Panbo

Verizon LTE nirvana, can it last?

22 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 22, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I lucked out. Just look at all the data I’ve been slurping through my Verizon Galaxy Nexus cell phone while living and working afloat. Up until this month I didn’t think that using 21,482 megabytes on a $60 data plan was possible without repercussions — like Verizon throttling me down or even saying “bye-bye, buster!”  But apparently it’s perfectly OK for me to keep right on slurping at this piggish pace. Am I just enjoying a short term sweet spot?

When describing my three-layer data strategy ...

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KVH V3-IP Broadband & Thuraya SatSleeve

18 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 18, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Since leaving Myrtle Beach on April 1, I've spent a fairly ridiculous amount of time messing around with WiFi and cellular Internet connections, and not only is Gizmo quite well equipped in those categories but she's stayed within a mostly first world country (just kidding, North Carolina). Admittedly my thirst for connectivity is high, but I might trade a small body part for a system that simply put me online 24/7/wherever. That's the promise of KVH's latest TracPhone mini-VSAT V3-IP, and 'simply' is the key ...

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Gizmo’s air draft sensor & my Panbo 8th

14 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 14, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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This was Thursday's little challenge. It's what I've starting calling a "trawler bridge": a span high enough to let motor cruisers get at some good anchoring and/or gunkholing, but not so high that they have to share it with pesky sailboats. I kid, of course, but I had spied out a great little spot on Norfolk's Lafayette River (Google Map here) to ride out the frontal passage and it would likely be free because there's only 24-feet under this bridge at high tide. However, ...

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C-Maps in Coastal Explorer, never enough charts!

11 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 11, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Yes, it sure looks like overkill — and this shot doesn't even include the iPad that's often mounted here at Gizmo's lower helm — but I've definitely found ways to put all these screens to work. In this particular scene the boat is crawling out of a very shallow back creek (actually called Back Creek) where we'd hidden from the worst of a cold gusty low that had me wondering if spring would ever materialize. It was still gusting in the high 20's and that's only ...

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inReach SE, will the screen do it?

4 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 4, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I was so focused on finally heading north that I forgot the April 1 announcement of DeLorme's new inReach SE, even though one standard step in getting Gizmo underway these days is firing up the original inReach for tracking, messaging, and much more (as discussed here last fall). But my forgetfulness does not indicate a lack of appreciation for the new model (which I've already handled briefly in prototype form). To the contrary, I think the SE (Screen Edition)  will likely make a lot of boaters as ...

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Paul’s Cape Dory 25, just doing it!

26 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 26, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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What the heck? This morning In Myrtle Beach it was the same frosty 36 degrees as it was in Camden, Maine. I've got lots more install work I can do before heading north, but it's fun to check out the odd lot of early ICW cruisers who turn into Osprey Marina's narrow entrance channel. Particularly curious was this venerable Cape Dory 25 that came in looking like it had been knocking around at sea. In fact it had just come non-stop and single-handed from St. Augustine, ...

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Gizmo’s antenna mast 2013: FLIR, Rogue, Wilson & more

25 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 25, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I've heard it said that if you heeded all the manufacturer advice about antenna placement, you'd need a boat 100-feet long with four or five masts. I've been meaning to ask Panbo readers about how to best use Gizmo's single (though beefy) antenna mast, but instead I went and rejiggered everything last week and your advice will have to wait for the next revision. What mainly drove the change is the long term loan of a FLIR M-Series camera system, which certainly deserves the premier masthead ...

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The Equinox, celestial mechanics & pesky “True Wind”

20 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 20, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I'm not a pagan but my first wedding was on the Summer Solstice in 1976 and the second was on the Vernal Equinox in 1993. So, yes indeed, today we're celebrating twenty years wonderfully together (though right now about a thousand miles physically apart). But I want to write about what largely drove those wedding date decisions: my fascination with celestial mechanics, largely acquired through marine navigation, particularly the celestial kind. I learned about the apparent and true motions of the heavenly bodies, the foundations of ...

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MIBS CZone tour, enabling the car-like boat

18 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 18, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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In Miami Actuant Electrical invited a few boating writers like Ed Sherman, Steve D'Antonio and myself to tour several production boats that have chosen to use BEP CZone distributed power and digital switching systems. A highlight for me was getting to hear the founder of Scout Boats explain why he would do such a crazy thing. I joke of course — and there's an argument that you have to be a little nuts to build boats anyway — but Steve Potts (seen to the right of ...

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Furuno at MIBS 2013; CHIRP, FCV587/627, and NavPilot FPS8

12 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 12, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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When I was at the in-water powerboat portion of the Miami show before it opened one morning, I discovered Furuno marketing manager Jeff Kauzlaric and product manager Eric Kunz making video. Of course I interrupted them for a photo but I was also hoping to see their long-rumored CHIRP fishfinder in action. But while it turned out that the big sonar screen behind Eric was not showing CHIRP, Furuno did announce the new DFF1-UHD during the show and Eric showed me the nifty NavPilot Safe Helm ...

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