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Great Mic Sound for your CB or Export Radio-part 1

Discussion in 'General CB Services Discussion' started by Robb, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    Introduction

    Have you ever wondered if you are getting all out of your station? Is there any real room for improving your present CB station quality? Have you listened to Hams using exotic audio gear and wondered how they got a true broadcast sound out of their radios? Have you ever wondered if it was possible to do the same thing to a Cobra, Connex, Ranger, Magnum, Uniden, or Galaxy?

    What is the point? One might safely ask. Well, intelligibility of sound is a controversy even among Hams when talking about a quality broadcast sound vs bandwidth issues. The CB band doesn't have these problem or issues. CB radios have fixed filters that limit bandwidth on any given channel to about ~3kc on SSB and ~6kc on AM; while Ham radios can be adjusted for more or less bandwidth. CB's can be modified to have a wider filter; but even 3kc can sound outstanding on SSB. You don't even need to modify the inside of the radio to get great sound, it can be done externally. Not only will these improvements work on AM with surprising results - they will also work on SSB and FM with remarkable improvement as well.

    I like the sound of a Astatic D-104 Silver Eagle myself. Or a Turner+3 for that matter. But can one do better than what has been commercially offered to the CB radio public? Why would I want to consider this? What is the cost? How is done? What kind of quality can I expect? Is it worth it? Is this part of the new growth phase in CB radio due to technology that is more affordable and available now more than ever before? What are the important characteristics of microphones that I should be aware of and consider?

    No one says that you have to do it exactly the way I will recommend either; experiment with some thoughts I will provide as a guideline. However, I will give some recommendations if you need it. New tools for the CB operator can be found at pro sound shops online or in your city. Pro audio has now merged with the CB. Who says you can't teach an old dog - new tricks?
    Wrong!



    Time to experiment

    The true nature of Amateur radio is to experiment and bring something new to the hobby. CB hasn't really involved itself with some of the more usable products from the Ham influence. CB doesn't use digital methods, such as SSTV or PSK31 - but it potentially could. CB seems to take what is has always preferred to use and doesn't seem to vary much - such as amps and antenna designs. But because radio principles are generic; what works for the goose will work for the gander. But times do change; and so does innovation and experimentation. Every once in a while I hear someone using morse code on CB. It was laborious and slow. I did laugh - as you might; but I know this is experimentation . . .

    What will CB radio look like in ten years from now? Or even 5 years from now? Don't look now; but things have already changed. More CB radio operators are utilizing Ham radios on the CB frequencies. Good and bad. Bad - because it encroaches on present FCC regs that call it illegal. Good because these radios don't lend themselves to 'splatter' modulation that give off harmonics across other bands. In reality, it makes for a better broadcast. Don't get your underwear in a bunch; I'm just making a point with it.

    But what can be done that is legal?
    One can make a better audio chain in and out of the radio. Legal to do. But for now, I will concentrate on the audio input. It might cost a bit to come up with better audio, but with cheap and available technology it can be easily accomplished. It will involve some gear to acquire. A large capsule condenser mic, a preamp that can power such a mic, making one cable from the output of the preamp to the radio, a standard ~6 ft 'XLR' mic cable, and a remote foot or hand 'push to talk' switch.
    Time is about to move on.


    Tomorrow, I will go into more detail and even include laying out and explaining the gear and how to use it, what improvements to expect in your transmission, cost of items, and possible substitutions.


    Stay tuned here on the WWRF . . .
    Part 2: http://www.worldwidedx.com/installa...itizens-band-radio-export-radio-part-2-a.html
     
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  3. T23

    T23 Active Member

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    Good points Robb, I like higher quality audio, I have been wanting to install a voice effects box inline with my powermic, not a cheezy "Noise Toy" type of deal but a more professional voice box that can change your voice but still sound natural, or if you want un-natural. An maby some other things like and equalizer ect.


    T23
     
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  4. TonyV225

    TonyV225 Supporting Member

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    :pop::pop::pop::pop:
     
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  5. wavrider

    wavrider W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    W2ENY HiFi kit replacement element for Astatic D-104 - eBay (item 230543109603 end time Nov-02-10 06:16:53 PDT)

    I am not advertising for this item, I can say I have installed a few and they sound great both on amateur rigs and on cb. I use one on my Astro 150A and get unsolicited audio compliments, friend uses one on his FT-107 and it sounds fantastic.

    Shame it has to be on an amplified tug model as I would really enjoy trying one on my Swan 700CX, maybe one day he will come up with a high impedance version non amplified.

    I would not say it is 11 channel EQ broadcast quality, but it does sound as if you are talking to the person while he is sitting in the same room with you, clear and clean on both AM and SSB. For $20 hard to go wrong.
     
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  6. TonyV225

    TonyV225 Supporting Member

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    Hey I was just looking at these things!!! Wav you have a PM.
     
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  7. sp5it

    sp5it Master of puppets

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    Radio is a bottleneck.
    First of it all you need to modify your radio to get as wide, as flat as possible TX audio bandwidth.
    Than you can polish your sonic personality any way you want.
    Mike
     
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  8. T23

    T23 Active Member

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    How is that? if that was the case power mics would be useless. can you elaborate on that?

    T23
     
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  9. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur Staff Member

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    They pretty much are unless your radio requires a very high input level to achieve 100% modulation. Once you start hearing everything in the room or beyond the operator is using far too much gain.
     
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  10. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    Yes; that is part of it.
     
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  11. unit_399

    unit_399 EL CAPO

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    ROBB -


    I've always thought that the point of cbing was to communicate, and to do this by transmitting a signal that was LOUD and (most importantly) CLEAR on the receive end. This can be done without resorting to "exotic audio gear".

    The most effective way to improve your station's sound is to use a high quality broadcast microphone. Then align the radio to FCC specs (i.e. 4 watt deadkey - modulation infinitely close to but not exceeding 100%). Use a scope and\or spectrum analyzer instead of relying on a wattmeter. If you need more signal strength, invest your $$$ in a good amp and an "exotic" antenna system, and be certain that your rig isn't driving the amp out of linearity.

    The best-sounding station I hear coming out of the USA runs a box-stock Shakespeare tube rig with a Heil mike pushing about 200W into stacked fours. His signal is clear and natural, and when he keys up he blows everyone else away.

    To make your rig louder on-the-air, use proven techniques like compression, speech clipping, DSP, or hard audio limiting (like a fast-attack ALC.) NPC is a good choice, but not the worthless diode/resistor mods that are on line. Compressors, clippers, limiters, etc. for musical instruments work as well as similar amatuer equipment, but without the high cost. So-called "swing kits" are junk. There are many internal mods for CBs that will improve performance without sacrificing clarity, but these vary from rig to rig.

    Also, be sure to start out with a high quality transceiver. It's pointless to put lipstick on a pig.

    Please realize that there are no other CBers here, so all of my communication is DX and I'm writing this from that point of view. On the amatuer bands or local CB nets, where people show more consideration for each other, what you're advocating is probably a good thing.

    73s.

    - 399
     
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  12. sp5it

    sp5it Master of puppets

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    That is how sounds modified President Lincoln (HR-2510) in AM with some Behringer audio gear: Wrzuta.pl - Modulacja President Lincoln

    Here is SSB 0-12s, AM 12-22s, FM 22-42s. Wrzuta.pl - Lincoln i behringer
    EQ was set quickly just for testing, so it can sound better.
    Recorded with Kenwood TS-870s with flat receiver curve.
    MIke
     
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    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  13. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    This isn't about getting out farther; this is about making it sound to its best potential. It also keeps the modulation to 100% or less for best sounding audio. This is about doing better than the D104 or the Turner+3 did - and doing it for only slightly more money. Even a CB can do so; some will work better than others - and if theirs do not - then maybe time to upgrade. It's also about 'some' of the new wave of radio operators that can already be heard across the US and abroad during skip conditions that sound head an shoulders better than others - and what our forum members can do to match that. It is far from pointless; some operators are already doing it with great results. It's a 'how to' do it yourself and understanding how to hook it up. New and old WWRF members/CB operators might well be ready to make this change/upgrade to keep up with the times/catch up.
    It is all of those things.

    Thanks for the comment!
    (y)
    73

    Also:
    Thanks sp1it for the audio examples. They were a little hard to find on that page ('Polish'), but I appreciate the effort and those files.
     
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  14. unit_399

    unit_399 EL CAPO

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    I suggest that you read my post again, that is if you actually did the first time.

    - 399
     
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