Saturday, 21 November 2009

RT kit

I am blogging less, as sitting here is bad for my back...and I want to save that for when it is less windy!

But while not flying I have been thinking about communications. Buying RT kit is a nightmare of variables and expense. First you need the right radio, then, they will tell you, an interface (at a further couple of hundred pounds), then headphones....the whole lot costing easily £600 or so. - and no two pieces of kit necessarily automatically compatible with each you have to think well ahead. Well, here I tried to think outside the box, and with friends' advice, concluded that an SSDR pilot is really a slightly scaled up paramotor pilot, so I don't need an interface. I just need paramotoring headphones with a two pin plug which connects straight to a radio.

I have bought a second hand, but very well regarded Icom IC-A22E and after a very great deal of to and froing, bought an ex-demo pair of Microavionics headphones, with side tone (so you can hear your own voice transmitting - therefore no need to shout) and with a year's guarantee and the assurance that any mods or alterations to be done by the manufacturers will be FoC! That great deal comes from Alan Thomson, a fellow teacher, as it happens.

RT comes in at well under £300, even having bought a charger from ICOM, which is quite a result! I haven't transmitted yet, but enjoyed monitoring Lizzie's radio calls when she was doing circuits a couple of weekends ago.

And along the way I have made a new mate, Steve Taft, who responded to my Mayday on the BMAA forum and has provided reassuring and sensible advice. And while most others responded by offering to sell me something, Steve offered the loan of some of his kit to experiment with and decide what sort of set-up I really want. I didn't take him up on his offer, but what a generous one it was.

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