Wireless & Apps

WilhelmSK app shows what Signal K, good boat WiFi, and smart DIY coding can do

15 Nov

Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 15, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Hey, those are all solid-state radomes showing on the 7-inch displays at Gizmo’s lower helm, and you’d see a fourth one running on the flybridge. Comparative testing is underway, but today I’m going to write about the rather amazing WilhelmSK app running on the iPad above. It is not only mirroring the Raymarine a77 screen, touch control included, but also neatly displaying lots of NMEA sensor data that’s been converted to the app-friendly Signal K protocol, thanks to Digital Yacht’s iKommunicate gateway. In my opinion, WilhelmSK ...

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If you want to sail away, free FastSeas weather routing can help

9 Nov

Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 9, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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If you’re looking for a real getaway this morning, or even just an online distraction, FastSeas.com can help. It’s also a testament to how much goodness a smart boater/coder can create for his or her fellow mariners these days. And while FastSeas is primarily an online weather routing service for sailors embarking on ocean passages, it’s easy and flexible enough that even a coastal power cruiser can benefit…

FastSeas_routing_includes_ocean_currents_cPanbo.jpgYou could say that FastSeas.com is just a website, but in fact when you click that Calculate Route ...

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Remote Boat Monitoring: here comes Navico GoFree Vessel/Track and Siren Marine MTC

19 Oct

Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 19, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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While off-boat monitoring was already getting better and more competitive, finally one of the big four marine electronics brands is about to join the fray. Navico’s GoFree Connected Vessel concept is not just important because it will be marketed and serviced worldwide, but also because the development team took the time to think out a truly comprehensive system that can potentially serve a wide variety of boaters in multiple ways. Meanwhile team Siren Marine has been building on their years of remote monitoring, tracking ...

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Testing Raymarine Quantum Q24 radar, solid on many levels

22 Sep

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 22, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Raymarine_Quantum_Q24_displayed_on_eS128_cPanbo.jpgThat’s very good radar imagery in my experience, especially given that it’s the fully automated output of a relatively small and affordable radome which can be super easy to install. Note, for instance, how well it’s separating the moored boats in Camden’s recently discussed Outer Harbor and thus usefully revealing the channel into the Inner Harbor (that many visiting boats have trouble finding even in clear daylight). I also got to see how well Raymarine navigation networks can handle dual radar scanners and how sophisticated their ...

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Garmin wireless wonders #1: Virb XE and now the Virb Ultra 30

31 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 31, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Garmin_Helm_app_showing_wireless_Virb_XE_cam_and_gWind_cPanbo.jpgThe multiple layers of Garmin wireless communications going on above may seem crazy, but they all work well and have endless practical and/or fun applications around a boat. Normally, for instance, it would take two people to align a fixed boat camera, plus running power and video cables. But I simply climbed up Gizmo’s mast, mounted a Virb XE with an adhesive base, and aligned it using the free Garmin Helm app on my phone to see the Virb video screen running on the flybridge GPSmap ...

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DeLorme inReach gets weather & goes to Cuba

21 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 21, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

DeLorme_inReach_weather_feature_cPanbo.jpgI’ve long felt that the DeLorme inReach is a valuable safety and communications tool for boats that sometimes go beyond reliable cellular (and/or VHF) contact with friends, families and rescue centers. But one gripe for skippers hoping to use an inReach as their only offshore communications device was the lack of weather forecasting. There were some necessarily crude third party solutions, but now DeLorme itself is offering easy-to-use and understand forecasts, both marine and terrestrial. I’ve just been testing this and many other inReach features in ...

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Thermal boat phones: Boat Beacon AIS, Flir One & the Cat S60

6 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 6, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Boat_Beacon_Flir_One_ship_test_1_aPanbo.jpgThe Boat Beacon app running on the iPhone screen above looks like a fairly ordinary AIS target display app that can also show your own vessel. In this specific example your 28-foot sailboat is plotted on center as you head south at 5 knots into the Solent with the ship Morning Calm overtaking you to starboard. But, hey, it’s pitch dark, the iPhone has a Flir One thermal camera attached, and Boat Beacon’s “Live View” augmented reality feature can now make use of this night vision ...

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Raymarine LightHouse R17 part 1: hands-on new weather viewer, WiFi & more

19 May

Written by Adam Hyde on May 19, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Raymarine Lighthouse r17 AnnouncementIf you have a Raymarine a, c, e, eS or gS Series MFD, you just got an astonishing array of free new features thanks to the just announced and available LightHouse Release 17 software update. In fact, I got the chance to try an early version of R17 on my boat Journey and have so much to report that I’ll divide it over two entries. In part 1, we’ll look at R17’s new full-featured weather display capabilities, as well as some advanced chart and waypoint enhancements, ...

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SSECN and MITA cruising info apps, Doyle Bon Voyage, and Cuba Ho!

26 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 26, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

SSECN_app_for_ICW_cPanbo.jpg

If I was once again in New Bern, North Carolina, about to cruise north with spring — instead of watching late April freaking snow fall in Maine — I’d certainly have the new Cruisers’ Net app loaded on my iPad and might well use it all day every day while I was still in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). It’s absolutely loaded with solid, well presented information, and I’m happy to add that the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) has done something similar for my local cruising ...

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ScanStrut Rokk Mini, premium marine mount system

22 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 22, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

ScanStrut_Rokk_Mini_cable_tie_mount_fishing_cPanbo.jpgI used the Garmin demos in Miami to also test the new Rokk Mini mounting system recently introduced by ScanStrut. There are many ways to attach a Virb XE camera to a boat, as I’ll detail further down, and almost all are less expensive than the system of three Rokk components at work above. But I doubt that there’s any mount with so much range of motion and yet so rock solid when you find the position you want. The Rokk Mini system is also ...

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