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eHam Forums => Contesting => Topic started by: W8VZM on December 12, 2010, 06:50:33 PM



Title: Boom mics
Post by: W8VZM on December 12, 2010, 06:50:33 PM
Gang,
Worked 10M test this weekend at a friends house. Used a boom mic for the first time seriously. Thinking it might work better for me  than a headset w/ mic. What are good ones and how about interfacing? I like DX and contests.
Ron W8VZM


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: KI4SDY on December 13, 2010, 04:54:31 AM
If you can find a Radio Shack cardoid microphone made by Shure (they have been marketing them for years for professional mics) you can get an excellent microphone that will compete with the Heils for sound quality. If you already have a headset wired to your radio you should be able to easily adapt the phone plug to your rig and get the mike level adjusted with the audio input of your radio. Many of these mikes have an impedance switch if you run into that problem.  ;)

I have used these good mikes with great success and you can get them cheap! New off the shelf for $39.00 (and that is for the best ones). Sometimes you can find them used in excellent condition for $5.00.  ;D

Other than that, the best microphone is the one that comes on the radio! If you are just trying to look like Rush Limbaugh, save yourself some time and money and stick with the original mike or your headset.  :D


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: W5DQ on December 16, 2010, 09:19:14 AM
Many contestors use a combination of their favorite Heil microphone (I like my GM-5) on the Heil PL2T mic boom with a footswitch. I too use this same setup and since going to it, would not dream of ever going back to a desk mic or headset (although I do use headphones most of the time). I like the ability to be able to scissor the mic boom back out of the way when it isn't needed (like in the 10M contest where I worked both CW and SSB) and a simple pull and the mic is right back where it is supposed to be.

As to the response that as far as the microphone that comes with the radio being the BEST one to use, there are alot of seasoned ops out there that will tell you this is plain wrong in most cases. Most microphones that come stock with radios are hand mics and hand mics are notorius for having very poor audio response. Not that they won't work but they just aren't noted for being great mics.

I'm not saying the only mic to use is a Heil but Bob has spent a lifetime perfecting the art of microphones for studio use and I for one, after having used a Heil, would not easily consider using others and I have used alot of microphones in my 35 years in the hobby. Heil mics are very easily tailored to work in any shack with any rig you might own. And yes, they are not 'cheap' but they are quality and the old adage applies here - you get what you pay for.

Another thing to consider if you want really good audio into your rig is to use a small mic preprocessor to optimize the microphone response to your shack and voice. I'm not talking ESSB here or sounding like Art Linkletter or the CBS Evening News, but to be able to put your best audio out. Speech processors in many rigs are poor at best and can actually distort your audio if not run correctly. I found that using a W2IHY EQPlus processor really makes my audio have that punch you would get with a good RF speech processor while still allowing me to declutter the background for crisp clean audio. I have a A/C unit that blows close to my operating position and before the EQPlus was integrated, sometimes my audio sounded like I was at the airport close to jetss turning up. With the downward expander function of the EQPlus, the background virtually disappears and you sound almost like your in a sound proof room with no noise background at all.  Just something to consider along the way to 'the perfect phone station' :)

Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: W8VZM on December 16, 2010, 02:27:53 PM
Thanks Gene!

That's great info. I second your thoughts on standard mics. While they work they are seldom the best mic for the radio. The best example of that  is a whole line of radios using the same 2 or 3 mics. One size may fit all, but it seldom is a perfect fit!


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: KI4SDY on December 17, 2010, 07:01:46 AM
Yes, a string of expensive pretty gold Heil microphones will look good in your eHam.net shack photos and may impress some of your visiting ham buddies, but at the receiving end it will make little difference if your using a $39.00 Radio Shack "Shure" or a $325.00 Heil studio microphone. Especially if the ham at the other end is using a MFJ junker with a crackel-matic speaker There is no HiFi in ham radio and in fact attempts at SSB high fidelity shorten transmitter range. When I see these photos of Heil microphone arrays in ham shacks hooked up to two or three $10,000 rigs, you just have to wonder how much money people have to blow in the middle of a depression.  ;)

By the way, I get excellent audio reports on my ADI FM rig I use for a net on Saturday nights and I am still using the original hand mike. I did buy a base mike for it, but it is project number 1,254 that I haven't gotten around to yet. Probably because there is no need.  ;D


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: W5DQ on December 17, 2010, 10:08:43 AM
Well to answer a few of your points .....

"......in your eHam.net shack photos ....." ........ I don't have any eHAM photos - sorry.

"MFJ junker with a crackel-matic speaker " ...... I don't know for sure but most avid contestor do not and would not use a MFJ junker. Just my humble opinion.

"There is no HiFi in ham radio ..." ....... absolutely correct given the usual bandwidth of the transceivers we use

"attempts at SSB high fidelity shorten transmitter range." ....... I'd like to see accurate technical data on this claim!

"photos of Heil microphone arrays in ham shacks hooked up to two or three $10,000 rigs" ....... you won't see that in my shack. TS-940S/AT is the main rig. In fact my entire shack probably is well under $10K.

"wonder how much money people have to blow in the middle of a depression." ........ probably those folks bought those over a period of time. What depression would that be? As far as I have heard, it was a recssion and according to the Brother Barry and his gang of theives, it is officially over.

"..... ADI FM rig I use for a net ....."  FM signals seem to always have better audio than most SSB signals unless you get bad S/N ratio.

" project number 1,254" ...... only 1,254 projects. That many was my list last week!


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: VE3FMC on December 17, 2010, 05:12:17 PM
Gang,
Worked 10M test this weekend at a friends house. Used a boom mic for the first time seriously. Thinking it might work better for me  than a headset w/ mic. What are good ones and how about interfacing? I like DX and contests.
Ron W8VZM


I use a Heil GM-5 on an old boom from a floor mic stand. I cut the vertical portion of the stand down. I left the mic boom alone.

Then I simply drilled a hole through an add on portion of my operating desk and shoved the vertical part through the hole.

Works for me, using either a Heil foot switch or VOX.

I do want to buy a Heil headset though, I have used one before it is nice to late evening operating, especially when your shack is right below your bedroom.  ;D


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: KI4SDY on December 18, 2010, 06:40:24 AM
I get excellent audio reports from my Yaesu 101B fitted with a $29.00 Astatic noise cancelling hand mike and they can't hear the televison or the air conditioner outside. Need voice processing? Speak slowly and clearly into the mike! ;D

If I feel the need for a desk mike, I just plug in the Radio Shack "Shure." In a side by side test we conducted a few years ago here locally on SSB, the difference between the Radio Shack "Shure" and a gold Heil was minimal. Each sounded just a little different, but not better, which is the case with many microphones. You can blow a lot of money trying to look like a radio broadcaster but there will not be an improvement that is in relation to the money spent. :-[

To answer some of your statements:
1. After you buy your pretty microphones I am sure we will see pictures on eHam.net. ::)
2. You have no idea what other operators are using in contests. Many operate with home-made QRP rigs. ;)
3. Attempting HiFi on SSB does limit range and has been discussed at length on eHam.net Check the archives! :'(
4. My entire shack is under $1,000 and I am proud of it! ;D
5. You seem very efficient. How about coming over and completing my projects for me!  :-*
6. I realize I am not giving you the answers that you want to hear, but I am trying to keep you from wasting your money, like a good Elmer should! :)


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: N1DVJ on December 29, 2010, 10:11:59 AM
"attempts at SSB high fidelity shorten transmitter range." ....... I'd like to see accurate technical data on this claim!
Just read almost any technical description of why SSB works better than AM.  The same principles apply.  Granted, on the TX end it doesn't cost you that much percentage of power out to spread the spectrum up (and for some reason when you say HiFi most people only think of extending the top end), but if you also spread it down, it can take a significant portion of your power.  Then there's the issue on expanding the bandpass on receive...


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: K8OT on January 13, 2011, 05:40:51 AM
You want Hi Fi ? go to the top end of 160 where the AM guys with their plate modulated Xmtr's in racks that go to the ceiling Hang out
Ed K8OT  ;D


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: N5UD on February 23, 2011, 09:58:10 PM
I actually remember when hams were using these rack mounted AM XMTRS on 10 meters. The biggest boat anchor I had in the 60's was a Heath Apache. Man did that look good.

Somehow managed to miss having a DX-100.

Gosh those desk top AM XMTRS could break your back when moving them !


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: K8ALM on March 03, 2011, 09:25:28 AM
DX 100?  I had one also.  Not a bad transmitter...1 watt per pound!


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: K8KAS on March 03, 2011, 11:44:26 AM
Ha  ---4SDY I love it, I think you are full of it however, you should know some people can well afford to purchase a nice station! I use Heil microphones and have tried most everything else over my 50 years in the hobby and always come back to a good old GM5 element which has worked very well with everything I have used it on. FT1000D/TenTec Orion/TS 850/IC706/IC 756 Pro II/IC 751A/ and others.

 PS, I paid $23 bucks each for 6 of them years ago.

I will look for your FT101 and Radio Shack microphone, I am sure I will remember it.. 73 Denny


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: K2ID on March 24, 2011, 12:22:04 PM
I too discovered that a boom mic with foot and hand keyer is much more comfortable than a headset. I use the Heil Products and simply buy their interface cable for my radio. For contests it is great as it leaves my hands free to enter info into a log or control my rig. For ragchewing it allows me to have a QSO while doing other things on my PC. Since I work from home I can do my work and play radio at the same time.


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: VE3VID on March 24, 2011, 09:43:58 PM
Drop into your local guitar shop. Heil has nice gear but you can get a great mic stand on a boom for $20. I picked up a short one suitable for a pianist or drummer - perfect for radio op position.  The end will hold most mics, I use a Heil or a Kenwood most of the time.  Foot switch is a must.  GL&73
David


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: AH6RR on March 26, 2011, 11:35:19 AM
I use an Heil ProSet 5 head set and foot switch for all my radio work. Boom mic's are OK but you have to stay in front of it with a head set you can adjust your amp or any other equipment in the shack and talk at the same time HANDS FREE try that with a boom mic. Almost all the top contester's use Head Sets. Since I started using head sets my scores have more than doubled the head set helps you hear better and and you do not have to keep your head in one position to use the mic.

Just 2 pennies worth
Roland AH6RR
1st World 2010 CQWPX 20M SOHP Assisted Tri-Band and Wires.


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: KJ4ADN on April 15, 2011, 10:22:26 AM
I use an Heil ProSet 5 head set and foot switch for all my radio work. Boom mic's are OK but you have to stay in front of it with a head set you can adjust your amp or any other equipment in the shack and talk at the same time HANDS FREE try that with a boom mic. Almost all the top contester's use Head Sets. Since I started using head sets my scores have more than doubled the head set helps you hear better and and you do not have to keep your head in one position to use the mic.

Just 2 pennies worth
Roland AH6RR
1st World 2010 CQWPX 20M SOHP Assisted Tri-Band and Wires.

DITTO!!!!

Not to mention nothing is in the way, blocking your vision, and the mic is consistently the same distance from your mouth, less background noise because your mouth is an inch off the mic - it all adds up to a rather nice signal with good audio.

My kids and I use an Heil IC & 5 head sets and foot switch for all their radio work - except for the last Virginia QSO party...  My daughter has a very distinct advantage over my son (her voice is excellent), but this time he was using a Headset and she was using the stock hand mic.

350 contacts for him (56k pts), she logged 280...  working the same band, 10-50khz apart.

I see several obvious reasons:

a.  try logging using a hand mic.  just picking the darn thing up all day long is gonna slow you down.
b.  It's seldom ever the same distance from your mouth, so your audio & power levels and clarity fluctuate all the time.  One call you sound muffled (the mic is turned slightly, under your chin, in your cheek, ?etc), the next you're popping because the mic is right in front of your mouth - get the idea?
c.  the headset w/mic combination is never in the way of the computer, keyboard, paper, pencil, etc., the cord is completely out of the way, so you can spin the VFO and log freely.  With the mic always in the corner of your mouth, every transmission sounds alike.

Last year, she won the county, this year....   she'll probably place 2nd, and my son will take it. 
Still, not bad for a 11yr old girl, up against a 15yr old boy.

A good mic can make an inexpensive radio (FT-450) sound rather nice, and a give you a HUGE advantage over a stock hand mic...  regardless of what you do with the equalizer.

KJ4ADN
Bill

P.S.   They really like you to continue using hand mics and booms....


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: W5DQ on April 20, 2011, 09:28:29 AM
Bill,

FB on your kids being competitive and winning contests. Good to see the young folks getting into contesting. I wish them good luck in their contesting effort but please ensure they also learn that good operating habit and good sportmanship is just as important as winning. I hear alot of people in contests that seem to forget that premise and they are out to win no matter what the cost or overall effect on others.

Maybe I'll run into them and give your son and daughter a point or two using my 'boom mike' in a contest ;D  I usually contest to have fun and catch a new one here or there. Occasionally if I do enough to make it worth while, I will actually submit a log to see whare I place.

73 to you all,

Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: K4KYV on April 26, 2011, 11:51:17 AM
If you are just trying to look like Rush Limbaugh, save yourself some time and money and stick with the original mike or your headset. 

Who in his right mind would want to look like that fool?

I use a boom type mic stand.  Made mine from an old workbench lamp holder.  Cost me nothing because I already had it in my junk collection.

A desk mic always seems to be in the way, in the wrong place at the wrong time, and inevitably gets knocked off to the floor sooner or later.

I'll leave the hand mics with built-in PTT button to the CB crowd.

My T/R switch is made from an in-line power cord toggle switch attached to the end of a retractable spiral cord that was originally used as a stereo headphone extension cord.  An old CB style hand mic cord or a spiral telephone handset cord will do, as well.  I just hold the switch out of the way in my lap or hang it on a hook attached to the operating desk while operating. I once tried a foot switch, but that sucked big time.

I think I hit on the perfect solution to the mic and T/R switch problem, since I have been using this system for over 30 years now, and haven't found anything else that comes even close in comfort and convenience.


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: 2E0OZI on April 26, 2011, 12:51:03 PM
Whats wrong with a hand mic?  ???


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: AD6KA on April 27, 2011, 11:53:31 AM
Why is it that when using a headset in a phone contest
you can be calling "CQ Test" with the DVR for five minutes
with no response. Then the second you flip up the little mic boom
to sip some coffee, someone comes back to you?
Why is that? How do they KNOW?  ;D

PS: I refuse to drink ham juice (coffee) through a straw!

73, Ken  AD6KA  ex 5R8GQ


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: PD2R on May 09, 2011, 06:45:52 AM
I noticed the exact same thing. Since then I alway try to take 200 or more sips of my coffee! ;D




Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: N6AJR on May 30, 2011, 03:49:44 PM
I have probably 5 heil mic's, some have the switchable element, some are just plain ole HM 10's but they are all on boom mic's. I have a big problem with using hand or desk mics, as the space on my desk is very valuable and I need all the room I can get.

 I prefer to use VOX and a boom mic so I can use both hands ( make that  both index fingers ) to type with.  I also do not like to keep reaching up to the mic to key it.  I use either the boom mic or a head set with mic, so both hands are free.

 I also use a remote knob  to change freqs on the radio and a remote button to control the voice keyer, as my arms get tired reaching up all the time. You would be amazed at the  ease of use when all controls are near the mouse/ keyboard.

I don't use the mics as a Hi Fidelity mic, but the fit the boom and clear up some desk space. they do sound ok, so folks tell me. Try using vox instead of a foot pedal and you will start to see the difference.

I also keep my eyes open for "deals" on booms, mic's and other accessories for my station. I have it set up as a poor mans multi- multi sation, with 6 hf stations and 5  amps,  2 of which are legal limit, all bought used, and assembled into the station as I found other stuff.

 Most all the big stuff, and most of the small stuff has been purchased used at a discount, or traded for  something else, and even the new  stuff gets bought when there is a "deal" like ICOM days at HRO or stuff for sale from the vendors at pacificon, M2 or the Visalia DX conference.  every little bit helps.

so set up your stuff the way you like it, and don't worry about others, life is to short to not enjoy your hobby the way you want.


Title: RE: Boom mics
Post by: W2MRD on June 11, 2011, 01:51:28 PM
I just recently picked up one of the $39 Radio Shack microphones ($20 after coupon and promotional gift card), put it on a small desktop microphone base above my keyboard I had and wired up an footswitch (perhaps from some industrial piece of equipment?) and so far so good with my FT-897.

While I do use headphones sometimes, I wanted to stay away from a combination headset so I could seperate the two independently. Sometimes I like to use the radio speaker when I'm only "half paying attention" to the radio and doing something else. This way I can quickly jump in without having to plug the headset in and put it on.