Monthly Archive: July 2009

Garmin VHF 300 AIS, xHD Radar & more 13

Garmin VHF 300 AIS, xHD Radar & more


Garmin announced a slew of new products yesterday, the most innovative of which is probably the black box VHF 300 AIS.  I think that this is not only the first combination VHF radio and AIS receiver (aside from the mod Icom UK apparently came up with), but also the first AIS receiver with NMEA 2000 output.  While there are a couple of issues with N2K AIS target messages right now, I’m confidant they’ll be fixed soon, and this will become the way to go.  For instance, a Garmin plotter should
easily be able to “direct dial” AIS targets, buddies included, using
N2K.  But that’s not all to like about this radio…

The Gizmo Manifesto, & magazine questions 13

The Gizmo Manifesto, & magazine questions


The above screenshot is from the online version of my first Yachting column.  I wasn’t tickled that the print title, The Gizmo Manifesto, got changed (to better attract search engines, supposedly), but the text is all there as written, and I hope you’ll check it out.  I turned it in before actually taking possession of Gizmo the vessel, but my notions of what’s possible for her electronics, and fears of the complications I might run into, are materializing.  My June column on Monitoring is also online, and overall I’m getting in a happy groove with Yachting and the other Bonnier marine pubs I work with.  But perhaps you can help make these magazines better…

4th of July 2009, & antenna questions 12

4th of July 2009, & antenna questions

Gizmo 7-4-2009.JPG

Here’s hoping that American panbots had a wonderful holiday weekend, and that northern hemisphere readers everywhere are enjoying the boating season.  I’m pleased to report that blue skies are finally breaking out here in Maine.  Friday night’s harbor fireworks were pretty sad — even those of us out in boats could only see vague glows in the fog — but there were times on the 4th that flags dried out enough to flutter.  And isn’t Gizmo looking good?  I still haven’t gotten around to changing the name lettering yet, but as an electronics test bed — and a cruising celebration of independence — she’s really coming along…

Navico Broadband Radar, truly safer? 23

Navico Broadband Radar, truly safer?


Since we’re already discussing the Navico BR24, let’s take a look at an interesting disagreement that’s cropped up regarding its safety claims.  At introduction, Navico’s CEO called this low wattage solid state technology “a huggable radar” — i.e. without any radiation danger whatsoever.  But how dangerous are conventional magnetron marine radars in this size range?  In the July issue of PMY, the new electronics editor Tim Bartlett tries to answer that question, and concludes, “So rest easy. While your microwave oven could theoretically cook you, a
small radar can’t because it doesn’t transmit long enough or with
enough power.”  Navico disagrees… 

BR vs UHD, Capt. Kessler is surprised 14

BR vs UHD, Capt. Kessler is surprised


The weather here — a phenomenal run of fog and rain — has been great for testing the Broadband Radar temporarily mounted on Li’l Gizmo, and I’m going to lay a BR screenshot show on you all soon, I promise.  But I’ve realized that while I’ve used lots of radars, and seen lots more demonstrated, I’ve never had one on my own boat before, and I’m not dead sure that the performance I’m seeing is as amazing as it seems.  How convenient, then, that the indomitable Spirit of Zapolite cruised in out of the murk on Monday, complete with a new Furuno NavNet 3D system swinging a four foot Ultra High Definition open array.  That’s the indomitable Capt. Bruce Kessler above, trying to tune NN3D/UHD to achieve as crisp and detailed an image of Camden Inner Harbor as he’d just seen on board a 14-foot outboard…