PANBO

Simrad Yachting Launches Broadband 3G Radar

Simrad Yachting's New Broadband 3G Radar

Simrad Yachting's New Broadband 3G Radar

Simrad Yachting this week announced a significant upgrade to its “”broadband” radar capability with the “Broadband 3G Radar,” which increases the range of its not-so-old BR24 Broadband Radar.  I wrote about the BR24 when it was demonstrated at the Miami show last year and decided it was the real deal for short-range, high-definition radar detection.  At the time I thought it would make the perfect second radar unit for a typical trawler owner, who would probably have a high-power, open-array unit for long-range detection and surveillance.

Simrad's New 3G at Left, and BR24 at Right - Click for Larger View

Simrad's New 3G at Left, and BR24 at Right

As you can see in the photo above, at a 6 NM range, the new Broadband 3G has much better detection but appears to maintain the same level of high-definition target discrimination, compared side-by-side with the “old” BR24.  Although the folks who develop and program this technology really could be rocket scientists, the latest improvements derive mostly from a doubled RF transmit power.  You might recall that one of the really nice features of the BR24 was its incredibly low RF output, which meant that antenna placement wasn’t really critical anymore in terms of radiation safety.  Well, upping the power by a factor of two for the Broadband 3G really doesn’t change that; it’s still less than 1/10th the energy of a mobile phone, and 1/20,000th the energy of a traditional pulse radar.

Another really cool feature of this FMCW (Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave) radar is it’s incredible near-field detection capability.  Objects as close as 2 meters can be detected and displayed.  Ben Ellison noted that a demonstration unit he saw at a Navico press event last month clearly displayed someone walking toward the bow of the boat he was on.

Simrad Yachting says the unit will have a suggested retail price of $1,699 when it is available in June from authorized dealers and distributors in the United States and Canada.  And here is a copy of the press release issued this week.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Technology

Maybe You Don’t Need 3G on Your iPad 2?

iPad 2 3G Version -- Photo: Verizon Wireless

iPad 2 3G Version -- Photo: Verizon Wireless

Brian Chen, at Wired, has a piece today that suggests a clever way to avoid having to pay the extra money for a 3G version of the iPad 2 just to get GPS and phone data network capability.  The solution basically involves using your current Smartphone as a wireless hotspot. 

Here’s an excerpt of his piece:

GPS transplant

The Wi-Fi iPad doesn’t have built-in GPS, but if you want to use that beautiful Maps app for navigation, you still don’t need a 3G iPad, so long as you have an iPhone. It turns out that if you hotspot with an iPhone, the connection transfers the GPS to the iPad.

Just connect the iPad to the iPhone’s hotspot, then launch the Maps app, and you’ll see the blue dot tracking your location.

(We’re not sure if this works when hotspotting with an Android phone — if you can confirm, let us know in the comments.)

For the complete article, visit the Wired article here.

There are some questions still.  For example, if the GPS data is being imported by the tethered iPad, can it be used by other nav programs instead of the Maps app?  I’m betting so, but I need to hear from somebody with the gear who is willing to experiment with it.  My best sources for iPad info are Jeff Siegel at ActiveCaptain, Christine Kling at Write on the Water (an amazing writer/sailor/geek), and my friend Ben Ellison at Panbo.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, seamanship, Technology

More Night Navigation Models from FLIR

FLIR First Mate Thermal Imaging Monocular

FLIR First Mate Thermal Imaging Monocular

FLIR this week announced expansion of both its fixed M-Series and handheld First Mate series of night vision devices. They’ve covered several different price points now with the First Mate monoculars, which we wrote about here on OceanLines. The M-series also gets a new, less-expensive version that drops the low-light camera and carries only the thermal imager, which I don’t really consider a downgrade since the thermal imaging technology is profoundly superior for the task of night navigation and hazard avoidance.

The First Mate line adds two new models — the First Mate XP and XP+, which have the same 320 x 240 thermal image resolution as the M-Series, as well as expanded envionmental survivability ratings and still image capture capability. The XP+ model also offers the ability to capture live thermal video to a removable SD card. My colleague Ben Ellison at Panbo did a more detailed write-up of these new units.

Here’s the current MSRP info for the First Mate line:

HM-224:            $2,999
HM-224 Pro:     $3,999
HM-324 XP:       $4,999
HM-324 XP+:     $5,999

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Electronics, Gear & Apparel, Industry News, seamanship, Technology