Today we’re continuing our 3M PELTOR spotlight series with a look at the LiteCom BRS two-way radio headset. These high-end headphones offer not only top-notch hearing protection, but also full set-to-set communication on multiple frequencies. 3M goes the extra mile when engineering these products, and here at Enviro we make sure to provide only the best, so you get the best.
The LiteCom’s noise reduction rating (NRR) of 25 decibels allows for peace in the storm, or the factory, or the loading deck, wherever you happen to be. The soft padding on the headband and deep earcups allow for an unusual level of comfort, making it easy to wear for prolonged periods. The star of the show here, however, is the two-way radio.
The built-in two-way UHF radio is a cable-free communication system that can connect your whole team together to optimize productivity and communication. The microphone is engineered to filter out sounds beside speech, so you don’t get any unwelcome noise in your ears. If you go without talking for more than two hours, the headset switches off automatically to conserve energy. When you start talking again, the channel reopens within milliseconds, so no one should miss any of your words.
The headset itself also communicates with you, and may even start to feel like part of the team. When initially turned on, the unit notifies you of its battery status and guides you through a voice-activated menu. The 8 BRS channels and 38 CTCSS subchannels are compliant with the FCC’s narrowbanding mandate. When it switches off after two hours of inactivity as mentioned above, it tells you it’s doing so and you will hear a ten-second sequence of short tones.
The microphone sensitivity can be adjusted to your needs, though the manual informs that a lower level makes transmission easier. The only situation that would require a high setting would be in environments so noisy that it could simply drown your voice out. Otherwise, the mic should be fine at the default level. There’s also a feature humorously named “squelch,” which reduces the background hiss common to most communication systems. The squelch level can be adjusted similarly to the sensitivity. Again, this depends on your needs, in this case how far apart the units will be. A lower squelch level can permit transmission across longer distances.
The channel system is very sophisticated, with 8 primary channels that can be organized based on your needs; this team doing this job uses channel 1, another team uses 2, and so on. The 38 subchannels are more complicated. CTCSS stands for “continuous tone-coded squelch system,” and these frequencies can detect inaudible tones in human speech that determine whether the channel is open or closed. It’s all arcane and mysterious from where I’m sitting and I’m not going to pretend to know how it works, but it allows multiple conversations to be happening on the same frequency without audibly interfering with each other. Crazy, right?
The PELTOR LiteCom BRS headset is a great choice for employers trying to put together a hearing protection program for a high-noise environment.