Articles for Amateur Radio Newsletters aimed at new hams
 written by Gerry Crenshaw, WD4BIS, Rowlett, Texas



NHP #8: HT Accessories: Toys or Necessities?

HT accessories, speaker/mikes, headsets, earphones, amplifiers and antenna extensions: Sooner or later after buying that HT, we start to look at the accessories offered by a number of different vendors. The speaker/mike is one of those items that most of us come to purchase.

The speaker mike remotes the functions of the speaker, PTT key and microphone to a small microphone that we can usually clip on to our shirt. The radio itself still rides the place of honor on the belt but relieves us of the burden of having to remove the radio from the belt every time we need to transmit. In many cases this is a great accessory because it frees the hands and saves wear and tear on the radio. Depending on the price and vendor that you choose the speaker mike may also have optional features such as Keypad and control functions. These devices work well in almost all situations except for those where we have a high noise environment such as being posted next to the bandstand or public address system.

Headsets tend work better in these high noise situations because of the proximity of the mike and speaker to the user's ear and mouth. Depending on what you buy these devices can come equipped with a VOX circuit (Voice Operated Switch). Use this option with care. Every time you speak the VOX keys the radio. In a high noise area the noise itself can key the radio and keep it keyed. Care needs to be taken to boom mike away from the mouth when speaking to other people. You may not want to transmit that conversation.

Earphones for radios and speaker mikes are another option for a high noise environment. MFJ speaker mikes come equipped with a jack on the bottom of the speaker mike body. A simple earphone from Radio Shack can be plugged into this jack for privacy or convenience. MFJ makes the ear jack on the bottom of the mike the same size diameter as the ear jack on the radio you are attaching it to. Although the simple earphones are only about $3.00 the earphones are stocked with two standard size jacks, 3/32 and 1/8 inches. Bring the speaker mike with you when buying the earphone so you won’t get the wrong size (don't ask me how I know this).

A Linear amplifier for the HT is another option we all look at depending on the power we may need to be running. For most of them 2 to 5 watts of input gives an output of 30 watts or better. These run between $140.00 and $500.00 depending on band, mode and model. There are dual band amplifier models available now that match the dual band capability of the handi talkie. Watch for input/output configurations on these amps as you may need an external duplexer to make it work with your handi talkie. Duplexers run in the $30.00 to $50.00 Range.

Another nice accessory for the HT is the coax extension for the rubber duck antenna. These are available for car or person. The Car extensions have a metal clip that attaches to the roll down window of the car. This puts the antenna outside of the car and makes for better communications. The extensions for person have a clip that will attach to a hat or headset. Here this raises the antenna above the body so the antenna has an unobstructed transmit radius.

All of these accessories have their value and their place. Chose them and purchase them with care. The headset for example is nor everyone. Many find the weight uncomfortable and the VOX unwieldy. Regardless of what you choose they can enhance operation for a public service event.

GL and 73's de Gerry WD4BIS

Return to NHP Index

Copyright 2005 Gerald Crenshaw WD4BIS. All rights are reserved.

Permission in advance is granted to those who use this for non-profit Amateur Radio club newsletters as long as it is used unmodified including this copyright notice and that notice is given to the author via email ([email protected]). In addition, please forward a copy of any newsletter this appears in to: Gerry Crenshaw WD4BIS, c/o GARC, 1027B W. Austin St, Garland, TX, 75040

Web site maintained by Janet Gobeille Crenshaw (WB9ZPH)