Raymarine Axiom & LH3, a little fishing & then the install

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 20, 2017

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There is understandable grumbling about how Raymarine's new 7-, 9- and 12-inch Axiom multifunction displays shipped (somewhat late) without several significant features that Ray plans to deliver with a software update at a yet unspecified date. But I'm fairly confident that the longer term story is rosy. After two days of fishing with beta MFDs in Florida and installing a test Axiom 7 myself, I'm impressed with both the hardware and the new LightHouse 3 interface, and I'll be surprised if the missing features and more don't fill in nicely. Let's take a glass-at-least-half-full look at this major product line change...

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LED headlamp beanie, your boat may need one

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 9, 2017

Ben_w_LL_Bean_LED_Beanie_cPanbo.jpgThis LED beanie has gotten a lot of use since a knowing Secret Santa gifted it to me at our family Chrismakah celebration, and I think it would make an excellent Father's Day gift for many dads I know. Or maybe you just need to buy one for yourself, in which case the magic words apply: "I need it for the boat"...

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NMEA to WiFi gateways: TeamSurv's & FloatHub

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 2, 2017

TeamSurv_NMEA_Tools_NMEA0183-WiFi_bridge_collage_cPanbo.jpgWhen it rains, it pours (particularly at Panbo HQ this "spring"). NMEA-to-WiFi bridges are quite useful -- mainly for getting basic boat data like depth, GPS, and wind into the wonderful world of marine mobile apps -- and there have been numerous choices for a while. But yesterday TeamSurv started offering an interesting and notably inexpensive new bridge on KickStarter, and the intriguing FloatHub bridge and monitoring system will join it there soon...

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Is it true news that "NOAA wants to stop making NOAA charts"?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on May 30, 2017

Landfall_email_NOAA_Wants_to_Stop_Making_NOAA_Charts_cPanbo.jpgI'm a longtime fan of Landfall Navigation and I'm sure their intentions were good when they emailed this call to action Friday afternoon. But please don't file a comment or call your congressman without looking deeper into the "news" that NOAA plans to discontinue all (paper-chart-like) raster files. In my read the end of rasters is only a far future possibility suggested in a recently published National Charting Plan that has some real meat (discussed below), and I'd be flabbergasted if it happened soon, or ever at the expense of important chart detail. Let's judge NOAA on facts, not fearful conjecture...

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Monitoring 2017: Siren, QuikTrak, DotMobile, Yacht Protector, GOST, Maretron, Boat Command & GoFree

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on May 23, 2017

MIBS2017_Siren_Marine_Dan_Harper_cPanbo.jpgThere was so much going on with remote boat monitoring, tracking, and control at the Miami International Boat Show that I started wondering if 2017 would be the year this technology takes off. I've long thought that many boat owners would really appreciate the peace of mind offered by good monitoring if only they experienced it. And while this hardware/service category is confusing because there are so many things that can be done in so many ways, wow, there sure are a lot of companies that hope to help you experience it...

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Glomex USA, Shakespeare and the search for better antenna cabling systems

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on May 14, 2017

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Recently I struggled installing a typical marine antenna with its included cable and annoying 0.71-inch (18 mm) diameter PL-259 connector. I could have cut the coax, run the cable, and attached a new PL-259, but I'm not sure that any human can install a cable connector as well as a machine, and certainly not me. That's why it's nice that Glomex now offers a variety of antennas and machine-made cables that use 0.35-inch (9mm) FME connectors. But for U.S. boaters, the Glomex news is better still...

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Garmin acquires ActiveCaptain, now what?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on May 11, 2017

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This morning Garmin purchased ActiveCaptain and I have no idea if that will turn out to be good news or otherwise. Will this large and growing database of crowdsourced cruising information change now that it belongs to a major electronics brand? I have no bold opinions but I do have lots of questions I hope to discuss...

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News+: Victron Venus, CruzPro SOG2, DY WindSense, Vaavud Ultrasonic, & Panbo "News+"

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 21, 2017

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Victron's new Venus GX is a dauntingly complicated looking blue box, but it could beautifully simplify and improve the monitoring and control of a boat's electrical power system. Essentially, Venus is a Color Control GX without the screen, which makes it less expensive, and it also has extra goodies like 3 tank level and 2 temperature inputs, built-in WiFi, and yet more I/O that hasn't been enabled yet. The Color Control has evolved (and been used) a lot since I wrote about it in 2014, and Venus can do more...

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Sabre 66: excellence in digital switching and control

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 17, 2017

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Frankly, there's no plan behind the Panbo trend of more detailed entries posted less often, but sometimes it does seem like a feature rather than a bug. For instance, Sabre gave me a long and impressive systems tour of their first Dirigo 66 while she beautifully occupied this slip at Yachts Miami Beach 2016, and while I didn't intend to delay the write-up this long, last week I got aboard just-launched hull #3 the day before heading from Maine to Florida at about 25 knots. So I have additional detail on how well the original system design has worked out - also impressive...

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MV Dirona: deep cruising, deeply shared

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 5, 2017

MV_Dirona_with_Jen_and_James_cPanbo.jpgIf there were a lifetime award for cruising excellence, I think that Jennifer and James Hamilton would deserve at least a nomination. I mean excellence at the core practical cruising skills -- seamanship and boat care -- plus inspirational levels of curiosity about the vast world cruising makes accessible, and perhaps at the top of my imagined award criteria: distinction at sharing all of the above with the rest of us. Visiting M/V Dirona in Belfast, Maine, last October was a treat, but you too can ride along as this Nordhavn heads to Ireland and beyond...

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