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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > VHF Radio in the cockpit
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Thread: VHF Radio in the cockpit Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-27-2012 08:19 PM
hellosailor
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

Trust my life? Um, thinking of the shutdown on Millenium Falken. Or Independence Day. (G)

No, thank you, I don't consider recreational-boat navionics to be critical systems. Convenient, yes. Handy, yes, Mission critical or trusting my life? No, not to any of them. I've seen GPS go to lunch, independent of the hardware. And LORAN insist that wormholes existed. WIndows BSODs, Android goes out to lunch, and anyone who has used a Mac long enough knows the system bomb. Oh, sure, it reboots quicky, meanwhile it still crashed.

If I'm relying on electronics, I try to be that mythical "prudent mariner" and make sure there's at least two different systems singing the same choir song. And if there's only one, I try to make sure my eyes are out of the boat and I've got something else to rely on.

Trust my life? To some duplicitous silicon critter oftne made by and for exploited slave labor and robber barons? Yeah, I know, they only WISH they could be robber barons.

No, I trust my life to quantum physics, which gives me very long odds that the hull will not simply become porous and allow the ocean to come in without warning.
11-27-2012 08:10 PM
kellysails
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

Quote:
Originally Posted by asdf38 View Post
Hello, like I said, for what it's worth (perhaps not much) Bluetooth scares me if it's inserted in a critical application (honestly wifi does too but wifi in practice has gotten pretty damn reliable).

To your point, consider the reliability of an all-in-one Garmin chartplotter versus a PC running Garmin nav software with a USB GPS. Even though the custom chartplotter requires Garmin to "reinvent the wheel" for lots of functionality Windows would otherwise take care of, because they can control the whole thing the result is more reliable. I think we'd both rather rely on the all-in-one.
Hmmm, not sure I would trust my life more on a mediocre Operating System built for the masses "Windows" rather than a purpose built firmware specialized in navigation. Far fewer code paths to QA in purpose built specialized firmware, and no blue screens. IMHO.

Additionally, the biggest issues with BlueTooth is when there are a myriad of devices trying to interconnect with slightly different BT implementations. Now if you have a fixed solution, such as a single remote device connecting to a single end system from the same manufacturer, like Garmin devices to Garmin devices and Simrad devices to Simrad devices; it is very easy to ensure the correct matching and pairing work flawlessly. When Joe Blows BT implementation is of one flavor (chipset) is trying to reliably pair with Random Rons BT implementation (who uses a different chip set) problems can occur. Testing and validating specific devices is the only way to make BT resilient. Again IMHO.
11-27-2012 07:29 PM
L124C
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
Fixed mount at the Nav desk with Ram in the cockpit for us as well. This also allows you to use your eyes when speaking with or assisting the CG.
I had the experience of helping a disabled boat (lost steering for some reason), he was giving the CG bad information and the CG could not find him.
We were in the area and saw a boat that looked to be disabled about 3 miles form our location; no sails up and boobing in relativity big seas miles form any shoreline.
I made contact with the CG on VHF-16 knowing they were looking for him. As soon as I made contact with the CG the disabled boat shot off a flare confirming he was in fact the boat the CG was looking for. Had I not been in the cockpit I probably would have missed the flare.
RAM mic in cockpit allows you to see what's going on around you while communicating.
Well said. Pretty much answers the OP's question. If the disabled boat was communicating via cell phone, or you hadn't been monitoring 16 and heard the communication in the cockpit (if thats where you were), you probably would have been oblivious to his situation. In big seas, the shoreline might not have been "miles from him" for long!
11-26-2012 08:29 PM
kellysails
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Be warned. A good friend of mine was sailing in the Swiftsure race this year and found himself in fog, with shipping and race boats all around, when suddenly his chartplotter, GPS and AIS all died at once. They were all integrated and when one went down it took them all with it.

Personally I prefer multiple stand alone units that do NOT talk to each other. If one dies, it's less likely to take the rest down with it. I am willing to forgo the slick features of integration in favor of redundancy. But then again, I'm probably an anachronism because I've never bought an apple product.....

MedSailor
Yup, hear you on that. I keep a couple of gps standby's around and always have a hard copy chart for where I am cruising. I don't have a backup for AIS but I should put more thought to that. AIS is invaluable.
11-26-2012 01:31 PM
asdf38
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

Hello, like I said, for what it's worth (perhaps not much) Bluetooth scares me if it's inserted in a critical application (honestly wifi does too but wifi in practice has gotten pretty damn reliable).

To your point, consider the reliability of an all-in-one Garmin chartplotter versus a PC running Garmin nav software with a USB GPS. Even though the custom chartplotter requires Garmin to "reinvent the wheel" for lots of functionality Windows would otherwise take care of, because they can control the whole thing the result is more reliable. I think we'd both rather rely on the all-in-one.
11-26-2012 01:19 PM
sailortjk1
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

You guys have covered pretty much everything. Fixed mount at the Nav desk with Ram in the cockpit for us as well.
This also allows you to use your eyes when speaking with or assisting the CG.
I had the experience of helping a disabled boat (lost steering for some reason), he was giving the CG bad information and the CG could not find him.
We were in the area and saw a boat that looked to be disabled about 3 miles form our location; no sails up and boobing in relativity big seas miles form any shoreline.
I made contact with the CG on VHF-16 knowing they were looking for him. As soon as I made contact with the CG the disabled boat shot off a flare confirming he was in fact the boat the CG was looking for. Had I not been in the cockpit I probably would have missed the flare.
RAM mic in cockpit allows you to see what's going on around you while communicating.

One more point, they can be used in intercom mode. Now on a small boat this may not seem like an advantage, but I can tell you, it is a real fun way to play a trick on your wife . Hello, Hello, sailing vessel Julianna do you read me?
Sleepy wife on her 4-hour off watch comes crawling up from down below. "Did you hear that?" After she realizes what has happened she mutters something to the affect of, "I'm going to kill you.".
11-26-2012 12:53 PM
hellosailor
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

There have been a lot of different variations in BT. From the implementations used in the early Palms that were buggy as all getout, to the current 4th generation software which tends to be rock-solid. Although of course that varies with the vendor. If some of those products are poorly engineered, well, your engineer friends might consider that BT is only one aspect of that failure. (G)

Making their own protocol? If a decades-old consortium hasn't already gotten it right, how buggy will a new one be? With what kind of costs to recover before it can be implemented, and what kind of proprietary and non-interchangeable hardware and software, driving costs up tenfold again?

Why build a better horse and carriage, when you can just hop on and ride? Don't like BT? OK, there's WiFi, WirelessUSB, and a host of others on the shelf. BT, with standards for 10-meter and 100-meter range, and heavy support for simple audio devices, would just seem like a good place to start. Raytheon's WiFi networked instrument systems, another.
11-26-2012 11:10 AM
asdf38
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

For what it's worth when I think bluetooth I think about the buggy, unreliable and underachieving protocol that I've never gotten to work reliably for anything but a mouse. Also the protocol some engineer friends of mine scorn after developing a product that used it to connect to iPhones and Android phones.

Unless the device absolutely needs to connect to PC's or phones I'd rather just have them use the cheap underlying 2.4ghz radio technology that's now a commodity for the reasons Hello says and make/debug their own protocol. But maybe things have gotten better.
11-26-2012 02:31 AM
hellosailor
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

I think Panbo was recently talking about a totally wireless cockpit unit which of course means it will have to be recharged somehow anyway.

But with the way Bluetooth has spread in the last couple of years, I'd have to ask how stupid the marine vhf industry was if they didn't have a dozen Bluetooth-based remote head unit solutions by the end of the year. Which makes the "hard" part of the connection into a $5 chip and a ruggedized Android phone, something the Chinese can put on the market for $100 retail.

I still like a h/t as the "cockpit mic", the "TOO MUCH STUFF" rule just seems to kick in if I think about a remote head for a new VHF below.
11-26-2012 01:46 AM
chef2sail
Re: VHF Radio in the cockpit

Quote:
I assumed the mic was also a speaker, but saw a speaker was requrired for it to act as an "intercomL124C
If you wanted to set up an intercom below to the cabin from the cockpit you need a remote speaker. You cant talk to the VHF stationary unit from the remote as it uses the stationary unit. We didnt set this up...I just yell downstairs. When you get reception back you can hear it on both speakers ( wireless and fixed similtaneuosly) Does this make sense?

The wireless has a good speaker in it.
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