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Editors’ Blog

4

Vesper SmartAIS MOB simulation, a little known & nifty test tool

I often use and deeply appreciate the bundle of clever features that Vesper Marine calls SmartAIS, but darned if I didn’t miss one. While the WatchMate app screen above shows some aspects of the Vesper collision avoidance intelligence that makes this my favorite real-world AIS plotting tool (among many choices), it is actually a built-in simulation with significant benefits…

36

Balmar SG200, a good battery monitor gets better

I recently judged the Innovation Awards at the International Boat Builders’ Exposition (IBEX) and we selected the new Balmar SG200 battery monitor as the winner of the electrical products category.  The SG200 combines the goodness of the highly regarded original Smartgauge with a shunt to deliver a more complete picture of what your batteries are doing…

4

Accidental grounding, familiarity breeds complacency

My 2018 cruising started with a trip straight up Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin coast bound for Manistique, a small town on Michigan’s upper peninsula.  We had something very rare, three consecutive days of flat water on Lake Michigan.  So we made the most of the conditions and ran all three of those days for a total of 300 nm at 9 kts.  We made it the length of the lake to Manistique without incident.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into Manistique harbor without incident.

13

Concerned about the Carolinas, searching for data

This great aerial image from Marinas.com shows the peaceful, safe harbor I so enjoyed while keeping Gizmo at both marinas. But New Bern got pummeled by hurricane Florence last night, and it’s hard to tell the amount of damage or how worse it may get. I find myself unable to think about much else, and while the quality and density of available information is amazing, I want more…

5

Two Bens, One great Panbo

Except for the possible name confusion, I’m very pleased to report that Ben Stein has become Panbo’s new Publisher while I get to focus entirely on the Edit side.  As you may know, “new Ben” has been serving as a Contributing Editor since January, we walked the Miami Show together, and it was “Ben S” who spearheaded the Panbo website rebuild that went live in late March. We’ve been working together closely…

8

USCG warns about LED lights interfering with VHF & AIS, wants test results

The USCG recently issued a Safety Alert about how LED lighting near VHF antennas can cause poor reception on attached radios, which of course includes AIS and DSC reception along with regular marine VHF audio channels. I’m surprised because I remember such problems coming up and being solved a decade ago, which was very early in the evolution of LED lighting…but…

6

Standard Horizon GX6000 bad and good news, plus new HX890 and HX40

What the heck? An AIS transceiver with a decent antenna up reasonably high can see other AIS transceivers fairly far away, but not 3,508 nautical miles! What’s actually illustrated here was a Standard Horizon GX6000 mistranslating AIS target positions into NMEA 2000, as strongly suggested by the photo below. But as bad as that glitch was, there’s already a firmware fix and the way the update operation works has further benefits.