John takes a look at the latest news on Iridium satellite phones and GO!, some real world reports from users, and finishes with some solid purchase and usage recommendations.
Electronics & Software
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John is back on one of his favourite hobby horses: tips for buying the right marine electronics for going offshore...rather than the right marine electronics to enrich the companies that make this stuff. And he wants your help on this in the comments. Complimentary Post
Should you buy a Navtex? There are alternatives, but there are also trade-offs.
It's amazing how much great information our readers can impart in the comments. In this post I summarize the results of our last post. Don't miss it, you will learn a lot, as I did.
Almost all of us are now very reliant on electronic navigation systems. And that brings up the question of hardware redundancy and chart backup. A reader's question got me thinking about that. Here's my best take on the problem, together with an appeal for help.
I was just reading an article on the NMEA 2000 marine network standard over at the excellent Ocean Navigator blog. For those of you who are not aware, NMEA is a standard backbone cabling system that allows you to connect every piece of electronic gear on your boat together, regardless of what company manufactured each [...]
A reliable radar is the most important piece of electronic gear on a boat sailing in northern waters. In this chapter we discuss how our Furuno 1832 radar performed during our 10,000-mile Arctic voyage.
This was our first Arctic voyage since installing electronic navigation on "Morgan's Cloud". In this chapter we report on how it went.
I’ve written before on the potential benefits of AIS for small craft, and having used it far more since then, it’s time for an update. After being initially impressed with it, and the capabilities it offers beyond radar, has it lived up to that first impression? A good test was when we recently crossed to [...]
Seven years ago, when KVH stopped supporting our previous sailing instrument system, we looked at Brooks and Gatehouse but balked at the cost and instead settled on a new NX2 system from Nexus at less than half the price. We like the way the gear works and find the displays easy to read, both at [...]
Sailing down the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal is generally pretty easy going– reliable northerlies make for steady downwind progress. The only concerns are the swell (which can close some ports), and the fog, which can be a real pain. Along the northern part of this coast, on most days we could see a [...]
Last weekend we had a pleasant break from our re-power project while visiting some good friends in Camden, Maine and giving a slide-show to some members of the Ocean Cruising Club. While there, our friends suggested that we visit Ben Ellison, author of Panbo, the popular blog on marine electronics, on his aptly named motor [...]
In these days of readily available weather forecasts and satellite- or HF radio-delivered GRIB files, it could perhaps be argued that the barometer has been supplanted as a weather forecasting device. However, in our opinion, that supposition would be a serious mistake. On Morgan’s Cloud we record the barometric pressure at least twice a watch [...]
Question: What do you use for time keeping at sea? If you use a wristwatch then which one? Answer: When this question first appeared in our In-box, I wrote it off as too basic to answer in a post; however, upon reflection (actually, John pointed it out!) I realized that there really is more to [...]
One thing that most sailors dread is poor visibility. Throw in high levels of shipping traffic and you have a perfect recipe for sleepless nights. The waters of the English Channel are some of the busiest in the world, and fog is a common challenge especially around Ushant on the French coast and the Channel [...]