Monthly Archive: June 2010

Datalux Tracer police car computer, good on a boat? 43

Datalux Tracer police car computer, good on a boat?


My search for Gizmo’s navigation PC has taken a strange turn — as you can see above, posed around a Furuno MFD12 — and I’m blaming a Panbo commenter who recently crowed about scoring a 12v, fanless all-in-one Datalux iPix on eBay.  I’m close to crowing myself — and maybe a few of you will join me, as there are three left — but I could use some geek help to better understand what’s under the hood of this particular Datalux Tracer police car computer

Maturing iPhone apps, troubled ENC edition 18

Maturing iPhone apps, troubled ENC edition


Pardon me if I use an entry on the improving state of marine iPhone apps to illustrate my concerns about NOAA’s local chart screw ups, but it works.  Navimatics Charts&Tides 3.6.2 was the first charting program of any sort I’ve seen that includes NOAA’s first 1:20,000 ENC for Camden Harbor, but it will be confusing fog bound visitors soon!  Those semi-invented channel buoys that I first saw on the raster chart are worse here, given equal graphic weight with real navigation aids, more precise looking wrong locations, and all without the “Priv aids” label that might help a navigator sort things out…

Furuno supports whale slaughter?  Or Sea Shepherd BS? 42

Furuno supports whale slaughter? Or Sea Shepherd BS?


I don’t like what some Japanese companies, supported by their government, are doing to whales, but I’m smart enough to know that a reasonable alternative to Sea Shepherd’s nasty headline above might be: “Furuno won’t give (or sell) Sea Shepherd a new radar because its government asked it not to.”  Or: “Furuno won’t support protesters who ram Japanese ships.”  Or maybe: “Furuno wants nothing to do with an arrogant jerk like Captain Paul Watson!”…

Ella’s Pink Lady vs Silver Yang, DBE! #1 12

Ella’s Pink Lady vs Silver Yang, DBE! #1


DBE! is my new shorthand for “Don’t Blame Electronics!”  And the collision of Ella’s Pink Lady with the Silver Yang off Queensland, Australia, last September is a terrific example (especially as no one got hurt).  I first heard about it in a Panbo comment focused on the “limits in detectability of Class B AIS” that the Australian Safety Board uncovered, which I’ll discuss after the break.  But I sure hope that the Class B naysayers who may jump on this news actually download and read the full report first.  Then they’ll know that the AIS data collected by a shore station and shown on the above chartlets (click for full size) was available on both vessels, and could have easily been used to prevent the accident…

Simrad BR24PC, Free Range BroadBand Radar #2 34

Simrad BR24PC, Free Range BroadBand Radar #2

Expedition with Navico Broadband Radar.GIF

We had a false start in December when we first saw the PC charting program Expedition interfaced to a Navico BR24 radar, but as of last night this interesting possibility, and many like it, seem to be official.  Read the full press release here.  I think this means that Expedition and some other charting programs may soon be able to run a Broadband Radar, with or without a Simrad (or Lowrance?) mulitfunction display involved, but there are a few details of the plan and implementation that I’d like to know more about…

Alliance for Safe Navigation, & chart reality questions 15

Alliance for Safe Navigation, & chart reality questions


The photo is from a BoatUS press release discussing how it, NOAA, and several other organizations are concerned that many boaters are using outdated charts.  They’ve even got a survey going (quick and easy), and I bet the results will confirm their worry.  But while the new Alliance for Safe Navigation they’ve formed leads to a neat Notice to Mariners tool I hadn’t seen before, I worry about more than keeping up with NOAA’s chart changes…

Vesper WatchMate, hand’s on #1 3

Vesper WatchMate, hand’s on #1


It’s good to get some solid hand’s on time with the Vesper WatchMate AIS plotter, which I admired when it first appeared, then as it got a built-in receiver option, and finally as seen live in Miami.  And, yes, that is the 750 foot deep water drill ship Stena Forth now anchored in Penobscot Bay for an amazing warranty repair, mentioned in comments this week and to be explored further.  But for a really vivid example of why Vesper’s sophisticated AIS alarming is valuable, consider the Bermuda Race fleet crossing the shipping lanes last night…

Simrad Insight HD charts, & 2.0 firmware 6

Simrad Insight HD charts, & 2.0 firmware


The Simrad NSE10 prototype is back in the lab, and will soon be back on Gizmo at the heart of an extensive SimNet/Ethernet test system. Only now it’s running recently released 2.0 firmware and it’s loaded with the HD version of Navico’s Insight charts that was missing in prototype mode. I was particularly interested in checking out the latter as I’m working on a charting piece for Cruising World, and I like what I’ve seen so far…

RailLight Mini, another winner from SolLight 18

RailLight Mini, another winner from SolLight


One good sign: Recently, a friend who’d eaten at a waterfront restaurant called to ask if I knew “that there was a bright white light shining on Gizmo’s flying bridge?”  Now, in truth, Gizmo’s float is just a few hundred feet from the deck of that restaurant and the SolLight RailLight Mini  isn’t all that bright, but it sure is easy to install and use…