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  #11  
Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

Rick as a side note how much did it cost to set up your system (notebook included). I am interested as a friend isdecided whether to buy a complete Raymarine/ Garmin system
or do it similarly to how you have. He is an IT professional so I am sure the technical issues he could handle.

Dave
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  #12  
Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Rick,

I will test this out this weekend when I go down to the boat. Hopefully it is only a localized issue.

Dave
Thanks, Dave. That's a great idea. That BoatUS MMSI number is supposed to work all along the east coast. It's possible that the tow boat in Philly works on a different MMSI number, and by calling the one that BoatUS publicizes I was dialing a "wrong number." I thought about asking the guy on the boat to verify his MMSI number, but he was so insistent that his DSC wouldn't work that he made it clear that he didn't want to be bothered with it.

So I would suggest that you and others who are still on the water on the east coast first try to call MMSI #0-338-04000 for a radio check, and if that doesn't work call the local phone number to ask why it's not working and whether the local boats use a different MMSI number.

At this point I cannot conduct any more testing myself because I am on the hard and, as I understand it, it's a violation of federal law to initiate marine signals from land. Since any DSC call would send out my land-based GPS coordinates, I would be an easy target for a citation. Even if that's not correct, I lowered my mast last weekend so my antenna is down.
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  #13  
Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

I think you just happened to find a moron. Happens to me all the time when I'm trying to get some customer service.

Try and find one of these guys who understands what a no wake zone sign means.
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Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Rick as a side note how much did it cost to set up your system (notebook included). I am interested as a friend isdecided whether to buy a complete Raymarine/ Garmin system
or do it similarly to how you have. He is an IT professional so I am sure the technical issues he could handle.

Dave
Dave,

I started by buying a Garmin GPSMap 640 on sale for $720 two years ago, but decided that I could get better features for less money by doing it myself, so I returned it unopened to WestMarine. Here's a brief rundown of my costs as best as I recall:
  • MSI Wind Netbook $350 (but I already had one that had sat unused for 2 years, so it really cost me nothing)
  • Industrial strength Bluetooth-RS232 adapters: 2 @ $58 each at USConverters.
  • RAM Mount Toughtray kit for attaching to pedestal guard $80
  • 4-port network box ~$7 at Radio Shack
  • 2 RS-232 D-sub female plugs ~$5 each
  • OpenCPN chartplotter software: free online
  • NOAA charts: free online

I chose to use Bluetooth because I wanted to be able to put it anywhere on the boat without wires hanging around. You could do a wired hookup using USB-Serial connectors instead, and those connectors can be found for as little as $2 each. Many people are doing WiFi connections also, but that was more complicated and the power draw would be more than the Bluetooth adapters.

This setup gives me nice features that you can't get with a standard chartplotter. For instance, the RAM mount allows me to swivel the computer to view from anywhere in the cockpit. The boat is small enough that it helps to sit on the windward side when heeling, so I can turn the screen sideways toward me. Not much heeling in this pic, but you can see the netbook facing sideways:



Another thing that I like is that the GPS and AIS Bluetooth signals are "part of the boat." By that I mean that I can bring any Bluetooth-enabled laptop, tablet, cell phone, etc onto the boat and with appropriate software I have the ability to track these signals. Also, the GPS receiver is hardwired to the radio and on the same 12v circuit, so if the radio is on it always has GPS feeding the DSC. If the Netbook chartplotter dies, the GPS will still work independently of that, ensuring that the DSC function is always fully capable.

What I like most is the ability to run OpenCPN twice in side-by-side windows. One window is zoomed in to see local obstacles, the other one is zoomed out to see AIS vessels:

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Last edited by TakeFive; 11-15-2012 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

Ahh ok. The new chartplotters have wireless and bluetooth and can be used with a IPAD or Droid anywhere on the boat.

Do you have a way of protecting to use in "weather"
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Ahh ok. The new chartplotters have wireless and bluetooth and can be used with a IPAD or Droid anywhere on the boat.

Do you have a way of protecting to use in "weather"
I have a TPU membrane over the keyboard that protects from occasional raindrops. Otherwise I take it below into the cabin. My Oregon 400c handheld (which you can see mounted on the pedestal guard) works in works in wet weather.

I don't think iOS or Android apps display AIS targets yet, and I doubt they'll ever do split screen like a Windows or Linux laptop. (marinetraffic.com doesn't pass muster for real-time navigation.) The split screen is great, because I can just focus on sailing without ever touching the computer to zoom in or out.

[Correction: I realize that Android and iOS have some apps that will duplicate the displays of other computers, so it may be possible to use those apps to display AIS targets.]
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Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC



Rick, that picture actually scares me. My experience on the Delaware was conditions didn't get as lumpy as I see on the Bay, but I'd be afraid of falling into the laptop in rough conditions or in a lot of confused wakes - which wouldn't feel good for me or the laptop.

And what about spray? We had a night last summer where I had water coming over the dodger and smacking me in the chest at the wheel for over an hour (OK so we didn't pick the *best* day for a trip up to Martell's but it WAS fun ).

That night my little Garmin 441S got drenched, but I was glad I had it coming into the channel at night with thunderstorms all around us. I'll eventually go to a Garmin 740 but I don't think I'd want to go much bigger.

Don't you find the laptop gets in the way moving around the cockpit? I can't imagine it would stand up to that kind of drenching.

Jim
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Last edited by JimMcGee; 11-15-2012 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

Marine Traffic is an AIS app for Androiu.
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

Marine Traffic is an AIS app for Android.
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Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Boo TowBoatUS! They don't connect their own DSC

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Marine Traffic is an AIS app for Android.
As I said in my prior post, MarineTraffic is not a navigation quality tool. MarineTraffic uses a network of land-based stations manned by hobbyists at their homes. There can be blackout zones when the stations go down, and there can be time delays in their updates. When a vessel is moving 15 knots up the river, a delay of 4 minutes equates to a nautical mile. That's the difference between being able to tack across the channel and encountering a very uncomfortable situation.

I have confirmed this from side-by-side comparison of my real-time AIS reception with the MarineTraffic app on my phone.

MarineTraffic a nice novelty for looking up pictures and port history of boats, but do not use MarineTraffic for real time navigation!
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1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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