Nice audio

Since I acquired a Heil Proset Plus with the HC4 & HC5 elements I must say I’m very happy with it; together with my Yaesu FT-950 it makes a good combination for contesting, DX QSO’s (both HC4 element) or just ragchewing (with the HC5 element).

The reason for buying the Proset Plus was because I wasn’t completely happy about the Yaesu MD-200 microphone, especially when it comes to contesting and DX QSO’s. It looks like the punch in the middle of the spectrum is somehow not high enough. Of course I can change it by adjusting the equalizer settings in the FT-950 itself but I don’t want to keep on changing these settings for contesting/DX-ing on one side and ragchewing on the other side.

So I tried to improve my audio quality by acquiring a W2IHY 8 band equalizer and W2IHY EQPlus. By the flip of the On/Off button on the equalizer I could switch between contesting/DX and ragchewing. But my current antenna setup led to RFI on the audio signal. W2IHY states that their products are built to be used in transmitting environments where RFI and less-than-perfect ground systems can compromise the performance of audio equipment.

And that’s where I left it and got the headset. I’ve never really used it since last Saturday I was in the shack and decided to give it another go. By going through the manuals step by step I setup the equalizer and EQPlus. One of the good things of the EQPlus is, without a doubt, the Downward Expander which should be turned up that far until no noise is being heard. In this case the adjustable compressor doesn’t pick up noise and starts amplifying it. No input signal means nothing to do for the compressor and thus no noise transmitted.

After I setup everything I decided to monitor myself on my good old FT-817 but this was not a good idea; it sounded very bad so I decided to use the monitor output of my FT-950. And that was a much better indication.

The 2nd QSO I made (with a French station) lead to an unsolicited comment about good audio. So that makes me wonder if it really makes such a difference. Then I decided to try to break a pile-up for an English special event station. One call and he heard me above local English stations… Nope, I wasn’t running a lot of power and my antenna situation isn’t perfect (indoor multiband dipole). I wonder if it has anything to do with the setup as it is right now or just pure luck. Coming weekend there’s a Spanish contest. Maybe it’s a perfect moment to test the setup a bit further.

And the RFI is still there (on 40m and 80m). It could well be it’s the microphone cable which is connected to the 8 bands equalizer. Time to replace that one as part of the chain I would say.