Cockpit Mic Cover

If you have a cockpit microphone for your VHF, be careful! Bright sunlight will damage the LCD display on the mic, making it impossible to read even the channel, let alone other info.

I’m not sure how old the Standard Horizon RAM mic was on our boat, but the display was almost totally blacked out.

Don't let sunlight ruin the display on your cockpit VHF microphone! Five minute DIY project to protect your investment.

It was mounted in a very exposed location next to the helm, with the display pointed straight aft. With easterly trade winds common in south Florida and the Bahamas — where the boat has been for the past five years at least — this means that the afternoon sun has been directed straight at the display most days.

We keep covers on all our other instrument displays, but somehow — I guess because there wasn’t a cover for it — it never dawned on us that we should cover it. Until over the last couple of months the display has slowly turned into a solid illegible blob.

We think that having a VHF mic at the helm is important for safety. But this one was almost useless — you could hear a call and transmit, but it was impossible to change channels as you couldn’t see the channel at all!

So, as part of a VHF upgrade to get an AIS receiver (more coming on this — we’re still installing it), we got a new remote mic.

We didn’t want to ruin the new one but the old mounting location really was the most convenient place for the person at the helm.

Okay, it needed a cover. There were two basic criteria:

  • Couldn’t interfere with the hanger clip on the back; and
  • Had to be able to quickly slip it off to use the radio.
Suddenly it dawned on me: Velcro. We have a number of leftover pieces from other projects, so I was able to cut a couple of long skinny “hook” pieces from sticky-back Industrial Strength Velcro, and then use a piece of wide Velcro strapping to cover the display.

I put the sticky-back pieces on the back of the microphone, on either side of the hanger. Then I cut a piece of the wide Velcro to wrap around the front of the mic and put it in place with the loop side in.

Don't let sunlight ruin the display on your cockpit VHF microphone! Five minute DIY project to protect your investment.

It’s easy to hang up and easy to remove. We do leave the cover off when we’re underway, and put it back on when we stop, just as we do with our other instrument covers.

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  • Donna Delahanty Guzman
    Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

    Great idea!

  • John Herlig
    Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

    This really is a good idea, as is leaving the RAM inside unless you’re underway. Mine lives in the radio cabinet when I’m not sailing.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

      We use ours quite a bit at anchor — we tend to live in the cockpit!

    • John Herlig
      Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

      What can I say… the advantages of being misanthropic haha. 🙂

  • Sherry Matas
    Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

    Curious to hear how the Velcro holds up on the mic. I’ve found the adhesive turns into a gooey mess on hard plastic in warm temps and direct sun.

    We are fortunate to have a good fitting helm cover.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

      We’ve used it on some other things and generally have to replace it about once a year. I think this won’t be bad as the sticky back part is on the back of the mic away from the sun.

  • Michelle Rene
    Posted at 29 December 2016 Reply

    Great heads up!

  • Eve
    Posted at 07 March 2017 Reply

    What about a snug child’s sock or mitten? You could attach it to the mic cord with a piece of string or zip tie. Mittens often come with a string to attach to the child’s parka. I like the velcro idea, but I’ve had the same experience with the adhesive backing getting gummy in the heat/sun.

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