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Author Topic: Headphone Recommendation for Dxing  (Read 4798 times)
NS8Q
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« on: June 17, 2012, 09:02:55 PM »

I've been reading a book by Bob Locher, W9KNI, called The Complete DX'er.  It has been a valuable resource so far and he talk about the importance of having a good pair of headphones to give you the ability to pick out the CW signals from DX stations deep down.  He said most CW bandwidths are around 250 to 1,000 Hz while SSB is fropm 300 to 3,000 Hz.  I saw the Heil ProSet3, but after reading the reviews on this site, I'm not so sure that would be the best bet.  The majority of my dx work is with CW with an occasional SSB contact.  I normally use an external speaker, but I'm quickly realizing that I need to really crank up the volume on the rig just to hear things.  It's not really the best way to DX in my opinion.

What would you all recommend I purchase?

73
Chris KC8CAJ
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NU1O
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 09:57:56 PM »

I read that book as a new ham many years ago. Locher had me imagining I was at the controls off my rig while I was reading his book.  He's a very good writer.  I always use headphones whether it's CW or Phone.  I use the Heil Proset.  I have not tried a several headphones side-by-side so I can't say it's the best, just that using headphones is much better than a speaker.

ON4UN, John, gave me a tip one day in a QSO. I had been setting the CW sidetone frequency to 800 Hertz because that's just what I always had used. John told me 400 to 500 hertz made it easier to copy CW. This man has been a ham for as many years I have been alive so when he says something I pay attention. When I first changed the frequency and listened to some CW I thought he was nuts, but I stuck with it and it turns out he was right.  If you have a receive equalizer you should experiment with that as well.  My K3 has RX and TX equalizers. For SSB I boosted the mid-range and really knocked down 3200 hertz and it sounds much better.

73,

Chris/NU1O
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K7MH
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2012, 10:45:58 PM »

The Kenwood HS-5 are very good for CW (and phone). They have a more narrow range of response for communications not music.

Some years ago I was at a friends place working a CW contest on 80. I had been using a couple different sets of stereo type of headphones he had but I would get worn out listening with them. I was telling him about it and he dug up an old pair of HS-5 headphones he had. Good grief what a relief to use on CW on a noisy band.

I bought a pair not long after and use them all the time. Should have bought a pair years ago!
I also have a Heil Proset Plus and I am not real crazy about them for prolonged use. Too tight, too heavy and too broad a response. They were a gift so I didn't have a chance to try them out first and didn't use them much when I first got them so it got a little late to return them.
I'd rather have a Heil boom mic with both elements or at least the DX element, and the HS-5 headphones.
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SP5QIP
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2012, 01:15:11 AM »

I'm using SENNHEISER HD201. They sound great on 50Hz CW or 6KHz SSB listening.
Mike
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N2NL
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2012, 03:43:02 AM »

I use a set of Yamaha CM500's and prefer them to the Heil proset.

For CW, I prefer a very low tone - about 360 hz.  A signal separation of 30 Hz is more discernible at 400hz than 800hz - the percent of difference is greater.  I often can generate decent sized pileups from here, and it is easier to separate signals at low frequency than high (at least for me).

73, Dave KH2/N2NL
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KY6R
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 04:43:05 AM »

I have tried just about every headphone that has reviews of 5.0 on eHam.

Ironically, the best (in terms of comfort and crystal clear sound quality) is one of the cheapest of the bunch - the Koss UR-40.

They are somewhat lightweight, but I find them very comfortable and great for CW, SSB and even music from my iPod / Smartphone.

I have tried HS-5, the Yaesu headphones, top of the line Sennheisers, top of the line AKG's, higher end Koss, and the Radiosport headphones. The Radiosports are at the same rating as the UR-40's, but they are too heavy, and keep too much outside noise out - although I switch to those if I need to block out outside noise completely (my XYL calling me - hi hi).
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 05:08:59 AM »

I'm using SENNHEISER HD201. They sound great on 50Hz CW or 6KHz SSB listening.
Mike

I use the SENNS HD238. I bought them for my ipod, however they are so comfortable and sound so great that I probably use them on my radios more than the ipod.

Stan K9IUQ
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W9KDX
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2012, 05:38:32 AM »

My vote goes to Koss Pro/4AA, not the titanium but the classic.  They are still American assembled, lifetime warranty, and even though they have low volume level, I hear things with them that I never hear with other models.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 05:41:19 AM by W9KDX » Logged

Sam
W9KDX
AA4PB
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 07:46:43 AM »

You need to be cautious about using wide range "hi fi" headsets which often have a range of 20Hz to 20kHz for HF listening. Depending on the receiver, you may hear extrainious noise in the high and/or low end. I prefer to use something like the HS-5 that have a limited frequency response of 150Hz to 4kHz. That's plenty of bandwidth for either voice or CW while attenuating noise below and above that range.

The HS-5 has an added benefit to me as it doesn't block out room noise. If someone speaks to me I can still hear them with the headphones on.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2012, 08:46:22 AM »

For me, now, nothing beats the Bose QC-15s with active noise reduction. That's one of my secret weapons to working the weak ones. ANR is worth its weight in gold to me and the QC-15s have perfected the technology. I even had a friend machine an adapter for me to screw in a Heil MB-1 boom microphone so I can use it as a full contesting headset. The problem is the MB-1 fails after light-duty use in about 10 months.

I've used almost every headset Heil has ever made and every single one of them except the Pro-Set Plus has failed mechanically or electrically within a year. Heil's microphones are the best...but he goes ultra-cheap on his headphones and it shows.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2012, 09:55:45 AM »

I have gone through Koss, Heil and others over the years. All either seem to be too darn heavy, too HOT on my ears, etc.  Somehow, I still go back to the el cheapo MFJ 392B headphone.  I dont particuarly like them either, but I guess its somewhat of a compromise.
I would like to find headphones that are first and foremost, LIGHTWEIGHT and wont make my neck tired, and secondly, really have a range that allows digging out those weak CW signals that keep getting away from me. Angry .
What else would I like in my headphones? Ones that are not too HOT.  Damned "sweaty ears" suck. hi hi

Any suggestions for my "perfect" headphone?

73, Gene AF3Y
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KY6R
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2012, 10:04:22 AM »

I have gone through Koss, Heil and others over the years. All either seem to be too darn heavy, too HOT on my ears, etc.  Somehow, I still go back to the el cheapo MFJ 392B headphone.  I dont particuarly like them either, but I guess its somewhat of a compromise.
I would like to find headphones that are first and foremost, LIGHTWEIGHT and wont make my neck tired, and secondly, really have a range that allows digging out those weak CW signals that keep getting away from me. Angry .
What else would I like in my headphones? Ones that are not too HOT.  Damned "sweaty ears" suck. hi hi

Any suggestions for my "perfect" headphone?

73, Gene AF3Y

This is exactly why I can't use the Radiosports - and that the $49 Koss UR-40's - that you can still get at Radio Shack - and always seems like they are on sale.

I liked the HS-5's a lot - but didn't think they were that comfy. The UR-40's are very comfy and never too hot. Also - really suprisingly great for very weak signal CW - especially teamed up with my K3.
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K6UJ
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Posts: 328




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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2012, 04:20:43 PM »

I have gone through Koss, Heil and others over the years. All either seem to be too darn heavy, too HOT on my ears, etc.  Somehow, I still go back to the el cheapo MFJ 392B headphone.  I dont particuarly like them either, but I guess its somewhat of a compromise.
I would like to find headphones that are first and foremost, LIGHTWEIGHT and wont make my neck tired, and secondly, really have a range that allows digging out those weak CW signals that keep getting away from me. Angry .
What else would I like in my headphones? Ones that are not too HOT.  Damned "sweaty ears" suck. hi hi

Any suggestions for my "perfect" headphone?

73, Gene AF3Y

This is exactly why I can't use the Radiosports - and that the $49 Koss UR-40's - that you can still get at Radio Shack - and always seems like they are on sale.

I liked the HS-5's a lot - but didn't think they were that comfy. The UR-40's are very comfy and never too hot. Also - really suprisingly great for very weak signal CW - especially teamed up with my K3.



Also the Koss UR-40's have a lifetime warranty   Smiley
Bob
K6UJ
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AF3Y
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2012, 05:02:11 PM »

Read some reviews on the UR-40s, and decided to go ahead and place an order. They look like they may be what I need, but the proof is in the pudding. I will see how they sound. Headphones are really a personal kind of thing. Kinda like your key.

 Got em for less than $26.00   with free shipping on Amazon, with the lifetime warranty, so if they are not what I am looking for, I wont get hit in the wallet very hard! I think I may have paid more for the cheap MFJ cans.  Gene AF3Y
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K3STX
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2012, 08:54:40 PM »

Laugh all you want, but I use the white Apple earbuds 99% of the time. Sometimes during contests I put on my Heil ProSet (to obscure amp noise), but I love the earbuds because they are comfortable, sound great, and to NOT completely block out the outside world. I can still hear my kids fighting/screaming so I can intervene. Helps keep the peace.

paul
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