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Yaesu Microphone Tricks

Paul R. Brenner (W6RLF) on November 7, 2002
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Yaesu Microphone "Tricks":

Several years ago, when I got really active again in ham radio, I bought a FT-100. I use it as my primary home rig, as I've moved my "shack" to the study with its small desk, and I need to be "low profile". I've greatly enjoyed it, and never had the problems experienced by some others. However, the audio quality of the microphone, with its teeny element, leaves something to be desired.

Several months ago there was an article discussing simple modification whereby you take the microphone apart to remove a small plastic disk that sits in front of the microphone element. I've spoken to Yaesu techs, and they have no idea why that disk was placed there. With it removed, audio is understandably improved somewhat. I won't re-hash that article, but it should be easily found here on eHam.

One other problem not solved by the above "mod", but easily solved, is fairly scratchy, sibilant audio. That is true whether the aforementioned disk is present or not. Early in my days with the FT-100, someone recommended a simple fix: A piece of foam weather-stripping taped over the microphone holes. Buy it thick enough that it is easy to split with a razor knife to eliminate the gummy side. It's fairly easy to control the thickness you cut. Cut a long enough piece that you can tape it away from the holes, and the buttons. I cut a narrow, long piece and run it over the top of the mic; one piece of tape goes over the top of the mic (I don't use those "up" and "down" buttons much); the other goes across the mic in front, just above the buttons. If you do it neatly with thin strips of black tape, it doesn't look too bad.

I've tested this listening to myself in another receiver, and it perfectly eliminates the scratchiness.

I recently bought a FT-1500M and have made the same modifications to its mic, which is very similar to the FT-100 mic.

Finally, I've learned that you don't have to spend a lot of money to GREATLY improve the audio of the FT-100. A month ago, a local Radio Shack was selling a discontinued floor sample of a typical "studio" dynamic mike for $3. Low impedance. It looked very well made, and I bought it because I couldn't pass it up. I immediately started thinking about whether I could use it with the FT-100. It's sort of a "bargain basement Heil".

The FT-100 uses a six-conductor modular line for the mic. Fortunately, an old-fashioned electronics store in the town next to ours had this; you won't find six-conductor modular in Radio Shack, although it's probably easily available on the net. The FT-100 manual has a clear diagram of the connections. A mic like this has only two conductors, for the mic element itself; the "on-off" switch is of course not a "push to talk". (This means that you have to use VOX.) I spliced the conductors, and tried the mic. The audio sounded good, but there was virtually no output, even at full gain!

I called Yaesu, and one of the techs told me to reset the entire radio back to default settings. He couldn't explain why, but said that they've learned that this cures a multitude of problems. (It seems as though, just like a computer, conflicts can arise.) In fact, if someone sends a FT-100 to Yaesu with an inscrutable problem, that's the first thing they do automatically. Lo and behold, that solved the problem. I was now getting normal output.

At this point some readers are probably saying that they'd rather live with less good audio than do this, but this wasn't a big deal for me; I had very little programmed into my FT-100.

Bottom line: With no DSP adjustment, no compression, mic gain at 50%, I've got nearly "broadcast quality"; audio. I've confirmed listening to myself how much better it sounds; and a net I check into regularly can't believe the difference.

I'm out $11, $3 for the mike and $8 for the small stand. You may not find a $3 mic; on the other hand, you may already have such a mic. At Radio Shack, these current stock mics seem to go for $30-$40. All in all this is a pretty reasonable way to significantly improve the audio of the FT-100.

Member Comments:
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Yaesu Microphone Tricks  
by NA4IT on November 7, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I use a Rad Shack 33-3007 condenser mic on my Yaesu FT-840 with very good results. It is on a gooseneck bolted to my desk that comes down right in front of my mouth when I am sitting at the computer, and can be pushed up out of the way when not in use. I do use the AA battery in it, but it lasts for months! And since the FT-840 does have VOX, I use a footswitch plugged into the back of the rig. As Checy Chase would say,

RE: Yaesu Microphone Tricks  
by JAMES_BENEDICT_EX_N8FVJ on November 8, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I have removed the 'disc' on the FT-100D and also drilled a tiny hole in the mic case- worked well. ICOM has a simular issue with the '706'. A disc also prevents audio to the element. I cut a 30 degree pie shaped piece out of the disc to allow more high frequency to be routed to the element. I get remarks of great audio after this modification.
Yaesu Microphone Tricks  
by W4JCK on November 23, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Nice comments Paul - I can't imagine what happened to force a required reset on the FT-100 though. I've used a variety of different mics on mine - I like to experiment.
You can get the needed the 6 pin plugs and cable at Radio Shack. They are in the telephone section. The 6 pin is an RJ25.

And since you have the cable already stripped, why not add a foot switch for PTT? I wired a small box with a 1/4" TRS jack and a 3/32" jack to my FT-100 mic "jumper cable". Radio Shack sells a foot switch for cassette recorders that will plug into the 3/32" jack and the 1/4" jack will allow you to change and experiement with different mics (if you're so inclined!)
73 Chris
Yaesu Microphone Tricks  
by NJ6F on November 26, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I used a $19 33-3021 Radio Shack Black Dynamic Pencil Mike with no battery on my FT100D. In Vox mode turn up VOX gain to 90
Turn up mic gain to 65, compression to 65, FM gain to 75 and DSP to 2.
This mike is unidirectional need to tape with perhaps black electrical tape the bottom of the ball, up the ball from the threads and also one tape width above the metal seperation on the ball so you basically have just the top part of the ball exposed.
Talk into the top of the mic...if you are one of those soft spoken guys you might experiment with unscrewing the black ball and just talking into the pencil / element attached. It is much louder as well. I chose to use the ball and modify it as described.

Results were great on FM.... smooth / superior to the hand condensor mike, and the mike on SSB sounded the same as with the hand mike on DSP 1 at 50 gain, but with no wind sounds as with standard mike that was modified 3 holes and disk taken out.
On AM make the F-Menue mods on F51 to 25 watts AM and F15 to 100 watts CW carrier first...a friend says stay with standard hand mike with audio set at 17 for a bit punchier audio vs the smooth audio of the pencel mike at setting 25 or so, but I need to experiment a little with AM which I would think also should sound better. It depends on the listener :-)
I used a 6 pin white plastic telephone 6 pin terminal box you have room to put the resistor mod later, for PTT and on the open end of terminal box I melted in a small female plug adapter and brought the internal red wire for ground and black wire for the mic connection to the opposite sides of the adapter plug. By the way some black foam or felt pasted over the hand mikes 3 holes should also help with wind noise.
Also don't leave VOX button on when you walk away with radio on, even though button is off on mic... whenever the fan goes into high speed it tends to trip the VOX, with Vox sensitivity set 90. This is good for making your wife think there is also someone else in the neighborhood getting into the TV hi...
Have fun!

RE: Yaesu Microphone Tricks  
by W6RLF on December 6, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks to everyone for their comments.

Chris, I agree it seems weird that a reset would have an effect here, but it did; and as I mentioned in the article, the Yaesu tech who suggested it mentioned that it seems to cure so many things, it is the first thing they do whenever a radio is sent to them.

by 9A4BL on February 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I have crackling (distortion) on SSB at minimum MIC gain!
I couldn't solve these problems by backing down the MIC gain because
it is already on minimum. This is happened only on 15m band!
On all other bands I can operate with full RF gain and 3/4 MIC gain without
any problems. Only on 15m band I have terrible signal distortion. No chance
to work only on this band.

Any help would be appreciated!

Vy 73 de 9A4BL
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