Category: Editors’ Blog

20

Internet afloat 2020, this should be easier!

Working from boat, cabin, RV, or wherever you find yourself is so very 2020, but for most of us, that takes internet connectivity. Unfortunately, staying online via a cellular connection has gotten increasingly harder. I’m baffled about why the year of nomadic work is also the year that carriers have made it so very difficult, but what follows is an update on what I’ve done historically, what’s stopped working recently, and how I’m trying to remedy the situation.

11

Marine toilet paper, Scott Rapid- Dissolving a winner

I’m clearly not the only person who can barely focus on anything beyond the endless onslaught of bad news — 2020! — and thus I relish the opportunity to deliver even a tiny slice of the good stuff: There really is a marine toilet paper that’s reasonably nice to use while also dissolving so well that it may never clog your boat’s head. And the fact that I used almost 16 rolls of a tissue that fails on both counts suggests…

12

Searching for a quality VHF/AIS combo antenna, Shakespeare 6500-WB found

A high-quality combination VHF and AIS antenna was on Gizmo’s shopping list this summer, even though I knew that it’s challenging to do both really well. The USCG Navigation Center spectrum diagram above tells the story (as does their detailed U.S. VHF Channel list): The marine VHF audio channels cluster around 157 MHz while the two main AIS channels are up at 162 MHz. That’s why dedicated VHF and AIS antennas are optimized differently…

9

Presenting Panbo Podcast

Pardon the alliteration, but I’m pretty excited to debut the Panbo Podcast. This occasional series will feature conversations with important members of the marine electronics industry. Our first episode is a conversation with Vesper’s CTO, Carl Omundsen, about the launch of Vesper’s Cortex VHF radio, AIS transceiver, and boat monitoring product.

9

Discovering new problems on my old boat, undersized wires edition

Have Another Day is a 2003 Carver Voyager 570 that I’ve owned for about six and a half years. I’ve probably taken apart more of this boat than most owners would, but yet — on a surprisingly regular basis — I still discover new things about her. Most recently I found some potentially dangerous undersized wiring in the gray water sump for the shower.

14

Inventor of Ethernet confused by his new Garmin marine electronics!

Bob Metcalf doesn’t deserve this entry’s title, but he’s a good sport and I wanted to get your attention. Plus, I did indeed spend a morning helping the Ethernet’s inventor get more comfortable with his extensive new Garmin system, and got reminded of several marine electronics truths in the process: Current systems can be dauntingly complex no matter who you are (or who designed them), Smart guys like this one are usually adept at…

9

FloatHub 2020: LTE cellular, web widgets & more

For me, the boat monitoring features of FloatHub started well and have continually improved since I first reviewed the relatively inexpensive hardware/service system when it was a 2017 Kickstarter campaign. So when I stripped the chaos of redundant test electronics off Gizmo last fall with a plan to put together a more normal “pick of the litter” system, FloatHub was going to part of it. But actually I just installed a new LTE cellular model and that, along with some nifty new sharing features, prompted this update…

8

Panbo adds a land yacht to our test fleet

There’s been a lot written recently about the strength of the boat and RV markets. I’ve struggled at times to understand why, especially with the uncertainty looming around all of us. But, I also understand the escape that a recreational vessel or vehicle can bring. In fact, I understand it so well that my wife Laura and I decided to add an RV to our fleet of mobile residences — the fleet now sits at two with the RV.