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A dirt-cheap pro XLS mic for FTDX-1200 (and others)

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by KQ9I, Aug 30, 2021.

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  1. KQ9I

    KQ9I Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Disclaimer: This worked for my FTDX-1200. Should work on most radios but check the pinouts.

    I needed a mic for the FTDX-1200 I bought at auction. So, since I'm "frugal" (ok....a cheapskate, at least when it comes to hobbies like ham radio), when I saw that even a cheap Yaesu MC-31 was close to $50, I wasn't going to pay that.

    On Amazon I found a 600ohm impedance professional XLR-connector mic for $15, with very very good reviews. [Note: The mic I originally got is no longer available, but the one listed below appears to be the same, and I suspect these are all basically the same mic from China. Both have thousand of high ranking reviews.]

    The FTDX1200 has a 600ohm mic impedance, so that's not a worry. I also needed an XLR cable with a female end (the other end gets sacrificed to the gods of Ham Radio). Finally I needed an 8-pin mic plug and a foot pedal to use in place of a PTT button. The RCA plug for the pedal came from my junk box. Total cost was about $30, which, for a high-quality professional mic and cable satisfies my frugal self.

    Microphone "Pyle-pro" XLR Microphone w/ cable

    8-pin Mic plugs (5, which I needed because I screwed up a couple times, losing pins that fell out of the plug)

    Foot pedal
    (not strictly necessary, as you can use the MOX button, or rig up a simple switch, etc.)

    Step 1: Cut the end off the XLR cable. Make sure you have the long end going to a female XLR cable, as the mic is male.
    Step 2: Disassemble the mic plug and slide the sleeve over the cable. I never forget this part. Honest....Then put some heat shrink tubing over the cable. I never forget this part, either....
    Step 3: Yank out or cut pins 1,2,3,4 and 6, leaving only 5, 7 and 8.
    Step 4: Strip the wires on the XLR cable. Solder as follows:

    Mic plug Pin 8 - is the MIC + wire from the XLR (Mic Pin # 2) which was a Red coated wire in my cable

    Mic plug Pin 7 – is the MIC – wire (Mic Ground) from the XLR (Pin #3) which was a clear/white coated wire in my cable

    Mic plug Pin 5 – is the Mic Plug GROUND from the XLR Plug (Pin # 1) which is the braided shield in my cable
    [Thanks to VK2MTC at]

    Lick burnt fingers, say bad words, and finally reassemble the plug after shrinking the tubing. I never forget to shrink the tubing....

    Next, solder the RCA plug to the foot pedal. This is a 3-wire pedal, so I short the negative and shield together, solder to the outer sleeve of the plug and the red positive to the center post. Note this pedal has a relatively short cord length, so don't cut much off, and consider getting one with a longer cord if you need the longer cord run. Mine just barely reaches the floor.

    Plug in, and call CQ. I've gotten some good reports. Also, note that I initially wired the shield to 7 and clear/white (mic -) to pin 5, which is backwards. There was some slight (very slight) hum. This seems gone with the above-listed method.

    So if you want a decent quality mic on the cheap for a FTDX radio, this seems to work well. I also got a cheap mic stand with a nice sturdy base from Amazon that fits perfectly:
    N2ZD and K0UO like this.
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good job!
    KQ9I likes this.

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