Now you can use your favorite earphones on patrol
A new wireless adapter pairs your portable police radio and favorite earpieces
Sponsored by Earphone Connection
By Tim Dees for Police1 BrandFocus
If you listen to music, a phone call or podcasts while using your favorite earphones, you might wish you could do the same thing with your portable radio from work. Now, you can.
I have always been a gadget freak. In my cop days, I often had the latest flashlight, holster or pistol grips because I was single and could afford to buy them, and I loved finding new tech for the job. Often, something that was available for the consumer market did not have an equivalent for law enforcement use.
For example, my old reliable “Tuffy” bomber jacket did not keep me especially warm on winter nights. There were very warm jackets with down filling, but none in a police uniform design. I tried wearing a civilian-style down vest under the jacket, but it leaked stuffing. When I took the vest off, I looked as though I had lost a chicken fight.
Portable or personal media players and communications devices have seen a technology boom in recent years. The 20-GB iPod was revolutionary in the days when tape cassette players were the favorite method of taking music with you, but these were soon supplanted by digital music players and smartphones that served as telephones, personal data assistants and music players, all in one box.
Headphones for these have also evolved from wired to Bluetooth headsets, and now True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earphones that pack speakers, transceivers and a power supply into a package smaller than a cough drop.
BRINGING CONSUMER TECH TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
The Air Pro Wireless PTT Combo Kit from Earphone Connection makes it possible to use your favorite consumer-model Bluetooth headset with the popular Motorola APX portable radio. The Bluetooth adapter attaches to the portable radio using the same port one would use to attach a hardwired speaker/microphone. Once the adapter is attached, the user pairs the radio adapter with their Bluetooth headset using the separate wireless PTT button.
The wireless button is the main feature of the kit. With this device, you can place the button around your finger, weapon or steering wheel via the strap. Simply press the button to activate your wireless earbud for over 40 hours of talk time on a single charge.
The transmit button on the PTT radio adapter is what EPC calls “bump proof.” The transmit button is recessed in the body of the remote PTT radio adapter, making it less prone to unintended button presses and transmitter activations. The same adapter also includes a “kill switch” that enables and severs the Bluetooth connection. If the user wants to revert the radio to a more traditional handheld configuration, a slide of the kill switch is all that is required. The same switch re-pairs the adapter to your Bluetooth headset on command.
SAY GOODBYE TO WIRES
Most headsets designed for police are hardwired devices that run cables from the portable radio to earphones, a microphone and a push-to-talk switch. Users often have the earphone cable running under their shirts to a “pigtail” acoustic tube and earplug, another cable going to their shirt front for the mic, and a third running down one sleeve for the PTT switch. The cables can kink or break, the user has to plan out their getting dressed routine to route the cables correctly, and the PTT switches can key the mic unknowingly to the wearer, usually when he or she is discussing something they would rather not have everyone on the network hear.
The ability to use consumer-type headsets can be especially helpful for officers working in plainclothes or undercover. A pigtail earphone, even though it’s not an overt piece of hardware, betrays the officer’s low-profile appearance. Pigtail sound tubes aren’t common among private citizens listening to music, but Apple AirPods and Beats earphones are. Most people pay no mind to others who have these in their ears while shopping or commuting to and from work.
FIT YOUR HEADSET TO YOUR NEEDS
Another significant feature of the Air Pro wireless adapter is the ability to connect wired headsets available from the Earphone Connection line, providing a potential backup if the Bluetooth battery dies. Simply use the wireless PTT button in conjunction with the wired headset if desired.
Many of the wired headsets available through Earphone Connection include comfort ear tips called the Fin. The Fin is a semi-custom molded earpiece that allows ambient sounds and the radio to be heard at the same time, and the soft silicone material reduces ear fatigue.
This can be a game-changer for public safety communications gear. Getting the latest in headset hardware won’t mean waiting for one of the major players (in particular, the major player who makes whatever radio you use) to get on board. You can have the best hardware obtainable, and best of all, you won’t look like you just plucked a chicken.
Visit Earphone Connection for more information.