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The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting

Ray Swan (NV2A) on May 14, 2013
View comments about this article!

It's never been worse! Don't want to hurt anyone's feelings here but for 10 years I was running a Kenwood TS 940s and a Heil HC4 mic cartridge. I don't think, or remember, ever being asked to repeat anything from my barefoot station. It likely happened but not often enough that I remember it.

I wanted to work the CQ WPX contest but am having trouble getting my new Yaesu FT DX5000MP to work properly through NIMM Logger program. It's likely my fault, I'm not the brightest computer geek in town! But I did spend a lot of time tuning the bands to see what was going on. I have to tell you I have never ever heard so many "again again please", "please repeat" and mispronunciations of call signs. No doubt the state of Amateur Radio audio is spectacular with digital processing It is more beautiful, rounded and full sounding on SSB rivaling that of AM. If you're rag chewing your 4,000 KHz bandwidth sounds magnificent but for Pete’s sake, don't forget to narrow it down to get some punch and try to peak at around 2,000Khz as the old Heil HC-4 DX'ers Dream cartridge does/did. How and the dickens can you make contacts IN A TIMELY FASHION when darn near everything has to be repeated a dozen times.

If you have sharp knife cutting audio you won't have to heat up the shack near as much running raw power out to your antenna. The wife's TV won't dim on every contact and the bands will be much easier to find clear spots. You won't have to run your processor till your amp takes up half the 40 meter band.

Note to self: Make sure you have contest logging software figured out before the contest starts.

Note to fellow hams: Work on your audio to make it more punchy where sibilance are concerned. It isn’t how pretty you sound in a contest, or how much power you can run or how many times you can hit a playback button before your fingers start to ache it's about making contacts plain and simple. (my suggestion, switch to a different more shrill mic when contesting.)

Note to those who are phonetically challenged: Make an effort to say your phonetics for your call different when asked to repeat. If he doesn't understand "Whiskey" it simply means he may be from a country that hasn't a clue how to spell that or what it means in English. Give the guy a Break and try "Whale, Wonder, William or ideally, a name of a city from his country if you can think of one. Simply saying Whiskey 20 times is silly. If he didn't get it the first 10 times what makes you think he will ever get it? And, if he ask for your suffix, that means in his mind he feel he has your prefix correct but not your suffix. Now, if you feel obligated to repeat the prefix as well as the suffix and there is QRM/N on your signal he will think he has the prefix wrong also when in fact he doesn't. You have just added to his confusion needlessly!

One last point for new contester's: If you hear a tremendously loud European slamming into your station don't call him more then a few times if there is no pile-up. It means he's running 1KW and you are running 100 watts. Of course you will hear him but he may never know you are there in a contest environment. Happy contesting...at least better then mine!

73 Ray nv2a

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by EI2HEB on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Ray,

I largely agree with you, however I like to offer some nuances to your story.

The "again again" syndrome may have some other reasons then the ones you are mentioning.

For instance; the station not heard, may not have the budget to purchase an expensive HEIL microphone with a narrow setting, or may not have an expensive rig with TX-EQ controls... sometimes you have to do with what you have; I for one have a HEIL on my letter to Santa Claus this year; but until then I use a stock mike.

Other than that; it could be that the receiving station is suffering from heavy QRM, stations shouting all over eachother; and keep on shouting over eachother, even when the DX station picks a call and try to make a QSO. It seems that the code of conduct is out the window when it comes to contesting. This is something I really dislike when large contests are on.

Furthermore you also have to respect operators which do not have English as their native language. I would be one of them. Sometimes the call-signs in English from an English native speaker are very fast, hard to grasp. Lets respect all operators.

Lastly; I do not particular like your remark in regards to operators of the European continent. I am sure there are good operators and bad operators from all corners of the world. Including some running more than legal power. The thing I do is to simply ignore them; I don't give them the time of day; and I do not have an illusion that they will go away. As the HAM communitiy is only a reflection of society; I am sure some "rotton apples" will always be there... I am also one of those operators which runs 100W maximum, I simply do not have an Amp.

Rgds,
EI2HEB - Edwin.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K2GWK on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
There are only a handful of rigs that have transmit audio bandwidth beyond 3 KHz for eSSB. I find it hard to believe they all show on the bands during a contest just to make your life miserable.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K1DA on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
How about watching the grid current on your "contest grade" amp.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K0TNT on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Couldn't agree more on the next to last paragraph re: phonetics that mean something to the guy on the other end. With earlier call N9GC, couldn't get a French station to understand Golf Charlie. He heard it but just didn't understand. Finally I decided that 1) Normandy is a province in France, 2) Neuf (pronounced noof) is nine in French. Stuck for GC. Remembered that Charles de Gaulle was once known as Le Grand Charles in the French press. Came back with Normandy Neuf Gran Charles. The F5 came back with, "Ah oui oui. GC Gran Charles!" Creativity helps when you're a charter member of the Low Power Crummy Antenna Society (barefoot 100 watts to indoor attic dipole).
73 de Carl K0TNT (ex N9GC, WC0V and a lot of much worse calls.)
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K9MHZ on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Was this discussion supposed to be about audio as the title suggests, or about phonetics?

As for the audio during a contest, all a person has to do is to have a set of audio parameters that are best for intelligibility, set those, and then return to his golden throat settings once the contest is over. He might actually get a better score. Contest or not, heavy lows are really detrimental to a signal, and downright annoying at times.

And yes, feeding a 3 kc wide SSB ham radio with a sound board and ribbon mic with phantom power? I just don't get how that's supposed to be so cool. Ah well...
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by KK4GSQ on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet

"International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet"
"ITU Phonetic Alphabet"

There are standards for a reason.
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by G4AON on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
There isn't a mention of recording your own transmission to check it's quality. These days with a desktop computer and receiver it's pretty easy to do and means you can try various settings, make a written note of them and record them as "A.mp3", "B.mp3" etc.

Playing back the recordings makes it fairly easy to pick the best sounding audio which will get through first time.

I use a Perseus SDR to record a large chunk of band, which is perhaps a luxury, but if you record your transmission with another transceiver or receiver, it helps to set the bandwidth of the receiver IF/audio fairly wide.

73 Dave
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K9MHZ on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>by KK4GSQ on May 14, 2013....There are standards for a reason<<<<

Amen!
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by HAMMYGUY on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The OP is being way to nice.

Whenever I tune through an ESSB digitized signal, it sounds like crap. Reverb and echo effects (no matter how slight) doesn't sound good especially coupled to a transmitter being driven 4-5Khz wide. I know some of the ESSB'rs will say that's nonsense, but I've seen them on the spectrum analyzer numerous times. Big, Fat, and Wide. Just like some mother in laws. They might as well give up their license and get on lower 38 to join their other good buddies to see who can stomp the loudest.

And to have that garbage turned on during a contest? Yeah...that's a really good idea isn't it?
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K8AG on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have to fully agree with EI2HEB. We all don't have the money for highly modifiable audio systems. And with all of the HOA troubles, a lot of antennas are in an attic and subject to all manner of QRN.

But making the effort to put out optimal audio is appreciated by all. Back away from the mic. Adjust constantly. And definitely change the phonetics. To paraphrase Einstein, repeating the transmission in the same way and expecting to make the contact this time is insanity.

73, JP, K8AG

 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by WD8DK on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Quite frankly, I use a Behringer C-1 and the 802 board with a Kenwood 440 using 50 watts.

I never have to change the settings for either rag chewing or contesting. Get exceptional audio reports on either and few repeats, regardless of signal. It is all in how you set your audio. Its all in what you want it to be.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by W6CAW on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
What I like is after going again again 5 times they give you a 5 by 9 signal report?
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by KW6LA on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
A Carpenter never blames his Hammer ! Both sides of the spectrum overdo it weather it’s the HC-5 mic @ 1.8 TBW or the muddy Bass @ 3.8 TBW . WD8DK is right on, a 440 Kenwood will sound great for chewing or
DX with the band width of that radio. The newer DSP radios need to be equalized for balance while using a studio mic like the B1 or the PR-40. Many Hams have no Idea how they sound over the air, cuz they are fixed
on the grid current or the processor. Over time I think it comes down to this. Old timers like the way SSB / AM sounded to them back in 1977, but the new kids like better fidelity. We agree to disagree ! I run more full
figured, but if the op on the other end makes a comment about it I pinch it up to 400 by 2900 KHz Uugg. AHhhh…… 1967 all over again wow..but it makes them happy so I do it for them. Now they miss half of what I am
saying like you hear in the contests, but who cares. Many rigs have filters, IF shift or pass band tuning that can help shape the sound of a SSB signal, but many never use them for that purpose. This will never be resolved
for we all have different likes and dislikes. That’s what makes Ham radio great !
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by WB9QEL on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I don't think the contesting folk care much about anything but making a contact. Most of them sound and act like they are on Meth.

Just my observation from listening.

 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by N4UM on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Phone contests are a great incentive for working on one's code speed!
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by N8YQX on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Although I think a upgrade mic would do wonders, why not start small?

Most modern rigs have the ability to control both incoming and outgoing audio. I use the stock mic with my barefoot station, but use the transmit tone control (I think that's what it's called) to narrow my transmit bandwidth, resulting in more punchy signal. If this feature comes with your radio, it doesn't cost anything to use, and you can try out different settings with few menu clicks.

I was able to use this setup to make contacts with Finland (contact on the 2nd try) and Austria (contact on the 1st try) last night. If memory serves, one station was running well over a kw, and I got a 57 report with just 100w.

73,
N8YQX
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K9MHZ on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>by KW6LA on May 14, 2013 Many Hams have no Idea how they sound over the air, cuz they are fixed
on the grid current or the processor.<<<<

Huh?

 
Tobacco Auctioneers for the radio?  
by AI2IA on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
There would be a whole lot fewer complaints about ssb contest operations if participants would simply enunciate carefully and a degree slower.

You know the guys I'm commenting about, the tobacco auctioneers, the hams who use weird, uncommon, and far out phonetics for their call sign. The ones who inject mini-QSOs into their exhange, and the mumblers with easily mis-heard call signs like KA8GDE, W4BCV, D1EDZ, and such like [sorry if you call is one of these].

What do we want? Patience, patience, patience. Slow down a wee bit. Use standard phonetics. Be brief. Be blunt. Be gone.

Do these things and go ahead and use a cheap microphone and all will be well.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K8QV on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
So, some people defend the right to sound less intelligible? Not really surprised.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K1DA on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Too many "experts" confuse bandwidth with "quality" when it's lack of distortion in the transmitted signal which makes for good readability. If you can do some frequency response tailoring without adding distortion (which many older rigs didn't do well) it helps. Jamming a wide bandwidth audio signal through a balanced modulator not designed for it makes for some strange sounding signals.
 
Enunciate, slow down, use standard phonetics  
by AI2IA on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
No, it's not the right to sound less intelligible.

It is the good manners to speak clearly and distinctly using communications audio quality and not expecting high fidelity.

It is the good sense to use what you have properly instead of running off and buying expensive gear that you don't really need to do the job.

Patience, efficiency, and common sense are not mutually excluding assets when it comes to operating communications quality audio.

 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K1FPV on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe some of the complaints could be averted by having fewer contests! It is discouraging to the regular ham who wants to rag chew when he is being told by contest operators to get off. Yes it has happened!

Common courtesy has gone out the window! I was told on 20 meters to go to a WARC band if I didn't want interference from contest operators. SHEEESH!

K1FPV
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K6AER on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
If you audio is between 100-and 2900 Hz and the lows and highs are balanced you will sound fine. Anyone with a lick of sense had there receiver bandwidth reduced during a contest.

You need the base in order to bring the power with the speech and the highs for intelligibility. The HC-4 (DX) microphone has all the audio characteristics of Hillary Clinton screaming about the blue dress. I find normal bandwidth audio much easier to copy in a pile up.

If everyone has highly restricted audio 500-2400 Hz you will pick out the wider bandwidth audio right away.

Now remember if you are not running a KW and a beam up high your signal could be as much as 25 dB below the big guns on the band. Under these circumstances you will just have to be patience.
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K0IZ on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think a modestly higher freq response is best. Not as easy to listen to as more rounded, but for communication, its better. But I think the much bigger problems are (1) huge amounts of compression/clipping, leading to pumping, room noise, etc, etc. and (2) gross overdriving of the amp, leading to splattering.

On the first point, I think ignorance is the cause. If a little compression/clipping is good, even more is better for a contest. Even if the intelligibility drops.

On the secnd point, I think the overdriving is done on purpose to clear out a nice, wide channel, keeping others out of the way. I have been tempted in the past to post a "for shame" list of calls. Maybe next time.
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by AB4D on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My biggest gripe are the stations who don't seem to know how to use a mic gain control. Contest or not, if ops would just turn down the gain they could be heard much easier without competing with their own fan noise and other background noises. Simply stated, if you are using SSB, and you see power going out over the air when you are not talking, the gain is set too high. Nobody wants to struggle to hear your call, when it sounds like your sitting next to a vacuum cleaner.

73
 
RE: Enunciate, slow down, use standard phonetics  
by KW6LA on May 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
K9MHZ
<<<< And yes, feeding a 3 kc wide SSB ham radio with a sound board and ribbon mic with phantom power ? >>>

Just in case you ever do use a ribbon mic, NEVER use phantom power or the ribbon will fry ! Huh?
 
RE: Enunciate, slow down, use standard phonetics  
by KG4RUL on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Another example of the "It's All About ME!" generation at it's finest.
 
RE: Enunciate, slow down, use standard phonetics  
by W8AAZ on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
How about this? Got a second rig? Or good receiver? First put your TX on a dummy load, and no antenna on the second receiver. Then you can fiddle with your audio settings and listen thru headphones to what you sound like. My RX only goes about midscale in that setup on the S meter so I am not overloading it. It may not be exactly what the other ham hears, as radios are different, but you surely can prevent transmitting muffled garbage or objectionable distortion that way. I usually run a broadcast mic and lightish processing and it sounds very good to everyone. But I don't really contest.
 
RE: Enunciate, slow down, use standard phonetics  
by K9MHZ on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>by KW6LA on May 15, 2013
Just in case you ever do use a ribbon mic, NEVER use phantom power or the ribbon will fry ! Huh?<<<<



"Huh?" is right. No chance of that ever happening. This golden throat SSB trend is way beyond silly.
 
RE: Enunciate, slow down, use standard phonetics  
by AA4PB on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
It seems to me that hooking a 20Hz-20KHz mike to a SSB transmitter with filters designed to pass 300Hz-3KHz is like hooking a garden hose to a fire hydrant. It may splash some water all over the place but a fire hose works much better for putting out fires.
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K0CBA on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
K1FPV....."I was told on 20 meters to go to a WARC band if I didn't want interference from contest operators. SHEEESH!"
______________________________________________

If these contest guys think the WARC bands are the answer how about holding their %$#@ contests just on the tiny WARC bands and let the non-contesters use the rest of the bands for a change?

I suspect that would not make them very happy perhaps even make them understand what a silly suggestion that is.

 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by KE7TMA on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Pretty soon the 95% of hams who are not interested in contests will start rebelling against those who contest. Yes, we all know you spent half your retirement savings on that fancy radio, and instead of getting your wife that new hip you instead went out to some "remote" island with all the free rum you can drink included in the luxury B&B's rent, but most of us simply don't care about that aspect of the hobby. We are appalled when you claim to own a frequency. Everybody complains about K1MAN but it's OK to act like you own part of the spectrum because you are in a silly contest? That's crazy.

Apologies to the courteous contesters out there. I know you exist, but your brethren are giving you a bad name. Remember no amateur owns any frequency.

As far as ESSB goes, I think it's great. Another group of people experimenting with radio in a way that pleases them - THAT'S what amateur radio is about. Far too many operators put so much processing and compression into their audio, and it always ends up sounding horrific, like bad CBs. If you are going for DX, sure, narrow that bandwidth on your SSB and crank up the speech processor, but for a local rag-chew there's no real reason to give everybody a headache by putting your signal through the wringer. ESSB is a trend that I can agree with - ham radio without the poor-audio induced headache! HUZZAH!
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by WX7G on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
SSB? Try CW for real contesting.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by AI2IA on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Although this topic has been invaded by anti-contest hams, Code fanatics who want to put down SSB voice, gloom and doom hams and others who want to pull it off topic, the subject - the state of ham audio ... for Contesting is worth on topic discussion.

Several really good bits of advice have been given here so far, and hopefully there will be more to come.

Certainly Morse Code has its virtues, and rag chewing does, too! However there is ample opportunity to discuss those things elsewhere on eHam.net or to start another topic about them, but let's use what is left of this thread to pass along some good advice on ham audio for contesting.Learning something we did not know or think about before is a genuine benefit of discussion.
 
ON TOPIC  
by WB9QEL on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
THIS IS AI2IA:


Although this topic has been invaded by anti-contest hams, Code fanatics who want to put down SSB voice, gloom and doom hams and others who want to pull it off topic, the subject - the state of ham audio ... for Contesting is worth on topic discussion.

Several really good bits of advice have been given here so far, and hopefully there will be more to come.

Certainly Morse Code has its virtues, and rag chewing does, too! However there is ample opportunity to discuss those things elsewhere on eHam.net or to start another topic about them, but let's use what is left of this thread to pass along some good advice on ham audio for contesting.Learning something we did not know or think about before is a genuine benefit of discussion.



THIS IS W9ZXT:

What is the difference? Contest audio VS Ragchew audio. If I have a Ragchew with a person who has great audio, can't they take that audio to the contest? Most of the contesters have great audio, it's the way they operate that makes them sound silly.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by AI2IA on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The way they operate makes them sound silly?

How do you equate "the way they operate" with the state of ham audio for contesting?

Please shed a little more light on you views.
 
OFF TOPIC  
by WB9QEL on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
THIS IS AI2IA:


The way they operate makes them sound silly?

How do you equate "the way they operate" with the state of ham audio for contesting?

Please shed a little more light on you views.


THIS IS W9ZXT:

What is the difference? Contest audio VS Ragchew audio? If I have a Ragchew with someone who has great audio, can't they take that same audio to the contest? Your getting off topic.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K8SOR on May 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Has anyone ever noticed how the bands light up during a contest? The hours before a contest the s-meter rarely passes 10 over 9. The minute the contest starts, it never goes below about 40 over 9. How many contesters are really only running 1500 watts?
just my 2 cts. "What was the call again? you're 5 by 9 here, repeat the call???"
73, Skip K8SOR
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by KK4INT on May 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
So many contests..............
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by W8EIR on May 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
All I ask, speak intelligibly so I can understand the call. I know its a contest, but must it be rattled off so fast that many others cannot understand and have ask a bazillion times what the call is, regardless if they're audio it crystal clear.

Just my two cents.

 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by KF4HR on May 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
State of audio for Contesting? That's almost funny! With Contest QRM rated at bad, worse, or terrible, who cares about audio quality?
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by WB2WIK on May 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with the "too much mike gain" comment earlier.

Not only in contests.

I always try to set things up so that if I'm running a kilowatt PEP output or more, when I "dead key" the mike and don't talk, a QRP wattmeter on a 1 Watt scale will indicate "nothing." It shouldn't indicate anything.

If there's 1W of background noise on a 1kW signal, that's only a 30 dB signal-to-crud ratio. The goal for me is for the background noise to be 100mW or less, which at least is 40 dB.

Makes a big difference.
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by ZENKI on May 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
A lot of hams dont use HEADPHONES these days. Using headphones adds 10db to the signal to noise ratio. Speakers just dont cut it when you trying stations quickly.

If your audio is communications quality nobody should have trouble hearing you even if S1 unless they have a lot of QRM. QRM is the big problem in the suburbs. Ham radio weak signal work is just about impossible because of all the junk from China with fake EMC tags.

The other real problem is the concept of ESSB. This practice seems very popular with new hams and many old hams who should know better. I have never heard so much crap audio on the ham bands since ESSB started to take off. All I can say who needs enemies when you have have ham friends who are into ESSB and who are deaf or have hearing problems. You hear them telling their friends that their audio is so great, but it sounds totally crap. The crap bassy audio that you hear passed off as good audio is garbage. You hear this crap audio from stations with all the "boxes" and expensive mic's its useless crap audio that does not exists anywhere besides the ham bands.

Do these hams who think that they audio experts ever listen to the AM broadcast band? They obviously dont because you wont hear such crap audio on any AM commercial station, neither will you hear such excessive bass. Ever monitored a AM broadcast station when they switch over to a telephone interview. Watch the audio on a SDR receiver. You will see the bandwidth drop dramatically. But look at the intelligibility they get with a standard telephone audio. Not 1 ESSB that I have heard sounds as good as this. What this tells you is that ESSB have absolutely no idea what they are doing. You dont need wide bandwidth and expensive equipment too sound good.

Now that we have SDR receivers you can see the idiocy of the ESSB practice. Look at the spectral density of their signals. ESSB stations have "holes" right across their bandwidth. Their audio looks like they are a modulating CW station. Their audio spectral power and hence their transmit power is concentrated in the bass range and very little power is transmitted at frequencies where intelligibility matters. 99% of the ESSB station are really dummies there is no other word for it I am sorry to say. Much of the practice of ESSB as deployed by the average ham goes counter to the laws of radio physics. Its then no surprise that nobody can hear or understand them. Thats before we talk about the over driven splatter thats 15khz wide from all these LIDS. 99% of ESSB stations have excessive IMD or splatter. Why anyone wants to splatter 15khz and then work DX with such quality audio is beyond me. I now consider all ESSB stations who operate on weak signal ham bands to be serial pests and vermin. They cause so much interference and are very selfish about what they doing.

The worst bit of dumb practice that you hear on the ham bands, is the "i dont use processing" We hear this time and time again from ESSB stations and other wannabe technical experts. Any station who spouts the who "i dont use processing" should be placed into the "idiot" category and be ignored. Some hams think they being heroes by not using processing and they wonder who hams can hear them properly. Speech processing is the best free 6db you will get from a ham transceiver. Why anyone would not use it is beyond understanding especially from a so called technical hobby.

Bad ham audio comes about because of mostly operator ignorance. In the last few years ham rigs have been the best they have ever been, yet the TX audio the worst that I have heard in my ham radio memory. I have never met so many hams that have set to be so unreadable in my ham radio life. The main reason is the ESSB bandwagon. Yes there are 1 or 2 ESSB that do it right, and then of course many of the AM crowd who at least have the technical sense to do it on the right mode. For the majority hams a simple hand microphone or a Heil HC5 with a bit of speech processing produces the best possible communication quality audio. Unfortunately new hams like ESSB because its the ham version of CB amplified microphones, mostly LIDS who have no idea what the hell they doing with their audio. The first sign of their stupidity is that they asking someone else for audio quality check. Say what? 20 boxes, expensive microphone and no second receiver or station monitor, lets play spot the dummy!

I can work many SSB QRP stations who run communications quality audio with speech processing. On many occasions I work stations that have good strength that I struggle to understand what they are saying. Its just unfortunate that so many hams fall into this category of being undecipherable because of too many boxes and knobs. We should start a ham charity that gives away Heil HC5 microphones to the poor devils. Unfortunate and people with poor technical skills need our help. We need to save them from the curse of bad TX audio brought from the idiotic ESSB practices. Sounding like a telephone is better than sounding like your head and mic is buried in a sandpit. Most ESSB players have their head and mic in the sand pit.

 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by K1CJS on May 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry, but it has to be said: Who the heck said contesting is the only thing to do on or with ham radio?
 
RE: Enunciate, slow down, use standard phonetics  
by KO3D on May 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
KG4RUL wrote: "Another example of the "It's All About ME!" generation at it's finest."

I agree but it's a different generation than you meant. Most of the poor domestic operating practices I hear come from "old school" hams who should know better. Time and again when I hear someone with an extremely wide signal using a Kw to talk from Florida to Georgia, it's a 40 year licensed ham.
 
RE: Enunciate, slow down, use standard phonetics  
by N6AJR on May 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!




Remember, on SSB you are supposed to sound like a duck




 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by TTOMAS59 on May 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Each time I start to work an ssb contest I stop exhausted after three minutes. I guess I don't care enough to win. Sometimes I think I'm the only sane person on earth.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by TTOMAS59 on May 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
We could be in the end days. Many of our institutions that make us a democratic republic are under threat. We have a leader who is a megalomaniac with his finger on the button.

Who cares about this crap?
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by KE4ZHN on May 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Every time Ive heard contester's on the air most of them sound like fingernails across a chalk board. Screeching, tinny, super compressed crappy audio with 20 over 9 fan noise in the background is not fun to listen to. Even for 30 seconds. On the other hand neither is muddy bassy crap that is supposedly "hifi" SSB either. Those are usually the guys who buckshot 6khz either side and then tell you its your receivers fault. Why cant hams just adjust their rigs to sound normal and clean and be done with it?
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by WB9QEL on May 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
THIS IS WB2WIK:


I agree with the "too much mike gain" comment earlier.

Not only in contests.

I always try to set things up so that if I'm running a kilowatt PEP output or more, when I "dead key" the mike and don't talk, a QRP wattmeter on a 1 Watt scale will indicate "nothing." It shouldn't indicate anything.

If there's 1W of background noise on a 1kW signal, that's only a 30 dB signal-to-crud ratio. The goal for me is for the background noise to be 100mW or less, which at least is 40 dB.

Makes a big difference.


THIS IS W9ZXT:

That is VERY good advice right there!!

Thanks Steve.
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by KC9V0 on May 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Totally agree. Use standard phonetics especially during crowded band conditions and speak slowly and distinctly.
 
The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by TTOMAS59 on May 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
If half the population went on strike we would have a new government in a few days. Instead we all smile with ham radio and the government up our butts.
 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by NN3W on May 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>Totally agree. Use standard phonetics especially
>>>>during crowded band conditions and speak slowly and
>>>>distinctly.

Standard phonetics work well in stateside to stateside contests, but not necessarily in DX tests. Hams Different countries hear different words differently and not all phonetics are understood well.

November sounds like crap to a lot of people. I use Norway. Much faster and much cleaner.

 
RE: The State of Ham Audio...for Contesting  
by NV2A on June 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Some of you get it. Many of you don't as you went off on tangents. It's as simple as this. If you work for a FM Broadcast operation as a disc jockey you want as "pretty" and "full rounded" audio as you can muster with gobs of bass. BUT, if you are in a communications contest and want to make more then 2 contacts per hour, you would be well advised to taylor your audio to the average Amateur radio transceiver and narrow it up a bit to get more audio punch and less need for repetition.

Now, it "should" go with out saying that some people are dumb, some are rich and some have 20KW amps but that just ain't the norm in ham radio. I was talking about the normal operator and not some guy denying his wife a hip transplant so he can work a damn contest! Jeeeeeesh!

Narrow your audio, change your phonetics when what you are using hasn't worked for 10 attempts and keep an open mind. To non-contesters take heart. It just may be that contest are saving your bands from confiscation because many nights there ain't but a handful of guys that can be heard and many of those are drunks who don't give out their calls but once a year.

73's all and see you in the pileups, I'll be the one with the schril audio you have no trouble understanding !!

 
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