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June 2011 Archives

Raymarine buys Tacktick, the big get bigger

Jun 29, 2011

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A few weeks ago I tweeted about how I'd had a nice dinner meeting with Raymarine and that they had all sorts of interesting product news that I couldn't write about yet. But, dang, they didn't even mention that they were in acquisition mode, let alone that they were quite close to sealing the deal to buy Tacktick announced earlier today. This move has to feel good for the Ray folks who were around during the hard times before FLIR bought the company, and also for the innovators who created Tacktick's neat wireless instrument systems and struggled against much larger marine electronics manufacturers -- like Raymarine -- before joining Suunto, which didn't appear to make much sense in terms of product integration...

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The WirieAP, "Marine WiFi Perfected"?

Jun 27, 2011
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The original Wirie -- seen above being assembled on a cruising boat in the Caribbean -- is a 1,000 mW USB WiFi transceiver which seems smartly set up for marine use and has many fans. But I've been one of those boaters who prefers an Ethernet-based alternative because it can be installed beyond USB cable length limitations, plus it can go right to a router and thus easily serve the Internet to multiple devices. (A particularly good Ethernet-based, high-power WiFi radio is the Ubiquity Bullet, which is available in many marine packages, as we discussed at length last Fall.)  However, the new WirieAP model adds a local boat WiFi access point to that waterproof plastic case, which means that the install only requires a 12 volt feed to let every WiFi-enabled device on board share a well-amplified shore-side Internet connection...

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NMEA 2000 certification, the elephants in the room

Jun 23, 2011
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It's great that the NMEA's magazine Marine Electronics Journal is available online these days, but I screen captured that two page spread above for reasons that may not please the organization. The "NMEA 2000, Doing it right" cover story of that May/June issue is a series of interviews with several dealer/installers, and while it's pleasing to hear that the Standard is really happening -- it's part of most new installs, and seen as a good thing for all parties -- I found the  interviewer's emphasis on avoiding non-certified N2K products a bit odd. And in the "Tech Update" seen above, my friend and NMEA Technical Director Steve Spitzer doubles down on this theme, which -- sorry, Steve -- deserves some debate, I think...

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Welcome Ocean Signal, but is COSPAS-SARSAT "endangered"?

Jun 22, 2011
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Ocean Signal is a relatively new name in serious marine safety gear, and Ocean Signal America -- run by the same team that distributes Digital Yacht and recently-mentioned Digital Deep Sea in the States -- just debuted at the last Miami Boat Show. That's where I got to see and handle the gear above, and the company's claimed engineering expertise seemed borne out. The Ocean Signal equipment struck me as beautifully designed, and there are some features, like user-replaceable EPIRB batteries, that will appeal to yachties. But the company may be smart to focus on commercial marine, as I'm beginning to wonder if COSPAS-SARSAT equipment has much future with boaters who can choose other solutions...

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America's Cup 34, hat's off to Stan Honey

Jun 20, 2011
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Last week in San Francisco, Russell Coutts probably did the America's Cup racing program a great service when he not only capsized an AC 45, but personally took a dramatic header right through its wing sail, all before a fleet of press boats!  You want to see the video.  Heck, Charlie Doane admits to watching the crash "about fifty times" and looking forward to more. I like a shot of NASCAR in my sailboat racing, too, but I'll bet that an equally important element in making this sport more popular will be the broadcast TV wizardry being spearheaded by the remarkable Stan Honey...

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New AIS brands: Em-Trak, Digital Deep Sea, & Watcheye

Jun 16, 2011
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Em Trak -- or Em-Trak or em-trak (why do brands defy grammar conventions when it often leads to misspellings elsewhere?) -- is a completely unfamiliar name to me, but it's pretty darn obvious that the interesting array of new AIS gear displayed on their web site is closely related to the new AIS modules SRT debuted yesterday. The cases may be different (and jazzier) in some cases, but I'm seeing some of the same new features along with ones apparently added by Em Trak...

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SRT's 2011 OEM AIS products, a boat load

Jun 15, 2011
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The AIS Summit began today in Hamburg, Germany, and SRT took the occasion to announce a boat load of newly available OEM AIS modules (download PDF here). Of course that means that other companies have to brand and sell the gear above -- or build their own devices based the same internal technology -- but I have reason to believe that in at least one interesting case that will happen soon, and, in fact, several of the items above seem like they will be interesting products eventually...

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MTA: Where we buy marine electronics

Jun 14, 2011
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The MTA 2011 Survey is still underway. In fact, we could really use more responses. Yes, we're running it a bit later this year, and boating season has begun for many, but remember the goal of helping marine electronics manufacturers and distributors to better understand what we want and how we buy stuff. Your response, for instance, might help to confirm or modify the following MTA analysis of which sources are on the rise, and which aren't...

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Garmin GDL 40 cellular weather, hand's-on #1

Jun 13, 2011
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An energetic but somewhat chaotic frontal system passed over Maine last Thursday afternoon but I was able to keep on boating largely thanks to Garmin's new GDL 40 cellular weather system, which I'm getting to test somewhat ahead of the shipping date. The severe thunderstorm warning that headlined most of the NOAA coastal forecasts might have kept some people off the water. (The forecast areas greyed out on the screen above all have some sort of warning, as shown in the inset, as well as the full text, which can be called up.)  But the animated Nexrad precipitation radar, along with lightning strike data, indicated that that my bit of Bay was going to enjoy a frontal hole...

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Marvin Creamer, still sailing at 95!

Jun 10, 2011
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I just had a fabulous two days exploring nature preserves on Isleboro Island while also fooling with Gizmo's half installed electronics suite and generally enjoying a solo cruise. A SPOT track of yesterday's 'voyage' can be seen here, a few electronics entries will ensue, and eventually so will another MBHH Adventures on the Coast of Maine. But the topper was getting a call from an old friend about the very interesting sailor above, who is right now en route to Bermuda in a 36-foot sloop at the age of 95!...

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