Panbo

Standard Horizon GX6000 bad and good news, plus new HX890 and HX40

22 Aug

What the heck? An AIS transceiver with a decent antenna up reasonably high can see other AIS transceivers fairly far away, but not 3,508 nautical miles! What’s actually illustrated here was a Standard Horizon GX6000 mistranslating AIS target positions into NMEA 2000, as strongly suggested by the photo below. But as bad as that glitch was, there’s already a firmware fix and the way the update operation works has further benefits.

Here’s the GX6000 I began testing in June photographed at the same time I grabbed the Garmin 742 screen at top. Note the realistic bearings and distances for vessels ...

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Must see: Draken Harald Hårfagre, with Viking electronics

3 Aug


Aha! The tar-smeared GPS mushroom antenna stuck incongruously in the bow of the mighty 115-foot replica Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre was not a surprise. That’s because live maritime historical research requires modern aids both by regulation and common sense. And, holy Leif Erikson, what a dim and dangerous history this vessel tested.

I didn’t get a peek into that cabinet as I took the Draken tour with a steady stream of interested Mainers, but I’ll bet there’s a networked Simrad MFD giving the lookouts access to the 4G radar and maybe a forward depth sounder. Which seems pretty prudent ...

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Will trade wars cause sudden marine electronics price increases?

31 Jul

A US versus EU trade war cartoon courtesy of the China Daily seems like a fit illustration of the Navico “2018 Price adjustment warning” recently sent out to dealers (one of whom shared it with Panbo). As you can read below, the company is trying to answer questions about what all the changing tariff changes may do to their costs and hence our costs as well as the business situation for everyone in between.

Navico doesn’t really know yet, but while presently “unaffected by these new tariffs” they warn that “if in future we do see an impact, then we ...

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Garmin’s ActiveCaptain marine business plan looks good, plus Eartha

26 Jul

On Tuesday I drove down to Yarmouth, Maine, to meet some of the ActiveCaptain Community team at the former DeLorme headquarters building that Garmin now partially leases for inReach and cartography development. The key news is that Garmin recently contacted marine businesses to explain the three-tier business “ownership” and advertising plan they intend to roll out in late August. I think it’s brilliant.

Garmin obviously took a cue from Google — no shame — with the concept that every relevant business on a largely crowd-sourced map deserves special status regarding the facts about their business, and that granting such status ...

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The continuing search for a great boat ebike, Sondors Fold edition

11 Jul

My interest in electric assist bicycles has not waned a bit since I wrote about my boat ebike research early last year. In fact, I now own five, including the two Sondors folding models above. I’ve also learned a lot more about what to look for, especially if you are tempted to cruise with an ebike or two. I will share the possible downsides but be forewarned that I’ve become an ebike evangelist…

Just before heading south last September, I received the Sondors Fold X7 above, and after about fifteen weeks of roundtrip and onboard marina time, I had been ...

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Yacht campaigning along RI beaches hits rocks, politician blames NOAA

9 Jul

Yesterday was tough for Rhode Island independent gubernatorial candidate Joseph Trillo. To me it already seemed like a poor idea to use his 65-foot yacht to campaign along the state’s summer beaches, especially with the huge banners and his “very, very big sound equipment” playing patriotic music and asking for votes. But then came the navigation issues.

This U.S. Coast Guard Northeast Facebook entry seems to report the grounding incident clearly, and let’s note that they politely named the yacht, Lady M, but not the owner. Many of the commenters — some of whom were trying ...

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New B&G WS300 wired & wireless NMEA 2000 wind sensors, no N2K mast cable needed

1 Jul

B&G just announced the WS300 range “of wireless and wired wind sensors designed for cruising and club racing sailors” and the first two models seem like smart designs at reasonable prices. I also appreciate the emphasis on reliability, as in:

“As the most exposed sensor on a yacht, the wind sensor is critical for instruments and autopilot steering. Reliability of these sensors is key and to address this the WS310 and WS320 have undergone rigorous validation. We have conducted benchmarking tests against multiple different sensors in over 500 individual wind tunnel tests and conducted over 200,000 hours of field tests

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Easy Marine Traffic AIS sharing from your boat, FloatHub is first

27 Jun

The screen above may look like an app running exclusively on the boat, but actually all that data, including AIS targets, was being constantly uploaded by Gizmo’s FloatHub monitoring system and then presented in near realtime on the associated private FloatHub website. So boat-to-cloud AIS relaying is yet another new feature in the exciting but confusing world of remote boat monitoring, though you may wonder why?

For starters, the new feature could have allowed fellow FloatHub users to watch Gizmo tangle with fast ferries off New London, Connecticut, as I transited that area a few weeks ago. But there’s lots ...

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Weems & Plath PRO 7×50 binoculars, customized for monocular vision

25 Jun

Several years ago I noticed that Weems & Plath had introduced a line of binoculars that seemed to offer good specifications and build quality at reasonable costs. But it took me until last fall’s Annapolis Show discount to take the plunge, and then it took some customization work to get where I hoped to. It’s an interesting story, I think, but to tell it I’ll have to reveal two more personal idiosyncracies.

First of all, and possibly not a surprise, I’m a bit cheap. And while being careful with my funds has generally served me well over the decades, I ...

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Standard Horizon GX6000 VHF & wireless RAM 4W mics, finally!

18 Jun

Many readers got excited when  Panbo covered the “coming soon” Standard Horizon GX6500 and GX6000 radios in October, 2016. It looked like SH was about to blaze trail once again, especially given the full Class B AIS transponder in the 6500. But then the story got confusing, even sad, as Standard Horizon’s many hoped-for ship dates failed to materialize, frustrating potential customers and embarrassing the company.

The GX6500 remains a mystery; while it’s listed in the SH 2018 marine brochure (PDF) as “NEW for 2018”,  the company’s U.S. representatives can only shrug their shoulders when asked about actual availability.

But ...

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