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Author Topic: Boom mics  (Read 9874 times)
W8VZM
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« 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
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KI4SDY
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« Reply #1 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.  Wink

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.  Grin

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.  Cheesy
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W5DQ
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« Reply #2 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' Smiley

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
W8VZM
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« Reply #3 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!
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KI4SDY
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« Reply #4 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.  Wink

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.  Grin
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 07:36:25 AM by Guy "Vern" Wells » Logged
W5DQ
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« Reply #5 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!
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
VE3FMC
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« Reply #6 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.  Grin
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KI4SDY
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« Reply #7 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! Grin

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. Embarrassed

To answer some of your statements:
1. After you buy your pretty microphones I am sure we will see pictures on eHam.net. Roll Eyes
2. You have no idea what other operators are using in contests. Many operate with home-made QRP rigs. Wink
3. Attempting HiFi on SSB does limit range and has been discussed at length on eHam.net Check the archives! Cry
4. My entire shack is under $1,000 and I am proud of it! Grin
5. You seem very efficient. How about coming over and completing my projects for me!  Kiss
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! Smiley
« Last Edit: December 18, 2010, 08:02:34 AM by Guy "Vern" Wells » Logged
N1DVJ
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Posts: 474




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« Reply #8 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...
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K8OT
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« Reply #9 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  Grin
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N5UD
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Posts: 800




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« Reply #10 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 !
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K8ALM
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2011, 09:25:28 AM »

DX 100?  I had one also.  Not a bad transmitter...1 watt per pound!
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K8KAS
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« Reply #12 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
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K2ID
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« Reply #13 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.
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VE3VID
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« Reply #14 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
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