Innovative communication system for inshore lifeboats

Icom lifeboatsMaritime Systems Integrator Neptune Waterproof has devised an innovative communication system for inshore lifeboats that uses Icom’s IP Advanced Radio System to provide an encrypted wireless (full duplex) intercom. Hope Cove lifeboat is the first UK inshore lifeboat to use Icom IP wireless technology and it is interfaced with the vessels Icom IC-M506 VHF radio.

The communication system provides four crew members full VOX intercom functionality for situational awareness so they can all hear any incoming VHF comms. Transmission is done by the coxswain or navigator pressing a large 50mm PTT on the console. This sends their voices to the VHF Radios and closes the PTT circuit so the VHF transmits.

The launch tractor driver is equipped with a standard IP100H IP two-way radio handset to communicate with the crew for launch and recovery. There are forward and rear facing directional antenna mounted on the rear gantry for launch/recovery and comms with crew deployed to vessels under tow.

The IP100H has been modified to fit in a sealed side pod of a Gecko MK11 marine safety helmet. The IP100H has also been modified so that there are separate ‘power’ and ‘volume’ switches on the side pod and the LCD screen is presented through the side pod so the crew can see current helmet settings. An additional 2000mAh battery provides realistic all day comms on a single charge. The helmet features a 200Ohm dynamic noise cancelling microphone with two 1Watt 8Ohm speakers.

James Bignall, Managing Director of Neptune Waterproof said, “This is the very first of its kind in the UK and we are pleased that the Hope Cove team are very happy with the way the system works!”