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Old 10-01-2008, 06:05   #1
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RAM Mike

Any thoughts about 'RAM Mike' VHFs? Best buys, reliability, etc. Already have several ICOM products (non-RAM VHF, and a Marine SSB) all of which give excellent service.

Thanks,

Tom in Kinsale, VA
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:13   #2
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The Icoms are fine. I prefer the Standard/Vertex, though. Better audio.

The RAM mics are pretty expensive, but worth it for handy use in cockpit.

Prefer wired to wireless (less potential interference, no batteries).

Bill
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:27   #3
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Standard Horizon (Vertex) Ram Mike

While I have always preferred the Standard Horizon line of radio and electronic equipment, we have been disappointed in the endurance of the RAM Mike. We are on our second Mike in 5 years due to the failure of the spiral wound cable, which seems particularly prone to deterioration due to UV. Our experience has also been reported by several friends that have also had the plastic cable cover break down within a relatively short period of time. Most frustrating is the fact that one cannot simply buy a replacement cable but must buy an entirely new Mike.

FWIW--

s/v HyLyte
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:00   #4
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My Standard Horizon RAM mic's cable is in the shade of the bimini, so it didn't fail due to sunlight. It did turn a weird shade of orange. My problem was the plug. It was installed up under an overhang of the helm seat, but still got salt water splashed on it every now and then. It crudded up irreversably in spite of the rubber boot, silicone paste, and regular cleanings. A new one cost about $110 US.

The are a great convenience, but don't expect long life.
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:04   #5
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Yep, cockpit-mounted RAM mics are definitely a weak link. There's a parallel thread in progress on the SSCA Board....one boat notes that he's on his second RAM mic for an Icom, after 4 years.

No doubt Standard/Vertex doesn't offer a replacement cord because it's wired directly into the mic...not a plug-in (which, IMHO, would be even worse)....and most folks couldn't handle the replacement surgery. While I haven't taken one apart yet, I suspect a handy ham or electronics techie could easily wire in a replacement coil cord.

UV is a killer. So is salt. So is direct sunlight in the tropics which can generate extreme heat. You gotta protect your mics. Salt buildup on the connector shouldn't be an unsurmountable problem. The connector is pretty water tight. A little fresh warm water from the galley poured over the connector now and then, with subsequent drying with a soft towel, should extend the life considerably. Likewise, locating the mic where it is somewhat protected would help. I actually remove mine and keep it below when not in use, and cover the cockpit connector with the provided rubber cap.

Bill
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:32   #6
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Bill--

We also always remove the Mic when we're not underway. And we treat the cable with 303 UV Protectant which we seem to buy by the gallon. The cable still breaks down. My next effort will involve spraying the cable with Nicro Cote which may do the trick! Despite these efforts, at the first sign of cracking, I'm going to wrap the cable with self-bonding rigging tape and be done with it!

As for the top-side connector, it seems that even a little corrosion on the pins will goof them up. To clean the pins I've used a little "Wink" (a dilute acid mixture for removing rust stains) followed by a spray of Sail Kote which seems to forestall corrosion but does not interfere with the connections. Seems to work!

Cheers,

s/v HyLyte
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:11   #7
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Godd info. Thanks.

A little dielectric grease ("tuneup grease") will also help ward of corrosion on any and all onboard electrical connections. Readily available at any hardware or auto parts store.

When I get a chance, I'll take my RAM mic apart and see how much of a chore it would be to replace the mic cable (though mine is still perfect after nearly 4 years).

Bill
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:40   #8
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Been using a Icom remote for a few years now with no issues what ever. But we do remove it when not under way.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:02   #9
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Quote:
Any thoughts about 'RAM Mike' VHFs? Best buys, reliability, etc. Already have several ICOM products (non-RAM VHF, and a Marine SSB) all of which give excellent service.
I've had two different boats with Icom 400 series VHF radios. I think the current version is the 422 even ads a PA if you add the optional speaker (i didn't). The RAM Mic adds about $100. You can connect it up as soon as you run the extension cable. The ends of the cable are premade. You get all the functions save the DSC alert button in a weather proof handset. If you run nice thick coax up the mast Icom is a great radios. I remove the Mic and stow it below when not aboard. They are pretty much "stealable".
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:21   #10
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I have asked around as to the availability of dielectric grease here in Whangarei NZ and all I get is a dumb stare. Can someone give some trade names that I may be able to use to track it down.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:53   #11
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I keep mine (SD-RAM) below decks when not out on the water. But after 5 years the buttons seem to be failing. Channel changing became a chore. Other then that it served well over the years.

I considered taking it apart but they are suppose to be water tight and I'm not sure it would reseal properly so I'm sending it in to the dealer and see if they replace it at a discount. Fat chance I'll bet!
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:54   #12
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I have asked around as to the availability of dielectric grease here in Whangarei NZ and all I get is a dumb stare. Can someone give some trade names that I may be able to use to track it down.
Goto an electrical supply. It's commonly used when attaching alum. wire to copper..............._/)
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Old 11-01-2008, 03:43   #13
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DIELECTRIC COMPOUNDS* (Non-Conducting Silicone):

“3M” #08946 Dielectric Tune-Up Grease (Silicone)
“ANCOR” or “MARINCO” #700115 Dielectric Silicone Compound
“PERMATEX” #81150 Dielectric Tune-Up Grease
"LOC-TITE” #37535 Dielectric Tune-Up Grease
“JET-LUBE” #73550 Silicone Compound “DM”
“WURTH” #42815 Dielectric Grease
"ELECTROTEK” #7200 “-P Non-Conductive Dielectric Silicone Compound
“BOSS” #426 Dielectric Silicone Compound
“SUPER LUBE”
#91003 Dielectric Grease
“GROTE” #99580 Ultra-Seal Dielectric Silicone Compound

* Not to be confused with:
CONDUCTIVE ANTI-OXIDANT JOINT COMPOUNDS:

(As utilized on Copper to Aluminum & Cu to Cu Electrical Joints)
These pastes usually contain conductive (under pressure) Zinc (or Copper) particles in suspension, and shouldn't be confused with insulating dielectric grease.

BURNDY “Penetrox” #CR300
IDEAL “Noalox” #30-030
THOMAS & BETTS “Aluma-Shield”
ITT/BLACKBURN “Contax“ #CTB8
GB ELECTRICAL “Ox-Guard” #OX-100B
ILSCO “DE-OX”
SANCHEM #NO-OX-ID-“A”
or
THOMAS & BETTS “Copper Sheild” #CP-8TB (Cu to Cu ONLY)

There’s considerable debate on the relative merits of Conductive vs Non-Conductive (Dielectric, or Insulating) anti-oxidant & anti-seizing compounds.
Dielectrics are most often applied OUTSIDE the connection contacts.
Conductives are most often applied DIRECTLY ON the connection contacts.

I recommend BURNDY “Penetrox”, for 2 prime reasons:
1. Penetrox is non-flammable, whereas others (Ideal “NoAlOx” & ilsco “De-Ox”, etc) will ignite and burn vigorously.
2. Penetrox is a thicker consistency, which will adhere better overhead & at elevated temperatures; whereas others are much thinner, and will drip & often require re-mixing.
Info’: https://portal.fciconnect.com/res/en...ccessories.pdf
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:06   #14
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...there he is again. I am amazed at your ability to provide such succinct information with no "waffle" in such a short space of time. Thanks Gord > ps cant tempt you to join the Metal Boat Society forum can I ; )

cheers.
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:16   #15
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Cooper:
I thought one had to be a member of the MBS to participate on the Forum.
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