Forget the yelling. Today’s technology allows you to communicate with your crew during critical anchoring or docking maneuvers using wireless communications. Here’s a good, better, best look at what’s on the market.
TriSquare Model TSX300
Our Take: “Good” — Fully featured with more stuff than you’ll need, but useful for 100 clams. Includes four National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration channels and their “frequency hopping” technology that allows for billions of possible channels. If you’re in a marina or harbor that uses interfering ultrahigh frequency (UHF) walkie-talkies, you can set up a “private” channel. It’s water-resistant.
The Buzz: Problems reported with supplied NiMH rechargeable batteries. Simplex network — only one person can speak at a time.
Eartec Simultalk 24G
Our Take: “Better” — A full duplex wireless communications system that allows two people to talk simultaneously. Lightweight two-way transceivers with rechargeable NiMH batteries conveniently clip onto belt or bikini. “Cyber” headsets with noise-canceling boom mics wrap around the back of the head and have an integrated single-earpiece (left ear) receiver. Good quality voice reception.
The Buzz: Single-ear receiver does not block out ambient noise since one ear is naked. Thin-gauge-wire back band doesn’t give a strong sense of security.
Earmark VC900 HG/HDA
Our Take: “Best” — Clearly the best solution for two-way, full duplex wireless communications — but pricey. Integrated electronics in earcups include on/off, volume and voice activated transmission (VOX/PTT) modes. A boom mic is designed to eliminate outside noise. Full ear enclosures eliminate distracting ambient noise. Comfy foam headband and adjustable rear retaining strap keep headset securely in place. It’s splash- and water-resistant.
The Buzz: Strong neck is required for 19-ounce set. Full ears make it difficult to hear the guy next to you.