W2IHY 8 BAND AUDIO
Zero, as in zilch, none, nothing, are good words to describe my level of knowledge about audio equalizers, studio audio gear, studio microphones and associated equipment. Well, I have heard of some of the prices for such equipment - wallet smashing stuff.
If I have no knowledge of this equipment, I know some Hams are as knowledgeable as me so this review will provide some insights into the benefits of improved transmitted audio. You and I will be better informed about audio equalizers and this W2IHY 8 band model with noise gate.
This equalizer was designed from the beginning for Ham Radio use. It is specifically for Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu transceivers and has a three position selector for the three types.
Upon opening the package I noticed the apparent quality of the unit. It had a Kenwood microphone out adapter to plug into the TS-570D transceiver for the review. A nice 117 VAC wall power supply was included with the proper five pin DIN male plug to supply 12 V power to the unit. Of course, there is the operation manual, which, because of my knowledge level, will be read first.
from the first page of the manual:
After turning on the power, the MIC IN and MIC OUT pots were set. Good manual instructions for MIC IN and I clock-wised it until red LED came on during normal speech and counter-clock-wised it until the LED did not come on during normal speech. Instructions were not specific about MIC OUT so I set it to for normal VOX operation with mouth 2 inches from the mic.
In handling the EQ unit and its controls, I continued to be impressed with the physical quality of this equipment, which cost only $229.99 plus $15.00 for the mic out adapter.
The noise gate was set just like in the manual. All hooked up and it works. I turned the station antenna switch remote to connect the transceiver to the Palstar dummy load and started testing: "Hellooooo Radio, test VOX, one, two, three four, test VOX, one, two, three four, test VOX, test VOX, etc." I found and felt comfortable after reducing the VOX gain from 7 to 5 and the mic gain from 65 to 50. Delay set at 5ms.
There are two stations here at WIA. The main station has all the coax, antenna switches and remote control stuff. The remote station, where this test is taking place, is to my left at my U-shaped work area. When I turn on the 13.8 power supply here, control of the main station and the antenna switch is transferred to this station.
I have little background noise, so the noise gate won't help me as much as it will someone with a high ambient noise situation at their station. The Kenwood transceiver has a monitor feature with adjustable volume but this monitor sound is not transmitted sound and is useless for our purpose of EQ adjustment.
I found a table in the manual that provides initial settings for popular microphones and selected settings for Shure high impedance dynamic mic. Initial on-the-air test indicates that I sounded normal to the guys. This was with little adjustment from zero. Now for more test.
Further on-the-air produced comments like. "Wow, what a big difference." " Big improvement in quality of sound, it's warm and robust." Every day I experiment with different adjustments and get feedback. I feel like the noise gate is improving my transmitted signal more than I know even though I don't think I have a background sound problem. I now have the unit standing on it's end between the Kenwood and the antenna switch remote control. It takes little space.
the W2IHY web site)
For the most critical EQ adjustments, nothing beats listening to your
actual transmit signal on a second receiver in the shack, using good
quality headphones. This lets you get "up close and personal" with how
your transmit audio really sounds. You will notice that very small
adjustments to the slide pots can make meaningful changes. Many of our
users conduct on-air adjustments, relying on friends with good ears. Of
course this is best done under low-noise, high signal conditions.
For a lot more information or to purchase, click through to the W2IHY web:> http://w2ihy.com W2IHY Technologies is owned and operated by guess who? W2IHY, Julius Jones.
Bob Hutchinson, N5CNN
If you would like to publish an article here contact Bob Hutchinson, N5CNN.