MSA Sordins for Comms Headset?

TheVolunteers

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I've been interested in getting a good set of electronic hearing protection for some time now for shooting and from the research I've done MSA Sordins look like the best. I'm a truck commander in a heavy weapons company and my unit is going through convoy operations and gunnery, and as of now we have just been using our hand mics to do radio communications (our issued headsets are worthless). Holding the hand mic up to your face constantly is a real pain, so my question is, can I do two birds with one stone and get the MSA Sordins for a comms headset along with for hearing protection, or would the sordins not be well suited for that? I appreciate any advice you guys can give me. The comms gear I would be hooking into would be an ASIP or MBITR if that makes a difference.
 

bogeybrown

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My initial half-assed answer is that yes, they "should" work. IIRC some of the SF guys were using them for comms. BUT, if you have someone with a reasonable GT in your comms shack I would verify with them. What you may run into is that your unit may not have the necessary cable/jack, but if y'all already have headsets it may not be an issue. The dream solution would be politicking your skipper for MSAs through your supply chain.
If I had them digitized I could send some pictures of a massive tactical vehicle collision I was in because we couldn't hear comms. It's a minor issue until it's not.
 

ZombieMonkey

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Our entire swat team is issued Sordins for use with comms. I know it's likely going to be dependent on the equipment you use, but I'm sure you'd be able to get it to work unless there are a bunch of proprietary connections.


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bogeybrown

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Our entire swat team is issued Sordins for use with comms. I know it's likely going to be dependent on the equipment you use, but I'm sure you'd be able to get it to work unless there are a bunch of proprietary connections.


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Exactly. One of the reasons the Sordins are as pricey as they are is that they're designed to function as a comms set. TheVolunteers, there's basically a single source that Hiders choose to buy them from: Triad Tactical. They've been active and supportive on the forum for many years. I'd imagine if you either call or PM them and tell them which radio you're hoping to use them with they could give you a solid answer.
 

TheGerman

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    Make sure you get the upgraded ear 'foam' inserts for them. It's night and day without them.

    If I remember right with the Sordins, you need a comms setup that sends amplified sound (not sure how to explain this or technically what its called). Try sticking your ipod into the headset and play music; even on full volume its so quiet you can barely hear it. I remember there being setups that overrides that (I'm guessing the MBITR does, but just something to ask)
     

    TheVolunteers

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    Thanks for the input everyone, it definitely helps. TheGerman I'm pretty sure you're right that the MBITR and ASIP have a way to override the low sound, but I'll have to check on that to be sure. Guess I have a little more research to do to figure out what, if anything, is needed to make the sordins compatible.
     

    MarinePMI

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    Assuming you're using a PRC-68 or similar radio, your tech should be able to take a boom mike that is compatible and splice in a U-229/U or U-329/U plug (5 pin or 6 pin audio/crypto plug, whichever you need). You'll need a PTT assembly if the boom mike doesn't have one. I opt for the 6 pin, as the additional pin can just be ignored if not needed.

    The plugs can be had from Mouser electronics directly, or from a distributor (just finished dealing with some custom one off cables for a small expeditionary customer at work, ironically). You just need to know the gauge wire of the boom mike so it can be matched to the plug. The military designator (I'll edit this when I get into work and can call it up from the schematics this morning) will have a single digit at the end, that designates the range of wire diameter it will take. They run anywhere from $12 to $30 depending on where you source it. (See tactical engineering link below). http://www.tacticaleng.com/?q=u-229

    Also. the pin out for PRC-68 is here: http://www.prc68.com/I/U229PO.shtml

    Hope that helps some...
     
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    MarinePMI

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    Okay, lets see...MilSpec for the plug is: M55116/14-X ("X" being the size of the diameter of the cable of 5 or 6 wires).

    BTW, your tech will have to figure out the pin out on the boom mike/PTT cord (manufacturer may offer a pin out, if you e-mail them your situation).

    Let's see if I can upload/attach a pdf of the audio connector. These are water proof (but not submersible) and standard for military coms gear (except for some of the stuff the SOCOM teams use, who have their own submersible water proof connectors).

    Hmmm...seems PDF's are verboten (not surprising). Let me screen capture it and attach it. M55166-14-x.PNG

    NOTE: This schematic is for the female connector (you'll need the male connector)
     
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    bogeybrown

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    Damn, that's some badass comms bubba stuff right there MarinePMI. I forgot about the damn Peltors, those were the headsets I was mis-remembering earlier when I said MSA
     

    MarinePMI

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    Can an existing set of MSA Sordins be converted to a comms set for a Motorola APX 6000/8000 series radio?

    Pretty sure I saw a cable that was made for Motorolas (but it was out of stock at the time)....
     

    scullti

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    Marine PMI, ya got to help me out here. You're clearly posting some very good information that I'm pretty sure is very helpful but this is not my area of expertise. Are you saying that a mike can be configured with a Push-To-Talk (PTT) assembly and modified with a mating plug to interface with a PRC-68 or similar radio? If so, the OP is most interested in being able to hear the radio while wearing the headset. (I know because I just talked with him; he's my son.) He can use the radio's hand mic to communicate as long as he can hear through the headset. Do you know if the Sordin can be modded to receive the radio's transmission?
     

    MarinePMI

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    scullti Yes, there are PTT assemblies made to go with the boom mikes for MSA Sordin headsets. This will allow a user to hear the radio broadcasts in the MSA/Sordin headphones and then, when the PTT assembly is keyed, speak through the boom mike into the radio. It's just a matter of mapping the pin out from the PTT assemby to the 6 pin audio connector that will then connect directly to the radio. This negates the need for the H-250 handset (or H-189 if they are even still around). It's by no means cheap, but yes, it can be done. Radios are radios, and they all have the same basic function, it's just a matter of getting the wires mapped correctly to the plug. Everything else is just a (normal) function of the radio. Remember, the Sordin isn't receiving the radio signals, just the output of the radio.

    To be clear, the devices should connect in this order:

    Sordin/MSA => MSA/Sordin Boom Mike => MSA/Sordin compatable PTT Assembly => M55116 connector => PRC-68 (or similar) radio.
     
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    MarinePMI

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    scullti

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    So tell me if this will work: I get one male and one female U-229 connector wired together with 5 conductor audio cable to use as a jumper. This jumper would go between the radio and the existing handset. Within that jumper, I splice in a 2 conductor cable to the A and B wires for a 3.5 mm plug to go to the Sordin headset. The intent of this setup is to provide an inexpensive way for the headset to receive the radio output while still using the handset to transmit. I think I could put such an arrangement together for about $60. Would that work? Would I get feedback in the headset when talking on the handset?
     
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    MarinePMI

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    Hmmm...you're reaching the limit of knowledge with that one (I'm not a tech, but spent years as a radio operator many moons ago). Sounds doable though...

    If your son is active duty (or Active Reserve/Guard), he may be able to get the unit to spring for them (the compatible cable or the whole headset) with a P-Card purchase to Safariland. Perusing the Safariland site, it appears they make a Sordin clone that is US milspec with the headset (I'm assuming they do it so that it meets the requirement for stuff to be made in the USA for the military). I'd imagine he could make the case for safety and health reasons for the unit to purchase several sets for the vehicle commanders. Just a thought....

    http://www.safariland.com/products/...ts/comms-with-hearing-protection-enhancement/