CNN converts studio mics to Astatic D-104s !

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W0PV, Aug 24, 2018.

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  1. KI3U

    KI3U Ham Member QRZ Page

    r Bill, this particular one has been with me for so long now I can't recall when I got it, but it was early on in my amateur radio career : the very first amateur radio station my eyes transfixedly beheld, my Elmer's, prominently featured a D-104 in the center of the operating table, and right there and then I said to myself I've got to get myself one of those. And in fact at that same time I got to use that D-104 in my first ever amateur radio contact, as a then as-yet unlicensed guest. As for the disfunctional Silver Eagle, which of course is much younger, it did used to work within ten years ago, so maybe there's some hope its trouble isn't serious.

    Berj / KI3U
  2. WT4W

    WT4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Geeze, I could have swore this was a discussion about interesting old microphones. A few folks just have to make it political.
    WZ7U likes this.
  3. W3WN

    W3WN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Why else do you think it’s called “fake” news? :rolleyes:


    I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a D-104 at the last few hamfests, but they are either in terrible condition, way overpriced... and often both.

    But sooner or later...
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's funny. When I was a kid, everybody had a D-104 (mid-1960s) and I actually had three of them. Three, because I had three transmitters (old AM stuff) and the mikes were so cheap ($14.95 brand new, minus stand) it was easy to just buy three and not have to be using a switch or swapping mikes around. They were ubiquitous.

    And cheap.

    Now, they're becoming revered.

    I should have kept them -- didn't, they've been gone for decades -- because I could probably sell "mint condition, still working perfectly" D-104s for $100 each or something, and considering inflation, break even on my initial investment.:)
  5. AD5HR

    AD5HR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have 3 D-104s, all with crystal elements.
    Two amplified, one not, but as an A.M. homebrewer and OP, it just
    "works right". (YMMV)
  6. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I was a Novice back in the mid '60's I thought D-104's were kindofa antique joke relegated to CB.

    The E-V 664 dynamic with the cardioid pattern was paired with Collins S-line or KWM-2 was the highly advertised combo to drool over in QST.

    About 1972 went QRT for about 15 years and when I re-emerged it was astounding to learn that all the SSB DX / contesters at that time preferred the D-104 (!) It was considered far and away the best for clarity and punch.

    A bit tough to interface to rigs of that era until the impedance matching was figured out. Nobody used it on the desk stand for that service, the head was mounted on a mic boom with a foot PTT switch to free the desk space and hands.

    Only when Bob Heil came out with the now famous head-set / mic did that trend begin to change.

    For years I had and treasured a "Golden Eagle" D-104 paired with an Icom IC-781.
  7. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That remains as a serious problem.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The original D-104 (no preamp) was very, very high impedance, hundreds of KOhms.

    It matched up well with vacuum tube mike preamps in rigs back then, but when SS rigs started going to SS preamps that were about 500 Ohms input Z, the D-104 didn't work.

    So, they came out with the preamplified model! I never had one of those.

    I use low-Z dynamic mikes today and have two Heil PR40s. They work well and are very "close talk" mikes, which I like anyway.

    The "desk mikes" on TV talk shows, even going back to the days of Johnny Carson, were pretty much props; the "real" mikes were overhead, and nowadays they're lapel mikes but overhead mikes are also used, so it's up to the sound guy to switch to whatever sounds good.
  9. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    IIRC, the originals used a piezo ceramic element, with a few hundred mV output. Later Lo-Z preamps want to see only a few tens of mV. You'd think a simple L-pad (w/ yuuge series R and low shunt R) would make a good interface to a modern rig).
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  10. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    When my old D-104 petered out about 15-20 years ago I scarffed up about half a dozen replacement heads as I could find them. They were all over the block as far as output and response. Fixes exist but with modern rigs the D104 isn't a preferred choice.

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