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Motorcycle group chats

High-quality audio, noise-cancellation and absolutely free

Compatible with every headset

Just use your current headset, it's probably already connected with your mobile phone. Keep using your spoken navigation, listen to music and be able to have an open chat connection with your friends.


High Quality audio

We have a balance between high audio quality and data usage.  On top of that we have build-in noise cancellation and auto gain, so all users sound equally loud. Even at higher speeds.

Open-Source conference software

Our server uses the open-source videoconference software Jitsi. It's settings are changed for our needs and require little bandwidth, which keeps the required amount of megabytes per hour minimal. 
Video is disabled when you enter in a chatroom, this should keep your data plan from draining when you forget to turn video off.


Use the Mobile (cell) network

Yes, we tried transceivers as well, but their reception isn't good when your are in the mountains or when you are a bit further away from each other.  You will also find moments without cell tower reception in which case the chat doesn't work. The application will  automatically reconnect you when the connection is back.

Encrypted chats

Jitsi uses DTLS-SRTP encryption for all of it's communication.
1-1 chats are connected directly between phones. Group chats do use our server as central point, but the contents are never stored to any persistent storage and only live in memory while being routed to other participants in the meeting.


So, really free?

Yes. Without any limitations or conditions.  I've been so happy with this solution that I'd like to share it with fellow motorcycle riders. There is no money made or information shared with 3rd parties by selling metadata, conversations, information or anything else.

Requirements

  • Mobile phone

    Nothing special. An (older) Android or iPhone will do.

  • Data plan

    Chatting requires around 30 MB an hour.
    A 6 hour drive will spend roughly 200 MB.

  • Bluetooth headset

    Not required but gives without a doubt the best result. Make sure the phone is connected to the headset.

Don't worry when the connection with the server drops. This can happen with bad cell reception.
The application will automatically reconnect and you'll hear a notification sound.


The experience is best  with 15 or less people at the same time. Although we support groups up to 75 people at maximum.

Ready to start a group chat?


The iPhone tutorial is further below.

Android


  • Download 'HelmChat'

    Based on the source code of Jitsi Meet but with all the correct settings.Get it on Google Play

  • Open the 'HelmChat' application and start a chatroom

    And fill in any room name you want. The name of your riding group or something funny to annoy your friends.

  • Give permission to microphone

    The app needs permission to the microphone so that your friends can hear you too.

  • Share the link of the meeting

    Inside the chat application there is a large blue button ‘Invite others’. Share it with as much riders as you like, even your spouse can join in and listen to what you are saying if you REALLY want. For extra convenience: paste the link in a chat or e-mail, you can reuse the link forever!

  • Restart / resume the chat?

    After a break you’ll might want to restart the chat. Reuse the link from step 4 or open the HelmChat application and the previous chat will be in your history.

  • Did everything go well?

    If you encounter any problems, scroll down to our issues section for the most common ones. I always like to hear if something did or didn’t go as expected. Any feedback or suggestions are welcome! And if you think the app is worth it, help our development with a donation.

iPhone / iOS

The iPhone application is in development and until it's finished you can use the official Jitsi Meet application. This has the same functionality and audio quality, but our server must be manually set, which is really easy. This only needs to be done once.

  • Download 'Jitsi Meet'

    The official Jitsi Meet application: Apple App Store.

  • Open the 'Jitsi Meet' application and go to settings

    In the application, open the menu by clicking on the three horizontal lines in the top left and select Settings. In Settings there is a field called ‘Server URL’ in which to set meet.helmchat.eu
    Thats it. Our server will handle the settings from there.

  • Start a chatroom

    You can now start a chatroom by entering a room name that you want. The name of your riding group of something funny to annoy your friends.

  • Give permission for the microphone

    The app needs permission to the microphone so that your friends can hear you too. Other permissions like the camera are not required.

  • Share the link of the meeting

    Inside the chatroom there is a large blue button ‘Invite others’. Share it with as much riders as you like, even your spouse can join in and listen to what you are saying if you REALLY want. Paste the link in a chat or e-mail, you can reuse the link forever!

  • Restart / resume the chat?

    After a break you’ll might want to restart the chat. Reuse the link from step 5 or open the HelmChat application and the previous chat will be in your history.

Issues


With many different devices and headsets, it's possible that something doesn't work as expected. Below are the most common issues.
Did you encounter something else?  Send me an e-mail and I will try to find a solution.


Contact?

Need some help or something didn't work?
You can always get in touch at info@helmchat.eu

There is a community chat at Reddit with a lot of answers.

This is a non-profit private project to make group chats a better experience for everyone, but you may always buy me a coffee.

Made possible by Jitsi & FlatIcon

Privacy

We log as little as possible: rooms that have been created for the last week in order to find out if our server keeps up with the usage and your basic internet and browser information to generate usage statistics of our two websites: helmchat.eu and meet.helmchat.eu.

We rely heavily on the open-source software of Jitsi. We don't think it does, but it could be that they record usage information as well.

Just to be sure: use this at your own risk and we are not responsible for anything regarding our software or service. Drive safe.

 

But why?

My group has been trying everything to communicate to each other during the many years of motorcycle trips. From walkie-talkies with push-to-talk buttons to the so-called ‘compatibility’ mode between a Sena and Nolan headset and even a portable WiFi router with large antenna taped under the seat with specific software on everyone’s his phone.
It never worked well.

During the Covid-19 pandamic I was working on implementing videoconference software for large teams. I’ve been playing around with Jitsi on a private server when the idea came to use it with a group of friends during a motorcycle trip.

We installed the conference application on our phones, connected to the same conference room and we could talk the entire trip: long distance (overtaking), good audio quality, noise-cancellation for the higher speeds and low cellular data usage.

Helmchat.eu (helm is Dutch for helmet) is the tweaked version of this proof-of-concept for everyone to use.