Archive for the ‘navigation’ Category

NOAA mashup

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Have been waiting for this for a while, and haven’t had the time to write it myself: 

Yard day 2, new SSB

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Shanti is out of the water, powerwashed, and waiting for the new bottom. I asked Mike Haley, our yard project manager, to go with “1+2” on the micron extra (one layer and two extra layers on the leading edges), since it’s just as fast, less heavy, and cheaper. Next spring I can consider getting all the built-up paint off and either switching to new paint or starting fresh.

The mast-pull and re-rig estimates came in. The mast r/r was more than I expected, the actual rigging work was less, so it sort of balanced out.

I bought an SSB and tuner today. Rather than pony out for a new ICOM type-certified marine radio/tuner (for upwards of $3K), I bought a lightly used Kenwood TS-50, which is a ham rig that gets good reviews, and weighs 1/3 as much. I also got an SGC 230 tuner, which gets rave reviews (though their radios do not). I also put together an install list to do it “right”.

  • Group U1 31AH battery in battery box underneath chart table (also use for nav alternate power)
  • 2 way battery switch
  • 30 amp DC breaker
  • Battery cables (long ground, charger to switch, switch to battery)
  • Copper foil for antenna groundplane
  • Mini8 coax for radio-to-tuner connection with UHF type PL-259 connectors
  • GTO-15 high voltage wire-for-tuner to antenna connection

Weather and Nav Software

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Bob’s been chasing this subject, and I’ve been doing a little research on it as well. The standard seems to be the (expensive) MaxSea Navigator Pro, the alternative software (cheaper) appears to be Fugawi:

We do not currently have the capabilities of getting GRIB files via email (when they say GRIB via SSB, they mean GRIB via Pactor-based email over SSB, I think). However, there has been some talk around the campfire about getting a satellite phone, which would give us the capacity to get these files. If Fugawi would be as useful as MaxSea, then the difference in price may make the Iridium phone achievable.

For reference, here is a good article on weatherfax “alternatives”:

And here is a good background article on GRIB files:

SSB blues

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Good news and frustrating news on the SSB front. After extensive research, I think I can get away without mounting an external (i.e. SLOW) sintered plate on the outside of the hull. No less an authority than Gordon West recommends “starting simple” with the groundplane. That’s a relief.

But I’m having trouble finding a used SSB/tuner that works for me. I looked at an SGC powertalk 2000 yesterday. Super-nice people selling it, so none of the usual electronics-on-ebay worries. But the web is overflowing with SGC horror stories. Anyways, the seller couldn’t find the tuner, which I need. I made an offer, assuming she finds the tuner, and we’ll see if I end up with an SGC.

The other option is a used “mobile” ham rig, like a Kenwood TS50. Which has some type-acceptance issues, and the usual should-I-buy-a-used-radio heartburn.

Time is running out on this one.

Amateur Radio Dorkathon

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

So I took a morning off from working on the boat or sailing and went up to Novato to take two Amateur radio tests–the Technician and General class–and passed both, which had me pretty pumped up. This is tangentally related to sailing since the General class license is required to operate the Marine SSB in the “ham” frequencies. But it’s not really a transpac related certification. One cool thing is that I’ll be able to test my SSB install by calling Dave in Mill Valley on the ham bands, which will make testing a lot more effective.

Other than that, I spoke-shaved and cut up a piece of ripped teak to use as cockpit bench toerails for the driver. And I spent a couple hours trying to figure out the optimum balance of time/money/weight/usabilty for the emerency steering system.