Panbo

Iridium's GO! satellite WiFi and Globalstar's mysterious SatFi

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 12, 2014

Iridium_GO_satellite_hot_spot.jpg

Wow! With a bounty of significant cruising electronics news on my desk, the new Iridium GO! may rank #1. Think of it as the Iridium Extreme -- arguably the most versatile, rugged, and expensive sat phone available -- with the phone interface replaced by a WiFi radio able to handle five smartphones or tablets. The GO can install semi-permanently with an external antenna, or sit on deck while you make a quiet call below, or go in your pack when you hike in Tierra del Fuego. You'll still be able to make and take phone calls anywhere, but they will be easier, less expensive, and purportedly better sounding. Plus there's global email, tracking, and so much more...

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Navico writer's event 2014: B&G, Simrad & Lowrance product highlights

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 10, 2014

Hawks_Cay_B_G_Matt_cPanbo.jpgNavico did it again, even better than last time. The company gathered 24 boating writers at the Hawk's Cay Resort along with a deep roster of Lowrance, Simrad, and B&G product experts and 9 demo boats loaded with gear. The demos very much reflected the refocused brand identities we learned about last year in Las Palmas, and in some cases the Navico team went some extra distance to make them real. Thus, I found myself not only sailing on a nearly new J/111 with B&G's long-time Race Specialist Matt Fries, but actually pinging start line buoys and later working our way to the windward mark... 

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Icom M506, five models of goodness

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 6, 2014

Icom_IC-M506_aPanbo.jpgWhen Standard Horizon introduced its Matrix AIS/GPS radio in December, we learned from a European reader that Icom UK was showing off a VHF with just about every feature a boater might desire (with the possible exception of a built-in GPS).  As hoped for, Icom America has now revealed its version of the IC-M506 and will be showing it in Miami next week. It turns out that at least here in the states the M506 will be available in five models so you can get the features you want without paying for ones you don't...

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Panbo turns 10, and founder Yme's Arviro 10 project

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 4, 2014

Arviro_10_courtesy_Yme_Bosma.jpgIf you browse to the bottom of the Panbo monthly archives, you'll see that the very first entry went up on February 4, 2004. So Panbo is 10 years old today, which may be a century in Internet years?  In fact, one motivation for founder Yme Bosma was an interest in what was then the new-fangled "blog" content management format. While he soon had to focus back on his high tech work and I took over Panbo in 2005, the boating geek bug is often incurable, as many of us know. It seems more than coincidental -- and very cool -- that Panbo's 120th month is also the debut of Yme's all electric, solar powered, and iPad instrumented cruiser design, the Arviro 10.

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Macris MIU15 underwater LED, OceanLED Xtreme news, and Rigid Dually spot

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 2, 2014

Dodson_launch_Macris_LED_courtesy_Macris.jpgI like the look of underwater lights, but I imagine that the pair on this Dyer 29 launch is also quite useful to the operator and all the passengers stepping on and off in the dark. What's unusual here is surface-mounted LED light fixtures so thin that installing them around midships made sense. The manufacturer, Macris Industries, also seems to offer a lot of lumens per dollar of fixture cost...

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Garmin VIRB "action" camera, also great on a slow boat

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 27, 2014

Garmin_VIRB_Edit_software_test_cPanbo.jpgI think that Garmin hit a home run with the VIRB action cameras they began shipping last fall. I've been testing the regular model since late September and the Elite model since mid December, and I can picture all sorts of enjoyable ways to use either camera around a boat. I'm documenting a minor cruising adventure in the scene above, but could be remote controlling the camera to film my crew and me while playing a big fish or rounding a racing mark. However, I've also come to think of the entire "action camera" concept as a bit of a misnomer... 

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Gemeco iNstall ipad app, for do-it-yourselfers too

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 23, 2014

Gemeco_iNstall_home_menu_aPanbo.jpgFirst of all, Gemeco's iNstall app is free if you already have an iPhone or iPad. Second, though aimed at professional marine electronics installers, some of its tools are valuable to do-it-yourself types and even just regular boaters...

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NMEA 2000 Certification, in the Panbo crossfire

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 22, 2014

Panbo_NMEA_2000_certification_archive.jpgIt's great that boaters on research missions are constantly (though quietly) digging through the Panbo archives (or using Google's neat site search with the same intent). But when one is inspired to write a detailed, articulate rebuttal to a stand I took years ago on a subject that's still relevant, it deserves special attention. Bo Collier is working hard to figure out a new electronics system for his 53-foot 1978 Hatteras LRC trawler and he takes exception to my notion that NMEA 2000 certification is not an absolute must when choosing devices that use the data standard. What follows is his argument with my retorts interspersed and plenty of room at the end for you to add your opinion...

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Charlie 'saved'...support the Coast Guard Foundation

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 19, 2014

Charlie_Doane_being_rescued_by_USCG.jpgMy friend and colleague, Charlie Doane, has been making the pages of Panbo since at least 2005 (sometimes even comically), and he does seem to get seriously offshore more than any other active writer I can think of. But, damn, it's unexpected to post an image of him being hoisted aboard a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter last week. The abandonment of the very first Alpha 42 catamaran, Be Good Too, has been covered extensively elsewhere, probably in most accurate detail by Charlie himself, and discussions about the incident rage in various online forums. While I think that chewing over maritime casualties like this is a good thing -- even if it does bring out the pedantic ass in some of us -- let me also suggest an appropriate course of action for interested bystanders...

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Victron Color Control GX, more than a power display

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 16, 2014

Victron_color_control_GX_in_action.jpgThe photo could be sharper, but I like it for two reasons. First, it's confirmation that an ambitious product, which doesn't even have a manual yet, actually works in the field. Second, it's doing interesting work on an intriguing new vessel that has deep Panbot roots. You'll learn much more about the boat on February 4th when we celebrate Panbo's 10th birthday, but today, please say hello to the Victron Color Control GX...

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