Boondock Technologies has recently unveiled the Boondock Echo, a novel device available on Crowd Supply that bridges the communication gap for users of two-way analog radios. This innovative gadget is designed to intercept, record, and transcribe audio messages, eliminating the need to be physically present to receive communications. It functions by connecting to a two-way radio, capturing audio, which it then uploads to a cloud-based service for transcription. Users can leverage the Boondock Echo's web interface to create alerts that trigger when certain keywords appear in the transcribed text. Practical applications are plentiful, ranging from monitoring emergency service channels for specific terms to listening out for one's call sign on amateur radio networks.
The device comes with a compact form, with dimensions of 120 x 90 x 30 millimeters, and includes a variety of ports and buttons for connectivity and control, including a walkie-talkie cable, audio jack, MicroSD slot, and USB port. After an easy setup process involving Wi-Fi configuration, users can access numerous options to customize their experience. Internally, the Boondock Echo features two boards - the main board with an ESP32-A1S module and a secondary Boondock Audio Kit Sidekick board. During our hands-on review with a pre-release unit connected to a Baofeng UV-5R+ radio, the Echo performed admirably, efficiently transcribing messages from various emergency frequencies with precision, thanks to OpenAI. Once Boondock Echo captures a message, it uploads the audio to its cloud service, which uses OpenAI to transcribe it. While currently limited to email notifications, Boondock Technologies anticipates expanding notification services in the future.