Smartphone-based intercom setup for bike touring

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  • It looks like there are quite a few dedicated Bluetooth/radio intercom setups out there, for local communication over tens/hundreds of meters while bike touring/motorbiking etc. However these seem to be quite expensive and overlook the fact that most riders are going to have a smartphone on them anyway.

    It would seem that an ideal low-cost touring intercom setup might include a Bluetooth earpiece and/or handlebar trigger button that activated some sort of intercom functionality via a paired smartphone, with audio then transmitted to a group/channel via Bluetooth or the phone's data network.

    Does anyone have any tips to share regarding this sort of setup and/or devices/apps that might provide it? Or any general tips for low-cost touring voice comms, if I should think outside the box some more? Shouting is always an option, but I feel it could be improved upon.


  • Having sped off or been dropped before while touring and ended up miles apart I can sort of see a need for this. Guess anything using data / signal or phones would have limitations in the situations you really might need it: i.e middle of nowhere. Good question!

  • Having sped off or been dropped before while touring and ended up miles apart

    Have used whatsapp when that happens. Messages then voice calls when the messages go unanswered. Can recommend solo tours :)

  • We always take walkie-talkie once going for the hiking trips around mountains. If you invest in a good one eBay purchase and programme it so it can communicate with other walkie-talkies and you are good to go.

  • yeah, being dropped out in the middle of nowhere while touring. I'm not getting subtle hint maybe :)

  • Just to relate that I ended up buying a pair of Baofeng BF-T1 mini PMR radios (like these) and having had a chance to do some on-bike testing with the included headset I can confirm they are excellent and will certainly do the job. Can be had for less than a tenner each, too!

    For anyone looking to go down the same route, it's necessary to buy the programming cable (included in the link above) and you'll then need to use the included software (or Chirp, a third-party app) to upload the definitions for the 16 license-exempt "PMR446" channels to the unit(s). Once that's done you should be able to communicate with anyone using PMR446.

    Good luck!

  • Does the FM radio work?

    I always thought it'd be a good idea to have a (communication) radio that doubles up as an AM radio if you're camping somewhere remote. Once it goes dark there's not a lot to do

    Problem with FM is you won't get a signal if you're somewhere remote.

  • It does! I only tested briefly but was able to pick up Radio 1 inside my flat. If you're out of doors I reckon they'd be quite fine, deep valleys and whatnot excepted. The flashlight's actually quite passable too!

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Smartphone-based intercom setup for bike touring

Posted by Avatar for BigglesZX @BigglesZX