My quest for a Radio System
The result of my last race was really hurt due to my lack of a radio system in the car.
Basically the race was off to a great start but towards the end of the first half of the race, my front left tire began slowly losing air. Because I did not have a proper radio system in the car, I had no way to warn my co-driver that we would need to change a tire during our driver change. This meant I was on my own until Alex figured out what was going on. This made for a painfully SLOW tire change!
Ultimately this slow change forced us to restart the race in last place instead of in the top 5 or 6 where we finished the first half of the race.
I avoided having more than just a radio scanner in the car because I thought it would be overkill in this low-budget type of racing. I was wrong. If I had had a radio, the race would have ended a lot differently for us. The night I got home from the track I started to look into radio systems.
After a lot of research, I found a company called Rugged Radios. They offered really affordable systems that had a lot of features compared to some of the other radio systems out there. For example, the ability to change antennas was important to me because I may want to use a different antenna for longer range in the future.
I reached out to Rugged Radios and told them about what happened in my last race and what I thought my radio needs would be. They generously helped me put together a system that would work for me and were patient in answering a lot of my novice questions.
They have incredibly fast shipping – the next day I was greeted by a big box:
With all kinds of good stuff:
The system included two of their RH-5R radios:
A (green) headset for the pit. This headset is awesome – it fits great so it will block out all the track noise, has a built in PTT button and volume control. It also has a 2nd audio input so you can plug in a a receiver to hear race control.
All the cables the connect everything together
The system has all the cables to connect the radios to the headset and for the driver includes a nice microphone boom that easily installs into your helmet. This helmet kit has a jack for your earbuds to plug into. This all goes out via an IMSA plug. The kit also includes a car harness that connects to the radio and splits out to a female IMSA plug (to connect to your helmet) as well as a PTT button to mount on your steering wheel..
The helmet kit was really easy to install. I just used a bit of Velcro to hold the female jack in place. The mic boom was also very easy to install. I used more Velcro between the padding in my helmet to hold it in place. Works great!
My only regret is waiting this long to finally get a radio system. There are so many benefits to having a system:
- Will improve my pre-race communication – it’s loud during our lineup and with a helmet on, even harder to hear what my crew is saying.
- I now can have a spotter helping me before and during the race.
- I can ask questions – for example, “The car is handling weird, how do my tires look?”
- Communicate any other problems, like in the last race, the need for a tire change.
A big thank you Rugged Radios for providing me with a great radio system and great advice. Even if your race budget is low, having good radio communications can make a massive difference to your race!
Thank you to TrakkTape – Great product for protecting my car on track!
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