There are over a dozen aviation radios on the market and the beauty is,
if your headset or helmet uses the standard aviation plugs, it will
probably work all aviation radios as described below. If it uses a
proprietary plug then it will only work with that one radio.
19, 2007 There are two standard jacks for aviation, one for
earphone (pictured far left) and another for mic. Aviation standards
specify that the mic jack provide a small voltage for "phantom" power.
Aviation microphones require and expect this power to be present.
Since hand held radios are too small to accommodate these sizes, they
come with proprietary jacks. But in order to accept the wide variety of
aviation standard headsets, they offer an adaptor that plugs into their
proprietary jack and terminates in standard aviation jacks. Handy, but
Helmets and Headsets
Go here for helmet reviews.
My first helmet, a Comtronics, was purpose
built to work with an aviation radio. I had to order it that way then
Nick Scholtes created an adaptor that allowed it to also work with FRS.
That adapter required some simple (according to Nick) electronics to let
them play well together.
After that helmet was donated to some
unknown individual at a paramotor event (I left it behind accidentally)
I decided that, on those occasions when I used aviation radios, I would
wear my standard aviation headset. Stan Albright, a Chicago area
instructor, does the same thing except that he carved out a hockey
helmet to fit his headset to give him some protection. That's a cheap
solution, too, since the hockey helmet is less than $40 and aviation
headsets can be had for $150.
See ICOM A6 review by Robin Rumbolt
King Avionics dominated aircraft navigation and communications for
years and, when they introduced their handheld in the 90's, it became
a decent seller. Other makers, however, made much smaller units with the
same features and they eventually took over the market.
This is the radio I fly with the most when I need aviation
communications because it has very good transmit and receive quality for
the controllers I talk to. I've yet to do a comparison of the radios in
flight. That would be revealing. Unfortunately, it's also the bulkiest,
measuring nearly a foot high.
The KX-99 is the easiest to use. I
didn't have to read the manual to start using it right out of the box
whereas my other smaller models seem more cryptic. Once you learn their
method of operation it's no problem.
I've seen the results of talented
engineers who make their wares quickly usable. It's not easy but the
best products require no look at a manual except for more advanced
features. King accomplished that.