April 2011 Archives

Buddy's Garmin 740, big screens for small boats

Apr 29, 2011

That's my good buddy Jack aboard the 21-foot powerboat he's named Buddy. The photo was taken a couple of Saturdays ago when he had just relaunched the boat after an extensive refit, and I'd like to think that Jack is indicating his happiness with my electronics advice. He's a dedicated Garmin user -- and the man responsible for the gorgeous all-Garmin helm I featured here -- but he was thinking of going with a GPSMap 546 until I talked him into the 740...

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MTA: So what are electronics buyers investing in?

Apr 28, 2011

Last week Marine Technology Advisors (MTA) began publishing more results of the 2010 survey. This is the second installment:  Among a long list of market characteristics MTA tested for - and will be testing again - was the current rate of installation for more than 60 technical segments. We asked survey respondents to cite their current position with these marine technologies in one of the four states diagrammed below. What we found was a electronics market with a broad range of market development maturity across more than 60 technical segments. Can buyers and suppliers enhance their relationship(s) by thinking about their solutions from this perspective? Can users and suppliers of materially different technical solutions benefit from common market development strategies? We think so...

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Navico Broadband Radar 3G, better range & lower cost!

Apr 25, 2011

The nice Navico news today is that the original Broadband Radar BR24 scanner is getting replaced by a new model called 3G, which "delivers two-times greater RF transmit power and 30 percent more range and target detection." You can see the improved performance at 6 mile range on the splt screen shot above (click on image to see larger version). And get this: The new Simrad 3G radomes will retail at $1,700, considerably less than the original...

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MTA returns: Is 2011 a "consolidation year"?

Apr 22, 2011

In February, 2010, I wrote about how the little marine electronics industry could use some market intelligence -- often called MI -- and welcomed a startup firm called Marine Technology Advisors. MTA created a fairly dense survey and during the period when nearly 1,000 Panbo readers participated in it, we got to see who some our favorite sources are and what we were thinking about buying. Then, as MTA sliced and diced the complete data set, we got a peek at Panbo demographics on the site's fifth birthday and what I thought was some very interesting analysis of brand recognition and perception. Meanwhile, MTA was at work behind the scenes trying to market their analysis to the trade, and I understand they got some good nibbles...

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Panbo: surveys, comments, & Paris

Apr 20, 2011
State of Panbo.jpg

I'm headed to Boston and then a flight to Paris where my wife and I hope to enjoy the sights and also see our son Curran, crack drummer for Today is the Day, help marry "metal, noise and psychedelic rock" at le Nouveau Casino our last night there. Panbo entries may be scarcer than they've ever been during my six years here (birthday last week). But there will be an interesting new product announcement next Monday, and I have a few other entries more or less in the can, including some written by the market research team who surveyed us a year ago, before market conditions caused a hiatus in their plans. Frankly, my growth plan for Panbo has been slow going too, but I did recently compose some guidelines that might help make the comments even more valuable than they've been. And I'd appreciate your feedback on my draft, which follows. If all goes well, I'll be reading your comments about commenting on my iPad while sitting in a Montparnasse sidewalk cafe...

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Nigel Calder update, charts & HyMar

Apr 19, 2011

Nigel Calder and I talked non-stop for about six hours on Friday (and probably could have kept going if we were younger men). He visited because he's working on a new edition of How to Read a Nautical Chart and wanted to check out the latest in electronic charts, particularly the mobile apps. I was happy to help with that, and I also got to ask some questions about Gizmo's systems and find out what's up with his marine hybrid project. I've always liked Nigel's chart book; while it's largely a nice reprint of NOAA's Chart 1 guide to symbology -- no longer published by NOAA, though available for download -- it also includes some terrific history of cartography along with analysis of where it's going electronically. I'll be particularly interested to see what he discovers when visiting the Chart of the Future project at UNH, which is apparently related to a new vector chart standard (interesting S100 PDF here). I was also pleased to learn that Nigel shares my enthusiasm for improving charts with crowd sourcing and even for 3D charting, and he's not a guy who's easily impressed with the latest thing...

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BoatUS towing app, & the iPad Grip

Apr 15, 2011

BoatUS_towing_app_and_Pad_Grip_on_Gizmo_cPanbo.jpgGizmo is still ashore, but she shed her shrink-wrap this week and today I had a few enjoyable hours aboard tidying up and fooling with some new accessories. One is the handy mount holding the iPad up next to the Datalux police car computer (which apparently survived the winter aboard fine), but first let's talk about the free and very clever BoatUS smartphone app showing on the pad. Some of the features alluded to in that link aren't enabled yet, but its primary function -- making an automated call for a tow -- worked very well in my test...

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The XTE issue, autopilot behavior & electronics dollars

Apr 13, 2011

All those bodies boating in the rain represent a lot of money spent over a problem never fully "solved"...which may be why I let the story gather dust for many months. Two are representatives from Raymarine who drove several hours to investigate why the boat's new ST7002 control head and SPX30 course computer autopilot system was still making the owner very unhappy. The other two are employees of Wayfarer Marine, which had already put about ninety hours -- some of it uncharged -- into what had seemed at first to be a simple replacement needed because the boat's original Raymarine 300 course computer (manual PDF still available) stopped turning in one direction. Anyone with an autopilot, or concerns about the cost of marine electronics, might want to know more about what happened...

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Chirp fishfinding, Garmin & Simrad in Miami

Apr 12, 2011

Despite a fair bit of reporting on MIBS 2011 (Google search here), I failed to discuss what I saw during the back-to-back demonstrations of chirp fishfinding just before the show. In a word, it WORKS! All the writers -- many of whom do a lot more fishing than I do -- seemed to agree that they'd never before seen the target resolution imaged by both the Garmin GSD 26 and the Simrad BSM-2. And in some cases -- like the fishy wreck near the Miami Harbor entrance above -- we got to see both implementations of chirp in almost identical situations...

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IsatPhone Pro does data, XGate a must?

Apr 9, 2011

I briefly tested the IsatPhone Pro last summer, later we enjoyed the "independent study" war, and recently Inmarsat announced that the phone can now be used as a narrow bandwidth modem when attached via USB cable to a PC. But don't be fooled by the fudgy "effective data rate of up to 20kbps" language in that press release. Global Marine Networks (GMN) has extensively tested the IsatPhone Pro with its excellent XGate sat phone email service and, as the table above indicates, 20kbps only applies to (highly compressible) plain text emails. In fact, GMN's tech wizard Luis Soltero tells me that the phone's raw data rate is about 1.7 kbps, "a tad slower than an Iridium"...

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