Six ways your mic technique can improve intelligibility.
Push and hold the PTT button throughout your transmission
Users new to radio commonly make the mistake of starting their conversations
before they’ve finished pressing the PTT button, or letting go before their
transmission is complete.
Hold the mic two to five centimeters (one to two inches)
from your mouth
If it’s too far away, the audio is more susceptible to atmosphere noise, reverb,
and harsh tones. Conversely, speaking too closely into the microphone will result
in amplified breathing, mouth noises, and plosives (annoying “pops” on “P” and
Talk past the mic
Puffs of air resulting from pointing the microphone directly at your face cause
plosives. To avoid this, pivot the microphone around your mouth so that you
are speaking past it, rather than directly into it.
Don’t rattle the mic
Excessive microphone movement can translate into background noise or
inconsistent volume, making it difficult for the recipient to hear clearly. Try
to avoid moving the mic in your hand while making a call.
Avoid excess background noise, when possible
While some mics have noise cancellation, it’s always better to speak in a quieter
environment if possible, to improve the clarity of your transmission.
Speak clearly in your normal voice
There is no need to shout, speak too quickly or too slowly, or break up your
sentences into short, unnatural phrases.
Listen before you call
If someone else is using the channel, attempting to transmit at the same time will
result in a garbled transmission. (This only applies on conventional networks.)
Unless it is an emergency, wait until others are finished talking before you speak.
Think before speaking
To avoid long pauses that occupy frequency unnecessarily, know what you’re going
to say before pushing the press-to-talk (PTT) button.
Don’t speak too loudly or too quickly. Use your normal voice and natural phrases so
messages flow smoothly.
Know your privacy level
Never transmit sensitive, confidential, financial or military info unless you are
certain that your network is secured with the appropriate level of encryption.
Use the phonetic alphabet
Spell out difficult, ambiguous or unfamiliar words.
Keep your conversations short
Transmissions should be kept as brief as possible, to allow others to use
Avoid casting doubt as to whether a message has been received or understood –
reply immediately once the transmitter has ended their message.
Eight pointers for professional and courteous radio communication.
Mind your manners Treat that mic right
This article is adapted from the Tait Radio Academy course, “Best Practice for Radio Users”. You can find the course here.