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Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Technology - Phone Skimmer Nears Beta Test

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Technology - Phone Skimmer Nears Beta Test
From: Jim Brown <k9yc@audiosystemsgroup.com>
Reply-to: k9yc@arrl.net
Date: Fri, 03 Apr 2015 21:40:09 -0700
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
On Fri,4/3/2015 9:16 PM, Randy Thompson K5ZD wrote:
It would seem the use of computer sound cards as voice keyers is the root
cause of most SSB modulation and clarity issues.  It took me several sound
cards before I found a combination that sounded good.

As a retired audio pro, I strongly disagree with both statements, Randy. What's wrong is our USE of those cards -- we fail to understand how to set levels (gains), we fail to LISTEN to what we are putting on the air, and we follow the rock and roll gag of "turning it up to 11" when 10 is max. AND -- on any contest weekend, I hear lots of lousy audio from the live mics. I've managed to transmit pretty decent audio with the plain vanilla sound card built into 5-10 year old Thinkpads. I now use USB sound cards only because they provide much better decoding of weak digital signals.

How many guys use a basic audio editing program to record their CQ messages and exchanges? I use Audacity, which is very good and free. I record them several times, listen to them, and record them again until they sound right. Several years ago, I did a WebEx for NCCC about how to do this. It's here.


95% of what's wrong with contest audio is that both computer and live mic are badly overdriving the radio's audio input, and the processing is cranked up way too high. This is basic electronics 101. The other 5% is guys using a bassy mic that makes their voice muddy.

73, Jim K9YC

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