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Thread: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

  1. #1
    pistoncan's Avatar
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    Default Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    I am wondering about intercoms for my experimental tandem pacer. How would I go about setting up the aircraft interface? Do normal com radios have a setup for intercoms? I know very little about radios and intercoms. In the 172 I have been flying the last couple weeks, it seems like the intercom is on all the time and the only time the push to talk button is needed is when talking to tower or ground control. I have two headphone sets. A lightspeed ANR and a DClark ENR. both dual plug. I haven't got the push to talk buttons yet. Any insight you can provide would be very helpful.

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    MN_flyer1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    You can go onto Sigtronics or PS Engineering web sites to see a schematic of how their intercoms are wired in. There is a difference if you are looking at a Intercom alone or an Intercom integrated into an audio panel. What you do depends a lot on how much hardware you need to interface with. If you have a single Com/Nav then all you need is an intercom. If you are equipping dual radios then you may want the audio panel.

    Just some thoughts....

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    59pacer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    What sort of VHF COM are you fitting?
    Radios often have an intercom system in them that you can access, and some systems are better than others. Particularly if you only want to work two positions.
    I have a Sigtronics SPA4 in the Pacer which works fine. Obviously it suits up to 4 seats.
    My Acro Sport II and Piel Emeraude (both 2 seaters) have simple relay boxes to control the built-in intercom systems which were relatively cheap and easy to make, but had to be slightly different to cope with the different radios. I've bypassed the voice activation in these two radios because of the background noise, so have 'transmit -off- intercom' switches on the control sticks. If you're game, I can send you the circuit diagram! All the bits are readily available--relays and diodes, printed circuit board, box, and connectors. I presume you still have Radio Shack or something similar.
    Way back, my radio tech suggested that I should use headsets with matching mike impedances with this style of switch box. I can't remember why, exactly, but if I mixed a David Clark and Sigtronics headset, one of them wouldn't work! Two DCs or 2 Sigtronics worked fine. Someone will leap in with the reason, I'm sure.

    BTW I have a Sigtronics SPA-4S with wiring loom gathering dust here you can make an offer on if you like--it needs to go to a good home. All it needs are the insulated phone and mike jacks--a few dollars from Aircraft Spruce. Serviceable when removed about a year ago, and comes with installation instructions.

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    A lot of the radios now have built in intercoms. I have been installing the Trig TY91 which has a built in intercom. It can be wired VOX (voice activated) or with another PTT (push to talk) for the intercom. I have been installing a switch to turn the VOX off when the window and door are open on the Super Cub to cut out the wind noise and you use the intercom PTT to comunicate.

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    pistoncan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    If I had my druthers, (which doesn't happen very often) I think I would like to find a used radio, something like a MGL V10 that fits in a 3 1/8 inch instrument hole and has a intercom built in. ( I happen to have an extra hole in my panel) but my knowledge of radios is very limited. I intend to stay out of controlled airspace as much as possible but it never hurts to be listening for other aircraft.

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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    If you choose the radio with intercom, and buy a preconfigured wire harness for the radio, then you will have mic and headphone jacks ready to go in your panel. It doesn't get much easier than that. I had a bad experience with
    the MGL V6. Many of these newer radios have intercom and radio settings that are internal and menu driven.
    Last edited by Old3pacer; 08-12-2017 at 06:53 PM.

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    SClow303's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    One of my main objectives at Oshkosh this year was to choose a radio for my project. I was leery at first about the "built in" intercoms so it was nice to be able to play hands on with the different models which I had been reading about and looking at. I think in the long run I will go with the ICOM A-220. I like the features that it had and being able to monitor the standby frequency is key for me. The intercom seem to work very well standing in the booth at least. If anyone has any real world experience I would love to hear some feed back. With the pre wired set up it just seems so easy to install.

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    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    I have the ICOM 210, basically their non-tso version of the 220. I love it. The channel memory, 200 group channels, 10 channels per group can be a little daunting until you figure it out. I only use three groups; one for OSH, one for Sun n Fun and one for the local tower.

    I don't use the internal inter-comm as I have a Sigtronics SCI-S4.
    I think the ICOM 220 is an excellent choice.
    Last edited by Gilbert Pierce; 08-16-2017 at 03:25 PM.

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    Brian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    A-210 display is easy to see day time or after dark.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Brian
    Monrovia, CA

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    Default Re: Pardon my ignorance. but wondering about intercoms

    Good morning everyone, Yes the Icom A200-210 and 220 are great choices. You may read some disappointing reviews but I really believe its the lack of understanding or the Avonics guy really screwed up the install somehow. Anyhow my only advise no matter what radio you use. Do Not use the built in Intercom. They are usually very very cheap hard to set your VOX limiter. So like Steve says you get wind noise easy enough coming in. The audio quality is limited, but it does keep the wiring simpler. My advise wire in a Intercom. Had really good luck with Ps Engineering, Garmin, or the high end Sigtronics.
    My 2 Cents

    Cheers
    Jared

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