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Garmin 86sci Shout Out
Please join me in lobbying Garmin to add a simple GRIBS SCREEN to this wonderful handheld, joining now in-house GEOS, NAVIONICS, ACTIVE CAPTAIN, INREACH capabilities to make a near perfect device for the small boat captains (sailboat, powerboat, fishing boat, dinghy, life raft, wing boards, etc etc). The market for this would be EVERYONE!, a simple grib download/reader/display on a worldwide Iridium grid would be a game changer for the next generation: WEATHER REIMAGINED
I use this same unit as my primary communication method while on the water since it came out. Every time I move from one place to another I send a tracker for friends and family. I also use it in the dinghy as a chart plotter when exploring. Having weather would make it a fierce competitor to the other device I have aboard - the Iridium Go.
Marine electronics may be viewed as "boxes", each with a right-to-fail - each tethered to the user by fine print reserving unequivocally without ANY liability a right-to-fail, rejecting legally any reliance by the user on the electronic "box" function for safe operation of the vessel. Good common sense because marine electronics' most profound & common feature is failure (ranging from firmware conflicts to sudden death), so to deal with this reality and avoid life threatening events like shores ships storms, fail-safe continuous operation of two identical (redundant) stand-alone faraday function "boxes" is minimum professional safety engineering. In other words, parallel identical independent devices continuously diagnosing/confirming each others performance, especially critical alarms.
Take for example the new iCOM M94D, its features brilliantly & cost effectively make for the first time IPX7 mobile AIS-DSC fail-safe possible - two units per crew member standard with one in a static-bag, two always operating. In fact, the 94 ais-enabled-dsc obviates the transponder for most craft. And Garmin's 86 is very close to becoming the first IPX7 mobile "EVERYTHING YOU WOULD NEED" mfd with navigation, charts & AC, gps, sensors, sat-com, tracking, geos, and hopefully grib weather. Double handing is fast becoming the cutting edge, and a 94D & 86 clipped to each sailor belt performs a mobile fail-safe dual-redundant 'bridge'. The market for this is new and untapped, and the market size is EVERYONE, for everything from failback for fixed mount networked "boxes" to on-deck rescue operations to the dinghy.
The next gen ocean athletes we school love clip-on handhelds and their iphone, and in our 'tastings' the iCOM 93D(now 94D) & Garmin 86 came out on top - no close seconds. These along with the iOS APPS & bluetooth LE instruments made safe operation fun & affordable. The new sailboats are fast with very smart sailors who just need a simple grib view to make their own route decisions.
I hope these thoughts help wrestle with the right of lightning or salt air or water or gremlins, etc. to fail marine electronics. This just scratches the surface of what keeps designers ahead of lawyers, and these new handhelds raise the bar to SAFE = MOBILE on-deck in-dinghy in-raft in-water in-air eye-to-eye operation.
"In fact, the 94 ais-enabled-dsc obviates the transponder for most craft."
What craft? The M94 is neat but it's not even a good substitute for an onboard AIS receiver that uses a decent antenna to listen to both AIS frequencies. The M94 is only a single channel receiver, and certainly not a substitute for a real AIS transponder that transmits your position as well as receiving both channels.
Also, while possibly very nice to have if you go overboard, the M94 is not a substitute for a real AIS MoB device like the ACR AISLink MoB, which can help your mothership or another vessel find you even if you're not doing well:
GRIB weather + Garmin 86 handheld would complete effectively the first "mobile bridge" to backup fixed-mount bridges, which everyone needs for on-deck, rescue, dinghy, life-raft, and for the right of all the fixed mounted 0183/2000 stuff to fail. Good insurance, for example MOB, where our design team had to look at the reality of boaters' bodies (obesity pandemic, etc.) and all methods to get them back onboard - cranes, nets, leverages, etc., and evaluate the PFD actuarials of floating that body with a clear airway. The results were dismal outside one wave length at night, and line of sight devices (even wearing two of them for fail-safe op) were hard to justify trusting a life to. Staying within one wave length and being hands-on-deck proved essential. Obviously staying fit helps a lot with MOB, and probably not ironic that Garmin leads in fitness wearables - hiking, biking, sporting, etc., so the 86 is already an 'everyone' thing (i.e. trekkers of any kind need GRIBS).
Since the GRIB download would be simple wind/wave for the sector you are in (not menu driven parameters or routing), there is no conflict with the GO/Predict Wind, more a backup for your IPX5 stuff (and most of the connector panel backs on fixed-mount bridge boxes/devices are vulnerable at best).
The ICOM 94D is proven radio science from master class radio engineers - we require two orders of magnitude greater reliability for life-threat avoidance functions such as AIS. The "take three when going to sea" is fundamental, and three 94D's outperform any single device (no matter its makeup) by over 100 times, and 4 out of 5 of the major AIS black-box tech folks told us off the record that shipping industry throttles back undangerous targets and can easily/legally wiggle out of even acknowledging your transponder signal ever existed. DSC is recognized as a professional safety tool by coast guards worldwide, and ships respond. New mariners can now afford triple redundancy (hooray!) and not worry their parents. I must add that the fatigue cycle of coax banging around in masts with every pitch-roll-yaw & connector-cable attenuation, lightning, and much more certainly tilted the playing field (we specify two 94D's cradle operated to cabin-top antennas for dual-redundant independent-diagnostic operation). EyesOn mobile AIS DSCcallback is AIS reimagined, essential safety practice.
And certainly, PANBO, all thanks for considering our take on things, these being our shout-outs to the wonderful handheld sciences of APPLE, ICOM, SH, GARMIN, & the rest. I was most bothered by how to "alarm" for these AIS transponder signals - how to confirm the magic box is working, confirm 24/7 the signal actually leaves the antenna & always alerts the ship's captain. After all, Captain Ron taught us how important dual-redundant beers are.