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Remote Comms through Zoom


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What you are wanting is more complicated than you might first think - but it was very common in the past on larger Theater shows, for example, before the specifically-designed wireless headset systems came on the market - to enable Walkies to be integrated in wired headset party-line comms systems. The problem is on most film sets, the walkies (ie Motorolas) are being used in 'simplex' mode - on one frequency per Channel, and only one can be transmitting at a time. Getting outside audio into such a system is difficult - as you need some way to 'key' the transmitter that the Zoom audio is coming into when (and only when) folks on the Zoom side of the system need to talk. There is really no way with Zoom or similar systems to provide a 'Push To Talk' function to key a hardware transmitter. People often try the 'VOX' (voice operated switch) mode on a walkie to make this work, but it's rarely reliable. The trick is you need to be running all your walkies in 'duplex' mode. This is the mode used by mobile radio systems to talk through a 'repeater' on a tall building or hilltop for more range. All the walkies transmit on one frequency and receive on another - specifically allocated pairs per channel. The 'Repeater' is a Receiver feeding a permanently-keyed Transmitter - using the opposite frequency allocation. In the link between the two parts of the Repeater, it's possible to inject other audio (ie the chatter from Zoom) and extract the audio coming from the walkies (to send back to Zoom) - but you need additional circuitry to keep the audio from each side (Radio and Zoom) from getting sent back to where it came from. Most of the major Comms system manufacturers, like Clearcom, make such gear, and Radio Comms hire shops that are used to supplying live performance users should have systems. All commercial grade Walkies on the market will handle Duplex mode, but as you need two allocated frequencies per channel - it's more expensive to rent or buy - plus you need to set up your own local Repeater (more commonly called a Duplex Base Station in this application) on location before anyone can talk to anyone else. Make sure to ask for at least one Simplex channel as well as the Duplex channel so walkies can be used 'stand alone' if the Base Station hasn't been powered yet.

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