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Old 14-06-2018, 13:27   #1
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Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

For the life of me, I can not understand 4 out of 5 words on the radio. VHF and UHF, is it me, the radio or the antenna.
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Old 14-06-2018, 13:46   #2
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

Dave, lots of marine radios have poor audio quality, especially when turned up loud. You might have a listen to a few other radios on other boats and see if the same issues arise.

Sometimes an external speaker, one of better quality than the waterproof ones in the sets, can help.

It is not related to the antenna.

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Old 14-06-2018, 13:54   #3
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

Get your hearing checked, Dave, and hopefully rule it out as the source of the problem. If there is one, then it will be harder to deal with. If you do have hearing loss, it's really best to understand about it, because there are some things you can do to make life better. Hearing aids help, at movies, for instance.

Next one, check all the connections to the speakers involved. Could be partly antenna connections, too. Just clean them all up well, fine sandpaper works. Any wire connections, you might also want to re-do. Copper wire that is black (not green), an acid bath will clean, and you can re-solder. There is acid flux that you can use, too.

There's quite a large camp here that prefers crimped connections. However, I've watched Jim solder up cold solder joints, and then the microphone worked again.

Is it that the sound is fuzzy, or is it that you are losing the high frequency sounds, like "s" and "f", and the soft sounds, like "m" and "n"?

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Old 14-06-2018, 19:29   #4
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

I did consider my hearing, I have trouble with background noise and there is plenty of crackling and static in the sound.

I'll go through the connections and see if I can connect an external speaker.

Thanks
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Old 15-06-2018, 09:17   #5
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

There are faults that radios get that can cause this so definitely compare it to another radio. If the other one sounds much better look at the quality and cost! You don't say what your radio is but some cheaper sets have poor sound compared to something like Icom. If that all checks out and you think it is your hearing try a decent set of head phones and if you can turn down the bass. Lots of people have reduces high frequency hearing as they age and it make things sound muffled, especially if there is a lot of background noise. Do you also find it hard to follow conversations in noisy bars?
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Old 15-06-2018, 09:33   #6
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

My VHF had a loud background noise that interfered with reception, A noise filter on the DC supply solved that problem.
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Old 15-06-2018, 10:28   #7
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

We had a lot of trouble with our radio on a trip from Florida to Panama. People would complain they could not hear us, and we would get static alot.
It would work a lot better when the cockpit mic was disconnected from the main radio.
It turned out the problem was a bad splice on the remote microphone cable. The splice was in the middle of the cable where someone added 10 extra feet, so it was difficult to find.
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Old 15-06-2018, 10:42   #8
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

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Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
I did consider my hearing, I have trouble with background noise and there is plenty of crackling and static in the sound.

I'll go through the connections and see if I can connect an external speaker.

Thanks
Dave
There should be no static on FM radios which means all marine VHF. The signal is either 'there' or it isn't 'there', particularly from nearby boats.

If in fact you are hearing lots of ambient noise, there are speakers which have built-in noise reduction audio processing but that's usually over-kill for a boat.

Rather than buying one, you could try connecting any external speaker to see if any improvement results.

If you had a bad connection anywhere in the speaker cable, antenna or coax, that could never manifest itself in audio noise.
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Old 15-06-2018, 11:01   #9
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Dave, lots of marine radios have poor audio quality, especially when turned up loud. You might have a listen to a few other radios on other boats and see if the same issues arise.

Sometimes an external speaker, one of better quality than the waterproof ones in the sets, can help.

It is not related to the antenna.

Jim
Marine radios are notorious for piss poor speakers. They try to make the radio small thus the speakers are. Jim's suggestion of an external will probably solve it. If not a Q-tip in the ear.
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Old 15-06-2018, 14:52   #10
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

A mis-matched antenna will certainly create bad audio. Check that it is the correct antenna match for the set, check all connections to the cable and the cable itself should be matched to both antenna and set. If it still sounds lousy, it is probably a crook component in the set if the set is of good make.
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Old 15-06-2018, 14:56   #11
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

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Originally Posted by Mike Banks View Post
A mis-matched antenna will certainly create bad audio. Check that it is the correct antenna match for the set, check all connections to the cable and the cable itself should be matched to both antenna and set. If it still sounds lousy, it is probably a crook component in the set if the set is of good make.
While a mismatch will attenuate signal strength, it can't affect audio fidelity.
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Old 15-06-2018, 15:18   #12
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Re: Help with tips for improving radio sound quality

if the squelch on your set is working properly your reception should be quiet / except for the qssch - qssch sound when the microphone switch is pressed and released / listen to reception on another boat you may have a problem with squelch
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