UTV Product Reviews

Wireless Intercom Product Review

Wireless Helmet Kit Review

Wireless Helmet Kit
Hands Free Communication at King of the Hammers

By Jon Crowley,UTVGuide.net

This year’s King of the Hammers UTV race was my sixth. King of the Hammers has always been a test of man and machine, but last year, Dave Cole, owner of King of the Hammers & Ultra4 Racing, pushed the difficulty level to such an extreme that only three UTVs finished (less than 10%).

I was the driver in 2013, and experienced first-hand how hard it was to communicate with my co-dog Blake. He was setup with a handheld radio that was wired into his helmet.  Although he was mobile, there were a few very big drawbacks to this scenario:

  1. Not hands-free. Blake had to use one of his hands to talk with me.

  2. We had to transmit via radio just to talk. Even in the car!

In 2014, Blake and I switched seats and we were both eager to make communication easier. While at the 2013 Sand Sports Super Show, I stopped by Rugged Radios to learn more about their wireless helmet kits. After getting the low down on the bluetooth capabilities from Nick and Lance, I knew this was a must-have for King of the Hammers.

The Rugged Radios wireless helmet conversion has two main components:

  1. Wireless Intercom Adaptor Box
    Wireless Intercom Adaptor Box
     

  2. Headset / Helmet Kit adaptor box
    Headset / Helmet Kit adaptor box

The installation is pretty straightforward.  The Wireless Intercom Adaptor Box is mounted in the vehicle  connected to 12 volt power and ground. Then it is connected to the intercom via 5-Pin Intercom Cable. You can also plug your hard-wired helmet cable into the adapter and run that back so you can run either wireless or hard-wired.

The Helmet Kit adaptor box is either clipped onto your clothing, or I actually used velcro to mount it directly to my helmet.  Your existing helmet communication plug goes directly into the adaptor box. If your car is hard-wired to the intercom as well, it is as easy as swapping plugs.

To fire up the system, there are a few steps to pair the Wireless Intercom Adaptor Box to the Helmet Kit adaptor box.  This only has to be done the first time the system is used. From then on, it is as simple as turning on the helmet adaptor and waiting a few seconds for the unit to connect up via bluetooth.

Hands Free Communication
Talking with Driver While Winching – Hands Free!

On race day at the 2014 King of the Hammers UTV Race, I used the hard-wired setup for the first 52 miles until we hit the main pit.  The rock crawling sections were coming up and I wanted to be ready. We broke a front axle at the bottom of Aftershock and limped up Aftershock and Highway 19/20 in three-wheel drive until we got to the pit.  We probably winched 10 times, plus guiding through the rocks with hands-free communication worked great.

This system is key for any race situation where the co-dog needs to be out of the vehicle like King of the Hammers. I don’t see it being necessary for short course or desert racing.

Pros:

  • Hands-free! If your co-dog needs to be out of the car, this is invaluable
  • Long battery life
  • Easy installation
  • Easily transmit to the pits from outside the vehicle with push-to-talk button

Cons:

  • Expensive – the kit is $800
  • Intercom takes a split second longer to queue up so Blake would miss part of the first word sometimes.
  • Helmet adapter is a little bulky

More pictures and detail from the race: 1919 KOH Race Recap

Contact Info:

Rugged Radios

Website:  www.ruggedradios.com

Phone: (888)541-7223

Direct Link:Wireless Helmet Conversion Kit

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