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$10 Studio Mic Boom

from Bob Raker, W0BR on May 16, 2017
View comments about this article!

"Editor's Note: Due to the popularity of some of eHam's older articles, many of which you may not have read, the team has decided to rerun some of the best articles that we have received since eHam's inception. These articles will be reprinted to add to the quality of eHam's content and in a show of appreciation to the authors of these articles." This article was originally published on: 01/23/2001

Here's an inexpensive way to mount your microphone where you need it and leave room on your operating position.

Buy a "swingarm" desk lamp (top photo) - I found mine at Office Depot for $8.99. Drill out the two rivets holding the bulb holder. Reverse the position of the mount. The holes in the mount just happen to line up with the mounting holes of a chassis-mount SO-239 coax connector, and the threads of the coax connector just happen to mate with a standard microphone clip. Remove the center pin and insulator, then grind off the back of the connector. Mount the former SO-239 with a couple of 6-32 screws. Install the microphone clip -- the entire process took me about 15 minutes.

The bottom photo shows my completed "studio" boom complete with a $15 Radio Shack "close-out special" microphone (33-3017).

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$10 Studio Mic Boom  
by GM1FLQ on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Just add the illuminated studio "On Air" sign & off you go.......
$10 Studio Mic Boom  
by ONAIR on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Great tip!!!
Great Idea!! ... The $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by AA7LX on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Wow!! I think I'm going to look into doing this project because, my Desk Mic and the Stand is taking up room on the Operating desk. Does the Boom grip the Desk/Table securely?? Thank You for sharing your Project. '73, George, AA7LX
RE: Great Idea!! ... The $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by SWMAN on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea, I may give it a try in the near future. Those RS mics sound really good, I was really surprised.
$10 Studio Mic Boom  
by N6JSX on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
This is a real good impro-VISION.

I had a setup like this from Heil, in time I dumped the swing arm. As cool as it looks to have the hanging mic, it forces you into physical position limitations as to where you sit how you sit in relation to mic access. What I found is the placement of the swing-arm behind the radio will restrict how far the mic can swing forward before the arm hits the rear of the radio/amp/tuner.

I suggest you consider a sight modification to this swing-arm concept is to use a mic holder that will allow you to slide the mic forward and out of the holder so you can hold the mic in your hand (this also means you must have extra cable ready and not tied down to the swing-arms). Why, sometimes you will want to sit back in your Exec office chair and relax while rag chewing - a fixed boom will inhibit you from that sitting comfort.

Just like using a foot-PTT switch means you cannot kick back with your feet up.

My point may seem trite - but give it a few months/year and you will change your mind. Just like I find it disrespectful to the others in a QSO when a HAM uses VOX with children, barking dogs, or Xyl, interference or a poorly setup VOX that cannot let the HAM take a deep breath of air without unkeying.
RE: $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by NA4IT on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I used to use the Rad Shack mic pictured to sing bass through in my gospel group! Still have it, works great!
RE: $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by GM1FLQ on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
......."my Desk Mic and the Stand is taking up room on the Operating desk. Does the Boom grip the Desk/Table securely??"..........

no, just the imagination of those thinking they are operating a commercial broadcast studio........
RE: $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by K6AER on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
The reason the boom mics are used in a studio environment is they don't pick up desk vibrations. Also hams need to know the normal talking distance to a microphone is less than an inch. If you talk a foot away from the mic, your mic gain setting will be picking up room noise, room acoustics and the TV down the hall. It is all about audio to noise ratio. The dynamic range on SSB should be about 45 dB or better. When the transmitter is keyed you should see no power out.

Great artical.
$10 Studio Mic Boom  
by K7DXT on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I have utilized hand mics, desk mics, and boom mics in my years as a ham radio operator, and by far I prefer the boom mic. No illusions or imaginations of being in commercial broadcasting, as I was a full time broadcaster for 21 years. I just prefer the boom mic, and finding it a comfortable operating position.

But while this solution is a clever and inexpensive way to utilize a boom mic, it falls short in several areas. A broadcast boom is built heavier and much smoother to operate. Broadcast mics can be heavy beasts. The frame on commercial booms is thicker generally, and the springs much stronger. Additionally, they are built to 'telegraph' less of the spring and boom noise to the mic.

My take is that if you're going to the expense of utilizing a quality studio mic, then the extra money spent on a broadcast boom is worth it. There are also many great dynamic mics in the used market that are very good for little money. Checking in with local radio stations may be a good way to score a used broadcast boom. There are likely less expensive alternatives than Heil, though I know their products are good.
RE: $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by K9MHZ on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
For those who are interested in girls (this is ham radio after all), QSY over to google and look up the pic of KA0XTT Tim Baxter's daughter on his 7700. What a fine, fine...uh, boom mic. I think I'll build one. Great tip!
$10 Studio Mic Boom  
by K9ZF on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
This is an old article!

Many years ago, when this article first came out, I built one. And it has been serving me flawlessly since.

Use with a foot switch, or VOX, for keying and you are good to go. Hands free QSO's.

Thanks for the great homebrew tip!!


-- K9ZF
Vice President, Clark County Amateur Radio Club,
Amateur Radio Emergency Service,
Clark County Indiana.
The once and future K9ZF /R no budget Rover
***QRP-l #1269 Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Mailing list!
RE: $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by K9MHZ on May 16, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent, Dan.
$10 Studio Mic Boom  
by KE4ZHN on May 17, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I made one of these years ago. It worked fine for use with any studio mike. I gave up on the studio mike routine. It's amateur radio, not commercial broadcast.
$10 Studio Mic Boom  
by AJ4LN on May 17, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I made one several years ago. I ran the wire inside the frame for a neater appearance. I also made a shock mount and put the mic from my Kenwood MC-60 in it. I usually key my rig with VOX, though I also have a straight key attached to the mic input, via a 1/4" jack, that I can key with. I have some photos of mine on my QRZ page.
RE: $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by KD0REQ on May 19, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
a note about "normal working distance to a mike is an inch..." unless the mike was designed with a back vent, this will become very bassy and the treble will go away. "close talking effect" is well known.
RE: $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by K5TED on May 21, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
This lamp hack is good. I discovered it back in the mid 90's. Still have one on the shelf made of a 'mini' lamp boom with a heavy base. It will just hold up a lightweight mic like SM-57 or 58 and probably the Heil thing. I used it for a long time with a Calrad DM-9.

Current boom is a cheapo $24 eBay special "mic boom" that just happens to be the right size for the application. It's short-ish and clamps right on the desk edge where I need it, and holds up a RE20, or MD421 just fine, lighter mics no problem. It'll just barely handle a SM5B. (not using that one talking into a football)

OC White makes a good inexpensive "broadcast" boom, and I have one. In the closet. The cheap eBay one works fine for me.

BTW, the boom isn't what makes the mic immune to desk noise, in fact, it can exacerbate noise and generate noise of its own if the mic isn't shock mounted or has integral shock mounts.
RE: $10 Studio Mic Boom  
by VE7REN on May 21, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
i too have done this at one point, but i must stress that some of these light booms do not hold much weight,so make sure it has good springs. good read
$10 Studio Mic Boom  
by ZL1OGX on May 25, 2017 Mail this to a friend!
I bought a small studio mike stand for my Icom ICM which I use with the IC706Mk2, wish I had seen this earlier...

To give the hands free effect I bought a foot switch from our local 'ebay' type website. Got one which was selling to be used on a tattoo machine, no issues with it and it saved me a good few bucks.
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