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Friday, August 11, 2017

Alaskan Road-Kill Microphone

I got a kick out of Paul's message from Alaska -- on my bench I have an almost identical project, including the sink strainer (see below).  And of course the now-iconic SolderSmoke podcast mic is just an electret element inside what used to be an IKEA floor lamp. 

N2CQR Lamp Mic 
Hi Bill and Pete,

I have been following your and Pete’s adventures on Soldersmoke for a while and want to say that each episode always brings some of my past experiences to the surface.  I have been fiddling with radios and electronics for over 60 years, licensed since 1964.
I needed a mic for Bitx40 build and started thinking about this as I was working on other projects. Every day I walk a mile and a half to my mailbox. Wednesday’s and Friday’s happen to be the days of trash pickup and people put the trash bins out next to the road for pickup.  Last week I spotted a little desk lamp sitting on top of one of the trash bins with the cord cutoff so on my return from the mailbox it was still there and it followed me home.  (fig1)
Removing the shade left a flexible vertical support for a mic, (fig 2).
Your recent podcast you mentioned your D-104 microphone, that was my first mic once I had phone privileges back in ’65.  Scrounging through my treasure box I came across a 1 ¼” to 2” PVC pipe coupling that looked just like the basis for a mic. A few hours of mediation and a couple hours at the lathe and mill produced a mic with stand and a PTT switch (fig 3).
Some scrap bin aluminum and a free lamp from the trash and another hour at the lathe, (fig 4 & fig 5). And yes, it has some heft as the base has a large hunk of cast iron in it. Will admit I spent $1.24 for the sink strainer that sacrificed itself to become the grill ala D-104.
The self-satisfaction of building your own gear and accessories is one of the rewards of this hobby, can’t buy that in a store. And repurposing someone’s trash into something useful is a plus.

Keep the soldering iron hot.
Wasilla, Alaska
PS JoAnn’s is one of my favorite places for finding useful materials.


  1. So, Bill, before you record a podcast, do you hear a voice telling you to go toward the light?

  2. See Bill, you need a milling machine and a lathe. Beautiful work.


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