Panbo

Bluetooth VHF headset, coming soon

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Oct 29, 2007

Standard_Horizon_Bluetooth_headsetl_cPanbo

Standard Horizon plans to introduce this Bluetooth wireless VHF headset some time this winter (plus a VHF/GPS handheld). There isn’t a brochure or web link yet but these are the specs I recall: waterproof, 150 foot range, can be used either voice-activated (VOX) or push-to-talk (PTT), will sell for around $150, and will fit many S.H. radios.


Product Manager Scott Iverson also modeled the headset for me, seen below, and I’d guess that the VOX could work pretty well with the mic so close to your mouth. That I noticed, but the nifty composition of Scott’s own dome echoed by the JRC Sat Compass and SeaTel VSAT domes beyond was pure Electronics Tent photo luck. Thanks, Scott!


Standard_Horizon_Bluetooth_headset_Scott_Iverson_model_cPanbo

Comments

Hi Ben,
Great development.Very useful to mariners.

Posted by: OldSailor at October 29, 2007 11:21 PM | Reply

Now that looks really nifty !!

The best part is that my crew won't be asking me to turn down my vhf radio volume so they don't have to hear it.

I have some thoughts as to how such a gadget could be even more attractive:

1. Avoid interference from bluetooth phones. E.g. don't play telephone conversations, don't allow telephone conversations to disrupt VHF.

2. Multi user mode - Allow two or more headsets to be "on" listening to the same radio, and whoever talks first gets to transmit while the other headsets listen.

3. Intercom - Have a button on each headset to toggle all headsets between simplex VHF and duplex intercom private conversation and back (e.g. allow crew to talk to the helmsman while docking, etc.). If any one person hits the toggle button, all the headsets will behave as intercom or switch back to VHF at once. While in intercom mode, for safety, allow the base radio and it's direct connected microphone/speaker to stay in vhf mode.

3. Given that a headset doesn’t allow for many buttons, also ship battery operated bluetooth remotes that have the following features:

a. Battery or 12vdc operated. Place 12vdc jack under unit so it's invisible when in use.
b. Extremely small form factor and priced under $50 each, to allow a couple to easily be placed in a boat, like some of those stereo remotes that are out there. For example I would have one at the helm, and another on my companionway where I normally hang out when I let someone else helm.
c. A belt buckle attached version might be useful too.
d. Have similar display and buttons to the ICOM Commander II, e.g. very few buttons to keep the small form factor. Although, it would be useful to have a rotary control rather then up/down buttons. It would also be nice to have a button to jump between two or three selected channels (e.g. 16 + one or two channels I preprogram)
e. No button necessary to switch between vhf and intercom on the headsets, button on headset is sufficient.
f. To keep the size small consider not having a DSC button, instead have yet another bluetooth remote with a DSC button only, with flip up cover to prevent accidental press.
g. Auto turn-off remote on no activity (no button pressed). Press any button (or rotary) to wake
h. On low battery, operate in power saver mode. The buttons work when pressed, but the display only appears for 10 seconds at a time.

… so I picture having my headset have a big transmit button, big intercom toggle button, volume control, a small on/off switch, a VOX on/off switch, maybe also a button as in (d) above that toggles between channel 16 and another channel I select, and not much else.

BONUS: Support a music-on-hold capability, e.g. when there is not transmit/receive, the headset can play music. Rather then build the feature into the radios, have a bluetooth transmitter molded into a 12vdc plug with a mini connector on the other end to accept a music source such as an ipod. The headsets would then switch between playing music and playing vhf. However on low battery a headset could ignore the music.

BONUS: Offer this functionality in a handheld vhf radio, so I can optionally get all this without replacing my existing radio just yet, and/or I can take this with me when I charter boats.

Posted by: Dan (b393capt) at October 30, 2007 10:54 AM | Reply

Looks neat, I wonder if in their specs they made a provision for that one speaker to have a noise cancelling circuit built in - this would eliminate a nice chunk of constant noises, like wind, engine drone, ect., and allow for a lower overall volume. That would save your ear (read: hearing), no one wants to be great granpa..."talk to his right ear - it's the good one." :)

Smart product that appears to have a place on the boat, or the boaters head.

Posted by: Terry at October 31, 2007 10:41 AM | Reply

Why didn't this device get at least as many posts as the N2K ?

Is there some way today to get VHF piped into your ear like this, without being tethered to a handheld VHF ???

Posted by: Dan (b393capt) at November 5, 2007 10:18 AM | Reply

I see this is on sale now, called the BH-2, packaged with the HX760S handheld radio.

Has any one given this a try ?

Posted by: Dan (b393capt) at June 8, 2008 11:05 PM | Reply

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