Category: AIS

Testing AIS MOB beacons, ACR's DSC feature especially

Aug 25, 2017

testing_four_AIS_MOB_beacons_cPanbo.jpgGiven my accidental activation of an AIS MOB beacon a few weeks ago, it seemed like a good time to test beacons again. I hoped to at least see all the major brand multifunction displays properly react to an AIS MOB test transmission, putting up the distinct safety message that I should have seen during "the incident" and that every owner of an AIS MOB should be familiar with. Potential beacon users should also understand the specific activation, test, and deactivation controls on their device, plus I have two newer beacons with special features worth examining in detail...

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Lessons learned by causing a false AIS MOB alert

Aug 8, 2017

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The grins tell the story: Mission accomplished! Due to an obscure but noteworthy electrical glitch, plus oodles of embarrassingly distracted seamanship on my part, a sizable U.S. Coast Guard team spent part of a beautiful Saturday looking for an AIS man overboard alert that seemed to be associated with my boat Gizmo. Fireman Joey Jansen-Hedrick and Petty Officer 1st Class T.J. Iaci (above) were the boarding party that had to deal with an owner/operator (me) who was pretty sure they didn't know what they were talking about. But they were politely persistent, and they were right...

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Smörgåsboat: The tasty testing buffet installed on Gizmo for 2017

Jul 31, 2017

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While I do think that Gizmo offers a bountiful spread of delicious marine electronics these days, a more serious title for this entry might read: "Guilt: All the darn gear I've borrowed but haven't reviewed yet!" So the plan here is to share some first impressions of various new installs and thus begin discussions toward future deeper reviews. You might enjoy clicking the yummy helm photo above bigger before we dig into the details...

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McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB, first of many, PLBs too?

Dec 9, 2016

McMurdo_SmartFind_E8_G8_and_G8_AIS_EPIRBs_aPanbo.jpgLet's first note that McMurdo's trailblazing SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB still awaits FCC approval and probably won't be for sale in the U.S. until spring (along with its more conventional E8 and G8 siblings). But McMurdo has definitely developed this useful combination of local and global rescue beacon, other manufacturers may have AIS EPIRBs in the works, and I've got some details about how they'll work. I also have some safety tips from an acquaintance who just dramatically experienced the effectiveness of a current ACR EPIRB...

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Standard Horizon GX6500: a loaded VHF radio also integrated with Class B AIS

Oct 11, 2016

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The wait is almost over. The Standard Horizon Quantum GX6500 combines Class B AIS and VHF transceivers into one device, an important first in critical marine communications that some boaters have long hoped for. It is not yet for sale pending FCC approval, but the expected price of $800 seems quite reasonable given the install efficiency, the integrated GPS/VHF/AIS features, and a lot more that Standard has designed in. The GX6500 would be an extraordinary radio even without the AIS...

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Summer fun: Camden, Panbots & Gizmo

Jul 27, 2016

yachts_RH3_and_RH4_special_opps_style_lr_cPanbo.jpgHave we reached the era when "special ops" makes sense as a superyacht style? I joke, but RH3 would be pretty imposing even if it weren't cruising Maine in company with the all-black, dual jet drive, 40-foot-plus RH4. Given the two other substantial black tenders on the boat deck -- and lord knows what's in the hidden arms lockers (ok, I'm fantasizing, but armament is a seriously untold big yacht story) -- this team seems ready to fend off a serious bad guy attack or invade a small island nation...

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Iris NightPilot, Humminbird SmartStrike, Vesper AIS update, and Icom 7300 HF Radio

Apr 7, 2016

Iris NightPilot thermal camera at Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 2015Stormtroopers will be pleased with a new value-priced gyro stabilized thermal camera from Iris Corporation. The Iris255 NightPilot looks like an accessory from Star Wars and includes some pretty hi-tech wizardry considering its $4,895 suggested retail price. Specs include 320 x 240 resolution, 8x digital zoom, and built-in heater with automatic temperature control for cold conditions. And since Panbo wondered if the Iris NightRunner PTZ cam "was too good to be true" in 2013, the company seems to have established itself as a serious player in lower priced thermal cameras...

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TBF: Simrad/B&G compact remotes, Ocean Signal AIS MOB alarm, Digital Yacht PC Radar PC & more

Dec 18, 2015

Simrad_OP50_B_G_ZC2_cPanbo.jpgAt METS it was good to see Navico out with a compact remote MFD keypad, which will be available soon as either the B&G ZC2 or the Simrad OP50. There will be landscape and portrait versions to fit different nav stations and that big rotary knob is also a cursor joystick. This $399 NMEA 2000 networked and powered remote includes a "high-decibel" alarm speaker and can switch among as many as six displays with the active display shown on that skinny LED panel just under the remote's brand name (which also shows red/green indicators when the keypad is controlling an autopilot). I'm hoping we'll get to try the ZC2/OP50 when Navico again runs a writer's demo session in late January.

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Raymarine AIS intercept graphics, better collision avoidance?

Dec 8, 2015

Raymarine-eS12-Pilot-Rendezvous.jpgGiven the recent strong interest in MARPA collision avoidance, let's look at Raymarine's new AIS target interception graphic overlays. I've only had a little on-the-water experience with this and other collision avoidance features that came in the LightHouse Release 15 update last October, but I sense that a lot of boaters will appreciate the intercept zone concept, plus it may encourage other brands to follow suit or work on other ways that our very talented multifunction displays (and PC charting programs) can help us avoid unpleasant surprises. First, though, I have one substantial gripe...

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Seapilot Vector Compact GNSS Compass, sweet deal that usually works well

Nov 10, 2015

Seapilot_Compact_GNSS_Compass_cPanbo.jpgThere's lot to report from the Fort Lauderdale Show, but the calendar dictates that I first write about this Seapilot satellite compass. That's because a startling 50% show discount is still available this week, so you can buy the Vector Compact-N NMEA 2000 model seen above for $500 simply by applying the code "FLIBS2015" in the shopping cart. The Compact seemed like a relatively good value at twice the price when I first discussed its features last November, and since then I've seen it perform pretty well on Gizmo...

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