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Reviews Categories | Microphones for ham radio | SBE (Belcom) desk top microphone Help

Reviews Summary for SBE (Belcom) desk top microphone
SBE (Belcom) desk top microphone Reviews: 4 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $180
Description: Amplified desk top microphone by SBE, also sold under the Belcom brand name
Product is in production.
More info: http://
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You can write your own review of the SBE (Belcom) desk top microphone.

NY7Q Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2013 18:05 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT  Time owned: more than 12 months
KD0WOO Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2013 17:27 Send this review to a friend
Reports are good!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I don't usually write reviews but this is a fairly rare microphone. There were four up for auction, a super rare NIB one for $150, a $52 BIN scuffed up one, a used one for $157 and a fourth I was bidding on that looked to be in fair to good condition.

It was cold so I headed out to a local flea market to pass some time Sunday afternoon and as I was leaving I spotted a 100X up high on a shelf that I must've walked past quite a few times. It had a couple of scuffs etc but was decent and works great.

Since it was only $12.50 I bought it and stopped bidding on the other one, it went for $49 total. So the prices I have seen range from $49 to $150 NIB, and you have a slim chance of finding one like I did.

As another reviewer stated they're hard to get clean because of the texture. After a couple of scrubbings I chose to paint it with a small art brush and spray paint sprayed in a cup, it is thin. Dobbing it on you can get down into the texture and maintain it because the spray paint dries fast and becomes sticky. You can texture it from there.

The guys on the radio say it sounds great on my TS-450 which only has so much transmit bandwidth that you cannot adjust. One guy said it has a full, rich, very clear tone with not too much bass and still plenty of mids and highs. He emphasized clear, very clear, and much more low end than the hand mic.

It turned out very good but took some time. I run it on 4 which lets me relax and it doesn't pick up the electric heater which I can hear fine. VOX works too.

I'm very happy with it even though I haven't heard it yet. It does have the capacitor another reviewer mentioned and I have not tried removing it yet. When I do I'll report that.

It sounds very good, has a good solid feel and weight to it and looks very nice even if you do have to touch it up. It is a steal at $50 or so compared to the cost of other decent used mics.

I wish I had some info on it such as response range etc, but I know it is more than the hand mic. My Sure 450 mic is not anywhere near as good, so bad I won't use it (tinny, hollow).

I don't like having something just like everyone else has, so I really like this one and will be keeping it. If you get one cheap enough and don't like it you can sell it as they seem to have a reasonable resale value for a 20~25+ year old mic.

I'm on 7.200 most of the time if you want to hear it.

N5XTR Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2008 22:58 Send this review to a friend
Great Mic!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was a freebie from a dear friend and it has worked great on my FT-857D. Seems to get better audio reports on all voice modes than the stock yaesu mic. I had to make a conversion box for it to work with the yaesu. It was collecting dust for 20 years and I had a hard time getting the dirt out of its wrinkle finish. Gun oil did the trick.
AC5XP Rating: 5/5 Aug 3, 2003 21:54 Send this review to a friend
Excellent performer, great styling  Time owned: more than 12 months
SBE (Belcom) Desk to microphone

By Loek d’Hont AC5XP

The SBE desk top microphone was well known in the early eighties of the previous century (wow, that sounds old!) and can still be found offered for sale here and there on the used equipment market. But it has become real difficult to find one in near-mint condition. It is branded in US markets as SBE (Side Band Engineers) but in Europe and Japan these microphones were sold under the Belcom brand name.
I had one of these microphones more than 25 years ago, and when one was recently offered for sale on Ebay (together with an SBE 11 meter rig) I decided to place a bid which I won. The microphone was in poor condition. A person with very little respect for vintage equipment had added a second microphone cord to it, drilling some holes in the diecast body in the process and butchering-up its insides.
However it turned out to be quite restorable. I stripped the diecast body, cleaned every part thoroughly, filled the holes with steel epoxy, sanded and refinished the whole with the original black wrinkle-varnish and brought the wiring back to its original factory condition. The bottom plate was rusted, so after thorough sanding this was coated with steel epoxy and finished in its original gold tone. So I can now call myself the proud owner of an original SBE desk top microphone, in better than factory-new condition.

Of all the desk top microphones I have ever seen and/or owned, I like this microphone the best. Its sleek aesthetics are of a timeless, organically shaped design, (much nicer than the "edgy" and/or pompous designs of its contemporaries), and its audio performance sounds very, very good. Also, the unit is quite heavy which assures it stays in place on your desk.

The microphone itself consists of a large dynamic microphone element with a very flat frequency response, pulling up the bass somewhat on the low-end. The diecast microphone base contains a low-noise pre-amplifier fed from a 9 volt battery.
The preamp electronics are only connected to the battery when one presses the talk button, to conserve battery life.
The electronic board contains two stages, each holding a 2SC644 low-noise transistor. I have seen two versions of this board, one with a 10uF bypass capacitor parallel to the 2K2 emitter resistor in the 2nd stage, and some where this capacitor is omitted. Without the capacitor, the board has about 10 dB over-all gain, with this capacitor, it is more like 30 dB.
It almost looks like the versions with the cap installed were offered to the CB market, and the ones without it to the ham community. 30 dB gain is really too much for a microphone preamp, so for normal ham usage I recommend to remove this capacitor in case you would ever run into these microphones.
Without the cap, the preamp has a heavy negative feedback which makes the response in the 100 to 10000 Hz range very flat. In combination with the dynamic element favoring the bass, this results in an excellent audio frequency response ideal for ham usage.
The microphone is equipped with a potentiometer to set the preferred audio gain, using a scale from 0 to 10. A setting of 4 is more than enough in most cases, only if you like to ragchew while leaning back in your chair you might want to go with a higher setting.

The microphone is equipped with a small switch on its bottom labeled "Vox" which interrupts the TX key line when you want to work vox. Because the mike electronics are only powered when you push the “talk” key, one would set the talk key to “lock” when working vox. But this would also continuously activate the TX key line, which is something most ham rigs do not like when you work vox. Hence the little switch on the microphone bottom to open the key line.

A very nice characteristic about this microphone is that it is immune to RF feedback problems, a problem very prevalent to its contemporaries. The fact that the construction of the unit is an all-metal one might have something to do with this. In this regard, I remember having tried once to use a professional Motorola desk-top microphone for SSB ham work, but I was unable to rid it of RF feedback problems regardless what I tried. But as said, with the SBE you will not have these problems.

The microphone is worth between $20 for a beat-up one and $150 for a mint one (although I would not sell mine for the latter amount) so it heavily depens on its condition. This should give you an indication in case you would run into one of these on a flea market. If you buy one to restore, make sure the dynamic element, the PWB preamp and the mike cover (with the SBE logo) are undamaged. The rest you can repair yourself, assuming you have aerosols with black wrinkle varnish and some restoration skills. It’s worth the effort, you won’t regret it!

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