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Ben

  • Commented on BoatLogger, well worth serious beta testing
    BoatLogger Flotilla Sites are now live. It sounds easy for existing BoatLogger members to join a cruising group and get a site with live tracking of all vessels, shared log entries, etc. Similar Racing Sites with courses drawn in are...
  • Posted Edson Marine: old school, new school to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Edson_Marine_steering_wheels_circa_18xx_cPanbo_.jpg

    I visited Edson Marine headquarters while Gizmo was in New Bedford, Massachusetts, during my cruise home in May 2013, and one vivid memory is this old catalog that co-owner Will Keene showed me. My old sloop Alice had one of those Mahogany Steering Wheels, and while I'm sure it cost more in 1946, it's amazing to realize that you could once buy one for $15, Ebonized Rim included. I also enjoyed seeing how well Edson has kept on keeping on since Jacob Edson invented and started manufacturing the first diaphragm pump in 1859...

  • Commented on Furuno 711C Navpilot head & MCU002 remote keypad, TZT style
    So today I learned that FurunoUSA will be introducing the 1st Watch WiFi Radar here fairly soon: http://www.furuno.com/special/en/wireless/radar/ I still "get" the product myself, so I'll be very interested to see how they pitch it. Meanwhile, Mark at i-Marine is...
  • Commented on Furuno 711C Navpilot head & MCU002 remote keypad, TZT style
    While I'd like to try the Furuno remote keypad, it's interesting how much easier touch commands are now that the TZT 14 is mounted less vertically. And I'm having the converse experience with the Raymarine a-7 at the lower helm....
  • Posted Furuno 711C Navpilot head & MCU002 remote keypad, TZT style to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Furuno_711c_autopilot_head_SETCSE_aPanbo.jpgThe press release (PDF here) for Furuno's new color 711C autopilot control describe it as "completely redesigned to provide an excellent match with Furuno's flagship line of NavNet TZtouch MFD's... right down to the control knob!" There's no denying the similar handsome styling, and doesn't it make you wonder if Furuno will eventually offer a color NMEA 2000 instrument display with the same standard DIN size and 4.1-inch color screen? That's 100% speculation on my part, but doesn't it make sense as Furuno finds itself competing with Raymarine, Garmin, and Simrad over the glass style helm that the TZT Series arguably spearheaded? The MCU002 remote TZT keypad, also now official and shipping, seems like another step in keeping TZT competitive.

  • Commented on Navionics SonarCharts, now via SonarPhone or GPX file, plus the Lowrance autopilot
    Henning, I think that Navionics hopes to eventually make the "+" subscription features of a user's chart card also available in the app, but right now they are separate (and working around Apple in-app purchase rights is an issue). So...
  • Commented on Navionics SonarCharts, now via SonarPhone or GPX file, plus the Lowrance autopilot
    Excellent Navionics Boating app news: Update 7.1 gives a year of Freshest Data and SonarChart use to anyone who's already purchased a Navionics chart region. Before 7.1 my USA app couldn't replace already downloaded charts with fresh ones and wouldn't...
  • Commented on Navionics SonarCharts, now via SonarPhone or GPX file, plus the Lowrance autopilot
    Norse, sometimes proprietary file formats are needed to capture the data desired, and I don't think it matters much if there is a way to get at least some of the data into a common format. You can, for instance,...
  • Commented on Gizmo's awning AC and Muvman sit-stand stool
    Hi Felipe, I got to try the Muvman yesterday in short seas with some quick rolls maybe 15 degrees. Worked well as I expected. As noted, the natural Muvman sitting position is feet widely spaced and firmly placed, which is...
  • Commented on 3M Scotchloks, is my love so wrong?
    Panbo loves you too, Raul! Bear in mind, though, that those IDC connectors seem to be the same as some of the Scotchlok models discussed above, including the fact that they are only rated for solid copper wire. Some people...
  • Posted Gizmo's awning AC and Muvman sit-stand stool to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Gizmo_awning_AC_cPanbo.jpgToday it's wet and gray here on a mooring float in Northeast Harbor, but we're enjoying a distinctly non-electronic improvement to Gizmo's gear list. It's a new awning that stretches from the cabin brow to the bow pulpit, letting us keep the hatches open despite the rain bursts. Yesterday, when it was sunny and fairly hot, the awning shaded the forward cabin top and the main cabin's large forward windows. If it gets really hot, I'm pretty sure that the combination of the awning plus the see-through "Florida curtains" over the other big windows and maybe a small fan will make the boat as comfortable as the air conditioning unit. Actually more so at anchor or moored, since we won't have to run the generator (that's no longer aboard anyway)...

  • Commented on Simrad RS35 VHF & HS35 wireless handset, testing pretty well
    So darn odd that I received a DSC call I didn't make myself yesterday. I hardly ever get them up here, and heard very few going 1,000 miles down the coast and back in '12-'13. At any rate it was...
  • Commented on Simrad RS35 VHF & HS35 wireless handset, testing pretty well
    Don, no clue on update schedule but will ask. Chris, will try to test wind and wet, may have a good chance during tonight's frontal passage. Henry, I haven't attached a hailer yet, and it may be a while... Barry,...
  • Posted Simrad RS35 VHF & HS35 wireless handset, testing pretty well to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Simrad_RS35_testing_GPS_source_cPanb_o.jpgIt's taken a while but I am becoming quite fond of the Simrad RS35 VHF radio and HS35 wireless handset accessory. Panbo first covered the RS35's nice combination of full Class D VHF DSC capabilities, NMEA 2000 interface and built-in AIS receiver in late 2012. But when I received a test unit last summer, it was quickly apparent that the radio had trouble interfacing with many N2K GPS sources (as you can read about in the comments to that 2012 entry). I was slow to return the radio for the software fix but now it's installed at Gizmo's lower helm and has no problem with the three GPS sources shown above and a lot more I threw at it. I've also seen it output AIS info over NMEA 2000 to every MFD currently on Gizmo (though there is a glitch if you also have a transponder, explained below). And while some intertesting radios have come to market in the last year, the RS35 at about $300 to $350 seems the VHF/AIS/N2K value leader (except for its sibling Lowrance Link-8 if you don't care about the wireless handset option)...

  • Commented on A new wind instrument for an old sailboat?
    Good point about 0183 use of the Airmar, Dan, but I wouldn't be surprised if the existing wires could carry NMEA 2000 OK. PeterH, it may not work well, but if I were in your shoes I might try it....
  • Commented on Garmin VIRB "action" camera, also great on a slow boat
    Nice! Garmin's excellent Homeport software for PC and Mac just became a free download: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/prod64242.html (Thanks to Brent B for tip!)...
  • Commented on Inmarsat iSatPhone 2, a solid satphone but here come Globalstar Sat-Fi & Iridium GO
    A disturbing aspect to the rather famous abandonment of the cruising vessel Rebel Heart is that one significant contributing factor according to the owners was that their satphone service was purposely and unfairly terminated just after they began conversations with...
  • Commented on Navionics SonarCharts, now via SonarPhone or GPX file, plus the Lowrance autopilot
    Understand your concerns, Rick, and note the SonarChart doesn't seem to show the ledges on the north side of anchorage very well. Compare to the excellent Google Map photo: https://www.google.com/maps/@44.2321265,-68.8080796,912m/data=!3m1!1e3 The crowd-sourced soundings collect in the Argus project are shown...
  • Commented on Navionics SonarCharts, now via SonarPhone or GPX file, plus the Lowrance autopilot
    So the Humminbird Onix 8si with AutoChart won the ICAST Best of Show in the electronics category. And sister company Old Town won best boat and overall best of show with the Predator XL fishing kayak that can be run...
  • Posted Navionics SonarCharts, now via SonarPhone or GPX file, plus the Lowrance autopilot to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Navionics_Vexilar_iPad_app_aPanbo.jpgWow. Combining the Navionics Boating apps and the Vexilar SonarPhone WiFi fishfinder seems like an obvious developement now, but there are so many marine electronics integration possibilities these days that even the ripe low-hanging fruit can be surprising. Announced yesterday at ICAST (PDF here) and available for iPhone/iPad in August (and Android later), the combined Navionics SonarPhone app means that a small boater can have a fairly sophisticated plotter/fishfinder for about $200, phone or tablet not included (and note the issue of screen visibility in an open boat). I was impressed with the SonarPhone bobber-style T-Pod in April and suspect that SP200 T-Box small boat model works even better. And there's more: The user of this system can very easily contribute their sonar logs to Navionics' SonarChart collection, which they can access (along with chart updates) with an additional $25 Navionics+ annual subscription.

  • Commented on NMEA 2000 Certification, in the Panbo crossfire
    Well, Bill, I'm not sure reverse engineering or downloading make much difference if the penalty is $400. Do you agree that buying the 0183 documentation satisfies a company's obligation to NMEA?...
  • Commented on Inmarsat iSatPhone 2, a solid satphone but here come Globalstar Sat-Fi & Iridium GO
    Thanks, Mark! Great to hear a detailed data success story like that, and also good to hear you've cruised so far. On a separate note, it's interesting to see how Iridium's flexible partnership sales style is playing out. I just...
  • Commented on "21st Century Waterways" -- have your say about the Future of Navigation in the USA
    Thanks Chris (and Don) for bringing up the VHF issues. I can generally understand the USCG broadcasts up here and they're good about keeping the parts on 16 short. But I have been frustrated when they give repeated lat/long coordinates...
  • Commented on NMEA 2000 Certification, in the Panbo crossfire
    Dan, I've sent questions to Johnny Lindstrom, but barring some revelations I think Tim correctly describes the situation. A manufacturer buys the 0183 documentation and uses it. NMEA members get a discount: http://www.nmea.org/store/index.asp?show=cprd&cid=8 There are no license royalties on 0183,...
  • Commented on Navionics Boating app, now with free U.S. charts!
    So while I'm enjoying the new Navionics apps and + plotter charts, folks with older plotters may be frustrated. Like my friend Charlie Doane: "Any ideas on how to get electronic charts for Nova Scotia that I can run on...
  • Commented on Garmin's GCV 10 DownVü/SideVü, a serious new weapon in the sonar war
    The arms war continues! Garmin just announced a DownVü/SideVü thru-hull transducer to be shipped 3rd quarter: http://goo.gl/lGXFKU You can also fit a pair if deadrise or something creates a blockage for just one: http://goo.gl/5zS0ar...
  • Commented on NMEA 2000 Certification, in the Panbo crossfire
    Dan, I'm pretty sure that NMEA's intellectual property rights has nothing to do with end users, and that that's not their intent anyway. That said, I'm hearing lots of surprise that NMEA is going after manufacturers who are using 0183...
  • Commented on provide AIS data to Icom M505 VHF?
    Thanks, Jim, but actually it is possible to set up a direct DSC call via NMEA 0183. Vesper has made it work with several Icom models, info here: http://www.panbo.com/archives/2011/12/vesper_marine_ais-dsc_calling_merry_christmas_again.html It's also possible to do with a multifunction display, as Garmin...
  • Commented on Inmarsat iSatPhone 2, a solid satphone but here come Globalstar Sat-Fi & Iridium GO
    So it turns out that Inmarsat is also getting into the BYOD (bring your own device) sat comms game. See entry PS about IsatHub, sort of like Sat-Fi and Go but with a much higher speed terminal that may not...
  • Commented on Inmarsat iSatPhone 2, a solid satphone but here come Globalstar Sat-Fi & Iridium GO
    Karl, I don't know how they do it, but there seems to be less apparent latency to satphone conversations than there used to be. I definitely heard that on the IsatPhone 2 and also recall it from the Iridium Extreme....
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