Do people complain you’re quiet on the repeater?

One of the biggest complaints on our local repeaters is that people are quiet with very low audio.  Often they’re using the cheap Chinese handheld wirelesses such as the Baofeng UV-5R or similar which have a reputation for being quiet.  There are well documented ‘fixes’ available such as drilling out the microphone hole.

However it’s not just those radios.  Listening this evening, one station asked another how far away he was speaking into the microphone and the answer was “about four inches”.  This is a big part of the problem.

By holding a microphone this distance away from your mouth you’re introducing two problems. Firstly, most fist mics are designed to be held close to the mouth.   By moving the mic further away, you’re reducing the audio hitting the insert massively.  Secondly, if you’re holding the mic away from your mouth, even the slightest movement of your head from side to side will mean you’re even further away and the volume will get even lower.

There are videos of people on YouTube where they’re holding a fist microphone a foot away from their mouth. How anyone ever hears them, I really don’t know.

I’m naturally fairly quietly spoken but I’ve never had any complaints of quiet audio.  I’ve found the best way to hold a fist microphone at 90 degrees to my mouth so I’m speaking across the insert. This reduces any breath noises, pops and sibilance and by holding the mic directly against the side of my face, it’s always nice and close to my mouth and it’s always consistently in exactly the same place.

How not to hold a fist microphone

How not to hold a fist microphone

The best way to hold a fist microphone for good loud consistant audio

The best way to hold a fist microphone for good loud consistant audio

This is a good habit to get into, it means the microphone is always in the same place, it’s getting maximum audio and because you’re speaking over the mic instead of directly into it, you won’t be popping and adding breath noise all over the place.

If you’re regularly told you’re quiet or that your audio ‘comes and goes’ then perhaps consider the way you hold your microphone rather than diving into the radio and looking for the mic gain.

I’ve been told that somehow these blog posts are being cross posted to a couple of amateur radio newsgroups automatically.  I’m not responsible for this and I have no control over it.  I wouldn’t choose to have my entries replicated there but I can’t do anything about it.  If you’re reading this on a newsgroup then please be aware that I won’t see any replies or comments.

Updated: October 6, 2020 — 14:56