips onto a belt for secure use, and has a variety of headpiece options including a full headphone model. They're even rechargeable. So we bought a pair.
We threw everything we had at these headsets and they are wonderful. We haven't been able to generate any noise although actually using the microwave for cooking can create a hum (we had to hunt to find that).
We have heard that there is confusion about how they are worn. Wearing them incorrectly will lead to a less than perfect experience.
We must admit that we were also confused and wore them incorrectly the first few times making us think we needed a different type of headset.
They certainly need to put a picture in the instructions.
First, let us say that after using them heavily for several months now we like the headsets very much and find them comfortable. They are thin making them lightweight and cool to wear and when worn properly they stay securely on our heads. The confusion is in where to position the wrap around portion of the headset. Our first instinct was to place it over the top of our head in the same fashion as our old headsets. But this doesn't work at all.
The correct way to wear them is to place the wrap around portion around the back of your neck with the circular earpiece over your left ear and the microphone coming from the left side. The small piece on your right side adjusts against your right cheek holding the headsets securely in place. You can see a picture above from The Matelot's blog cruising on Circe
EarTec does make several other options for headsets which we had considered but after using ours for several weeks we found that the standard headsets work great in all conditions without the added bulk of the other styles.
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