Raymarine Quantum, solid-state CHIRP pulse compression radar in radome form!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 6, 2016

Raymarine_Quantum_solid_state_radome_cPanbo.jpgWow, Raymarine is kicking off the new marine electronics year in grand style. Debuting today online (and at the New York Boat Show) is the Quantum Q24C solid-state radar seen above. While Ray apparently managed to keep this product a deep secret -- I only heard about it yesterday afternoon -- it appears to be thoroughly developed and near ready to ship. In fact, you'll see that the install manual is already available, and I understand that the production line is rolling, with first deliveries expected around the time of the Miami Boat Show. I won't get to see Quantum 24-mile CHIRP radar in action until then, but I was definitely impressed with yesterday's briefing...

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Autorouting: Navionics new Dock-to-Dock kicks it up a big notch

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 31, 2015

Navionics_Dock-to-Dock_AR_Gloucester_cPanbo.jpgLet's end 2015 with some new technology that will really make a difference, I think. It's Navionics' new Dock-to-dock autorouting system, and it may not be getting the recognition it deserves because Navionics already offered autorouting that was only marginally useful (like the others I've tried). Dock-to-dock is not perfect, but it still strikes me as a quantum leap improvement that many boaters are going to appreciate...

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Underwater lights, Lumishore EOS blazes trail

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 21, 2015

Lumishore_EOS_Mini_controller_aPanbo.jpgLet's talk about the pleasures of lighting on this shortest day of the year (at least on this side of the equator). Not that many boats have underwater lights (yet), but it is a highly dynamic and competitive sector nonetheless. Every year it seems like multiple manufacturers are offering greater LED brightness in more rugged fixtures with yet further advanced features and nicer controls at less cost in money, electricity, and install hassle. One product family that shows many such areas of improvement is the new EOS Surface Mount system from Lumishore, a company which seems to be leading the pack, at least currently...

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

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on 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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TBF: Spinlock, Humphree, Actisense, Victron, GC Rigging, and Minn Kota's must see

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 11, 2015

Spinlock_Lume-on_DAME_winner_cPanbo.jpgIt's easy to understand and appreciate Spinlock's new Lume-On lifejacket illumination lights. The $20 pair should stick easily to the underside of any inflatable bladder (as long as you can get access) and then use the bladder's translucence to nicely diffuse their flashing LEDs if and when they are water activated. It seems a small cost in money, weight, and hassle for an added aid to person overboard recovery, and thus Lume-On won a 2015 DAME Award in the safety category. It also shared the overall DAME award (the Grand DAME?)...

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Raymarine AIS intercept graphics, better collision avoidance?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on 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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MARPA on small radars, is Navico 4G especially bad?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 3, 2015

Simrad_4G_radar_MARPA_in_2011_cPanbo.jpgDoes Navico 4G radar (branded as Simrad, Lowrance, or B&G) have a "ridiculously broken MARPA" function? I've heard similar words from three different 4G owners in the last few weeks, and that's enough to interrupt the boat show and summer testing entries I'm way behind on. I don't have a definitive answer, however, plus I'm skeptical that Navico's MARPA is especially bad because in my experience all small radar Mini Automatic Radar Plotting Aids are somewhat flaky for what seem like fairly obvious reasons...

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Digital Switching: Raymarine, Empirbus, Simrad, Naviops, Offshore, Octoplex, Garmin and CZone

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 30, 2015

Raymarine_digital_switching_FLIBS2015_cPanbo.jpg

Digital switching is one of the most intriguing aspects of modern marine electronics, but also one of the most mysterious. At FLIBS, for instance, I wasn't the only boater jealously admiring sexy screens like the one above running on a Raymarine gS15 multifunction display. But when you try figuring out how you can get this elegant level of system control and monitoring onto your boat, you'll eventually realize that there is a complex conglomeration of hardware and software behind it, and it's usually under marketed and lightly documented. In fact, the whole concept still mainly makes sense for new and higher end boats, because it's an expensive and entirely different way of doing things, and those builders remain understandably cautious about adopting it. Nonetheless -- and another sign of a re-invigorated recreational marine industry -- I detected lots of digital switching progress at the fall shows...

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Sailing @ METS 2015: Anemomind, Astra, LCJ Capteurs, Garmin, Harken & Edson

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 24, 2015

METS2015_Anemomind_cPanbo.jpgXavier Righetti and Julien Pilet pose in their first METS stand with the three tangible elements of Anemomind. The white box contains a fast GPS receiver plus barometric pressure and 9-axis inertial motion sensors, as well as NMEA 0183/2000 ports, WiFi, Bluetooth, and lots of computing power. The connected app delivers wind, boat speed, and percentage of target speed attained, and it also passes the data along with notes and photos to the Anemomind cloud for near realtime race analysis. That's all good, but the special sauce is less tangible...

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FLIBS 2015: Telemar superyacht helm, Hatteland 55-inch Chart Table, and Triton luxury submarines

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 12, 2015

Hatteland_Series_X_55_inch_chart_table_cPanbo.jpgImagine running Coastal Explorer, or your favorite charting program, on a 55-inch multitouch display with 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution -- also known as UHD or 4K -- secured to a sturdy base with pushbutton up/down and tilt controls. I've never so enjoyed tapping out a route, and the Hatteland 4K Chart Table is way sexier than that...

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