Air hockey and PSK31 don’t mix

I started up the HF station and prepared to make a few digital contacts using PSK31, Olivia, etc.

When I attempted to answer someone’s PSK31 CQ I noticed my RF power was averaging about 30 watts, but peaking at 70 or so.

I doubled checked various knobs on the US Interface Navigator, software, etc. Everything looked fine.

I transmitted again. The peak power was still there.

I knew this was not right and I was frustrated. I then recalled the power meter correlated very well with the sharp clicks coming from my kid’s air hockey table in the next room, but how could that noise be getting in and if it was, why was it having any affect from so far away.

Aha… the “MIC GAIN” on my Icom 746 was still up meaning the microphone on my Hail headset was still live and mixing with the audio from the Navigator.

Plus, the staccato noise from an air hockey puck smacking against the handle is a lot louder than it might seem because it is so short.

I turned the mic gain down and all is well.

I have not found an automatic way of muting the microphone input during sound card transmit with my IC-746. Have any of you found a way to do this?


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