Most of us suffer from being a little mic-shy when we get started – it’s only natural… either you’re worried that you’ll make a mistake, or perhaps that anyone listening will be able to tell that you’re new and inexperienced. It’s important to remember that we all make mistakes, and we all had to start somewhere, but here are a few top tips to help you gain some on-air confidence.
Always have a notebook handy. Write down the callsign you’re about to make contact with, and your own callsign, plus any notes as you’re going along – like what you might want to say when it’s your turn to speak
Have a note of what to say when you’ve finished talking, e.g. “Back to you M0AAA from M7QQQ”
Listening is a great way of getting to learn etiquette and style. Monitor 145.500MHz (the calling frequency) or the output of your local repeater. Hear how everyone else does it, take notes, and this will help you to fit in. Some handy links:
Listen to Essex Ham’s Monday Night Net online, weekly at 8pm
Before you “Talk to the world”, talk to a mate. If you know someone who has a licence, arrange a pre-agreed time to have a chat on a specific frequency at a specific time. Chatting to a mate can help build your confidence, and if you make a mistake, your friend can quietly correct you.
If you’re concerned about others hearing you, practice off-air. Ask a friendly ham to help with a training contact on the phone, or even in person. You can also use a platform called Zello (search for the Zello app) which is a push-to-talk service for chatting around the world, using Internet, not radio.
Some more ideas…
We asked the members of Essex Ham’s Monday Night Net for some tips and ideas on gaining confidence. Have a listen to their thoughts and suggestions:
A short video from the HamTrain Foundation course, giving an example of a contact:
Got any tips on overcoming mic shyness that we’ve missed? Add them below!