TBF: Icom M93D, Garmin Quatix 3 & GNX Wind, Imtra Largo LED, and Navico makes ForwardScan more accessible

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 22, 2016

Icom_M93D_DSC_VHF_prototype_aPanbo.jpgI'm slightly reluctant to mention this Icom M93D announcement because it's only "scheduled to be available in the second half of 2016" with price unknown, but, dang, it sure looks like an interesting DSC VHF handheld radio. I still think that many boaters don't realize the added safety, tracking, and navigation capabilities possible when GPS is integrated with portable VHF, though the Standard Horizon HX870 (that Icom is clearly gunning for) has been earning great reviews for a while. Also, note the lovely color-screen Icom GM600 fixed VHF "coming soon" with an SSB sibling.

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Kees' cool sloop Merrimac, home of CANboat and more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 19, 2016

Kees_Stadtship_Merrimac_cPanbo.jpgA memorable moment of 2015 was waking up in Kees Verruijt's attic guestroom in Harlingen, Netherlands. If my lens were wider, you'd see the thick thatch capping his sturdy brick home. And if I'd waited a bit, the photo might include one of the family-owned-and-operated cargo vessels that often motor by enroute to or from the Wadden Sea. What you can see clearly, though, is Kees's own dream boat Merrimac, which I would soon tour. I'd been following this boat project for years, knew that it motivated Kees's valuable CANboat work, and given that CANboat helped birth Signal K, I figure that Merrimac may earn a special spot in marine electronics history...

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TBF: Torqeedo Hybrid, transparent displays, DY Aqua Compact PC, Volvo screen repair & more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 8, 2016

Torqeedo_Deep_Blue_Hybrid_diagram_aPanbo.jpg

Let's begin 2016 TidBit Fridays with Torqeedo Deep Blue Hybrid, a new system I'd like to know a lot more about. It seems to be the most fully integrated electric propulsion and power management system yet, by far, and two independent gentlemen who know a lot more about these technologies than I do feel that Torqeedo has done a great job here. And it's not just for sailing catamarans 40 to 80 feet; Nimbus 365 Coupé Cruisers are being built with twin 80hp equivalent electric inboard motors and the Deep Blue components seem to lend themselves to many configurations. I'll know more very soon...

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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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