Panbo

Category: Zany

Maritime Robotx Challenge & the WAM-V USV, heads up!

Sep 22, 2014

QUT Maritime RobotX challenge WAM-V courtesy QUT.JPG

Right now it's possible to come upon an unmanned surface vessel (USV) like this trying to navigate waterways all over the world, though rest assured that there will be a boatload of attentive geeks nearby. That's because fifteen student/professor engineering teams from five countries have been given a basic 16-foot WAM-V articulating catamaran to which they are adding propulsion and control systems for the upcoming Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore. The contest strikes me as a great way to accelerate robotics development, but of course one eventuality would be unmanned vessels roaming the coasts. In fact, that may already be happening...

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Gizmo south: TFU, IBEX, NMEA, HSR & other self promotions

Sep 2, 2014

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I didn't write the seminar title, but I do understand the value of a grabby headline and I'm excited about being part of the entirely revised TrawlerFest in Baltimore. Paul Comyns and I will make a valiant attempt to cover all the important electronics bases for the knowledge-hungry, long-range-cruisers-to-be that tend to take the all-day "TF University" courses. An interesting added challenge for the presenters is to provide money-saving tips. I'm already working on concepts like how GPS, AIS, and improved signal processing have made it possible to "make do" with a smaller radar, but please suggest other reasonable cost-cutting strategies. And TFU is just the beginning of my fall speaking engagements, one or more of which you might want to attend or at least kibbutz about...

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MBHH Show 2014: Akalaria RC3, Dock Works utility cat & other surprises

Aug 14, 2014

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I knew I'd gotten Maine Yacht Center's Brian Harris to photograph me in the comfortable driver's seat he designed for the second Aklaria RC3 finished out at MYC, but how did the shot come out of my camera like this? Did I fall into some revery imagining reaching the 20 knots this exotic Open 40 racer is easily capable of? The 12th annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show was rich in the elegant lobster yachts and daysailors my state has become famous for, but there were also plenty of interesting surprises. Even Mainiac boat nuts don't realize how versatile we are...

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Semi live blogging the Miami shows, backwards

Feb 13, 2014

Garmin integrates with Mastervolt CZone digital power

Garmin CZone on Scout boat cPanbo.JPGI think they overhyped the innovation but this is great news for distributed power and digital switching in general, and the Garmin 8000 series in particular. It's also a huge win for Mastervolt CZone.

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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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Gizmo's air draft sensor & my Panbo 8th

Apr 14, 2013
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This was Thursday's little challenge. It's what I've starting calling a "trawler bridge": a span high enough to let motor cruisers get at some good anchoring and/or gunkholing, but not so high that they have to share it with pesky sailboats. I kid, of course, but I had spied out a great little spot on Norfolk's Lafayette River (Google Map here) to ride out the frontal passage and it would likely be free because there's only 24-feet under this bridge at high tide. However, I wasn't absolutely sure that Gizmo's mighty antenna farm met that requirement...

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The Equinox, celestial mechanics & pesky "True Wind"

Mar 20, 2013
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I'm not a pagan but my first wedding was on the Summer Solstice in 1976 and the second was on the Vernal Equinox in 1993. So, yes indeed, today we're celebrating twenty years wonderfully together (though right now about a thousand miles physically apart). But I want to write about what largely drove those wedding date decisions: my fascination with celestial mechanics, largely acquired through marine navigation, particularly the celestial kind. I learned about the apparent and true motions of the heavenly bodies, the foundations of geography, and what makes this such a balanced day on earth... 

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Alice remembered, and Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2012
Alice_1978_w_Dixie_Belle_cPanbo.jpg

2013 is going to be a bang up year for Panbo, I think. News about that tomorrow, and soon we'll be back to actual electronics news and reviews, I promise. But first I have one more bit of boating nostalgia to cap off 2012. I took the photo above in April, 1978, as the good sloop Alice reached along well offshore about half way to Maine from Man-O-War Cay in the Abacos (hence the conch jerky hung to dry in the rigging). We'd already endured some fairly heavy weather without problems and this was a glorious morning when Alice was taking care of herself nicely and I was further enjoying the fruits of our long relationship...

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Regina Maris remembered & Merry Christmas to all

Dec 25, 2012
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"The crew was pretty grumpy as we headed north out of the Panama Canal. Hopes of spending a wild reggae Christmas in Kingston, Jamaica had recently been dashed (rumor was that there was a lien on Regina in Kingston), so on the morning of 24 Dec 1979, we found ourselves dropping anchor in Bahia du Mole..." Thus begins a sweet Christmas story written and mapped by my old mate Steve Nelson on The Friends and Crew of Regina Maris Facebook page. I'm sure that many far flung cruisers will enjoy Steve's true tale, but I can practically smell the scenes ashore and on board...

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Gizmo south photo album #1; self-involved!

Nov 27, 2012
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I think we've had some great product coverage recently, thanks largely to Kees Verruijt's excellent METS coverage, and I'm glad to report that Kees, Dan Corcoran, and others have more entries in the works. I know I've said it before but this winter Panbo truly will get more voices, and more frequent entries. Which makes me feel indulgent about posting non-electronics photos of my beloved boat!  I spent some of the Thanksgiving holiday going through the images I collected during the trip south, and I couldn't help but feel very thankful for the vessel I lucked into and the coast I live along...

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