By Dolph Holmes
Listen to a full days worth of transmissions and you will almost always hear at least one "Unit calling, repeat" transmission. Often we will push the button on the microphone while it is still in the clip and try to tell dispatch a normal event.
This may and may not work, depending on how loud you talk, the surrounding noise and the quality of the microphone. The good thing is most dispatchers have gotten used to this type of calling and recognize most of the transmissions.
The other side to this is the operator who grabs the mic and gets excited. They start screaming and you might get every third word, if you are lucky.
Proper microphone use is to hold the microphone two to four inches away from your mouth and speak in a normal voice. If you have a quiet speaking voice, bring the mic closer. If you are normally a loud talker, move the mic away.
One way to practice is to go to a simplex channel and practice radio call ins with a partner. I have done this for training CERT volunteers and the results were interesting. Those scared of the mic were the easiest to retrain but the loud folks didn’t grasp the idea of move the microphone away.
Try it sometime.
Dolph Holmes is a former radio communication supervisor for the Maine Forest Service. He has been with the North Yarmouth Fire department since 1999 and a ham radio operator since the early 1970s. He has several firsts in the satellite communications field and is always looking for outside the box things that can be used by COMM-L folks everywhere.