January 2009 Archives

Panbo changes 1, commenting & MadMariner

Jan 31, 2009


Things are changing around here, and in my magazine life too. News of the latter will come tomorrow, but do please note how much easier it has gotten to post comments on Panbo (updated software!). If you click the comment "Sign In" link now, you’ll see three kinds of user authentication—TypePad, formerly called TypeKey and once the only such service available; OpenID, which is new to me and seems a bit cranky, but is open source; and finally Panbo’s Movable Type OS itself. All three will purportedly keep your true identity safely hidden, if desired, and using any will get your comment posted here immediately. While the first two will work at many blogs, the latter is especially cool as it will eventually facilitate forum entries—even user blog entries—and will include Panbo-specific profile information, like what boats and gear Panbots use, if you’re willing to share.
   There’s also good news for Panbo advertisers…

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Lowrance Endura handhelds, open source?

Jan 30, 2009

Lowrance Endura Outback top

Lowrance just announced a new line of Endura touch-screen handheld GPS plotters that look like they’ll give Garmin some competition in this niche. Of particular interest, I think, is this line in the description of the Outlook model shown (it’s the base model, expected to retail at $229 when it ships in May): “Add shared web community content including routes/trails, POI’s, elevation data, etc. in GPX format through drag-and-drop to the device”…

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Si-Tex T900, new standalone radar

Jan 29, 2009


Some boaters don’t like multifunction displays—the theory being that several dedicated devices will never leave a skipper functionless—and thus I’m sometimes asked to recommend a standalone radar. Which is tough, as the recreational models from Furuno, JRC, and Raymarine that I used to be familiar with all seem to be history. Well, check out Si-Tex’s new T-900

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LED cabin lighting, from Ikea?

Jan 28, 2009


Dutch Panbo reader Eric Criens (thanks Eric!) reports that this good looking LED strip lighting on his 25–year-old Midget 26 (still in production) was easily fashioned from a relatively inexpensive Ikea “Dioder” kit (see below and this alternative). Apparently you can just cut off the transformer and feed 12 volts to the two wires on the white-only strips to get the above. But if you want to go snazzy, Eric says the four wires on the multicolor versions can be fritzed with to produce a choice of white or red illumination. (Report back if you figure out exactly how.)

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SAIL Pittman Awards, one that got away

Jan 27, 2009


Above is the MS-IP500 head unit of the full Fusion Marine Stereo system I’ve been testing in the lab. The sound is impressive, even with tracks as wildly dynamic as Wetnurse’s Life at Stake. (Check’em out; my boy Curran is the drummer!) Overall, I think the MS-IP500 is so innovative that it almost earned one of Sail magazine’s 2009 Freeman K. Pittman Awards…

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My mom, a memory

Jan 26, 2009

Anne G Ellison 1978 Bahamas

Funny, I joke referenced mom in my first Panbo entry nearly four years ago. I’ve become a blogging fool since, but still don’t know how personal is too personal. Many of you have become friends, which is wonderful, while others are passing through in search of marine electronics nuggets, which is fine too. But if you’re in that latter category, you might just want to come back tomorrow, when Panbo will be fully back in action, and on topic.

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SafeLife, through satellite EPIRB/PLB testing

Jan 20, 2009

SafeLife sat test

Last May I wrote about the benefits of live end-to-end EPIRB/PLB testing and a company—BeaconSure—that I thought could do it for us. I also e-mailed BeaconSure at that time and never heard back, and really don’t know if that link is anything more than an abandoned business plan. So I’m pleased to learn of SafeLife, a company that seems serious about a similar testing service, and more…

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SkyTerra sat/cell hybrid, ooh-la-la

Jan 19, 2009


How’s about a module that can seamlessly communicate voice and data all around North America via either cellular or satellite radios, includes WiFi and GPS too, and can fit in a small handset or into a multifunction marine display? That’s what SkyTerra has in development, and apparently the company (formerly known as MSV) also has the first FCC license for such a sat/cell hybrid service, and hopes to soon launch two of the most powerful comms satellites ever…

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Raymarine AIS500, unique Class B transponder

Jan 16, 2009


Given the new C Series Widescreens and ST70+ displays, and my mid-week absence (moms happen!), let’s just call this Raymarine New Stuff Week. Behold the AIS500, which just may be the easiest-to-integrate-into-your-system Class B transponder yet. That’s because, like Ray’s AIS250 receiver, it has an NMEA 0183 multiplexer and a VHF antenna splitter built right in. Note that splitting 25w VHF and 2w AIS transceivers is more complex than just sharing a VHF with a receiver, and to date only the Digital Yacht SPL250 claims the ability (and seems to work well in my testing). And that’s not all…

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Raymarine ST70+, good idea!

Jan 12, 2009


Photographing a brochure leads to distortions (thanks regardless to Richard “Widescreen” Brain), but use your imagination to square up and sharpen the new Raymarine ST70+ image above. Then understand that this 6.5” 640 x 400 pixel screen is capable of showing all the SeaTalkNG/NMEA 2000 navigation, engine, and systems data promised in the original ST70, and I think you’ll agree that this is a welcome product indeed. But where are the control buttons?

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