Panbo

NMEA 2011 Expo, neat new stuff #1

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Oct 6, 2011

NMEA2011_Green_Marine_STAR.jpg

I spent a fair amount of NMEA Conference & Expo time reviewing products that are already shipping -- more on that Technology Award tomorrow -- but I still got a fair chance to see the new, new stuff (like the Fusion Marine Stereo wow). Check out that Green Marine Bridge Command Display System demo above, for instance, and don't miss the video. I don't think there's ever been a monitor like that STAR at upper right, and I wondered how an owner or installer would set up the unusual STretched Aspect Ratio on the PC driving it. No problem: The monitor itself splits off the top third of a standard screen resolution, so that Maretron N2KView gauge display was simply set up on a regular monitor with that in mind. Slick. And of course there was much more...

Wave WiFi showed off two products in development. A new model of the Rogue Wave, seen at left below, will have a metal shell that will make it both waterproof and able to be screwed onto standard marine antenna mounts, both features Panbots have expressed desire for. The router will bring Wave's easy-to-use firmware (and well-regarded service) to a built-for-boats CradlePoint-style multi-Internet-access technology.

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KEP has what's purportedly the first sunlight viewable dual touch monitor, and while it's not in this photo below, I look forward to sharing details of an install here in Maine at the helm of a big JBoat. What is shown in the photo, though not to justice, is KEP's Glass Pod Display Console, which is supposedly easy to flush mount in an equally curvaceous helm.

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And staying in the big yacht mode, here's KVH's new TracVision HD11 world TV antenna or "World's First Truly Global Satellite TV System with Full HD Support!" as they like to say, which is no doubt a shot at Intellian's global w-Series, which were also looking good at the Expo. What KVH has done is to incorporate the three-sats-at-once technology it introduced in the HD7 so this big antenna can get all DirecTV channels as well as most everything else on this planet of non-standard broadcasting. There's also an automatic switching option for HD11 so you can have two antennas working together if the install doesn't permit either a perfect sky view!

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On a more prosaic level, Rich Galasso gave me an enthusiastic and compelling pitch on the state of Spot and Globalstar. The Spot Hug boat system is purportedly doing well in the field, and Rich says that the new satellites are giving Globalstar phones about 70% uptime, which, along with their known voice quality and data speed, makes the service a great deal. He also had an intriguing answer to my inevitable question about the DeLorme inReach, which looks like a Spot killer. Rich said that while incremental improvements to the satellite messenger idea are good, what we really need is radically different. Then he described how Globalstar's new satellites are capable of nearly broadband data speeds without a stabilized antenna and without huge service expense because of the system's short-hop architecture. The many ground stations are about to get an overhaul and, though Rich couldn't be specific, I walked away with the image of portable device that could get me tracking, messaging, distress notifications, voice calls, and high speed Internet as long as I was under the Globalstar umbrella, at reasonable cost. Wow. 

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Comments

Ben, is there anything out there at the expo that will bring a chartplotter screen to the helm (like the Furuno GP-33, albeit with a chart)? Space is at a premium in the cockpit, and being able to plot at the helm (with charts, not just "relative" positions) would be nice!

Posted by: Anonymous at October 7, 2011 10:16 AM | Reply

I'm not sure what you mean, Anon. There are lots of small chart plotters and MFDs offered by Lowrance, Garmin, Humminbird, Raymarine, and others, plus handhelds with brackets if you want a really small screen. Is there another possible form I'm missing.

Posted by: Ben at October 7, 2011 10:30 AM | Reply

Ben, thanks for the reply, I was thinking wouldn't it be nice if the new Ray i70 could display the image from the new e7? Something that small with a touchscreen and less real estate taken up by buttons... the other option is an iPad or iPod Touch, but they aren't marine grade.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 7, 2011 3:36 PM | Reply

Ben I will be putting the Wave WiFi Gateway through it's paces soon. I will be happy to report my results once I recieve the test unit from Richard. I have every possible connection including the Skipper 150 VSAT and both a ROGUE as well as a high power EC/HP from Wave WiFi. I will be testing 3G/4G cellular USB dongles attached to external Omni antennas. I have found the 1st truely quad band Omni that might work on boats which I will be testing. It is the CellPhoneMate CM288W and is about 12" tall. It is an all fiberglass radome covering 698MHz-960MHz and 1710-2700MHz. It only has modest gain but enough to overcome feedline losses and provide an unobstructed view to the providers towers when properly mounted on the vessel.
Bill Lentz

Posted by: Bill Lentz at December 29, 2011 10:58 AM | Reply

Sounds like Globalstar has serious problems. Apparently the already launched new satellites have a "momentum wheel" glitch that may ruin their voice call abilities late next year. And not only has the launch of more 2nd generation sats been put off, but Globalstar seems to be fighting with their various French suppliers and bankers:

http://www.spacenews.com/launch/120810-globalstar-dispute-arianespace.html

Posted by: Ben at August 23, 2012 1:47 PM | Reply

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