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Thread: Communications underwater and FFM

  1. #1
    RBW Member Rui_Guerra is an unknown quantity at this point Rui_Guerra's Avatar
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    Communications underwater and FFM

    Hi All,

    For my video work I need to buy some underwater communications system.
    I'm considering a through-water system and not a wired one.

    But since I'm using a rebreather most of the time, I would like a system that can be used with it, and not only with OC and a built-in property regulator (like most systems are).

    So some questions I need your help:

    1 - I've read in Alert Diver that "Second, despite added airway safety, the use of a full-face mask with rebreathers is at best problematic for several reasons, including fogging and an increased risk of CO2 buildup."
    http://www.alertdiver.com/uw_comm_systems
    Anyone have experience in this subject or can comment on this two issues?

    2 - What brands of underwater communications do you advice. I'm leaning towards OTS...

    3 - One option that appeals me (due to the possibility for use with CC and our own regulator) is the Mantis FFM from OTS. Besides those advantages, the glass are closer to the eye (important consideration when doing photography because one needs to look through te viewfinder eyepiece) and since it has two glasses so its easier to "glue in" dioptric lenses (important when one needs reading glasses...).
    http://ots.mwrc.net/en/product.php?product_id=44839

    4 - Regarding the communications itself, OTS have the Buddy Phone and the more pro system (5 Watt). Any one have tried any of those and can report about voice clarity, range and easy of use?

    Thanks!

    Best,
    Last edited by Rui_Guerra; 8th September 2016 at 10:50.

  2. #2
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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    Hey Rul,

    I've got a bit of experience using Underwater Comms in filmmaking. The OTS system is really the best for being able to talk and understand underwater.

    That said, using them with CCR's is indeed a pain. The Full Face Masks, like AGA and the Guardian are not good choices, due to the fogging that occurs. You can try to use anti-fog but in my experience nothing really works well there, and when you are filming, you can't really stop and re-coat anti-fog on your mask over and over again.

    The Kirby Morgan M48 set out to solve this in a couple of ways. First, it is a divided mask, the Half Mask portion is just like a regular scuba mask, and can be treated with anti-fog (in my world it is known as "spit" ) and the bottom half has a flexible bite piece which eliminates the CO2 issue, while allowing you to release it, speak, then re-bite it without drowning.

    This is the set that the Military uses to have underwater comms with Rebreathers, so that should tell you something...

    Ultimately, John and I abandoned Comms, since most of our later work was done deep, and understanding each other using Helium was just too difficult (I know Brian Greene and Rich Pyle can understand each other - I've seen their hilarious videos, but I just couldn't do it).

    When I produced "Lost Warriors" we elected to just go Open Circuit and use the OTS system with AGA masks (the Guardian wasn't available then, but I use them now). It worked great, as you can see if you click on the link above. The guys at OTS made a special model for Bob Keet so that his set had an output to his Gates Housing for his camera (this was back when dinosaurs ruled the earth...).

    Hope this helps!

    Kevin Juergensen
    Juergensen Marine, Inc.
    Pacific Media Associates, Inc.

  3. #3
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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    I have used the Mantis mask and am happy with it. One challenge with comms is that area around the mouth is close to your face, so it doesn't leave much room for a microphone. OTS makes a nice module that fits the mask, and I have used it with wireless, and hardwired comm systems.

    It also allows for any BOV to be used by zip-tying it into the mouthpiece area of the mask. So, straightforward, no p-ports or other clunky adapters.

  4. #4
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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    I have a mantis mask I've used OC and liked it, does it work OK with a BOV?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    RBW Member Rui_Guerra is an unknown quantity at this point Rui_Guerra's Avatar
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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    Hi Dave, Kevin and OceanOpportunity,

    Thank you very much for your help!

    So, it looks like there are not many options...

    My conclusions are that OTS is THE brand to go.

    Regarding FFM, the Mantis will solve all the problems (fogging and CO2) using CC, but I imagine that it's price will be well over other options, like the AGA, right?
    And anyone knows that it will work with Poseidon Discovery MKVI?


    If for now (just considering all the options here) we just put aside the CC option, then AGA FFM will be a good and reliable option?

    Regarding the land base options in OTS, it looks like there are two ways to go:

    1 - The station Aquacom STX-101 + charger + batteries

    OR

    2 - Kit CDK-6 + SSB-2010

    Regarding price, the option number 2 is a little more economical and smaller. Another plus will be the ability to transform it in a second unit for a diver-diver communication system (without land support) just by adding another FFM + Earphone/Microphone kit!

    Anyone have any advice between this two options? Any particular thing that I should know about?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Rui_Guerra; 9th September 2016 at 22:29.

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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    You should look closely at the BOV connection to the mask. Poseidon uses a larger than standard mouthpiece opening. It might not fit the Mantis. I prefer the KM M-48 Supermask but getting my Poseidon to fit might be an issue. The mouth price inside the mask is very important on CCR to prevent dead air space and loss of circulation through the scrubber. The up side is the MK VI is very efficient.

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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    Mantis is far less expensive than AGA. Mouthpiece size is a consideration. It is sized to accept a 'stanadard' regulator. Havent looked at it with Poseidon or similar. I've had no trouble with a BOV.

    I also use a Nova R with a rebreather and comms. I like it, but always seem to struggle with gas loss through the mushroom valve at the chin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rui_Guerra  View Original Post
    Hi Dave, Kevin and OceanOpportunity,

    Thank you very much for your help!

    So, it looks like there are not many options...

    My conclusions are that OTS is THE brand to go.

    Regarding FFM, the Mantis will solve all the problems (fogging and CO2) using CC, but I imagine that it's price will be well over other options, like the AGA, right?
    And anyone knows that it will work with Poseidon Discovery MKVI?


    If for now (just considering all the options here) we just put aside the CC option, then AGA FFM will be a good and reliable option?

    Regarding the land base options in OTS, it looks like there are two ways to go:

    1 - The station Aquacom STX-101 + charger + batteries

    OR

    2 - Kit CDK-6 + SSB-2010

    Regarding price, the option number 2 is a little more economical and smaller. Another plus will be the ability to transform it in a second unit for a diver-diver communication system (without land support) just by adding another FFM + Earphone/Microphone kit!

    Anyone have any advice between this two options? Any particular thing that I should know about?

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    RBW Member Rui_Guerra is an unknown quantity at this point Rui_Guerra's Avatar
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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    Quote Originally Posted by OceanOpportunity  View Original Post
    Mantis is far less expensive than AGA. Mouthpiece size is a consideration. It is sized to accept a 'stanadard' regulator. Havent looked at it with Poseidon or similar. I've had no trouble with a BOV.

    I also use a Nova R with a rebreather and comms. I like it, but always seem to struggle with gas loss through the mushroom valve at the chin.
    One thing that appeals me in Mantis is the reduced size and volume and the glass is closer to the eyes with is important in photography work.

    In OTS site, there is a photo with it with a Poseidon regulator fitted: http://ots.mwrc.net/en/product.php?product_id=44839

    So in your experience, Mantis is a good option?
    Do you use it with the BuddyPhone or with the SSB-2010?
    Have you use it with a rebreather? IS yes, any issues? Or for rebreather you only use the Nova R?

    Many thanks!
    Last edited by Rui_Guerra; 12th September 2016 at 10:41.

  9. #9
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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    I have used it with ssb and hardwired. OTS makes up adapters for just about anything you can dream up

  10. #10
    RBW Member DragonZA is an unknown quantity at this point DragonZA's Avatar
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    Re: Communications underwater and FFM

    Im using the KM 48 with my Poseidon MK6 and no worries at all. Mouthpiece fits easily. Also, arguably, the easiest FFM to bail out on. I have a spare OC pod and reg on my BO and after using the BOV and getting back to normal, I can unclip the DSV pod and clip in the OC pod and go. Or just use a standard second stage in the open mouth area.

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