[CQ-Contest] Improving voice recordings for phone contests

Ktfrog007 at aol.com Ktfrog007 at aol.com
Thu Mar 7 10:01:39 EST 2013

Hi Pete,
Thank you for this positive and helpful posting.  I'm not  much of a phone 
op and have never used a voice keyer, but I thought it important  enough to 
save in my "Hints & Kinks" email folder for future  reference.
Kermit, AB1J
In a message dated 3/7/2013 13:11:26 Coordinated Universal Time,  
n4zr at contesting.com writes:

As a  diversion from the debate about which contest is better....

Before last  weekend's contest, I had a chance to experiment a bit with 
my voice  recordings.  One of the problems I have always had is that when 
I try  to enunciate clearly I always slow down, and the resulting 
recording lacks  the urgency you expect in a contest situation. I also 
always notice  stations whose recorded and live audio don't sound 
anything alike, and  wanted to minimize that as much as possible.

I use Audacity, excellent  freeware recording software, but this time 
around I "discovered" its  "Change Tempo" function, which speeds up 
speech without changing the pitch  or timbre.  The results are wonderful 
- you can speed up any  recording 10 or 20 percent at a time, and it 
sounds completely natural,  just faster.

So what I do, for whatever it is worth, is the  following.  This may be 
old hat for the SSB pros, but judging from  what we hear on the air, it 
could be useful for a lot of other  people.

*make a recording.

*trim it (in Audacity) so there is no  dead air.

*amplify (without clipping) in Audacityto set peaks at 0  dB.

*listen and adjust the tempo (on the same Enhance menu) for the  effect I 
want.  Repeat these 4 steps for each recorded  message.

*adjust my sound card's microphone gain (I run my microphone  through the 
sound card) so that it produces the same peak level as the  recordings.

*adjust my transceiver's TX equalizer, mic gain and  compression to give 
me the sound I want on the air.  It is much  easier to do this with a 
recorded message, so you can really listen to  yourself.  The nice part 
of having done the preceding steps is that  you only have to adjust your 
transceiver controls.


73,  Pete N4ZR
Check out the Reverse Beacon Network  at
blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com.
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