Where is Your Microphone?

Where is Your Microphone?

Phil Chambley, Sr. (K4DPK) on November 18, 2014

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My intention in this quick little article is to help some of the new hams, and maybe even some of the older ones, with an aspect of communications audio which they might not presently understand. It has to do with signal-to-noise ratio, not in your receiver, but in your own transmissions. I‘ve often heard the conversational theme, “How does it sound now?” Occasionally, one of the voices in QSO would be competing with a loud blower noise, the audio from his TV in the living room, and birds singing in the chinaberry tree down the block.

At times, I’ve asked if the guys involved minded a quick question. Most welcomed any comment that might help, so I’d ask, “How far is it from your mouth to your microphone?” Often, the answer is somewhere “between six inches and two feet.”

Somehow, folks seem to have gotten the impression (maybe from Sheriff Andy or the dispatcher on ‘Car 54, Where Are You’) that it’s cool to have the mic at arm’s length. Not so!

The best communications audio, with the least amount of extraneous noise, will be obtained with the microphone around an inch or so from your lips, and the audio gain set at the proper ALC point while speaking in a normal way. With reduced gain, the blower noise and the house sounds aren’t picked up. Foam windscreens over the mike element, or talking across the mic face instead of directly into it, will usually eliminate any breath noise.

The goal in setting up this way is to cause the maximum intelligence to be transmitted, while keeping unwanted and unnecessary background noises at a minimum. After all, that’s what communication is all about. This actually does improve your signal to noise ratio on the receiving end, and often will make your signal louder in the bargain.

If you currently operate with the microphone more than an inch or two from your mouth, please try an experiment on the air, with friends listening whose opinions you value: Close-talk the mic and try different lower settings of the microphone gain.

I think you might be pleased with the result.

Phil Chambley, Sr.

K4dpk 1955


via Where is Your Microphone?.


Nice microphone tutorial from Phil Chambley, Sr. (K4DPK). As a former broadcast news reporter, I can attest to the soundness of Phil’s advice.  The further away from the microphone you place your lips, the more noise and distractions your microphone picks up.  The article originally appeared in:  http://www.eham.net/articles/33151, dated 18 November 2014.

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Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

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