Since I had so much free time on my hands this weekend
I assembled my communications module for the boat. The admiral thought the flashing lights were "real purty".
It kind of reminds me of a miniature International Space Station:
After crimping all the RJ45 plugs onto the various components, I took it all down to the boat, hooked it up and fired up OpenCPN on the Netbook. After configuring all the COM ports it worked perfectly, receiving all the data wirelessly through Bluetooth. Here are some screen shots showing my boat on the hard at West End Boat Club. With a temporary antenna (since my mast is down) I was able to pick up over 20 AIS targets in my vicinity, pull up preliminary info by mouse-over and detailed info by right-clicking on a target. Many of the boats were anchored. Those that were moving showed a vector that represented their estimated location in 5 minutes (user adjustable). The yellow boat(s) are ones the meet some user-adjustable criterion for collision threat. (Still need to get familiar with the particulars.) When my boat is underway it will estimate distance and time of closest point of approach:
In addition to achieving a new height in geek factor, this will be a very useful safety feature in staying out of the way of shipping traffic in our crowded river.