Most amateur radios have speakers and microphones built-in. However, the built in mics on these devices may not be that great. This may negatively impact the transmitted sound quality.
A dependable desk ham radio microphone can greatly enhance the transmitted sound quality thereby enhancing the overall ham experience.
However, with several ham radio desk mics on the market, selecting one for your needs can be a herculean task. To make life simpler, we have assessed and reviewed the top 5 options here.
Top 5 Ham Radio Desk Microphones
|1||Kenwood Original MC-60A||Best Overall|
|2||Chrome Delta M2||Best Durability|
|3||Yaesu Original MD-100A8x||Very Compact|
|4||ICOM SM-50||Excellent Build Quality|
|5||MFJ-299 Desk Mic Console||Best Compatibility|
The Best Ham Radio Desk Microphone: Kenwood Original MC-60A
Made in Japan and unveiled back in the early 1980’s, the Kenwood Original MC-60A is still being produced after 40 years with the same classic construction. The MC-60A boasts several notable features that make it a great ham radio desk microphone.
To start with, it is a dynamic unidirectional mic. Microphones of this type capture sound signals from a particular area particularly from the front.
This is in contrast to omnidirectional microphones that capture audio in all directions. Secondly, directional microphones are specially engineered to minimize unwelcome background noise.
The MC-60A comes with Up/Down tuning buttons that make selecting your transceiver’s operating frequency a breeze. Note that the Up/Down tuning works on compatible Kenwood radios.
The MC-60A also features an inbuilt preamplifier. The preamp helps pump up weak microphone signals into a stronger audio signal. The built-in preamp means you do not have to purchase an external preamplifier, which will also require additional desk storage space.
The built-in preamp gets its power from two interior AA batteries. You will appreciate this feature if you have an older radio with limited features.
However, several previous buyers note that the microphone delivers fantastic smooth audio signals even without using the preamp.
This is particularly true on newer transceivers, for example, the TS-2000 series. These radios come with exceptional microphone input circuits that do not require pre-amplified audio.
The Kenwood Original MC-60A has a push-to-talk (PTT) switch. To transmit, you will have to press and hold this switch.
The microphone also has a lock feature that enables you to lock the PTT. With this feature, you do not have to continuously hold down the PTT when doing long transmissions.
The Kenwood Original MC-60A features a dual impedance switch. This gives you a choice of 2 impedances – 500 ohms and 50 kOhms.
The dual impedance means this microphone can work with newer ham radios as well as older transceivers. Older ham radio models generally use the high impedance mic while the newer models commonly use the low impedance mic.
The MC-60A comes with a versatile coiled cord that is terminated with a conventional 8-pin spherical mic connector. The microphone works with practically any Kenwood two-way radio.
It is specially constructed for FM plus SSB mobile transceivers. It can also work with other-brand two way radios including mobile ham radios with RJ-45-pin modular microphone connectors.
The microphones’ durable zinc die-cast base offers additional stability. However, the mic can be detached from its base for enhanced versatility.
The mic’s frequency response is 200 hertz to 7 kilohertz (-6dB) when the preamplifier is on. With the amplifier off, it is 150 hertz to 10 kilohertz (-6dB)
- Dual Impedance- 500 ohms/50 Kohms
- Dynamic moving coil mic
- Switchable preamp
- Die-cast base plus detachable microphone
- 8-pin locking DIN connector
- PTT, lock, UP/Down, Pre-amp, and impedance switches
- Powered via optional 2 AA batteries or transceiver’s mic socket
- Has a built-in preamp
- A dynamic unidirectional microphone that minimizes background noise
- Great build quality
- Allows users to select from the lock or push to talk
- Has 8 pin connectors that give it excellent compatibility and flexibility
- Comparatively pricey
How to Use Kenwood Original MC-60A?
The Kenwood Original MC-60A is extremely simple to set up and use. All the information you require to set up the mic and connect it to your radio is contained in the user manual.
If you utilize this microphone with a Kenwood radio that has an 8-pin connector, you should not insert batteries within the base.
The microphone is powered via the amplifier from one of the transceiver’s pins. If you insert batteries within the mic’s base, in this case, you will almost certainly have issues such as distortion that is similar to RF interference.
Below are a few tips for caring for the microphone so it can last you a long time.
- The mic is made using precision components. You should never open the mic as this may lead to serious damage.
- The MC-60A is sensitive to vibration and shock. Therefore, handle it with care.
- Avoid spilling liquids on the microphone as this may damage the interior components.
- Prevent dust and dirt buildup on the mic by regularly wiping it with a soft clean cloth
- Do not expose the mic to direct sunlight
User Reviews and Feedback on Kenwood Original MC-60A
The Kenwood Original MC-60A has received several positive reviews from previous customers. Many of these customers are happy with the audio quality. These users report that they have gotten several fantastic audio reports from their ham radio friends.
Many users have also praised the product’s lasting durability and performance. Some previous purchasers report that they have been using the mic for over 20 years and never had problems with it.
Several users are pleased with the mic’s portability noting that it is not too heavy to move around. Many customers reported that the MC-60A is compatible with several other radios from different manufacturers.
Overall, most previous buyers say they highly recommend the MC-60A by Kenwood noting that the product exceeded their expectations.
While user comments about the MC-60A have mostly been positive, there have also been a few negative comments.
The major user complaint about the product is that they had RF interference problems while using the microphone. Some of these users note that Kenwood should have resolved this issue before now as it has been a long-standing one.
Some users have also complained about the microphone’s preamp and base saying that their design requires some improvement.
What Makes Kenwood Original MC-60A the Best Ham Radio Desk Microphone?
The Kenwood Original MC-60A is easy to set up and use. It works with nearly all Kenwood two-way transceivers.
The mic can also work with most radios from other brands including ham transceivers with RJ-45 pin connectors.
The microphone will stay balanced and stable on your desk – thanks to its robust zinc die-cast base. The product also delivers superior sound quality and the build quality is superb.
4 More Top Rated Ham Radio Desk Microphones
1. Chrome Delta M2
This ham microphone from Delta Electronics is another outstanding ham radio desk microphone. Aside from its superior functionality, the mic also has a classic construction.
With its frequency response of 40 – 15,000 kiloHertz, the Delta M2 is well equipped to capture clear speech. The mic has an impedance of 270 ohms.
Another feature that makes the Chrome Delta M2 a superb ham radio desk mic is its adjustable desktop stand. With this feature, you can adjust the mic to any angle you prefer.
You can set the mic to 80 degrees or 45 degrees depending on your sitting position. No matter the angle you set the microphone, your voice will stay crystal clear to other radio users listening to your broadcast.
Chrome Delta M2 also features an uncomplicated Push To Talk (PTT) button as well as a handy lock-to-talk button. The lock-to-talk button lets you enjoy hands-free communication.
Unlike several other ham radio microphones in the market, you will never encounter microphones squealing with the Chrome Delta M2. The mic is extremely versatile and can work with a wide selection of ham radio transceivers.
- · Versatile
- · Great audio reports
- · Has low impedance capability
- · Durable build quality
- · Has an AC adapter so batteries are not required for it to run
- · A few users note that this mic takes up considerable space
2. Yaesu Original MD-100A8x
If you own a Yaesu ham radio base station, you cannot afford to ignore this nice looking cardioid desk mic from Yaesu. It is specially engineered to deliver your audio transmissions with clarity and punch.
The microphone offers selectable low-cut filtering plus high-emphasis active filtering. This feature lets you modify the mic’s response giving you optimum voice clarity.
A push-to-talk knob and latching button are fitted at the mic’s base. There is also a large rotary up-down, fast-slow knob for scanning.
The MD-100A8x works with several different Yaesu radios and that includes practically all new Yaesu HF radios.
If your transceiver has either the round 8-pin or RJ-45 microphone jack, this mic can work it as cabling and jacks are included to accommodate these.
The MD-100A8x is fitted with a multi-axis turning mount that lets you modify the mic’s vertical and horizontal positions. This helps ensure that various heights and locations can be accommodated.
The mic can also be detached from its base so it can be used separately. However, when you do this, you will no longer be able to use the scan and filtering controls.
The impedance is 500 ohms while the frequency response is 100 – 5000 hertz (-6db). This microphone is made to last and the sound is clear and loud on the receiving end.
- Excellent build quality
- Compatible with most Yaesu amateur two way radios
- Great modulation reports
- Does not take up too much space
- Detachable base
- Comparatively pricey
3. ICOM SM-50
Excellent Build Quality
The SM-50 from ICOM is a unidirectional dynamic mic that is specially constructed for base station use. It comes with all the must-have features expected from a reliable ham radio desk microphone.
The mic is simple to use and does not have complicated controls. It is an extremely well-constructed mic that exudes quality out of the box.
Weighing in at 2.2 pounds, the ICOM SM-50 is neither excessively heavy nor light. Most previous buyers report that the mic does not slide around on their desks.
The SM-50 has a long neck so you will not need to pick the mic up to talk. It also has an inbuilt preamp so weak microphone signals will never be an issue when using the microphone.
The product has garnered many 5-star ratings due to its superb audio quality. Several users report that they regularly get voluntary audio reports regarding how fantastic their radios sound.
A gain adjustment is fitted on the floor of the mic’s base. The mic’s cabling termites to a regular ICOM 8-pin mic plug.
Also, the product’s electret element requires electrical energy provided by the connected transceiver. Consequently, this mic will not work with non-ICOM two-way radios.
The ICOM SM-50 has UP-Down tuning that will work on any matching ICOM two way radio. The mic also has a PTT switch along with a PTT lock button. Many previous purchasers think that the MIC is a little costly but also note the cost is well worth it.
- Excellent quality and service
- Great design
- Terrific audio reports
- Easy to install and use
- Works with most ICOM transceivers
- Not compatible with non-ICOM radios
- A little expensive
4. MFJ-299 Desk Mic Console
The MFJ-299 is the perfect option for operators searching for quality performance. One of the most endearing features of the MFJ-299 is its compatibility with most transceivers.
To use this mic with your radio, you will need to have any of the following standard ethernet cables (sold separately): MJF-53971, MFJ-5397k, MFJ-5399Y, MFJ-5397MX, and MFJ-5399Y.
The MFJ-53971 works with most ICOM radios that feature the 8-pin round connector. The MFJ-5397K is compatible with nearly all Kenwood radios with the 8-pin round connector.
If you own a Yaesu transceiver with an 8-pin round connector, you will need the MFJ-5399Y cable. The MFJ-5397MX is compatible with practically every two-way radio that is fitted with an 8-pin modular connector.
The MFJ-299 is extremely well made and is housed within a durable, all-metal cabinet plus sculpted plastic end caps.
The mic will not wobble on your table – thanks to its secure rubber feet. Besides, the controls are silk-screened permanently on the front panel and are very simple to read.
The mic’s base is fitted with an inbuilt graphic equalizer having center frequencies of 2000, 1000, 540, and 270 hertz. With this, you can have the utmost efficiency for SSB mode and the finest quality audio for FM mode.
The MFJ-299 has a fine-mesh metallic grill that works to remove background noise. Its high-sensitivity ceramic mic element will bend and stretch to any operating position you prefer. This way, you can stay comfortable while using your transceiver.
The microphone also has a first-rate compressor amplifier with low, mid, and high selection switches. The mic also has PTT and PTT lock buttons.
These let you swap between long, one-sided contacts and quick, 2-sided exchanges. You can also use this desk microphone to operate your transceiver – thanks to the frequency up/down knobs.
- Compatible with two-way radios designed by different vendors
- Excellent microphone performance
- Adjustable mic sensitivity to accommodate quiet or noisy locations
- PTT lock button that allows for a convenient operation
- Very durable
- The large base takes up considerable desk space
How to Select the Best Ham Radio Desk Microphone?
1. Sound Quality
Sound quality is the most critical factor to consider when selecting a ham radio microphone. A great microphone will always deliver excellent sound quality.
Consider microphones that have noise cancellation features. These will enhance audio clarity even when you are transmitting within noisy environments.
All the products recommended above offer fantastic sound quality.
Among all, Kenwood Original MC-60A is the winner concerning sound quality. Nearly all previous buyers have reported getting extremely good audio reports from other Ham Radio operators.
Before you settle for a particular ham radio desk mic, check to see that it will work with your transceiver. You will typically find this information on the tech specifications sheet.
You can also look at the mic’s pin connector. If, for example, your transceiver’s microphone slot has four holes, then you should select a microphone that has matching four pins.
The MFJ-299 Desk Mic Console is the winner concerning compatibility with radios from various manufacturers. The product is constructed to support most radios from various manufacturers.
3. Build Quality
Even if your microphone delivers excellent sound quality, a substandard microphone will not serve you a long time. If you regularly use your radio, then you will need a durable microphone that can hold up against regular use.
The Kenwood Original MC-60A takes the first place with regard to build quality. The microphones’ zinc die-cast base offers dependable durability.
The ICOM SM-50 takes the runner up place. The product is lodged within a robust, all-metal cabinet and features sculpted plastic end caps.
4. Ease of Use
No one enjoys using a ham radio desk mic with complex features. A microphone that has an intuitive design is user-friendly.
The microphone should sit comfortably on your desk and not wobble. Products that feature the lock-to-talk switch will let you use the microphone hands-free.
The microphones recommended above are all easy to set up and use.
However, the MFJ-299 Desk Mic Console is the winner regarding ease of use. The mic features secure rubber feet to ensure it does not wobble on your table.
The microphone also has the Push To Talk plus the Push To Talk lock switches that allows for hands-free communication.
Price is always a critical factor when considering a purchase. Nevertheless, remember that cheap may not give you the greatest value for your money.
You should consider spending more if that means getting a ham radio desk mic that will deliver superior performance.
Comparison of Top 5 Ham Radio Desk Microphones
|Weight||Connector type||Mic Element Type||Frequency Response||Impedance|
|Kenwood Original MC-60A||2.8 pounds||RJ 45||Dynamic unidirectional Moving coil||150 Hz -10 kHz||50 Kohms, 500 ohms|
|Chrome Delta M2||4.2 pounds||4-pin cobra||Cardioid dynamic||40-1.5 kHz||270 ohms|
|Yaesu Original MD-100A8x||1.48 pounds||RJ 45||Dynamic unidirectional||100 Hz – 5000 Hz||500 ohms|
|ICOM SM-50||2.2 pounds||8-pin round||Dynamic unidirectional||–||55 ohms|
|MFJ-299 Desk Mic Console||1.5 pounds||8-pin round female||Electret||Center frequencies of||500 ohms|
There are loads of ham radio desk microphones to select from. To choose the best one for your needs, you should make a checklist of the features that are most vital to you.
This way, it would be easier to search for the most appropriate choice. All of the products recommended here deliver excellent sound quality are highly durable and easy to use.