So the AnyTrack pitch is that the little GPS-100 above is “perfect” for locating stolen boats or vehicles, or tracking something or someone precious. The interesting technology involved is a built-in CDMA cellular modem and “Assisted GPS” which can supposedly enable online locating even inside buildings (and is so far only available on the Sprint system, according to an AnyTrack tech). The unit appears to be very solidly built, but I’m sorry to report that the overall service, not inexpensive, seems to be pretty much useless, at least on the coast of Maine.
Do these new ST70 instrument and autopilot displays (bigger here) look beautiful or what? The problem is that the screens are probably faked, which is typical of this sort of product photography. But Raymarine assures me that they are gorgeous in reality, and may let me see for myself in a few weeks. The official U.S. unveiling isn’t until mid September but again, darn it, AskJackRabbit got the scoop, first finding some dope in England, then yesterday posting most of what went out to dealers…images, manuals, pricing, etc. Perhaps as noteworthy as rich color screens is the fact that ST70s can not only display NMEA 2000 info, engines included, but can also connect to existing SeaTalk instruments and sensors. Plus they mark the birth of SeaTalkNG (new generation), a N2K-like backbone and T cabling system. More on all after I study up.
AskJackRabbit got the NavNet 3D scoop, and it sounds interesting. Apparently the hardware is all new, including “digital” radar and several NMEA 2000 sensors (like GPS and weather), but is still backward compatible to some existing NavNet gear. The “3D” angle remains mysterious but Furuno is claiming “You won’t believe your eyes” in a weekly series of video teasers at www.navnet.com, and the ‘lectronic laddies are speculating over at BoaterEd and The Hull Truth.
I finally launched Annie G., my Rhodes 18 (named after me mum), and am getting pretty excited about the various Tacktick instruments I’ve installed. I had to drill a substantial hole in the hull just forward of the mast for a T910 triducer that’s wired to a T121 Hull Transmitter mounted just under the mast partners. And I had to modify the old Windex mast-head plate to attach the T120 Wind Transmitter . But I did not have to run a wire down the mast, which would have been a major pain. And of course the T112 Analogue and T111 Dual Digital displays—also wireless and solar powered—don’t need wires either, as I’m demonstrating from my skiff above.
Man, there are a lot of waterproof iPod cases, but if you’re really active in/on the water you might want to consider a dedicated, if limited, solution. The Freestyle Audio MP3 player has no screen and just a gig of flash memory, but it’s waterproof to 10 feet, shockproof, and it floats. The interface is simply a multi-color LED and four stiff buttons for on/off, volume, and track advance/back. For charging and downloads, it has a special USB cord that inserts into the earphone plug, and it comes with a little program for arranging a play list. And it is tough. I tried it windsurfing in the B.V.I. and whereas I had to wear a life jacket, hadn’t been windsurfing in about a decade, and it was gusty, I beat the hell out of this test unit. Multiple high-speed dunkings, earphones ripped out, etc. Freestyle kept the tunes coming.
Well, my entry on how Rendez-vous tender tracking uses AIS message conventions seems to have confused even some AIS savvy folks (sorry, Del). To be clear, Rendez-vous will not show up on anyone’s screen unless that screen is connected to a specific network of Rendez-vous radios. Rendez-vous just uses the AIS data structure so that plotting software does not have be modified to see the tenders in a network. Get it? I think it clever, but the folks who developed the Seetrac Tender Tracking systems aren’t so sure: