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Reviews Categories | QRP Accessories | W4RT Electronics "One BIG Punch" Help

Reviews Summary for W4RT Electronics "One BIG Punch"
W4RT Electronics Reviews: 36 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $49.95
Description: One BIG Punch (OBP) is a custom add-on accessory for the Yaesu MH-31 microphone commonly used with many Yaesu amateur radios such as the FT-817. The One BIG Punch is an AF-based speech compressor specifically configured to provide remarkable increase in talk power while maintaining good audio quality (articulation) for communication purposes. The unit can be mounted inside the MH-31, requires no additional electrical power, and can be turned on or off by using the MH-31's TONE switch. The One BIG Punch can also be install inside the FT-817 and then no modification to the MH-31 is required.
Product is in production.
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KB0SFP Rating: 0/5 Nov 16, 2010 18:59 Send this review to a friend
Again, SAVE YOUR MONEY!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is a follow up to a report I made on the "new" w4rt OBP audio processor. The one I reported on initially was purchased new at Dayton 2010. It not only does not work, but has several problems not the least of which was RF infiltration. But I wanted to be fair. So I purchase a second OBP, this one an early version that had not been installed before.

Conditions, 40mtrs, pour propagation & high noise level. I tried the "old" OBP first with listening stations on both coast. Radio used was an FT-817 with an HLA-150 amp for about 125 watts output. I started with the radio on the 'B' positron(OBP on), then switched the the 'A' position(OBP off). Those listening unanimously chose Position "B"(OBP on) as the best audio under these poor conditions.

I repeated the above A/B test with second mic(currently produced OBP). This time I inverted the selection, "A"(OBP on), "B"(OBP off). Again the testimony of the listening stations was unanimous, The "B" possion(OBP off) was better.

It's very clear to me, as before, the currently produced W4RT OPB audio processor, DOSE NOT WORK, save your $65+! The early production OPB(no longer produced) dose work.

Dennis Starks
Monitor(all USB):
3996, 5403.5, 7296, 14342.5, 18157.5
KB2VMG Rating: 5/5 Aug 15, 2010 18:36 Send this review to a friend
Great Product  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Great product. My first SSB QSO was on a very noisy 40m band to another ham operating more than 360 miles away on an island off the coast of Maine with a low G5RVJr. Signal report was a 57. I was using a trapped dipole with a long coax run. Not bad.

As for W4RT's service, it couldn't be better. My emails were answered promptly and when I made a mistake and overpaid for shipping, my money was refunded before I even knew I had overpaid. Kudos W4RT.


KD5KC Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2009 23:43 Send this review to a friend
OBP and FT-817  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The installation was a not to hard. Simple tools and the great directions were enough.

I have the OBP installed along with the OBF with the Collins 500 hz CW filter and the Collins SSB filter. They were installed shortly after I got the new FT-817ND.

The conbination of the processor and the filter were amazing. They claim up to 5 dB of talk-power increase with the OBP. I believe it. In addition, the Collins SSB filter is said to have another 2 dB of added talk power.

Several friends who know my voice well say I sounded much "fuller" with the Collins SSB filter. When using a 5-watt radio, that is important. From that standpoint alone it was worth it. In addition, I did an A/B with the OBP speech processor. All my friends agreed that it made a huge difference with the FT-817. On SSB it is hard for my ears to detect any difference at all for receiving with the filter. That may just be me.

As a side-note, the 500hz CW filter really makes a difference on CW. If you will be using CW at all, consider the OBF filter board too. Add the BHI-DSP unit and you have a radio that does everything but spin the power meter. The OBF was worth the price.
N4KZ Rating: 5/5 May 26, 2009 12:14 Send this review to a friend
One big improvement  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've had the One Big Punch about two weeks for my FT-817ND. Never before have I worked so much SSB DX. Of course, having good antennas is most of the battle but when I walk among the Land of the Giants on 20-meter SSB and consistently work DX stations with 5 watts and get good signal reports, something is working right. When I listen to my own audio in another rig, I can see about a 5-6 db increase on the receiver's S-meter while transmitting with the OBP on vs. turning it off.

I worked another guy using an FT-817 the other day on 17-meter SSB and he reports hearing a big punchy improvement from my 817 with the OBP turned on. I like it and when you're operating with 5 watts out on SSB, you need all the help you can get.

73, N4KZ
K2SGT Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2009 18:12 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT PRODUCT,A MUST HAVE!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
WV4I Rating: 5/5 Jan 12, 2009 17:04 Send this review to a friend
OBP for FT-857D also!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've just finished my second W4RT Electronics OBP mike mod for the MH-31 mike. The first one I did quite a while back, and it went very smoothly. Add a 2.3 filter to the radio and it really did wonders for the FT-857D audio, many unsolicited positive reports. No doubt does the same or better for the FT-817.

I just did another OBP mike mod to a MH-31 mike that became problematic. Could not get any audio out on reassembly, back apart, and after considerable troubleshooting, found that I apparently had shorted pad "G" to ground, I think. After removing the white mike wire fm pad "G", wicking all the solder off the pad, and minimal resolder, got all to work fine. The point of this story is that I would NOT do this mod again, nor should you, unless you enjoy working with 17X loupe magnifiers and very fine tip solder irons and ohmmeter probes. Let W4RT do it.

Recently had a thread on Yahoo Groups, FT-450, re the MH-31 mike. Well, I had to try the OBPed MH-31 mike on the FT-450. Just listening to the monitor function on Xmt, it is way too much punch/mike for the FT-450, except with the FT-450 on LOW mike gain, so what's the point? To me, the MH-31 sounds fine as is on the FT-450, on either normal or high mike gain. The MH-67 mike, even better.

Regardless, this truly is a must have mod for the FT-857D (and likely the FT-817, but don't own one), and is well worth the money and time.
AC8CD Rating: 5/5 May 18, 2008 08:49 Send this review to a friend
You need it.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Drove over to AES (I live near the Cleveland store) and bought OBP to go with my FT-817. One minor gripe: there is no instruction sheet included; you just get a little anti-static envelope with the board, the ferrite beads, and a little slip of paper that tells you to look up the installation instructions online! Not a major inconvenience, but come on! How hard would it be to give me 2 sheets of Xeroxed directions, rather than tell me, "go look it up for yourself?" They do, however, include a section of de-soldering braid, which is very thoughtful, so go figure.

Anyway, got it home, broke out the tools, and installed it. (I've built some kits and so forth, but never worked with SMT components) It's not hard, exactly, but definitely fiddly. If you do not have steady hands, good eyesight, and the proper tools (fine-tipped soldering iron, magnifier, forceps, needle-nose pliers, etc.), do yourself a huge favor and have W4RT intstall it. I got it all hooked up in less than an hour, and fortunately it worked on the first try. The fellow who suggested disconnecting the brown wire to free up the board is definitely right. Also, you might want to remove the row of 3 buttons (the up, down, fast buttons) at the top of the board. They are only attached by little rubber posts, and they are easy to knock off while handling the board, which I found distracting. Ditto for the PTT button, which easily pops off when the case is open.

Either way you go for installation, it is a fantastic product! I tested it into a dummy load on my 817, and the difference is amazing! You can see a vast difference just watching the MOD, ALC, and PWR meters while you switch the compressor on and off.

For the 100-watt radios, it'll undoubtedly help; for the FT-817, it's something you can't live without, especially if you have one of those flat voices that doesn't cut through, like I do. And it's only $50! It would be a bargain at twice the price.
G6HVY Rating: 4/5 Apr 9, 2008 00:10 Send this review to a friend
Spices things up  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Time for the spring refresh of the portable station: the HFPacker amp kit will have to wait for a bit more spare time, but the One BIG Punch looked as if it could be installed over two cups of coffee.

The OBP is a tiny audio compressor that fits inside the FT-817's standard microphone - there are options that also replace the microphone insert itself with Heil modules, but I thought I'd leave those until next spring.

The OPB comes on a tiny circuit board with four pre-cut and tinned wires that need to be soldered onto points on the microphone PCB. There's also one land on the PCB for the wire from the microphone inset; those five connections, plus the moving of one wire link within the mic, the stringing of six ferrite beads and the removal of one hapless electrolytic, are the entirety of the installation.

You'll need needle-nosed pliers, cross-head screwdriver, and fine-tipped soldering iron. An illuminated magnifier and a vice really help, depending on your personal degree of decrepitude.

The instructions are mostly clear - there's not a lot to get confused about - but still take a couple of reads. Lots of photographs, although not always quite in order, and one in particular could have been a lot clearer. (The power line needs to be soldered to a point where the socket at the base of the mike is mounted. It's a small PCB land and very close to others, but the photograph is blurred and indistinct. A circuit -- or even just a block -- diagram would have helped here.)

I deviated from the instructions early on; one of the first things they say to do, immediately after the back of the mic case is off, is to unsolder one of the mic insert leads. This isn't reattached until the end of the installation, and the other insert lead is left attached throughout: this leaves the mic PCB connected to the case and the insert, making it much harder to manipulate and increasing the chances of accidental damage.

I whipped both wires off, freeing the PCB and making life a lot easier.

Things progressed smoothly. It is challenging to correctly position and hold in place tiny teflon-sheathed wires, especially when they're inside a string of ferrite beads; things move about and you need the right amount of pressure, delicately applied.

Reassembly of the finished work went well - you do have to be careful to make sure those ferrite beads are in the right position for the case to close properly, and that's not mentioned in the instructions, but a little discovery is good for the soul.

Listening off-air on SSB leaves no doubt that the One BIG Punch is doing the business; it's not the most beautiful audio in the world, but it's far more effective than the unadorned mic. And while reports from other stations are useful, I found it very helpful to spend some time listening to my own signal into a dummy load with a local RX and headphones. Where you position the mic relative to your mouth makes a huge difference - and on the dummy load, you can go "Ooooo-la" with impunity.

You may want to. The One BIG Punch does give a serious edge to the little radio, and as the bands get livelier it's going to be tempting to play with the big boys.
N5EAT Rating: 5/5 Jan 19, 2008 05:53 Send this review to a friend
What a difference!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Three day turnaround for me. The mic produces astounding audio and always more than an S unit of power increase. I got the OBP with the Heil
#4 element. It's about perfect if you want to be heard in a crowd. It's a bit strident sounding, very crisp, and you may not want to rag chew with it. The heil 5 element can be substituted, or you can get the OBP and both heil elements (ragchew and dx/contest.

I also purchased their Z100 ultra (battery powered if needed) and I'm as happy as a hog in slop. These 2 items have completely transformed my little yaesu 817. No need to drag power with you rig for the tuner.

If you love your little 817 - give it a present or two from W4RT....
KG7RS Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2007 19:04 Send this review to a friend
New Life for the FT817  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hi Folks,
I completely concur with N8NQP's remarks about this product. I shipped my stock Yaesu microphone to W4RT and it was returned with the standard version of the One Big Punch installed within 6 days. One of those days was Columbus Day & no postal delivery! Oddly enough, it adds noticeable heft to the stock microphone that makes it feel much more pleasingly substantial. I noted a world of difference in the average transmitted power. While listening to the transmitted signal on a receiver, no distortion was noted. Most importantly, my success rate in SSB QSO's has markedly increased. I would even dare call CQ now. The 817 is an outstanding do-it-all transceiver. Now its as fun to use on phone as it is on CW & digi-modes. A modest investment for a big payback. Very pleased. Wish I would have bought one for my 857D, which also suffered from poor average transmitted power output, otherwise an excellent transceiver. 73, John, KG7RS
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