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Regrettably - 'cause my Cairns trip was cut short - I had to cancel the trip
to the Great Barrier Reef where I'd been given the opportunity to field test
the 'DiveLink' communications gear.
 
Although it's hardly the ideal site, I did, however, manage a dive in one of
the dive operator's 5-metre training pool.
 
Offering diver-to-diver; diver-to-surface communications, the DiveLink
employs voice activated technology and consists of a mouth mask connected to
a low profile headset incorporating the receiver transmitter, and a flat
receiver that can be positioned through the mask strap to rest either on the
ear or against the skull bone.
 
The surface unit consists of a pair of earphones and mic, with a length of
cable and small transmitter/receiver that can be lowered into the water to a
chosen depth.
 
On my first try with the unit, I used the Scubapro full face mask.  Although
the other diver and the surface were both able to hear me very well, I
experienced initial problems in listening/decyphering what they were saying
and, at the same time, breathing!  (I believe in doing one thing at a time!) :-)
 
A little bit of fiddling with the ear piece - and throttling back on the gas
flow - soon rectified both problems and I was able to hear both surface and
other diver very distinctly.
 
On the second try, I used the 'standard' mouth unit/reg - which I found a
little uncomfortable to use - mainly because of the hard plastic retaining
lugs.  Speaking, however, was not a problem, nor was the positioning of the
earpiece.
 
A pool, of course, is not a fair testing ground and it would be good to use
the unit in open water where there is other boat traffic, thermoclines and
physical barriers like wrecks and reefs between the diver and line-of-sight
to another diver or the surface.
 
As a lightweight unit that - apart from my own reservations about the
mouthpiece lugs - is compact and easy to use, it will probably have
wonderful applications for videographers, marine studies students;
scientists and other occupational groups.
 
Although at over a thousand bucks (Australian) for each unit, I can probably
learn to live without it!  (As far as I'm concerned you still can't beat a
long piece of string (rope)!)  :-)
 
Strike