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Old 24-04-2013, 15:59   #1
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Integrating VHF and Entertainment System

So here's a dilemma that it seems to me would have an obvious, out-of-the-box solution but I haven't seen it advertised. With so many options, however, it's easy to see that I might have missed it.

What I want:

A relatively high-end VHF radio - think about a featureset like the Garmin VHF 300 AIS. Integrated AIS, their voicemail-style DSC (not necessary but so you see what I'm going for), 90second playback of incoming audio... That sort of thing.

Tied into a decent soundsystem - radio, iPod/aux audio input, etc. With the following criteria: I want incoming VHF audio to be able to lower the volume of the soundsystem automatically. Potentially, the soundsystem itself could support the entire requirement without need for tighter integration - and "aux override" input for instance.

The application is probably clear: I'd like to be able to listen to music in the cockpit and be able to HEAR nearby radio communications, weather alerts, etc - not in an either-or situation, or with the VHF just turned up really loud so that it's fighting with the entertainment system for intelligibility, but where important broadcasts are able to be clearly understood and the music restored afterwards.

This is something I can probably wire up... It's not an unheard of capability in audio systems - and maybe an original design that also incorporates a hailing system is the better solution - but I'd prefer an out-of-the-box marine-friendly solution if it's available.

Anybody have a non-homebrew setup for this, or am I breaking out the soldering iron and some OTS parts and cooking something up?
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Old 24-04-2013, 16:05   #2
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Re: Integrating VHF and Entertainment System

Well, car amplifiers often have a mute-input so that the music gets muted when the phone rings for example. What you then need is an output on the VHF that can drive the mute control. This would be the "Rx" LED signal that lights up when the squelch opens.

My dual band HAM radio has that but I've never seen it on marine VHF radios...
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Old 24-04-2013, 21:42   #3
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Re: Integrating VHF and Entertainment System

I've never seen an out-of-the-box device that does what you want.

My VHF (with RAM) lets me hear everything in the cockpit. My stereo system is AM/FM/CD/XM radio capable with speakers in the cabin and in the cockpit. I wired in a cut-out switch at the helm that lets me silence the cockpit speakers if the VHF starts to say something I want to hear.
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Old 25-04-2013, 15:46   #4
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There is a VHF audio interrupt available form www.audiointerrupt.com model #VHF-U4
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Old 25-04-2013, 18:54   #5
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Re: Integrating VHF and Entertainment System

It's a logical request, but I can't see that much demand for it.

Depending on how active the VHF is in your area, it could quickly become annoying. Also, you'd want a fairly sophisticated fade-down/up of the stereo, rather than an instantaneous cut/restore, which is also annoying.

Finally - sailing is (usually) for relaxing and quiet conversation, not for cranking the tunes. If our stereo goes on, it's for tunes to go with a sundowner, party background, soft music before bed, or local info during breakfast.
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Old 25-04-2013, 20:02   #6
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Re: Integrating VHF and Entertainment System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Finally - sailing is (usually) for relaxing and quiet conversation, not for cranking the tunes. If our stereo goes on, it's for tunes to go with a sundowner, party background, soft music before bed, or local info during breakfast.
That sounds like numbing to me... rock music is relaxing! Pink Floyd, Marillion etc. When underway, we often play music. We're not all the same

I don't believe that sailing is for quiet conversation. I normally hear a lot of loud strong terms coming from boats around us
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Old 25-04-2013, 21:24   #7
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Re: Integrating VHF and Entertainment System

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
That sounds like numbing to me... rock music is relaxing! Pink Floyd, Marillion etc. When underway, we often play music. We're not all the same

I don't believe that sailing is for quiet conversation. I normally hear a lot of loud strong terms coming from boats around us
I remember beautiful nights at anchor down island when you couldn't hear a sound but the small wavelets lapping on the beach. No cars, sirens, not even a dog barking in the distance.

I also remember the night surfing down waves in the Straights of Florida on a pitch black, night with The Dark Side of the Moon playing as loud it would go while watching the phosphorescent trails of dolphins playing in the bow wave.

Both were very, very good.
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