Panbo

eLoran is back, thanks to Kim Jong-un?

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

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When this photo went up on Panbo in early 2010, the prospect of an eLoran system to back up GPS in the USA seemed worse than dead. As the Coast Guard dismantled the old Loran C infrastructure, it would obviously get more expensive to resuscitate the eLoran concept. Well, by golly, the rebirth of eLoran USA is happening anyway! I learned about this good news in a fairly startling way earlier this month, and I'd like to share it with you...

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Miami 2014 comms #2: VHF, AIS & the app connection

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 25, 2014

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There is still an amazing number of boats that can't use the excellent DSC distress feature that's been built into every fixed VHF marine radio sold in the U.S.A since 1999. Their radio either hasn't been interfaced with a GPS or hasn't been programmed with the owner's MMSI number, or both. I've heard Coast Guard rescue center personnel report that a DSC alert can work beautifully to quickly identify and locate a boat in trouble, but that they rarely see valid DSC alerts. So before discussing advances in VHF (and AIS), let's note how companies like Standard Horizon and Icom are helping to make working DSC a pervasive reality (finally)...

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Miami 2014 comms #1: WiFi, Cellular, and V-SAT advances

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 21, 2014

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That's the Web browser built into the Humminbird ION10 MFD that I first saw demoed in Lauderdale (pre browser), and the test was pretty realistic for a boat show. It was easy to log the ION onto my phone's WiFi hotspot and if you click the image bigger, you'll see how well it rendered a complex site like www.powerandmotoryacht.com. It even supports tabs for multiple sites, so if I were out fishing on, say, a sunny center console, I could have had a weather site open while still checking my gmail or moderating Panbo comments, all on a bright waterproof screen. This is a MFD first, I think -- the Standard Horizon CPN1010i can access the Web, but not while in navigation mode -- though the lack of ION detail on Humminbird's site suggests that they are taking their time getting it out the door.

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Miami 2014, glass bridge everywhere

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 18, 2014

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The Garmin and Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit won a lot of awards and shook up the competitors. I think it's why Raymarine rolled out its nifty-seeming ECI-100 so quickly, and I suspect it motivated Mercury Marine to put together the clean "glass dash" above. The Simrad NSO evo2 driving those two MO19-T monitors is not only doing the boat's CZone switching -- even able to activate the four outboards -- but its Mercury Vessel View app seemed a terrific interface to all those engines...

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Semi live blogging the Miami shows, backwards

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 13, 2014

Garmin integrates with Mastervolt CZone digital power

Garmin CZone on Scout boat cPanbo.JPGI think they overhyped the innovation but this is great news for distributed power and digital switching in general, and the Garmin 8000 series in particular. It's also a huge win for Mastervolt CZone.

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

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

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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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