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Boating Communication Systems Comparison

Boating Communication Systems Comparison - Eartec UltraLITE, Eartec Simultalk 24G, Eartec Comstar, My Team Talks

Boating Communication Systems:

Have you ever wished there was a better way to communicate with each other or with multiple people while on your boat?  Having a good hands-free way to communicate while docking, anchoring or doing your mooring approach can make boating much less stressful.  Imagine no more yelling over the wind/engine noise or using hand signals to communicate on your boat.  A full-duplex system is where each person can speak simultaneously and everyone can speak and hear each other at the same time.  For a two-way system, it is like talking on the telephone.  Each person can speak and hear the other person at the same time.

There exist communication systems that are designed specifically for the boating environment with great features like a headset that wraps around the back of your head/neck so when you lean over to work with a line, the headset doesn't fall off into the water or crash onto the deck.  There are noise canceling headsets for power boats or other noisy boating environments.  It really depends on what your needs are and a system can be designed to accommodate your specific requirements.

Here is a table that describes some different communication systems that I believe make boating more enjoyable and less stressful.

 

Company

Model

Full Duplex

Range

Battery Information

Belt Pack

Wind Noise

Interference

Headset Options

Warranty

My Team Talks

 

Full Duplex up to a 4-way system

900 meters / 980 yards in open terrain

Battery Lasts: 10 hours, 7 days on Standby; Battery Type: Lithium polymer battery

Charge Time: 2.5 hrs via USB cable

NO Belt Pack required

Boom microphone position can be adjusted, built-in noise cancellation and wind noise reduction

Uses Bluetooth 3.0 so no interference

Single lightweight headset design (wraps around the back of your head/neck)

2-year limited warranty

Eartec

UltraLITE Full Duplex

 NEW as of 10/26/2016

Replacing the Simultalk 24G System

Full Duplex for a 2, 3 or 4-Way system

Up to 400 yards

Battery Lasts: 6.0 Hrs

Battery Type: Li-ion 3.7 V 800 mAh 3.0 Wh

Charge Time: 3 hrs to gain a full charge

NO Belt Pack required; Electronics are in the headset.

Noise-canceling microphone

None experienced

2 different headsets to choose from

Headsets: 1-year Batteries: 30 days; 

Eartec

Simultalk 24G - Eartec Discontinued  OUT OF STOCK PERMANENTLY as of 8/3/17

2-way system is Full Duplex,

3 or 4-way system is NOT Full Duplex

Up to 150 yards

Battery Lasts: 4.5 hrs (full duplex mode), 8.0 hrs switching to standby mode;

Battery Type: Ni-MH 700mAh / 4.8V

Charge Time: 10 hrs to gain a full charge

Electronics are in the Belt Pack and the headset plugs into the Belt Pack

Most headsets have Foam microphone cover, or you can re-position the lapel microphone

None experienced

Many different headsets to choose from

Radios: 6 months Headsets: Cyber, Loop, Ear Bud - 30 days;  Monarch - 6 months;  Ultra Double - 1 year 

Eartec

Comstar All-In-One

Full Duplex up to an 8-way system

Up to 800 yards

Headset Battery: Li-ion battery (CS-800LI), lasts up to 10 hrs.

Base Station Battery: Ni-MH (CC2200NI), lasts up to 5-6 hrs. - comes with 2 batteries

Charge Time: 4 hrs to gain a full charge

NO Belt Pack required; Com-Center Base Station required

Foam microphone cover

None experienced

3 different headset options

1-year limited warranty (ComCenter Base Station, All-In-One Headsets)

Eartec

Comstar Compak

Full Duplex up to an 8-way system

Up to 800 yards

Headset/Compak Belt Pack Battery: Li-ion battery (CS-800LI), lasts up to 10 hrs.

Base Station

Battery: Ni-MH (CC2200NI), lasts up to 5-6 hrs. - comes with 2 batteries.

Charge Time: 4 hrs to gain a full charge

Belt Packs are required AND Com-Center Base Station required

Most headsets have Foam microphone cover, or you can re-position the lapel microphone

None experienced

Many different headsets to choose from

Compak Belt Pack: 1-year Headsets: Cyber - 30 days; Monarch, SlimLine Single - 6 months

 

 

The above communication systems  provide a solution for the following situations and environments: 

These communication systems are also used for:

The My Team Talks Headset system is a system that can be used with 2-4 people in a full-duplex environment. Each headset is sold individually and comes with the headset, boom microphone, mini microphone, a USB power and data cable, a stereo audio cable and a set of rubber ear pads.  A minimum of two headsets is required to make a system.  The headset uses Bluetooth 3.0 technology for the intercom mode which allows you to communicate between headsets.  The My Team Talks Headsets do NOT require any cell phone service in order for the headsets to communicate with each other.  The headset weighs about 4.25 ounces and all the electronics are built into the headset. These headsets sit comfortably on your ears and have a headband that wraps around the back of your head/neck.  The controls are located on the left earpiece.  There is a speaker for both the left and right ear.  There is a volume control that allows you to adjust the volume so you can hear in whatever environment that you are in.  The boom microphone can be adjusted so that others can hear you speak clearly.  These headsets do not need any other equipment to communicate with each other.  You can use these headsets to listen to music and you can even pair up the headset with the Bluetooth on your cell phone and answer your cell phone calls while it is safely stored below deck.  This system does NOT use any belt pack and there are no wires to get caught on stays or other boat equipment.  These headsets can be configured to work with up to four headsets so you can have four individuals communicating in a full-duplex environment without having any buttons to push.  All four people can speak and hear each other at the same time.  To charge up the My Team Talks Headsets you plug the USB power cable into the headset and then you will need an adapter converting the USB end to either a 12-Volt adapter or an AC adapter.  The 12-Volt adapter or AC adapter are NOT included.

The Eartec UltraLITE system is NEW and is the replacement for the Eartec Simultalk 24G system. The UltraLITE headsets are breakthrough full duplex wireless headsets that provide hands-free, two-way voice communications. At the heart of these systems is a specialty "Master" headset that relays the digital signals generated by up to three "Remote" units. The resulting open line talking pattern allows up to 4 people to talk simultaneously without pushing buttons. All of the electronics and even the battery are contained within the headsets themselves.  There are no belt packs with this system.  The headsets come with one (Single Headset) or two (Double Headset) ear cups depending on your preference. Each headset has a noise-canceling boom microphone and it can be worn on either the left or right ear. When the boom microphone is in the "UP" position, this mutes the microphone.

The most popular system my customers purchased was the Eartec Simultalk 24G 2-Way systemEartec DISCONTINUED the Simultalk 24G 2-Way and is OUT OF STOCK PERMANENTLY as of 8/3/17. This is a cost-effective system that allows boaters to communicate easily in a full-duplex environment.  This allows both people to speak and hear the other person at the same time.  There are no buttons to push once you have the radios set up which is really easy to do.  There is a Master Radio and a Remote Radio.  These radios are water resistant but are NOT waterproof.  The nice thing about the Eartec Simultalk 24G system is that there are many different options for headsets if you want to customize your system.  The system comes with the Cyber Headset which is a very lightweight headset (less than 1.25 Ounces) that wraps around the back of your head/neck and is very comfortable.  You don't even realize the headset is on your head.  The Cyber Headset design is great for boating because the band goes around the back of your head/neck so it is not going to fall off as you are bending over, tending to lines or other items. The Cyber Headset has only one speaker which is on the left side.  If someone wears a hearing aid in their left ear, this may not be a good headset choice.  There are many other Eartec headsets that are available which can be used with the Eartec Simultalk 24G radios and can be chosen instead of the Cyber headset.  The cons to this system is that there is a separate radio/belt pack (Master and Remote) which the headset plugs into.  There is a wire running from the headset down to the radio. The radio/belt pack can be clipped to your waistband or you can stow it in a pocket.  Some folks don't like the wire because it can get caught on stays or lifelines or other items on your boat.  This really is a personal preference. Eartec has informed us in October 2016 that they are discontinuing the Simultalk 24G system. It is being replaced with the Eartec UltraLITE system.

The Eartec Simultalk 24G does offer a 3-Way and a 4-Way system but once you go beyond a 2-Way system, it is NO LONGER a full-duplex system.  Eartec DISCONTINUED the Simultalk 24G 3 and 4-Way systems and is OUT OF STOCK PERMANENTLY as of 8/3/17. If you are looking for a full-duplex system for 3 or 4 people, check out the My Team Talks Headset System or the Eartec UltraLITE system.  The Simultalk 24G 3-Way or 4-Way system does have applications where this setup still works well.  In each of these systems, there is a Master Radio and either two or three Remote radios depending on whether the system is set up as a 3-way or a 4-way system.  So for a 3-Way system, there is now a Master and two Remote radios (let's call them Remote1 and Remote2). Both Remote radios (Remote1 and Remote2) can hear the Master radio speak but the two Remote radios cannot hear each other since they are using the same frequency.  So both Remote radios could hear what the Master is saying but only the Master radio will be able to hear what each Remote radio is saying.  Only one Remote radio can speak to the Master radio at a time. So if Remote1 comes out of the Standby Mode into Transmit mode, the Master radio will be able to hear Remote1 speak.  The Remote2 radio will not be able to hear what Remote1 said, but Remote2 will be able to hear what the Master says to Remote1.  When Remote1 is done speaking, they should go into the Standby Mode so that if Remote2 needs to speak to the Master, Remote2 can now go into Transmit mode and speak with the Master radio. Eartec has informed us in October 2016 that they are discontinuing the Simultalk 24G system. It is being replaced with the Eartec UltraLITE system.

The Eartec Comstar system is a more sophisticated system that can to allow up to eight people to communicate simultaneously without any buttons to push.  There is a Com-Center base station that is the center of communication and the headsets will work up to 400 yards away from the base station in either direction so you can communicate and be up to 800 yards from each other.  There are two types of headset setups that can be used with this system. For the All-In-One headsets, there is a choice of three different headset options, which have all of the electronics built right into the headset.  The other option is to use the Comstar Compak belt pack which then has one of many different headset options that plugs into the belt pack.  The Comstar All-In-One headsets and the Comstar Compak headsets can be used together as part of up to eight systems that can communicate together.  This system is ideal where you know that you will need more than four people communicating in a full duplex environment.  It allows you to add additional headsets/users to the system at any time in the future.  The base station comes with an AC power cord or can be operated with Ni-MH batteries.  This system is very flexible and allows you to meet each individuals headset preference.

Please comment below in the "Comments" section if you have any questions or experience with any of these systems. I will respond to your comments so others will see the response.  If you use other communication systems, please let me know which system you use. Please be as specific as possible.

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