Jul 092010

During my previous ocean cruise I lost my VHF radio microphone. It was supposed to be waterproof, but its mount was quite flimsy and didn’t hold i well, so it would tend to fall down when there was some violent wave or wash-over. Which usually meant it fell down into water. So after a few months it died. Now I consider the VHF a very important security measure on an ocean going yacht. You meet a lot of big ships out there, and it’s nice to talk to the officer on-duty and know that he is aware of you and will yield the way. Especially at night.

The Journeyman radio came with the same flimsy mount as the previous one. So I rebuilt it in solid aluminum with a bit better hold. Now the mic sits really secure underneath a seat and will not fall down easily.

This radio also does a really neat trick: It has an AIS receiver and plotter built in, and it can display the targets on the microphone display! To me this is one of the most significant equipment advances in the last 10 years… It means that a helmsman who is alone on watch can just pick up the radio mic, and have instant access to name, course and CPA to any large ship in the vicinity. Previously this involved going on autopilot, opening the hatch to go inside to the navstation, waiting for the radar to warm up 2 minutes, doing a radar plot and then going back out to call the ship if the CPA was too small. So instead of 6-7 minutes it is now less than 5 seconds.