[CQ-Contest] Headsets w/ mic's

Art Boyars artboyars at gmail.com
Tue Mar 29 19:49:11 PDT 2011

I use the old K6LL solution, passsed along to me by W3LPL.  I doubt that
either Dave or Frank use this anymore, but, doing as little 'phone
contesting as I do, it has worked for me for several years.

Take your favorite headphones.  (Mine are Montgomery Ward's "Airline" house
brand, Model GEN 6505A.  You can imagine how old they are.)  Get the Heil
element you like (mine is HC-4 or HC-5; I've misplaced the data sheet).  Get
a copper penny.  Get an approx 1-ft piece of #12 (or maybe #14) wire from,
say, a scrap of Romex.  The wire will be the boom.

Wrap one end of the wire firmly around the harp of the 'phones, just above
the earpiece, so as not to interfere with movement of the earpiece.  Curve
the wire around to where the mike element ought to be.  Trim the wire as
needed, and strip off about 1-inch of insulation.  Solder the penny flat
against the wire, positioned so that the penny will be between the the wire
and your mouth.  Glue the Heil element flat to the penny (hole in element
goes toward your mouth).  I think I used Goop brand glue.  Get an
appropriate piece of cable (I used shielded 2-conductor); light weight is
good.  Run the cable from the element, up the boom, to the harp; secure it
along its run however works for you (I used antique waxed Nylon lacing cord;
maybe dental tape would work).  Run the cable down the headset cord,
attaching as appropriate.  Solder the cable wires to the element leads; good
to use heat-shrink here.  Solder the appropriate connector on the free end
of the cable.  Done.

It probably took me longer to type this up than it took to build the set.
If you need, I'll try to take a photo and e-mail it to you.

Cheap?  I had the 'phones.  I paid about $25 for the Heil element, about $2
for the connector, and I had to dig the penny out of my pocket.  That's
$27.01.  All the rest was in my junk box.

How well does it work?  The wire boom is plastic enough to position the
element where I want it.  To operate CW, I put the headset on backwards, so
the boom is out of my face.  I've had no audio complaints (lot's of guys
complain that they can't hear me, but it's because of my signal strength,
not because of the audio), and when K0TO provided a recorded snippet of our
SS SSB QSO, I though I sounded pretty good (actually, I thought I was
inaudible; I was amazed at how well Tod copied me).

Comfort?  The boom and element add no noticeable weight to the headset.  I
use it for full 24-hrs in SS CW.  For SSB tests, my patience gives out way
before the headset would become uncomfortable.

Thanks, K6LL and W3LPL.

73, Art K3KU

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