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Monthly Archive: January 2011

27

C-Map’s hyper harbor detail, & more charting/POI news

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Testing Nobeltec Admiral 11 is going pretty well, and I’ll write about it soon, but what really got me grinning is the latest C-Map Max Pro chart of Camden Harbor that came along with the trial software.  I’m a long time fan of C-Map’s C-Marina concept — in which cooperating marinas are charted in super high resolution — but in actuality C-Map’s earlier attempts at Wayfarer Marine detail were seriously flawed.  Well, not only is Wayfarer now exceptionally well depicted (with one major exception), but other improvements make C-Map’s the best visual guide to my harbor’s complexities yet created, I think.  Please click on the image above for a full screen window as I explain… 

9

ACR: new PLB & Iridium partnership(s)

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I think ACR has really advanced PLB technology in recent years, what with its AquaLink View and 406Link testing/messaging service.  But up until now it didn’t have a competitive response to McMurdo’s extra small and extra inexpensive Fast Find 210.  Well, hello ResQLink, which now lays claim to “world’s smallest PLB” along with a few features that may demand a response from McMurdo.  ResQLink has an antenna that the user can repack, for instance, which is one reason why it can do a full through-satellite test (with GPS) using the 406Link service.  Doug Ritter put up an early and thorough ResQLink/Fast Find comparison here — and note that the FCC disclaimer still applies, probably until late February — but do come back to hear about what ACR is up to with Iridium…

17

The Geonav writers event, part 1

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I’ve been waiting on some screen shots before writing about the “Geonav writers event” I attended in early December but, frankly, the gear demonstration was rather preliminary anyway, as the two most technically advanced products — the GIS multifunction and MIS instrument displays highlighted here in September — were not shown.   While I’ll soon have more about what I did see in action, I’ve realized that what I did learn a lot about in Florida was the family of companies Geonav has joined.  While it was clear that the brand would undergo serious changes when it was bought by Johnson Outdoors in late 2007, I didn’t really understand what that Johnson name meant until I received the presentation from which I clipped the slide above…

39

“GPS testing”…or do they mean jamming?

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This seems odd.  Yesterday the FAA issued a Flight Advisory — PDF here — warning that during a period of “GPS testing” starting today aircraft transiting the large area diagrammed above could find that “the GPS signal may be unreliable or unavailable.”  WTF?  But never mind sites like Engadget which immediately assumed that “anyone planning on using GPS in the southeastern US for the next month or so will likely want to make sure they have a fallback option.”  If you read the Advisory carefully you’ll see that whatever is being tested — which sure seems like jamming to me — will apparently be more effective at high altitudes than on the levels most of us travel…

28

NMEA 2000 bridges #2, Jeremy’s experiments

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I think you’re going to be amazed at how many NMEA 2000 sensors and displays Jeremy Anwyl has managed to install on his lovely sloop Tranquilidad, but probably not surprised that they haven’t all played together perfectly.  In fact, when I wrote the first entry on N2K bridges I joked that Jeremy’s soon-to-come guest entry on the subject might be sub-titled “One brave man’s experiment with a CANbus bridge, and the issues that drove him to it!”  The publishing delay is entirely the fault of your easily distracted editor, but the good news is that Tranquiladad did some cruising over the holidays and Jeremy has more testing results he can add to the comments that will no doubt follow his initial bridge experimentations…

13

My Phonaks; not just aided, augmented!

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Yes, I did try to put some “heart” into this photograph of the Phonak Audéo SMART IX hearing aids I’ve been using since early November (often along with that optional Bluetooth accessory).  My only significant symptom was difficulty understanding conversation in noisy places, but when tested it turned out that much of my high frequency hearing was gone.  I don’t know what caused the damage — that crazy Led Zeppelin concert?…the stint as engineer on the Gulf supply boat? — but there’s no denying the new sounds I’m hearing through the Phonaks.  I still delight in everyday noises like the crinkle of paper, and my music collection has come alive.  Plus I’m looking forward to the quiet anchorage sounds I didn’t know I was missing, I think that improved hearing is going to help me catch system problems on Gizmo earlier, and I know I’m going to be able to manage cell calls underway better.  And it happens that I’m aware of how ineffective hearing aid technology used to be…   

11

Icom M412, best DSC channel switching control?

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The Icom pitch for its new IC-M412 is straight forward — “Compact, Easy to Use and a Great Value” — and probably quite true. You could argue that Standard Horizon’s new GX1600 is even more compact, and its GX1150 even a greater value, but the bigger picture is that the two big VHF manufacturers now have small Class D DSC radios at pretty reasonable prices (though — darn it — neither has yet adopted NMEA 2000 interfacing).  But there are at least two subtleties to the Icom M412 worth noting…

14

Digital Yacht BOATraNET, something truly different?

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Interesting!  Digital Yacht’s BOATraNET — just being introduced at the London Boat Show — is a low-amperage 12v Linux server designed expressly to deliver all sorts of NMEA 0183 and/or 2000 boat data, plus centrally stored info and media, via WiFi to whatever assemblage of smart phones, tablets, and PCs are on board your boat.  And you won’t need a special app but rather just a new generation browser running HTML 5.  You can also connect a high power WiFi transceiver to BOATraNET so that all your devices can get online via the boat’s own hot spot when you’re in port.  Can anyone argue with Digital Yacht’s characterization of this concept as “revolutionary”?…