Ever since my purchase of a Galaxy Saturn rig for citizens band communications about 5 years ago, I had been searching for a way to lower the ridiculously high noise level which seems so prevalent with this brand of CB radio.
As is the case with many rigs- not just the Galaxy Saturn – the Noise Blanker mode was completely ineffective on the Galaxy, making no difference at all to the 5/7 background racquet which continued to hinder my DX operations.
Although I was based on a small remote island in OC-138 at the time, I still suffered loads of electrical and natural interference – possibly attributed to some of the Indonesian fishing boats fishing in the surrounding waters or maybe even some dodgy electrical appliances running in some of the nearby neighbouring villages.
Obviously, this QRM and QRN caused me lots of frustration – especially in times of huge IOTA pile ups when signals weren’t that great. It wasn’t until I read a review of the bhi NES10-2 DSP speaker in the Australian publication ‘Radio and Communications’ magazine (now R.I.P) that I started feeling a bit better about my predicament.
After being convinced of their ‘worth’ by the owner of the mag, Bob Harper, and testimonies from other DX’ers such as 43SD133 Jaye and 43SD121 Frank who were already in possession of the item and, might I add, raving about it continuously, I decided to acquire one from Andrews Communications in Sydney Australia.
After convincing the XYL money manager that $350 was a cheap price to pay for a speaker accessory to compliment the $1000 transceiver, it wasn’t long before I was enjoying some of the benefits this little beauty has to offer!
Manufactured in 26 Division, the bhi NES10-2 is a small, black rectangular speaker approximately 110 mm in width, 65 mm in height and 55 mm in density. Arriving on the barge from the Australian mainland within record time, this sexy little unit turned up double boxed with protective foam and bubble wrap, a mounting bracket, 2 fixing screws, 4 small self adhesive feet, 24 page operating manual and a 2m DC power cable.
As the picture shows, the front of the unit is dominated by the speaker grille with the model number in silver text on the bottom left corner and a LED indicator on the top right. Located on the apex, there is a ‘Sensitivity Control’ and an ‘On/Off Noise Cancellation’ control, which, unlike the Galaxy Saturn’s, works quite well!
Furthermore, ‘Dip Switches’, a printed ‘Noise Cancellation Selection Table’ (see picture), ‘Audio Input Lead’ and a ‘DC Power 2.1 mm Socket’ are found on the rear of the unit. Conveniently located on the left side of the speaker is a ‘Headphone’ socket which certainly gets a big work out from this particular operator out when the propagation is running.
On both sides of the unit, there is support for the supplied and fitted ‘Mounting Bracket’. This allowed me to fix the speaker to the underside of my desk shelf in the radio shack and give me extra table space for filling out the log and QSL cards (ie. more space for mess).
After familiarising myself with the manual, I proceeded to hook up the unit to DC power. I then connected the supplied 2 metre long speaker cable to the test transceiver (in my case a Galaxy Saturn) and started playing around with the switches to see what she could do.
Funnily enough, there is no actual ‘On/Off Power Switch’ for the speaker, so you just turn on any 12-28 volt dc power supply to operate. As power is turned on, the LED light glows, indicating which position the ‘On/Off Noise Cancellation’ switch is set at. If the LED is glowing red, for instance, this indicates that DSP function is ‘OFF’, but if it is coloured green, then this indicates the DSP function is ‘ON’.
There are two controls which, once set, rarely need to be adjusted (unless of course you alter the connected receiving equipment or encounter a signal that needs extra processing). They are the ‘Sensitivity Control’ and the ‘Dip Switches’.
The ‘Dip Switches’ by default are already set to Level 6, nevertheless, I found that a lower or higher setting was sometimes more suited in different DX conditions.
According to the ‘Operating Manual’, the ‘Sensitivity Control’ is set in the first instance, by turning it fully anti-clockwise and then back a quarter of a turn. Extra modification is sometimes required, however most modern equipment will accept the original settings outlined in the manual. Fortunately for clumsy DX’ers like myself, the ‘Sensitivity Control’ is designed so that it cannot be easily changed if – if accidentally bumped, etc.).
The next thing to do is switch the ‘On/Off Noise Cancellation’ off and find a signal which is affected by a bit of noise. The ‘On/Off Noise Cancellation’ switch is then turned on. It usually takes a couple of seconds for the DSP to kick in but then you will notice a distinct improvement in audio quality with far less noise and in most cases a signal that is much more easier on the ears.
I have used the bhi NES10-2 DSP with success on many types of signals including AM Shortwave Broadcasts, SSB and Morse code signals. On all occasions, audio quality is improved substantially. I have even found that the bhi NES10-2 DSP speaker will allow me to hear stations on SSB that I would, in ordinary circumstances, not be able to do so. The effect it has on audio is really quite amazing!
In fact, leaving the ‘On/Off Noise Cancellation’ switch ON sometimes makes you wonder whether the radio is actually working as the background crackle and pop has effectively vanished.
The bhi NES10-2 DSP speaker may be diminutive but the improved audio output can make the most sub-standard transceiver appear adequate.
Providing the item is affordable to you, I would thoroughly recommend it to any one wanting to improve their reception of radio signals without spending a huge amount of money on a new DSP based transceiver. Having said that, I have also used it in conjunction with the DSP features on the Kenwood TS-2000 and its matching SP-23 speaker with great results.
73 de Darren, 43DA010