Friday, January 20, 2006

Favorite Gadgets # 7 - RAM Mike

RAM stands for (I think) Remote Access Microphone.  When you add “Mike” to that it sounds kinda redundant, doesn’t it?


Anyhoo, this gadget is essentially an auxiliary microphone with a long cable for our marine VHF radio.  What makes it special is that it has nearly all the controls on it that the base radio itself has, as well as a very good speaker.  We take it out to the cockpit prior to getting underway for any trip, short or long.


On our last cruise, prior to having the RAM mike, it was often difficult or impossible to hear another vessel calling us if both of us were out in the cockpit.  The base radio itself is located down in the cabin, next to the chart table.  If the engine was running, or if there was a lot of wind, chances are we wouldn’t hear anyone calling us.


Having the RAM Mike in the cockpit is almost like having a second radio.  Aside from it being close at hand, its speaker is quite loud and easily heard above engine or other noises.  It has also enhanced our safety in that neither one of us has to go below to answer a call.  We can maintain a lookout for other vessels and hazards while talking on the radio.   This is especially handy if, for example, we are receiving directions from a marina or harbormaster as we are entering an unfamiliar port.  We can actually look for the landmarks they are telling us about, right while they are talking to us.


It used to be that when making passages we had to leave the radio on at night for safety.  If the person on watch had to make or answer a call, it would inevitably awaken the off-watch crew.  Now we just turn down the volume of the base radio at night.  The person on watch can then receive or make calls using the RAM mike in the cockpit without disturbing the precious sleep time of the other crewmember below in the cabin.








Post a Comment

<< Home