Chatterbox Frequently Asked Questions:
GMRS X1 / FRS X2
Helpful Operating Tips
Using the VOX & Push To Talk
& Audio Sources
Batteries and Power
What is the real difference between the FRS
X2 and GMRS X1?
- Range is about the only real difference, the best rating on the X2 is up
to 2 miles where the X1 is up to 5 miles.
- Your actual range will vary with conditions. The X1 does use a lot
more power than the X2.
What is the real difference between the
GMRS X1 Bluetooth and GMRS X1?
- The X1 Bluetooth is an improved version of the Standard
X1. The X1 Bluetooth allows pairing of 2 Bluetooth input devices at the
same time (cell phone, audio, GPS, etc.). If using the radio on your
helmet, the radio will have no wires hooked to it. If using the radio
remotely, you will only have a headset ext. cord hooked to your helmet.
This will make life a lot easier and simpler.
- The X1 Bluetooth has 22 channels, where the standard X1
has 15, both have 38 sub channels per channel.
Are the Dynamic Noise Reduction Headsets worth the extra cost?
The Noise Reduction Headsets are designed to work with the X1 &
X2 radios. The NR Headsets are the preferred Headsets for these
radios. The Noise Reducing Headsets allow you to communicate at higher speeds and under louder
You will still have different VOX settings for slower and
faster / louder conditions. If you try and test these headsets
without any background noise, you will need to have the VOX at appx. 12 O' clock
position and will have to speak loudly. The best way to test these Noise
Reducing Headsets would be to use the Push To Talk, (without background noise),
or start your bike up or use other background noise to test the VOX. The
VOX settings will vary and take practice to use. The Noise Reducing headsets are looking for
ambient noise to cancel out and will operate differently when you are riding.
These headsets also work very well for
Snowmobiles, ATV's, Dirt Bikes, Race Cars, etc.
Using the Push
To Talk with the radios also gives you easier and clearer transmission.
You do want to use the wind socks
that come with the Mic's, they do make a difference on the Open Face Noise
Reducing Mic's. You will eliminate wind noise at higher speeds using the
wind socks. You can also insert some foam
in front of your Mic's. in your helmet, when using Full Face Helmets. We
do have replacement
Open Face Foam Windsocks available, always use
a tie wrap to secure the foam.
Can I use the X1 and X2 Radios as an Intercom?
Can my passenger hear everyone on the channel?
- Yes there is open or
private intercom. The passenger can also hear
the audio. Just talk like normal with the push to talk or using VOX, both
people that are plugged into the radio will hear all conversations and each
other on the
channel. The Audio will automatically cut out whenever either person speaks or someone
else talks on your channel.
- Private intercom works the same, with the exception that you are not
What do I need for my Passenger?
- You need a Headset and
Headset Extension Cord for your
passenger. Both headsets need to be either standard or noise reducing for
passenger and driver.
What type of headset do I need?
- Open Face helmets and Half helmets require Open Face Headsets. The
speakers will Velcro to your ear flaps on a half helmet.
Full Face helmets, if you can place two fingers in front of your mouth while
your helmet is on, then you can also use an Open Face headset with a full face
people prefer to use Open Face headsets with Full Face Helmets.
Helmets require Open
Face headsets and require the same clearance (two fingers in front
of your mouth) as a Full Face Helmet.
What does it take to install the headsets in my helmet?
- The Open Face Boom Mic's mount using a clam shell bracket on
the side of the helmet. The radio will then mount on the clam shell bracket
(if used on the helmet). The full face Mic's mount using velcro on the
inside of your helmet. The speakers velcro inside your helmet. If
using a full face headset you will receive a
Full Face Mounting Bracket. This
will mount the same as the open face boom mic. clam shell and will be used for
the radio to mount on if using on your helmet (if used on the helmet).
- Most helmets have cut-outs for speakers, the speakers will fit in there
perfectly. If your helmet has a lining and no cut-outs in the lining,
you will probably want to carefully cut the lining and glue it to the inside
shell of the helmet. Just about all helmets have cut-outs but may be
covered up by the lining. Carefully run the headset wires inside your
helmet, pushing them between the liner and the helmet with the stick that is
provided. This will take a few minutes to do a nice neat job.
How fast can I go and still use the VOX?
- That depends on your bike, type of pipes you have, how large or if you
have a windshield and type of helmet. Proper use of the mic's is very
important and using the push to talk button on the highway is
- Using the VOX will take some practice, holding out first and
last words slightly. Wind Socks do help and make a difference in faster,
windier conditions. We have found that Wind Socks even on the Open
Face Noise Reducing Mic's help clarity while at faster highway speeds.
Can I have the VOX set to normal levels and still use the Push To
- Yes the Push to Talk overrides the VOX.
A lot of times the passengers even operate the push to talk. You can use
the push to talk button on the radio or use the remote push to talk button.
- When only using Push To Talk, set the VOX at the lowest level.
- The remote
button is velcro mounted onto the left handle bar grip and then plugged into the
cord (standard with the kits). We permanently mount the cables, routing
them to the radio locations. You can route them under the gas tanks,
etc., hiding and tie wrapping the cables to make a finished look. You can pull
the cables out from under your seat, handlebars, or wherever to plug into your radio when
Can I hook two Push To Talk cables up to the radio
at the same time?
- Yes you can with a Stereo to Stereo Audio Adapter. You will need an
adapter that accepts two 3/32" stereo phone plugs and has a male 3/32" stereo
phone plug on the other end. You will plug this adapter into the PTT
jack on the radio and then plug both of your push to talk cables into the
Adapter. This is extremely handy when you have a permanently mounted
push to talk cable and your passenger also desires to use the push to talk.
We have found these adapters at Radio Shack, part #274-948. The adapters
that we have been able to find will cover up the audio input on the radio, so
you can not plug your audio cord in with these adapters plugged in at the same
time. Some of our customers have purchased the plugs separately and made
up their own Y adapters, allowing them to use the Audio and duel push to talk
at the same time.
- For ourselves, we usually just keep the handlebar Push To Talk Button
pressed when the passenger is talking. When the passenger wants to talk,
they can also just tap the driver, then the driver can push the button in for
an Open Mic.
What are the two plastic clip looking things that come with the kits?
- The clips are mounted on the side of your helmet. They are used for
the headset jack (connector) to wrap through and to keep the end of the
headset cable from coming out of the helmet.
- When using the radios off the helmet, the clips act as a stress reliever.
It does seem preferable to use at least one if you have a headset ext. cord
- If you are ordering accessories and have broken one of
these plastic clips, just put in comments on checkout that you need an extra
and we will give you one with your order.
Do I have to mount the Radios on my helmet?
No, with a headset extension cord the headset then will be left on
your helmet and ext. cord plugged into that and then to your radio. Your
radio at that point can be put on a belt clip, tank bag, placed somewhere
different with industrial velcro or even mounted on your handlebars using a ram
Click here to see
an alternate mounting and to get some ideas.
We use these radio's remote mounted on our handlebars.
We strongly suggest unplugging the
Headset Extension Cords at the radio instead of at
your headset. Your cords will last indefinitely being used like that and
it is a lot easier unplugging at the radio. We also suggest just placing
your helmet on your seat, handlebars or a convenient location during gas stops,
etc. and leaving your cords plugged in.
If you desire to connect a passenger
intercom from this mounting position:
Install a Non Coiled Headset Extension Cord
from the handlebar location to somewhere in the back where a passenger can
plug another Headset Extension cord into it. The Non Coiled Cord that
we have available can be used for Standard and Noise Reducing headsets.
A Chatterbox black coiled cord can be used for this application also.
If using the Chatterbox cord you must have matching cords plugged
together, Standard or Noise Reducing.
Tie Wrap the Headset Extension Cord to your
frame, under the gas tank, etc. concealing the cord as best as possible.
This will make a nice neat job. The Chatterbox coiled cords can be
stretched quite a long way. You can even use heat shrink over any part
of it if you are concerned about protecting the cable. Try and keep
the cord away from your ignition.
Ram Handlebar Mount kits available
for chatterbox radios,
click here for description and pictures.
Are the Radios Water Proof?
- The radios are water resistant, not waterproof. We
recommend using the radios on your helmet in the rain. The LCD
displays may fog up and the radios might be effected. We recommend using
a headset ext. cord and at least placing your radio in your pocket when it
rains. If you do forget and get your radios wet, see instructions on the
bottom of this page.
- If using on your handlebars behind a windshield, you will find the radio's
to be pretty well protected and not have to worry about rain to much.
How long do batteries last?
- The X2 radio batteries will pretty much last all
day with a full charge. The GMRS X1 will go 5 - 6 hours of constant
use (talking), longer if mostly using just audio.
- Using a
DC Power Filter
on your bike will greatly increase the usability of your radio on trips.
You can charge (plug it in) while stopped, or while riding. In almost all cases
you can plug the Power Filter in and charge while riding. In some rare cases (with the engine running)
the ground loops on certain bikes electrical system may effect the radio
transmission. If this happens just unplug the power filter from your radio
at that time. It is a good idea if in groups for at least one person to
DC Power filter. Someone always seems to
forget to either charge their radio overnight or leaves their AC charger at
Home. We do ship a lot of home chargers to Motels....
- For our own bikes, we make a wiring harness combining the Power Filter Cord, Audio Cord and Push
To Talk Cord all in one. You then need to just pull the harness out and
plug the ends into the appropriate plugs on the radio. Even when using
the Power Filter Cord on the X1 / X2 Radio's, you still need to have a battery
- We find that the batteries are good for a couple of years. Could be
more or maybe less, depending on usage. We always have ours hooked up to
a power filter and do not worry about running them down before re-charging.
One of the signs of battery problems would be not being able to fully
transmit, but being able to hear just fine.
- If you have had your radio's for a couple of years, a spare battery to
keep with you is a good idea.
How does the Audio work?
- The Audio automatically cuts out when you talk or
someone else on your channel talks. The Audio automatically comes back
when you are finished talking. Just about any type of MP3/iPods work well. Our experience has been that some MP3/CD players
will pick up engine noise, depending on where you put them. Changing the
location of your MP3 player, in a lot of cases that will take care of that.
You might in some cases with older audio units get engine noise if you plug both your chatterbox and MP3
player into the 12 Volt power on your bike. Unplug one of them, the
noise will go away. Not all MP3 players and Audio Sources are susceptible to this.
- We do recommend using a
Cord. There is a physical difference between the Chatterbox Audio Cord
and a regular Audio Cord. The Chatterbox audio cord is a "coiled" type cord,
compared to straight audio cords available from electronics stores.
These cords work much better because of the 90 degree angle on the plug. You also
have a long cord hanging all over. There is also a safety concern with
using any type of straight cord which could get caught in your motorcycle or
any moving parts, etc. There is also a safety concern with
using any type of straight cord which could get caught in your motorcycle or
any moving parts, etc.
- For best performance, set your radio volume at a normal
level for talking. Use your variable volume control on the Audio input
device to control audio volume.
X1 Bluetooth allows pairing of 2
Bluetooth input devices at the same time (cell phone, audio, GPS, etc.),
without the use of any wires.
- Right now I use a Zumo 660 GPS for Audio, works
great for wired and Bluetooth. Other MP3 players are available that use SD cards and work
very well. You will want to use an audio source or even phone that has a variable audio
output. You can put literally thousands of songs on the 15
- If you only want to listen to Audio and don't really have a need for a
Radio System or Intercom then the
Stereo Helmet Headset is what you want.
This is a Stereo Headset only with speakers and without a Mic. There is
a connector on the headset for your audio input.
- If you only want to listen to Audio and don't
want to use your radio system, then just plug the
Headset to Audio Source Adapter Cord into
your headset and Audio Source. This coiled Audio Adapter Cord will allow
you to listen to all of your music on your Chatterbox Headset without using
your Chatterbox Radio System or Intercom. Just plug one end into your Audio
Input and the other end into your Chatterbox Headset. Very handy to have when
you really don't have the need to use your Chatterbox Radio or Intercom but
still want to use your audio.
- Other MP3 / Jukebox players / IPods / GPS's are also available
that use a SD card.or have small hard drives anywhere from 2 to 20 GIG.
We have DC adaptors available.
Can I use my cell phone with the X1 or X2 Radios?
- With the
GMRS X1 Bluetooth Radio, you can also use
your Bluetooth phone without the use of any wires.
Are there any other Wireless Options?
What about Channel compatibility?
Helpful Operating Tips:
- It is usually better to turn the radios on after you plug the
Push To Talk Cable in. If you forget
and plug the push to talk in and find that it does not work, just turn the
radio off and back on. Most of the time the radio needs to see the cable
plugged in when it starts up.
- If you do get caught in a heavy rain and your
radio does not want to work correctly, the first thing you need to do is get
any water out of the battery compartment. Just take the battery out
for a couple of minutes and put it back in. Totally removing the battery
and unplugging it will reset the processor logic.
- Once in a while someone might try and see how many modes they can put the
radio in and get it very confused. Take the battery out for several
minutes, this will reset the
- If you forget to charge your radio over night and your battery goes low
you can charge using your power filter as you
ride. Just leave the radio on, you can listen just don't transmit for
about 20 minutes or so. This will give the battery enough time to get
ahead a little, you will be ok after that as long as you leave the power
filter plugged into the radio.
- Make sure you are speaking into the front side of the Mic. (white dot on
the arm facing you). If you are speaking into the back of the mic. it
will sound like you are far away to everyone else.
All Radio Kits and most
Accessories are at Chatterbox Minimum Advertised Pricing Levels. Free
Shipping for all Radio Kits, (continental U.S.)
for Group Purchases.
If you can
think of anything else that might be of interest or helpful let me know. I
have spent a lot of time using the radio's and have written up answers to the
most frequently asked questions that we get.
is intended for personal, non commercial use by our customers or anyone needing
information on the products that we sell.
No reproduction of this page for
commercial use is allowed without written permission.
X1Slim Frequently Asked Questions
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