6 Principles for Using your Radio Microphone
Tait Communications recently released a new course on their Radio Academy. This new series of videos explores Best Practice for Radio Users. Despite the important role that radio plays in safety and organizational efficiency, many users experience a lack of training. This is a problem, because even the most advanced communication technology is rendered useless by not knowing how to use it properly.
One of the topics in this new course focuses on how to use your radio microphone correctly, and you can read it below.
The safety of users is a top priority for organizations who provide radio communications, and clear, concise communications are critical to worker safety. The following principles apply when speaking directly into the portable radio, a speaker mic accessory, or when using a mobile radio microphone.
1) Push and hold the PTT button throughout your transmission
A common mistake many users new to radio make is starting their conversation before they’ve finished pressing the PTT button, or letting go of the PTT button before their transmission is complete. Although you might only miss one or two words, those one or two words could be very important. Many trunked and digital radios will provide the user a beep to indicate they are connected and can talk, so make sure you wait for the beep before speaking.
2) Hold the microphone 1-2 inches from your mouth
A common mistake is talking too far away from the microphone. This makes the audio more susceptible to room noise, reverb, and harsh tones. On the flip side, getting too close to your mic can be bad too. This will pick up excessive breathing, mouth noises, and pops from letters like P and T (which are called plosives). Nobody wants to hear those things, so keep the microphone at the right distance. Many users keep their radio mic on or around their lapel, which works because it is about the right distance.
3) Talk past the microphone
Pointing the mic directly at your face causes the most plosives as the puffs of air some letters make will go straight from your mouth. Pivot the mic around your mouth so you are talking past the mic instead of into the mic. Again, keeping it on your lapel will ensure you talk past the microphone instead of directly into it.
4) Don’t rattle the microphone
Try to avoid movement of the microphone in your hand while transmitting. Any movement can translate into background noises or inconsistent volume levels, which detract from the quality of the transmitted signal. For the best audio, hold the mic still.
5) If possible, avoid noise around the microphone
What you do away from the mic is just as important as what you do in front of the microphone. Avoid loud keyboards, squeaking chairs, cracking knuckles, whispered conversations, background noisemakers, and anything else that could be a distraction. Although some microphones will have noise cancellation, it is always better to speak in a quieter area. If possible move to a less noisy location to improve the clarity of your speech.
6) Speak clearly in your normal voice
You don’t need to shout when using your radio, and you don’t want to speak too fast. Divide your message into natural phrases rather than individual words, so that what you say flows smoothly.
So there you have it. Following these six principles when you use your radio will improve audio clarity and, therefore, increase safety.
If you or someone from your organization would like to learn more about using a radio in a way that improves clarity, safety, and efficiency, then check out the Best Practice for Radio Users course. There are other courses on the Radio Academy as well, including an Introduction to P25 and an Introduction to DMR. Registration is completely free and includes a quiz to test your knowledge, so consider joining the radio academy today!
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