SkyMate Mazu/mSeries all-in-one Iridium sat comms & Si-Tex NavStar Android MFD

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 26, 2017

SkyMate_Mazu_and_mSeries_intro_MIBS2017_cPanbo.jpgIt was good to see SkyMate return to the Miami Boat Show after years focused on commercial fishing, and the company clearly has not lost its touch at squeezing lots of easy utility out of skinny-band satellite communications. Its new Mazu/mSeries marine system promises surprisingly full-featured weather and email using Iridium's least expensive service, plus texting, SOS, navigation and (optional) off-boat monitoring. And, just around the corner in the Si-Tex booth, I saw a very interesting Android-based touchscreen NavStar MFD nicely interfacing with SkyMate's existing communications system...

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MIBS 2017: Furuno standalone 1815 radar, DFF-3D multimodal sonar & more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 13, 2017

MIBS17_Furuno_1815_standalone_radar_cPanbo.jpgWhile Furuno USA had a lot to show off at the Miami Boat Show, let's start with the new 1815 standalone radar. Recent Panbo entries about Raymarine's sleek new Axiom Series multifunction displays and Navico's ambitious systems integration strategy drew some keep-it-simple skeptics. But it is still possible to find single function marine electronics if that's your preference, and the 1815 may be an excellent small radar choice packing a whole lot of performance for the price...

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Navico Hawks 2017: "Full boat integration into one display cluster"

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 27, 2017

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The Miami Boat Show was loaded with marine electronics news, but first let's visit the Navico writers event held at Hawks Cay, Florida, earlier this month. Deeper still - Mercury engine integration, B&G Zeus PredictWind weather routing, the Halo radar VelocityTrack Doppler upgrade, Navionics SonarChart Live everywhere, Simrad's new 3kW 3-channel S5100 super sonar, and Lowrance Carbon (Gen3) MFDs are some of the goodies that were demonstrated and/or discussed. But I was especially taken with CEO Leif Ottosson's opening "big picture" presentation and think it's valuable to anyone interested in the future of boating...

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BAM! Raymarine Axiom MFDs, LightHouse 3, RealVision 3D sonar & FLIR M100/200 ClearCruise

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 15, 2017

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Raymarine and FLIR are coming to the Miami Boat Show loaded for bear. Those three new 7-, 9- and 12-inch Axiom multifunction displays are showing new LightHouse 3 operating software and new RealVision 3D sonar. Moreover, you'll learn below about how new M100 and M200 thermal cameras can give the Axioms some features normally seen on superyachts. BAM! The theme that seems evident throughout is modern interface and hardware design with value pricing and a potent dash of innovation spice...

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Nautic Alert, excellence in monitoring and control

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

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While my boat, thankfully, doesn't need six bilge pumps like the system above, four months of serious testing has left me deeply impressed with the Nautic Alert bilge, battery and GPS precision sensor platform. Yes, it also manages one pump or many -- probably better than any us ever will -- and it clearly informs a skipper of problems whether you're on board or off. Finally, Nautic Alert regularly assures me that all is well, and it's ripe for expansion. I think I'm in love...

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PanPan CrewWatcher, smart MOB beacon for smartphones, plus Sea Tags & Fell MOB+

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

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Does it make sense to use smartphones and tablets for a man overboard alarm and recovery system? I can testify that the first reaction of Sail magazine's Pittman Innovation Award judges was skepticism. Nonetheless we found PanPan's CrewWatcher so well thought out and potentially so useful that we gave it an award in the safety category, and then an independent second set of judges picked it for the Overall Winner. And truth be told, the finished CrewWatcher personal beacons and apps don't actually exist yet!

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Ebikes for boats, learning from a Sondors

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

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Folding bikes seem great for cruising boats. You can extend your sightseeing, fetch supplies, or simply get some rolling excercise. But I've wondered if a compactable electric bike could be even better and more fun. While that manly beast above is certainly unfit for stowing on even a mid-sized trawler, it's led me to love the ebike concept and taught me what a good one may look like for my cruising situation...

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Cartography lessons learned searching for the best charts of Cuba

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 30, 2016

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Pardon my photography, but the point is that many detailed, up-to-date, and well-crafted official paper charts of Cuba do exist. Unfortunately, they're not easy to own and the good work of the Cuban hydrographic service is also not yet fully available in any electronic form. In fact, many "current" electronic Cuba charts are based on shockingly old data with substantial chunks of critical cruising detail missing. But visiting boaters do have at least one good current chart choice, GeoCuba is moving into the modern world, and the back story reveals chart issues every navigator should understand, with a Cuban twist...

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

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on 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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Testing the Garmin Fantom 24 in a new world of solid-state radar

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 1, 2016

Gizmo_testing_four_solid-state_radars_11-2016_cPanbo.jpgIt went unmentioned at our large family Thanksgiving feast last week, but I am thankful that solid-state radar became omnipresent in our marine electronics world this year. In fact Gizmo's four test radomes now all share the solid-state virtues of near instant power up, low power draw, low emission levels, and long life (at least theoretical). They are all decent performing radars, too, and several offer very special features that only seem possible with solid-state technology. In this entry I'll try to sort out the field, while also sharing first impressions of that spanking new Garmin Fantom 24 radome.

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