Adding CB radio as the final step - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 7 Old Jun 17th, 2009, 4:45 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 89
Adding CB radio as the final step

Many of you have helped as I worked my way through various issues with my '08 RT Autocom Pro AVI system, and I couldn't have done it without you. Thanks! I hope I'm not going to the well once too often here.

We have two of the Shoei Multitec helmets with the Autocom part 1153 type "B" speakers and microphones, a BMW ZUMO 550, an Autocom part # 1273 to allow integration of our cell phone, and the normal hard-wired part # 1314 connection for other audio. And it all works!

Now, of course, on the theory that if it ain't broken then I'm not trying hard enough, I think that rigging up a small CB radio would be ideal. I ride with folks who use CB to communicate. The leader and sweep always have a CB link, and it's helpful for others to at least hear what's going on.

I notice that I have an "AUX 5 (main bike-to-bike lead)" which is already installed as part of the Autocom unit, and the lead is dangling uselessly under the passenger seat. Looks similar to the plugs used for the helmet connections.

So, I called the BMW dealer who recommended and installed all of this stuff, and they said they didn't have a clue about how to do the bike to bike part. Doesn't sound like a good start.

I've heard that some Kenwood CB radios will accept that Autocom Aux 5 plug directly, and that the radio can draw power from the plug (eliminating the need for batteries.)

I presume it's a simple plug and play, except for the push-to-talk (PTT) switch which I also presume is essential. Trying to find room for another switch on the RT handlebars will be a feat in itself, let alone mounting it, running the wiring, etc. If I just got the parts, probably the BMW shop would do the install for me next time it's in for service, but I want to make sure I'm getting the correct parts for them to install.

I'm also even considering just installing the CB radio to listen but not necessarily to talk. That would save the PTT installation, and would probably entail nothing more than plugging in the CB unit. Then when the bike's apart some other time, run the PTT wiring if I still want it.

Oh, another issue.. where does the antenna go with an RT? No permanent top box to use. How do other folks do it?

BTW, I gather there is some radio format other than CB which is the "new thing" for bikers. It would be nice to have that, I guess, but I can't do it at the expense of the CB, since CB is what everybody else I ride with uses.

Any suggestions welcome! Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 Old Jun 17th, 2009, 6:06 pm
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Re: Adding CB radio as the final step

a lot of us use the UHF, FRS/GMRS radios for bike to bike. Easier to install and use.

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post #3 of 7 Old Jun 17th, 2009, 6:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Adding CB radio as the final step

Originally Posted by mwnahas
a lot of us use the UHF, FRS/GMRS radios for bike to bike. Easier to install and use.
I kind of need the CB, though, or there's really little point at this time. I don't suppose CB is included in one of those you listed? Also, why easier to install? You still need power and a button to push, no? What am I missing here? Smaller antenna? Thanks!
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post #4 of 7 Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 4:43 pm
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Re: Adding CB radio as the final step

First, you need to get an adapter from the 5 pin lead to whatever radio you get. I don't know part numbers, but its not a complicated process.

Next, you don't need the PTT switch as the Autocom will allow you to use VOX. There are a number of downsides to this, including the inability to sneeze without alerting all in your party to your allergies. I far prefer having the PTT switch. The switch itself installs on the inner-most portion of the left grip. At first, I thought it would be in the way, but I'm quite used to it now and highly recommend it.

The only time I prefer vox is when I'm in an area with traffic lights. The PTT switch has a setting that allows for this quickly and easily. You can toggle between PTT and vox with a flick of your thumb.
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post #5 of 7 Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 6:34 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Adding CB radio as the final step

Thanks cliffy109!

I presume that without PTT, the entire riding group will be privy to my chats with my wife on the back, and so on? I suspect I wouldn't even get a trial.. they'd just stand me up and shoot me.

There's a special place for that PTT, eh? I'll have to look closer. Thanks again!!
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post #6 of 7 Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 8:04 pm
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Re: Adding CB radio as the final step

Yes... anything you say can and will be used against you... by all those within CB range.

The PTT for Autocom is strange. It is a little clip that uses two zip-ties and it attaches to the left side grip. Its actually on the grip itself. Friction holds it in place. I was skeptical of this arrangement at first and looked for other options. I finally did exactly at instructed and it worked amazingly well. It hasn't moved in several months of use and I use it quite a bit.

My big fear was that it would make my hands feel uneven on the grips. Your right hand will be closer to the center of the bike than the left will, but its by such a small amount that you will not notice. It does make for a slightly longer reach for your thumb to hit the left blinker and you may accidentally hit the PTT button a time or two but its not bad.

By the way, mine is used to run a 2 meter ham radio. I talk on the local repeaters every day during my 16 mile commute. Its had a good workout.
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post #7 of 7 Old Jun 26th, 2009, 4:39 pm
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Location: Huntsville, AL, USA
Posts: 41
Re: Adding CB radio as the final step

I just went through this adding a CB radio to my Autocom system. Not easy but here is how I did it.

I use a hand held and it works just fine. It is a COBRA HH 38 WX ST Handheld CB Radio. You can get them for about 75 dollars. You need three cables from Autocom. A powered PTT (PN 1456), Power interface for PTT (PN 1537) and the appropriate connector cable. (couldn't find the PN but it is them same number as the cable for ICOM).

You can get lots of help and the cables from Keith at Tulsa Truck Center. Keith's phone number is 918-445-5188. He will put two RF chokes on the connector cable as well.

If you describe what you want, he can fix it up for you. I would highly recommend you calling him first to get his recommendations. Cables will cost you about 145.00. I installed myself in just an hour or so. You do have to remove left side tupperware and top of handlebar cover, but other than that, Keith can tell you how to hook up the Autocom power system.

Shoot me a PM if you have any questions.

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