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Used CB Radio: How to Buy-Part 4

Discussion in 'General CB Services Discussion' started by Robb, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Robb

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    Dec 18, 2008
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    Well - I missed another day in between posts. Hope you are ready for this next part. So far, we have discussed the importance of the antenna, the SWR, and choosing a CB radio. At this point, I am going to assume that you have a radio, an SWR meter, coax, and antenna. In today's post we are going to be discussing the microphone...

    If you aren't a member of this forum yet and want to ask questions about this thread or others; it is free to join and only takes a minute...

    Used CB Radio: How to Buy-Part 4
    Microphones are essential to communicate on a CB radio...
    The choice of mics has been an active part of the recording industry throughout its brief history to connect the human voice to its listener. CB mics don't have a huge dynamic range; nor can most CB radios transmit in the full 20-20khz audio spectrum that one expects from their high-fidelity sound system. They usually can perform in an audio range that is best understood by the human ear - which is between 200 to 3khz. So - one must do what one can to optimize what is being transmitted. A stock Cobra mic will work; but can be easily replaced by the 'power mic' or a 'noise cancelling mic' for mobile use. Or perhaps a desk power mic for a base radio setup. Most power mics require a common 9v battery; noise-cancelling mics require no battery at all.

    Chances are, that when you bought that CB - the mic is a stock unit that came with it. Or if you bought it at a flea market of eBay; it might not have a mic at all. Either way, there are some great options for you to consider for a very small additional cost. If you have a larger budget for great mic, there are some fine choices for you as well.

    Base station mics...
    Some of the better brands are Astatic, Turner, Sadelta, and even Galaxy has a fine unit now. I prefer the amplified Astatic D-104 mics. They come in two basic models; the D-104/TUG8 and the D-104/TUP9. The TUG8 model can be a fine choice and can be had for 40-$60/used. Soundwise, they sound as good as the TUP9's - so long as they are the amplified mics with the same crystal mic elements.
    The TUP 9 is similar in shape; but also includes a push-to-talk switch on the base. They also include the 'Silver Eagle' in this model; but the electronics and mic element are essentially the same parts. They cost more and have a all-chrome appearance. The simpler TUP9's might not look as shiek (they are painted black with a chrome neck); but work every bit as well and can be had fo $60-$90. I have the lesser 'painted black' version; but I wouldn't trade it for another!
    RigPix Database - Accessories - Astatic D-104 Silver Eagle
    Don't let their 'old school' appearance lull you into thinking that they don't make the mark. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are sensitive and distinctly heard and easily recognized when broadcasting. They are -IMO- the 'best of the best'. One can key the microphone at an arm's length and whisper - and still be very easily understood. Combined with the right radio; they can dominate local conversations by their clear and loud speech. Great for both AM and SSB operation. The TUP 9's sell used from $65 to $150 to this day and still demand the price. Astatic no longer makes these new; but a decent used one can always be had on eBay or the WWRF. Another great Astatic mic is the EchoMax2000. They also command their price -about $100-$150 used (no longer mfg'd)- and have built-in echo. meter, and 'roger beep' - as well as the ability to hook up head phones for monitoring and adjusting the echo level and speech volume.
    One cannot go wrong with any of these mic choices.

    The next video here, is a local radio station operator that is a friend of mine. Notice the use of no less than five Astatic D-104 Silver Eagles for each radio in his system. He has a pretty wild setup!

    Turner base mics are all-time favorites as well. In particular, the Turner +3 and +3B have both great AM and SSB operating character. The old-school looking Turner +2's do not have the built-in speech processing as the +3 and +3B models do (I don't recommend the Turner +2 mics; they aren't as potent as the Turner +3's). This is the great thing about the +3 mics; the speech processor/voice compression give them strong, clear, and loud speech. Not as sensitive as the D-104's; but they have their fan base as well. One can find them on eBay between $45-$70. I paid $60 for mine on eBay. They no longer manufactured; so used is all one can get - but definitley worth the money.
    RigPix Database - Accessories - Turner +3

    The Sadelta and Galaxy mics are similar to the Astatic EchoMax200 in design and function. They use a condenser mic element, a mic amp, built-in meter, a 'roger beep' function, and have adjustable echo as well. They still make these Galaxy/Sadelta mics, and are quite affordable around $50/used and $75/new.
    Larger Image

    Mobile mics...
    A large group to choose from. Astatic, Turner, RF Limited, and Cobra to name a few. You can also use them on a base station if one wants to save a little money. The Astatic D-104 Minuteman mic is my all-time favorite - it will make a truly fine base radio mic as well for ~$45 new. Sounds a great deal like the D-104 base mics. Because it is sensitive; on must have a vehicle with a quiet interior when rolling - or it may not be the right choice. Or while using it as a base station mic; it will also pick up background noises. SO keep this in mind if you choose the D-104 handheld mic. But it is the mic I recommend for an all-around great base station mic - as well as a great mobile mic - for a very modest price. It is the mic I use in my new, quiet interior vehicle for mobile operation...

    The Turner RoadKing 56, the Astatic Road Devil or 575 or 636, and the new SkyThumper mics - and aren't amplified as the previous mics are. They are a 'noise-canceling mic' than can eliminate loud background noises and make loud speech when transmitting. I don't consider them to make decent base station mics; they are better suited for a diesel rig or a loud car. They have a rubber lip guard on the front of them. This has a dual purpose: it keeps one's teeth from getting battered when using on a rough road - and it is also the proper way to get it the right distance from one's mouth to the mic for maximum transmitted sound. They can be had for as little as $30 for the Astatic 636 to $55 for the Turner RoadKing 56. Used prices can be as 10-$15 less. In this group of noise-cancling mics; I have owned the Turner RoadKing 56 and found it the best -IMO. I should have kept it!

    Cobra handheld/mobile mics aren't my personal favorite. You will find them the cheapest; mostly because they just don't measure up to a better mic. For the money spent on one of these mics; you can do far better with another mic. That mic will be mentioned next. However, the Cobra 'Dynamike' base station mic is a pretty decent mic. You can only find them used as well, at/around the $35 mark. I don't recommend using a base mic for a vehicle; they are just too clumsy and are prone to being broken becuase of the motion of the vehicle itself. It is recommended to use a mobile mic in a vehicle...

    There is a fine alternative to the base station and mobile mic I found in a $25 power/echo mic that also includes talkback. If you don't want to use the echo or talkback; they can be shut off - it still makes a great power mic. I bought two of these DM 452 mics used for $15 each - and was I pleasantly surprised. The quality of the clarity and boost is just outstanding for the price. They come in various names but are made by the same company - RF Limited. The echo is also quite astounding; true digital quality in an affordable package. The Aries/Superstar DM 452 ($25) or the EC 2018 ($40) are some of the names given; but all are outstanding and can be found on eBay for a small sum. The bigger brother to this mic is probably the BEST mobile mic I own - hands down. It is the Xtreme2018 mic; it lists for about $60. The audio is fantastic and surpasses the Astatic D104 Minuteman mic. It also has a switch for 'noise cancelling'; so it functions on two different levels. The echo foud in this mic is second to none as well; full adjustability for endless repeats, robotic voice, or simple 'slap-back' echo effects (which is the setting I prefer - because it makes ones speech even clearer still!)

    Most of these aftermarket mics come pre-wired for the Cobra, Galaxy, Ranger, Magnum, and Connex radios. If the radio you've bought isn't on this list; one may have to wire it up yourself. CBTricks has the wiring info available for most radios not found here: http://www.cbtricks.com/radios/index.htm

    If you don't know where to find it or how to do it - just become a member and ask on this forum. We will be glad to help guide you thru this process. Tomorrow, I will discuss power supplies for the base station and setting up a radio for mobile use.
    Bookmark this page - if it has been helpful to you...

    #1 Robb, Nov 30, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  2. Moleculo

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    Apr 14, 2002
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