Panbo

Category: Safety

Inmarsat iSatPhone 2, a solid satphone but here come Globalstar Sat-Fi & Iridium GO

Jul 14, 2014

Inmarsat_iSatPhone_2_aPanbo.jpgA brief test of the new Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 showed it to be quite a good satellite phone. Compared to the original IsatPhone Pro I tested in 2010, the new phone locks onto both GPS and Inmarsat satellites noticably faster and the voice calls seem to sound better. I also found the screen quite readable in most conditions including direct sun, and the user interface struck me as fast and easy to get the hang of. However, if you sense some "buts" coming, you are correct. At nearly $1,000 street price, this phone is not the "game changer" promised in 2010. Also, long gone are the $200 prepaid SIM cards good for 250 minutes and two years mentioned in my 2010 review; Inmarsat phone service is pretty costly these days. Perhaps more important, we are just entering an era when we can supposedly have all the services of a satphone without actually having to own another darn phone and possibly at a lower overall cost...

Continue Reading

Marinebeam: Ultra Long Range LED flashlight tested, MarineKinetix wind turbine admired

Jul 8, 2014

Marinebeam_Ultra_spot_flashlight_testing_cPanbo.jpgYou really should click on the photo above to see the higher resolution version. With my camera on a tripod I was lighting up boats and mooring buoys about 500 to 700 yards away (460 to 640 meters) with only an LED flashlight powered by three D cells. What's more, the beam is so tight that I was able to do this testing without blinding myself or (hopefully) anyone who was on their boat in Camden's outer harbor last night. The Marinebeam Ultra Long Range RLT Illuminator is an unusual and useful flashlight as is, but it also demonstrates a promising technology...

Continue Reading

Two way testing DeLorme inReachSE, plus new Explorer model & OCENS SpotCast Weather

May 13, 2014

DeLorme_inReachSE_message_screen_cPanbo.jpg"Two way" doesn't just refer to the fact that a DeLorme inReach handheld satellite messenger/tracker will let you text back and forth with people pretty much like a cell phone. I also tested the shore side of the system by loaning the sample inReachSE model to friends Doug and Dale Bruce when they went on an adventure cruise to some remote islands south of New Zealand. So that's me messaging from Maine when I saw where they were headed (via their MapShare track), and then Doug texting me back a few minutes later. Yes, he had a little trouble with SE's little cursor keyboard, but heck, he was in rough seas on the other side of the planet!

Continue Reading

Simrad ForwardScan, a challenge to EchoPilot FLS?

Apr 17, 2014

Simrad_ForwardScan_concept_aPanbo.jpgWhile Simrad announced ForwardScan at the Miami Boat Show, details are scarce and the concept diagram doesn't really show what a ForwardScan screen is going to look like. Yes, like other Forward Looking Sonar (FLS) systems, the goal is to display the water column and ocean floor in front of the vessel to "help boaters eliminate the worry of potential groundings in unfamiliar waters," and yes, FowardScan is the first FLS to be fully integrated into a multifunction display system. Well, I've hounded Simrad for more information -- all of which sounds good -- and it also looks like I will get to test ForwardScan against what seems like the most similar existing product...

Continue Reading

eLoran is back, thanks to Kim Jong-un?

Feb 27, 2014

Port_Clarence_LORAN_tower_dies.JPG

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...

Continue Reading

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

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...

Continue Reading

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

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...

Continue Reading

Maretron N2KView: prices slashed, architecture improved, and BNWAS

Jan 13, 2014

FPB-78_w_N2KView_courtesy_Dashew_Offshore.jpgI find Steve Dashew's latest FPB 78 long-range powerboat design so intriguing that I won't link to it until the end of this entry for fear of losing you!  The relevant detail in the rendering above is Steve's plan to occasionally use that giant 65-inch 4K resolution TV monitor so he can still see his radar and Maretron N2KView monitoring info as he moves about the vessel's giant main cabin while underway. I got to spend time with the Dashews on their original FPB Windhorse, and it's one heck of an equipment endorsement to be chosen for the next one. I also know that Steve's expert evaluation of Maretron's hardware and software systems came before the major and excellent-sounding N2KView product changes I'm about to outline...

Continue Reading

Iris NightRunner nav camera, too good to be true?

Nov 12, 2013

Iris_NightRunner_camera_at_FLIBS13_cPanbo.jpgIris Innovations used some magnet magic to highlight the sveltness of the NightRunner dual payload pan/tilt/zoom navigation camera system it debuted in Fort Lauderdale. The real magic, though, seems to be in the pricing. At about $5,000 including a full-featured joystick control pad, the NightRunner isn't that much more than a fixed Raymarine T200 with the same 320 x 240 thermal resolution and no daylight camera at all, and the NightRunner installation doesn't seem much harder. Meanwhile the dual payload PTZ model most similar to the NightRunner appears to be the  FLIR M-324L (or its sibling Ray T400) with a full retail price of about $15,000!  How is this possible?

Continue Reading

"Lessons of the BOUNTY" -- Andy nails it

Nov 10, 2013

BOUNTY_issues_--_Courtesy_Jan_Adkins_and_WoodenBoat.jpgI'll probably always associate Hurricane Sandy and the sinking of the HMS Bounty with last fall's cruise to the Carolinas and a Fort Lauderdale show that got a little scary just because Sandy's eye passed by about 160 miles to the east. Soon after flying from Lauderdale to Gizmo's super safe location in Myrtle Beach (lucky!), I was adding Bounty comments to an entry about how I'd first spotted the storm on a Furuno TZT. What I didn't mention then was that I'm one of a cohort that had more reason than most to get cold chills over the sinking of a large traditional sailing vessel, a loss that could have been so much worse if it weren't for an extraordinary USCG rescue operation. But it's relevant now because an old square rig shipmate has written a very fine analysis of the disaster and what we can learn from it...

Continue Reading

1 2 3 4 5 ...