This article, called A Review of the Heil Sound Pro-Set Elite Head-set and AD-1-YM adapter, first appeared in the June 2016 edition of Out and About Issue 20. Out and About is published by VK5PAS.
Head-sets, incorporating, either one or two head-phones and a microphone are de jure for DXpeditions. Have a look at the photos of DXpeditions. Operators sitting along-side of one and another all wearing head-sets are commonly pictured in QST, CQ and Amateur Radio Magazine.
They have many advantages: perhaps the most important is that they reduce extraneous noise, allowing the operator to concentrate on the voice or morse code content in what is being received. And amateur hand-books recommend head-sets for morse operations!
Another considerable advantage, not only for the home station operator, but also for portable and DX field operators is that the use of head-sets frees both hands for log-keeping and/or operating an electronic key or hand key.
Perusing the blogs of SOTA and Park operators (see Parksnpeaks for a list of active blogs) will show pictures of amateurs using computer head-sets, the Yamaha (CM-500) head-set not sold in Australia, but which receives very good reviews from the amateur community overseas and professional head-sets as advertised in QST. Perhaps the head-sets from Heil Sound are the best known?
Bob Heil, K9EID, is a very active US amateur. His business is Heil Sound. There is plenty of information about Bob Heil on the internet. And those of you who have listened to the Eagles will have heard of Joe Walsh, WB6AU, guitarist with the band. Joe Walsh endorses Heil products, reflecting the origins of Heil Sound as a sound equipment company for musicians. However, this does not make the products good. It is just great advertising!
I have never owned a head set until recently. I do own a venerable pair of low impedance (8 ohms) head phones labelled with the Archer brand. This was one of the brands owned and sold by Tandy electronics, no longer active in the Australian market and now down-sizing in the US. I purchased these circa 1974 to use with my Tandy DX160 receiver. They made my head feel like it was being squeezed in a vice! I tried them on while writing this review. Actually I might have been a bit unfair with my comment. They are not too bad – reasonably comfortable and well cushioned and, more importantly, built like the proverbial tank! As a sign of earlier times the connecting plug is an old-fashioned ¼, yes, one quarter inch phono connector.
So what did I buy? Having studied the manufacturers’ specifications, discussed options with other active amateurs who enjoy the outdoors and read the popular review sites, I decided to buy the popular Heil Sound Pro-Set Elite. The first thing a prospective buyer needs to do is to consider what transceiver you are going to use. Each manufacturer uses different wiring configurations and, in the case of ICOM, a lower level microphone pre-amplifier. Heil makes a special insert just for ICOM users. So make sure you read about different microphone levels and ensure you make the correct purchase. If you buy a head set from a US manufacturer, or the Yamaha CM500 you will need to consider the interface and connections to your transceiver. If you buy a Heil head set this is all taken care of: all you do is read the chart and make your selection. You select your head set then the appropriate adapter or adapters for your transceiver/s. This makes it easy. I want to use my head set with the Yaesu FT 817, 857 and 897 family of transceivers. Heil also provides suggested settings for the audio equaliser settings in your transceiver. This provides a great starting point in achieving an excellent transmitted audio for your specific purposes for example, DX or rag-chewing.
If you are going to get the best ergonomic results from your head set you will also need a foot-switch. I have two. The first is from Jaycar and was used as a hand operated push to talk set up on another transceiver where I use a studio condenser microphone. It works well but takes a bit of holding closed during a long over. The cable is really too short for me: it might work for a shorter person. I decided to buy the single channel Heil foot switch. It is very easy to operate.
This photo shows the head set connected to the foot switch and the Yaesu adapter terminating in the yellow modular plug. The unconnected ¼ inch phono plug, which incorporates a 3.5 mm plug as well, connects to the phono socket on your radio.
If you are going to use your footswitch to operate your transceiver in parks and on summits, you can easily destroy a perfectly good switch by using it in sand and mud. You will need a base: a small board or a mat or the tent floor or camper trailer.
The Bottom Line
The Pro-Set Elite is a most comfortable head-set: it sits firmly in place and does not exert too much pressure on your ears. I would even go so far to describe the head-set as comfortable. It is very important to adjust the head band so that the head-set does not slide down from your ears. I have field tested the Pro-Set Elite and have received very favourable audio reports about my transmitted signal. It is very important that you at least use the Heil suggested audio settings as a starting point. Move up to the two metre band to adjust your audio, wind down the power and enlist the assistance of friendly amateur nearby if you want to fine tune the settings. Keep a record of your microphone settings so you can quickly re-establish yourself if you want to revert to using your microphone.
I am delighted with this excellent addition to my portable kit and recommend this head-set to you for your consideration.
I purchased mine from friendly Ross (Strictly Ham Pty Ltd). Here is a link to Heil Sound http://www.heilsound.com/amateur/products/headsets/pro-set-elite
If you would like to read this edition of Out and About, or earlier editions, they are available on the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society web site at the following address: http://www.ahars.com.au/