Panbo

Category: The Trade

Lowrance Elite 5/7 cheap CHIRP, the sonar wars rage on

Mar 26, 2014

Lowrance_Elite-5_CHIRP.jpgLowrance just launched Elite-5 and -7 CHIRP fishfinders and plotter combos today, but they showed off working prototypes during the Navico writer's event I attended in January. What seemed to particularly excite the product managers was the Elite's new ability "to produce low, medium and high CHIRP sonar ranges and display two user-selected ranges simultaneously" using just an "affordable" HDI Skimmer transducer. Apparently they didn't realize that this tranducer could usefully CHIRP until they tried it, and now they think they have a edge in the sonar battle that's taking place both on the water and in law offices...

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Gemeco iNstall ipad app, for do-it-yourselfers too

Jan 23, 2014

Gemeco_iNstall_home_menu_aPanbo.jpgFirst of all, Gemeco's iNstall app is free if you already have an iPhone or iPad. Second, though aimed at professional marine electronics installers, some of its tools are valuable to do-it-yourself types and even just regular boaters...

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Humminbird Ion Series, GeoNav is way more than back

Jan 6, 2014

Humminbird_Ion_Onix_intro_FLIBS_2013_cPanbo.jpgJohnson Outdoors really wants a piece of bluewater marine electronics. I learned a lot about the long, determined history of Johnson Family Enterprises when JO was trying to make GeoNav a major brand back in 2011. But while the GeoNav G12 MFDs I saw demoed had a lot of interesting features, even autorouting using either C-Map or Navionics charts, the competition from the existing Big Four brands is daunting. Plus, the economic timing was terrible and Johnson Outdoors pulled GeoNav's plug, saying that they'd eventually try again under their successful freshwater Humminbird brand name. So, yes, the industrial design of the new Ion series looks like the old GeoNav G Series, but Ion really is "a new species of bluewater technology"...

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Happy Holidays & Bonne Navigation, a 2013 card collection

Dec 25, 2013

RNLI_greeting_card_by_Nick_Monro_courtesy_Sling_the_Hook.jpgI love Nick Munro's signal flag holiday cards -- which you can see more of at the cheery Brit blog called slingthehook: the geek and the girl go to sea -- but unfortunately, they no longer seem available to benefit the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (though other Munro RNLI designs are).  What follows is a highly eclectic collection of notable boating world cards that came my way recently, and I will point out a way you can help the U.S. Coast Guard as well...

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Lowrance Elite-4 HDI, a whole lot of tech for a little dough

Dec 19, 2013

Lowrance_Elite-4_HDI.jpgWhile I don't normally follow the small-size displays closely, the new Lowrance Elite-4 HDI models announced yesterday seems to sport a remarkable ratio of dedicated marine electronics to cost. Their bright 4.3-inch LED-backlit screens, for instance, are substantially bigger than the Elite-4 models they replace, which were praised for their value. The plain Elite-4 HDI model, with a suggested $299 retail price, not only offers both regular fishfinding and high-frequency narrow beam downscanning -- each with a shallow/deep frequency choice built into the included transom transducer -- but also includes GPS, a bundle of lake and coastal cartography and support for all sorts of chart card types...

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METS 2013: Glomex WeBBoat, fingers on Garmin and Simrad, and more

Nov 26, 2013

mets_2013_glomex_webboat.jpg

The Marine Equipment Trade Show 2013 held in Amsterdam last week lived up to its reputation again. The trade floors were packed with exhibitors, and I was told that the booths were packed with visitors on the first two show days. Fortunately, it wasn't as busy during my third day visit and I could move around easily -- if not as anonymously as before; at Garmin I was welcomed as "Hey, you're the guy from Panbo!"  Ben has already reported on Garmin's down- and side scanning sonar, xHD radomes, etc., plus the new Simrad NSS and B&G Zeus2 Series, but I got to see the new products in action and there was much more to cover, like that neat Glomex WebBoat WiFi/3G access point seen above...

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Simrad NSS evo2, multi-touch 7-inch to 16-inch and beyond

Nov 19, 2013

Simrad_NSS9_evo2_new_11-13.jpgAt METS this morning,  Simrad announced an evo2 update to the NSS Series and quite an update it is. The new multi-touch wide screen models will come in 7-, 9-, 12- and 16-inch sizes, and since they are close family in every way to the recently discussed NSO evo2, a boater will be able to mix and match bright, glass-bridge-style displays from 7 to 24-inches. And while NSS evo2 can network with Simrad's radars, sonars, SonicHub audio, WiFi 1 etc., all four sizes come with "embedded CHIRP enabled Broadband sounder and StructureScan" (which can probably network out to the whole family)...

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GOST, FLIR, and KVH: working together

Oct 30, 2013

GOST_FLIR_KVH_joint_advertisement.jpgIt's quite unusual to illustrate a Panbo entry with an advertisement, but I think this one has editorial content. Isn't it great to see three separate companies state in print that their electronics will work together to accomplish a complex task? Won't that make it harder for any one of the three customer service departments to point the blame for operational problems elsewhere? Plus, the task in this case -- to put the control and output of yacht cameras onto the Internet so owners or crew can access it anywhere -- is pretty impressive. 

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NOAA erases the Magenta Line, will crowdsourcing step up?

Oct 21, 2013

NOAA_Inside_Route__3_1913_cPanbo.jpgWhen Peter Swanson called to say he'd just become PassageMaker's new editor-in-chief (which he'll be great at, I think), the conversation soon turned to our strong mutual interests in cruising, electronics and charts. That's how I finally learned that NOAA has started to remove the magenta chart lines that guide many users of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and that they may never be replaced. Peter wrote about the issue in August, and NOAA recently put up a notably well-crafted Federal Register article that seeks more comments from the public. That's where I learned that the brightly colored "recommended route lines" began on a 1913 chart series called the Inside Route Pilot -- fascinating sample above, full size here -- and that the lines haven't been comprehensively updated since the 1930's, when taxpayers spent a lot of money expanding the ICW (and creating jobs)...

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NMEA & IBEX 2013 awards, winners & explanations

Oct 7, 2013

NMEA_2013_Technology_Award_cPanbo.jpgThat's Raymarine's Larry Rencken accepting the NMEA New Technology Award for the Evolution autopilot system from NMEA Director Bruce Angus (with NMEA Office Manager Cindy Love assisting). This was Evolution's second honor in two weeks -- congratulations! -- as it also shared the IBEX Innovation Award for electronics, as discussed on Panbo here. Whereas I was involved in that first contest and a close observer of the various NMEA Awards, I thought I'd explain how they work and also note the other winners. No awards process I know of is perfectly fair, but these are handled quite seriously and are worthy of attention, I think.

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