How to record ATC and intercom communications with gopro ?
I was trying to sort out the connection between the airplane’s radio equippment and the Gopro so I could record the communications in a better quality without any external noise.
Searching on internet I’ve found a cable, which costs around 33€ (46US$) on MyPilotstore, but the problem is the cost of shippment to Europe which makes it pretty expensive (as it is still only a piece of cable), so it can cost roughly about almost 60€ (without shippment costs).
It would be of course the easiest way how to get everything to work.
I was quite sure, that there have to be another and much cheaper solution. I have searched between all my cables at home, if there would be something usefull, how could I connect the Gopro with the Radio. I have found 2 usefull pieces: a plug adaptor (aviation to 3.5mm) and a 3.5mm Audio Male to Male Extension Cable, which is 1 meter long and will give me some freedom when placing the camera different places in the plane and keeping it connected to the intercom.
To connect these 2 pieces with the Gopro Hero3, I still need the Gopro Hero3 3.5 mm Mic Adapter. I’ve used an alternative one bought on Ebay for less than 2€ shippment included, and it works perfectly. (I don´t know whether the adapter would be still available to buy at later point from this seller, but I am sure there are plenty of other sellers on ebay offering this article.) I´ve also noticed, that even if they sell these cables on ebay, sometimes they don´t work. Went to speak to a specialist, he opened the cable and it said that the difference is, that in some of these they don´t put the resistence, so the gopro doesn´t recognise the cable. Similar situation happens to your iphone, if you try to use an authorized cable… Without the resistance it doesn´t work…
The plug adapter can be purchased at any music shop like I did, and it cost only a couple of euros.
Here you can see them connected to the camera.
Now you could connect the camera with your onboard radio equippment and start to record the conversations. Find a free plug (at one of the passenger seats) and record. As we mostly fly 2-3 people on board, there mostly one available to use it for the recordings. If you use to fly with 4 people on board, you will probably need the original cable which is much more expensive (as you have no spare plugs available on board of the plane).
If you wish to check at home that the connection works, and the camera records the sound, just connect your Gopro camera to your mobile phone, turn some music on, and record with your camera. After that you will see that the music from your phone has been recorded on the camera, and no outside noise can be heard in the video.
To be sure, that my invention will work on the plane, I’ve plugged it in and recorded the communications with another person speaking through the radio. No outside noise can be heard, only the communications between us. Unfortunately the weather was bad, so I was not able to test it in flight, but I’ll do so soon! Here is also a video about this solution; at the end you can hear how it worked out. It is recording only conversations through the intercom when the PTT is pushed. Note: Connect the cables to the camera and intercom before the camera will be turned ON, otherwise it can happen, that the camera won’t be recording the sound (it happened to me as well…)
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. If you have spare cables at home, maybe you can save some $$… By the way, this method works also with my Gopro4 Silver… Fly safe!