GMRS for Voice II - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old Mar 14th, 2011, 3:20 pm Thread Starter
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GMRS for Voice II

The Voice II and the GMRS compendium

Early in my "why the F don't this bastard" work phase, I made the determination that the VII was a beast of a different color. And... I was right.

In short, my group (EXR) toured with GMRS radios.., OK, me likey, and the reasons are plenty. First and foremost, having been a CB stooge in my younger years, I doubt I can put up with the non-sensical atmosphere that the CB embodies. Let's face it, GMRS is far superior to listening to the hash and trash of the "skip", the ignorance of truckers ("Deeamm boy.. I din't know that BMW made motorsycles"), or the foul mouthed youth with IQ's that total the number of wheels on their cages.

GMRS radios can be set with QT and DQT tones (the what? You mean CTCSS or DCS, right?). Essentially, they are the same, QT (Quiet Tone) = CTCSS and DQT (Digital Quiet Tone) = DCS. What this means is that I can lope down the highway listening to my MP3 players and every so often dive into conversations from those I travel with and not have to put up with... well... for lack of a better word... crap... except that being dished out by out RSA Hoss (back story... needs to be explored... NAW!).

But enough... on with the diatribe...

My first foray into GMRS was the hearty Kenwood TK3131. Nice little unit. Antenna is solid mount; means the unit will have to be exposed... Oh well. Place on BMR shelf (shudder) or use gorilla velcro and mount it to the oddy box lid (best idea... worked for three years). Can be set-up for almost everything that GMRS has to offer. At 1/2 a watt Xmit power (and that's on a good day), it fit the dynamics of a newbie GMRS user that rides a large cruiser. As with everything else, the 3131 was good. As long as all the other guys were within a half a mile, it was OK...

But, let's get prepped for AWESOME!

Out comes the wallet... Here comes the ICOM F21GM and the LAIRD GMRS antenna (more appropriately the base loaded 5/8 wave UHF antenna with load coil and collinear rod. 450-470 MHz).

No matter what I tried, I could not get the ICOM to work. I could get it to transmit, but it wouldn't release the VII so that I could reacquaint myself with Pink Floyds "Dark Side of the Moon". DAMN!!!! I tired everything... Soldered more than 2 dozen cables together to make it work (ICOM's are wired different than the Kenwood "buy-it-at-your-local-dealer" FRS cable - Is it wired backwards or am I just facing the wrong way?)... nothing worked.

So... I just decided to keep on with my little 3131's and sell the ICOM <sigh>... Until something better blew thru the window.

Enter the Kenwood 3302. A mil spec (MIL-STD 810 C/D/E/F) GMRS radio with detachable antenna.

Channel programming is not an "on board" prospect. You will need a desktop/lappy (or someone who knows the program and has the cable to change freqs from default) and a user's list of channels with QT and DQT codes.

Output wattage is 4 watts. IP-54/55 Water & Dust Intrusion with a Li-Ion Battery (up to 18 hrs. of operation). Mounted LAIRD antenna on the right side of the rear top case, Ran the wires up to the oddy box. GMRS radio is no longer exposed to the elements and it's secure when I leave the bike.

How does it work? Like I thought the ICOM should have worked. In a prelim test, line of sight mileage in traffic to complete drop was just over four miles. Sound? Righteous.

Expensive... Yeah, a tad... But my choices were CB (not in your right mind), the Kenwood TK3131 (discontinued), the ICOM F21GM (discontinued) or some cheap China imitations (how do you spell "channel" in Mandarin?).

The Kenwood 3302 upgrade is not for the faint of heart. However, if you're willing to spend the money and you do it right, the reward is a rock solid GMRS alternative for the VII that works... and works damn well. Now I wonder how it will work for the BC(1, 2, 3) crowd!

And before anyone asks... Yes, I am licensed for GMRS operations and I do own the software and cables...

just sayin'...

Uncle Mark

BMW '06' 1200LT "Wild Blue"
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post #2 of 10 Old Mar 14th, 2011, 4:18 pm
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Re: GMRS for Voice II

Mark your post is full of great information and I have some questions. I currently use two TK3131's that work great but one now has a cracked antenna and I am looking to replace it so I might consider the 3302 a worthy upgrade.

First question is that I have such a hard time with the cables that connect to the Voice II. I have spent bucko dollars on high quality cables that still don't help. They fit so poorly that you always have to jiggle them just right to get them to work and God forbid you hit a pothole or sneeze. My real question is... How are you connecting to the Voice II reliably?

Second question is that I use a DQT for the 3131 (I think it is DQT 83) that works great and wonder if the DQT on the 3302 is compatible with at 3131?

Third question is, does the software to program the 3302 come with the unit?

Scott
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post #3 of 10 Old Mar 14th, 2011, 5:12 pm Thread Starter
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Re: GMRS for Voice II

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydawg
First question is that I have such a hard time with the cables that connect to the Voice II. I have spent bucko dollars on high quality cables that still don't help. They fit so poorly that you always have to jiggle them just right to get them to work and God forbid you hit a pothole or sneeze. My real question is... How are you connecting to the Voice II reliably?
Believe it or not, I am using a Kenwood FRS radio cable sold by the dealer... However, I also had issues... Originally, after getting inside the box, I noted that the receiving connectors are on the left of the pin insert... so, with a set of needle nose, I put a slight left turn on the pin pairs... trust me... it's not for the faint of heart... The best fix is to get back inside the box and using the same pliers, make those contacts a bit more able to make good solid contacts and stay connected. The next time I take the box apart, I'm putting in some new gold contacts I got off the MOUSER site... the ones that come in the VII are... shall we say... crapola...

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydawg
Second question is that I use a DQT for the 3131 (I think it is DQT 83) that works great and wonder if the DQT on the 3302 is compatible with at 3131?
Actually, the 3302 has a DQT 83. In fact, I have set several channels using the 3131 as a guidepost (I use the 3131 for all things racing and motorcycle...). During my testing, the 3131 was the standard to make sure I had all the freqs I normally use in place on the 3302... All of them were one to one... Unlike the 3131, you only get 16 channels (just like the ICOM).

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydawg
Third question is, does the software to program the 3302 come with the unit?
Nope... and that's the bad part... Kenwood says no-no Nanette to those folks who want to "roll your own". Dealers can get extra $'s by offering to change alter or reprogram the radio's to fit your needs. Just mail them the radio.... <cough - cough> I threw the BS flag on the crapola... Told them I get software or they get the radio back "where the sun don't shine... Is Mr. Kenwood there? I want to talk to Mr. Kenwood..."

Needless to say, they turned me onto these guys and I got the software... the cable (KPG-22A) is cheap on ebay, etc. It's the software that'll kill ya...

Uncle Mark

BMW '06' 1200LT "Wild Blue"
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post #4 of 10 Old Mar 14th, 2011, 6:04 pm
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Re: GMRS for Voice II

The first step for me is to go home tonight and see if I can give those connecters a spin. It has been such a frustrating experience trying to use the Voice II / Kenwood. I installed a Starcom on my Ducati and my wife's bike that work MUCH better. I would love to install new connections in the Voice II if that works for you so please keep me posted.

Scott
Sacramento CA
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post #5 of 10 Old Mar 16th, 2011, 1:24 pm
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Re: GMRS for Voice II

I have had 2 generations of BMW's factory audio/comm systems They are expensive crap........hook a autocom up to the speaker outputs and forget the darn things they do not work like a good system should and they cost way too much. Kieth

(I paid over $2500.00 for my first 99 system (J&M) it was a POC..........could not get my money back still have a autocom on that bike and it works like a champ.....
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post #6 of 10 Old Mar 16th, 2011, 4:01 pm
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Re: GMRS for Voice II

I've have the BC3 intercom on my 02 that has worked without issue for nearly nine years and 88K miles. I don't consider it crap. I have noted that various riders have tried to cheap out on their headset/mike combinations. I've had J&M do custom installations of their best available at the time headsets into Nolan helmets over the years with good results. The system works better than ever with our new N103s and Elite headsets. A substantial improvement in audio sound and mike gain placed into a very quiet helmet. I guess it's a matter of expectations and what's a good match for the component.

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post #7 of 10 Old Mar 16th, 2011, 7:42 pm
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Re: GMRS for Voice II

I had great luck with the BC3 on my 03 LT, everything including the Kenwood and cell phone system worked perfect. The Voice II... not so much.

Scott
Sacramento CA
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post #8 of 10 Old Mar 17th, 2011, 12:43 am
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Re: GMRS for Voice II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kieth
I have had 2 generations of BMW's factory audio/comm systems They are expensive crap........hook a autocom up to the speaker outputs and forget the darn things they do not work like a good system should and they cost way too much. Kieth

(I paid over $2500.00 for my first 99 system (J&M) it was a POC..........could not get my money back still have a autocom on that bike and it works like a champ.....
The first J&M systems on the 99 LT's were not good. The BC3 System available from 02-04 was definitely very good, even better than the newer Voice II.

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post #9 of 10 Old Mar 17th, 2011, 12:46 am
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Re: GMRS for Voice II

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydawg
The first step for me is to go home tonight and see if I can give those connecters a spin. It has been such a frustrating experience trying to use the Voice II / Kenwood. I installed a Starcom on my Ducati and my wife's bike that work MUCH better. I would love to install new connections in the Voice II if that works for you so please keep me posted.
Scotty, didn't know you were having issues with the GMRS. I have some spare cables in my desk at work. I dig them out and give them to you...

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post #10 of 10 Old Apr 7th, 2011, 1:40 am
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Thumbs up Re: GMRS for Voice II

Hey guys, I'm kind of new at this. I just purchased the Kenwood 3302 radio to do some communicating with my buddies and I'm having trouble locating a cable to hook the radio up to my Voice II system (2006 LT). Anybody got any information that might help on getting a cable that works?
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