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I've used radios briefly and there's so much interference it's unreal. I used to use a Bluetooth comms set when riding motorbikes so thinking they might be worth while using. Anyone have any suggestions for the best way to keep in touch with fellow paramotorists while in the air?

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After a few years of flying I can summarize my own findings (I've tried everything)... Blue tooth is fantastic (if you're going to fly close with someone else with bluetooth). I have the SENA 20 which is very good. That said height seems to affect them more than distance but even so they are really only good up to about 400 yds!

2m Radios can work great, but I've always found them a bit shouty and you often have to repeat yourself, repeat yourself. They are not actually quite legal to use in the air either... but we all know which frequencies are 'OK'. Airband are typically more powerful but also not definitely not legal for us pikeys of the sky (unless you're RTF qualified). PMR are usually on cheaper handsets, or 2m style radios, but same issues as all radios (can be tricky to hear what's being said over engine/wind noise and interference).

Phone calls can work really well - depending upon how clear the connection is to your headset/distance from a tower! Texting on the fly also works just fine... but is obviously a bit distracting (remember to keep checking your immediate airspace). This can also be a pain in the ass on a cold day when you're in gloves. Also I find my iPhone annoyingly turns off if I have it out in the cold too long due to an old battery.

Semaphore is only good up to about 500m and the flags can end up in the prop if you're not careful.

Ironically ESP seems to work well for me. If you know the person/people you're flying with you generally know what each other are thinking or are up to. So I now go with a mix of this and a bit of Bluetooth and I seem to happily get by! If I do fancy a chat or need to mention something I just fly up to the other person with Bluetooth. Mind you that didn't help on Sunday when I had an engine out at 4K and couldn't tell anyone!

Lastly, I am definitely not an expert, there will be far wiser folk than me on this forum who may have had better luck with radios.

 

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On ‎29‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 08:27, Lee Jackson said:

After a few years of flying I can summarize my own findings (I've tried everything)... Blue tooth is fantastic (if you're going to fly close with someone else with bluetooth). I have the SENA 20 which is very good. That said height seems to affect them more than distance but even so they are really only good up to about 400 yds!

2m Radios can work great, but I've always found them a bit shouty and you often have to repeat yourself, repeat yourself. They are not actually quite legal to use in the air either... but we all know which frequencies are 'OK'. Airband are typically more powerful but also not definitely not legal for us pikeys of the sky (unless you're RTF qualified). PMR are usually on cheaper handsets, or 2m style radios, but same issues as all radios (can be tricky to hear what's being said over engine/wind noise and interference).

Phone calls can work really well - depending upon how clear the connection is to your headset/distance from a tower! Texting on the fly also works just fine... but is obviously a bit distracting (remember to keep checking your immediate airspace). This can also be a pain in the ass on a cold day when you're in gloves. Also I find my iPhone annoyingly turns off if I have it out in the cold too long due to an old battery.

Semaphore is only good up to about 500m and the flags can end up in the prop if you're not careful.

Ironically ESP seems to work well for me. If you know the person/people you're flying with you generally know what each other are thinking or are up to. So I now go with a mix of this and a bit of Bluetooth and I seem to happily get by! If I do fancy a chat or need to mention something I just fly up to the other person with Bluetooth. Mind you that didn't help on Sunday when I had an engine out at 4K and couldn't tell anyone!

Lastly, I am definitely not an expert, there will be far wiser folk than me on this forum who may have had better luck with radios.

 

I take it you would have to use what others are using to be of any use?

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Have anyone tested Sena with the RideConnected app? 
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sena.senatalk

"The RideConnected app offers Sena headset and helmet users an alternative to bluetooth intercom communication using their mobile network to communicate over any distance, and with more riders than ever before. No longer will riders be limited by range, but will now be able to connect with up to a virtually limitless amount of riders anywhere in the world as long as they are within LTE range of their mobile carrier. "...

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I use the Sena 30K. The mesh connection works great... it works by bouncing signal from one person to the next... it’s got a person to person range of 1.2km - so if there are 3 of you that’s 2.4km and if there are 5 of you, that’s 4.8k. 

You can also use Bluetooth as well... 

its a fiddly thing to install nice but I think it’s worth it... I’ve got a remote for it that sits on my reserve on my lap so I have all controls nice and convenient. 

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