As a new ham, the famous “mic fright” is one of the biggest obstacles that stands between you and being “on the air”. Mic fright, or mic shyness, is very common among new hams. I had a bad case of mic shyness myself; can you imagine?!
From what I have gathered in the two years that I’ve been licensed, there are a few reasons for this shyness. One is simply not knowing what to say! Another is being fearful of doing something wrong. Being judged by other hams is also a very frequent cause of mic fright.
The reality is that seasoned hams can likely tell when someone is a new ham, regardless of how hard you try to sound like an experienced ham.
Lucky for you, it is OK to be a new ham! In ham radio, newcomers are always welcomed and encouraged to participate.
Based on my personal experience, and that of others, here are a few ways to get past the fright:
- Meet and Greets: One way to help with mic fright is to participate in meet and greets, like the weekly club breakfast and other club organized social gatherings. This way you meet other hams in person, and the next time you hear them on the air, it is not going to be an intimidating voice on the other side. It will just be Ernesto, the nice fellow you talked to at breakfast the other morning. It feels easier to talk to people whom you have met in person.
- Radio Nets: Another way to overcome this shyness is to remind yourself that all you are doing is just talking; we have all been doing that since we were very young. One way to just talk is by checking in to a rag chew net. Nets are on the air Meet and Greets! Anyone can participate and it is a very relaxed environment. You can contribute to the topic of discussion or simply just say Hi! Conversations are usually laid-back and are controlled by a Net Control Station who is on-hand to help you if needed. You can contribute anything you like to the conversations. A good tip to avoid getting overwhelmed is to prepare a short list of the topics you want to mention. So, when it’s your turn to talk, there is less anxiety. Click here and look for the schedule of nets. Listen in and plan to participate when you are ready!
- Schedule a QSO with a Specific Ham: Schedule a QSO with Ernesto, or someone you have met, and break through your mic shyness! Your call will be undoubtedly answered, you can practice the how to’s, and you will see that there is nothing to fear.
- Relax! It’s OK to make mistakes: At the end of the day, you are talking to regular friendly folks like yourself. Remember that the word Amateur describes us. It is completely OK to make mistakes on the air. We all have done them and will continue making new mistakes. It is part of being human.