|As I age I’ve become more concerned with possible damage to my hearing from spending extended periods of time with a headset on. Not to mention the discomfort after a long net or while contesting.|
I need the flexibility of hands free operation and the room for a keyboard, mouse and a pad in front on my operating position. The only viable option to a headset is a boom mounted mic using either VOX or a foot switch. With that thought in mind I began my search for suitable equipment. I ended up buying a nice Heil PR-40, but after a bit of research I found that most of the low-cost arms were of the same basic stamped metal design and used external springs or friction plates. The alternatives jumped up into the $500 plus range. Finally I came across a boom arm manufactured in the USA by NorthComm Technologies (NorthCommtechnologies.com) who specialize in repeaters and related equipment for public safety (PD, FD and EMS etc). They had developed a boom arm for the dispatchers in New York City and were interested in making this technology available to the amateur radio community.
At $300 this arm is a bit more than the Heil, Rode and OC White, but after watching a video review by Collum McCormick (M0MCX) from DX Commander, I was impressed enough to invest the few extra dollars. This is a low noise, internal spring style boom arm that is calibrated for the weight of a specific microphone. It is smooth while still snug with no play. It is easy to move. One finger will do the job and it stays where you put it. I purchased one directly from NorthComm, and I was not disappointed. This is a serious, professional boom arm. It comes with a bench clamp that will not move once you clamp it in place. (You could probably pickup your bench with it) The base can also be screwed directly to the bench. This boom arm incorporates a high quality balanced mic cable with Neutronics XLR connectors and comes with a printout of the sweep data for the cable and connectors which is performed after they are installed in the arm. (These folks leave nothing to chance!) After looking at the NorthComm website and chatting with Mark Danon (NorthComm’s Director of Product Development), I found out that this is a slightly longer version of the arm they market to the public safety sector and it’s designed for the demanding 24/7 use that dispatchers require. This boom arm is currently available calibrated for the Heil PR-40, the Shure SM7B and the Electro-Voice RE-20 and RE-27. Mark assures me that more mics will be added as demand dictates.
This is without a doubt one of the best and most valued purchases I’ve made lately. If you’re serious about your station, this is the boom arm you want. I’m not sure why anyone would want to compromise something this integral to their day to day operations, not to mention the safety of their expensive microphone. My thanks to Mark at NorthComm for making this exceptional product available to the Ham community.