Cheap Headset

What light weight headset (headphones + mic) is everyone using when operating from a summit or portable? I found some HEIL headphones that look decent for sota, but they are nearly $150. I wanted to check if there are other similiar headphones or better for cheaper before I get anything.

My radios have loudspeakers. I have a cheap pair of earbuds but have never used them yet prefering the speaker.

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I’ve never used a headset out activating, just used earbuds. In the FWIW dept., I would pass on the HEIL’s and go with something like the Koss SB40’s or SB49’s. Yamaha CM500 is also a popular brand, but getting up there in price now too…One thing you’ll have to check is make sure which headset will work with your radio. Some radios will need Mic Bias enabled to work properly with these headphones. I’ve been told that K3’s won’t have that problem. Don’t know as I don’t own a K3…

Todd KH2TJ

The Koss headsets work well enough for the price. The SB-40 is dynamic and the SB-45 is electret. I picked up an SB-45 at a thrift store for $5. They had 1/8" plugs that were compatible with my KX line Elecraft radios. The Koss and Yamaha CM-500 are built by the same Chinese manufacturer, I believe. They appear identical.

The mic plug on my Yamaha CM500 headset is marked “KOSS”. I only noticed it when getting the photos ready for this blog post.

I’ve heard bad reports about the dynamic mic in the Koss SB40. Electret mics are almost always great.

Back to the original question, I use Apple earbuds and the Elecraft MH3 hand mic when activating. I have some adaptors that should make the mic in the earbuds work, but I’ve never gotten around to sorting that out.


For SOTA with a KX2 I use a cheap £16 boom-mic headset (Amazon - other suppliers available) by Sennheiser. The PC3 model. Never had a problem in over 2 years and get good reports of the audio. Lightweight and carried in a plastic case in the rucksack.

73 Phil

I use one of these

Along with this adapter

As well as the adapter that K6WRU links to for my KX2.

While I do wish it was a little more rugged as it is too easy to short the cable as it comes out of the headset, I love the functionality.

I use a pair of 'phones I bought from our pound (£) shop. Small, light and no worries about busting them - they’ve lasted a two years so far. Oh, and they only cost a £ (pound). There’s little if any difference between them and my most expensive pair which cost near forty or fifty pounds and are much bigger and heavier…

I use Sony MDR-V150 headphones and the original hand mic for the transceiver in use. I don’t find a headset that useful on a summit due to frequent need to get in close to the mic to drive the audio level relative to the wind noise. As they say, YMMV. I certainly find headphones far easier than trying to copy from the rig’s loudspeaker when it is windy… and most summits are windy!

I use the Braun (ALDI) Noise cancelling headphones (model 39115 ?) and the microphone that came with the radio. With the NC adjustment on the headset, I find I can better pull callsigns out of the noise or pile-up. I think they were about AUS$40 a pair - I have two one for portable work, one for the home QTH. Bought back in 2012-2013 still working fine.

73 Ed.

I use Heil Handi-talkie headset with an adapter I made for my KX2. Cheap, all in was about $45 Cdn.


Cheaper than everything else David but no microphone is included which is what KF7UXS is asking for…

73 Phil


did you have any issues with current on the mic? I have the same model and can’t use it for SOTA, at least not on 144 MHz. However, the headset works well with our contest station. Sounds great (phones) and we get lots of positive comments on the modulation.


MMmmmmm?? Yessss!. (Note to self:- Must pay more attention). But then I only do CW.

I’m still using a cheap (5€) headset I got from a local shop (Blokker) some 15 years ago. Never got RF problems , even sitting right next to the antenna.
I made a box with a PTT switch, which then has two cables to the KX3.

Without asking for a report, people keep telling me what a wonderful audio I have (but maybe that’s because I do have a wonderful voice :slight_smile: )

Later I paid 20€ for a Logitech H111 headset, to use as a backup, and made a nice PTT switch in a film cannister. But no matter how many turns I coil the cord and put it through ferrites … I keep getting RF feedback with that one. Maybe I should put a capacitor at both ends of the cord, haven’t tried that yet

Now on my last trip, my trusty cheap headset suddenly gave no more MIC signal.
I’m determined to repair it (again) and keep it working as long as I can …

In-ear buds because they’re small, light, cheap, avoid disturbing other visitors to the summit, help with weak contacts/wind noise & use less power than the built in loudspeaker.

Supplied microphone because I haven’t had the time/inclination to find a better solution yet.

Ahoy Pom!
No issues with current on the mic myself. Only used on HF with a coax fed dipole without a balun of any kind. I am heading for France today and will be QRV from a couple of FL/NO summits tomorrow with the said headset!

73 Phil