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Something new in GPS's

 
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merwin10
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Location: Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:33 pm    Post subject: Something new in GPS's Reply with quote

Ok we old timers have gone from compass headings and dead reckoning to radio direction finders, to Loran A, to Loran C, GPS positions, to Chart plotters. Over the time one thing has remained constant that what you see on a chart is not accurate and may be misleading so you had to be ever vigilant of your position that is up to now.

There is a new kid in town and it is being sponsored by NOAA. Still a few years away for the full functioning charts in all area but there are some, New England, that have charts ready. To call them charts is a mis representation they are a database called ENC. This format has been around a while but the features have not been used. The next big step in GPS chart plotter evolution is the function of this data base.

How would like a talking GPS to say “please change course in 1 NM to heading 210 to avoid grounding". That is what is what is coming in the future. The chart plotter is programmed with your boats specifications and is able to look ahead and see dangers. It can even look ahead and see that you are going to make a course change that will steer away from danger, so it won't make a danger call.

Future systems can be coupled with radar and multi target ARPA it could call out collision avoidance with other boats. With AIS on board it could even tell you the name of the boat you are about to hit and combined with VHF DSC can make a call to the boat on its intentions to avoid the collision.

Sounds like Star trek will it is not that far off all the pieces are in place and now it is up to the programmers to tie it all together and have enough computing power to handle it.

"Ok Scotty beam me to Nantucket."

Mike -
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rebait
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Location: Bayville, N.J.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike ,

The technology is there. Recently, My manager and I used his vehicle and it had a gps unit that we are trying out. We entered our destination, and it told us when and where to turn, plus when to slow down. It also has the ability to be tracked by a dispacher in case of a medical emergency or another incident. I figure that when the demand for the current gps and chart plotters that the manufacturers have in stock or after they make their profit from the investment in today's technology, similar units like you mention will be available at resonable prices.

John
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changeofpace
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Location: New Haven CT - Long Island Sound

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I'm drooling at the mouth, I need to update my old electronics, so I got a new digital depth finder and am looking for a combo fishfinder/gps unit. I'm also toying with the idea of going whole hog and just adding the radar too. Anybody have any suggestions?
Terry
ps, Since I spent the time and money on the new engines,windows, fuel tanks, dc panels etc, it makes no sense to me to stop now, might as well boat (break out another thousand) or so
what do you say Mike and Leo and everyone else, what is the best deal for the money?
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rebait
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry,

This has been an on going discussion between my local fellow fishermen and myself. Back in October this discussion started one Saturday night in my garage. ( my garage evolved into an unofficial social club ) It all started when I mentioned that I was thinking about replacing my current fish finder on the Wahoo. We compared all our current units, listed what features we thought were needed and how satisfied we were with their performance. Out came the catalogs. Only one of us has radar. The rest of us are bay / coastal fishermen. We all have chart plotters, different brands, we were all satisfied. Fish / finders depth finders was another story. The most satisfied were the owners of Lowrance / Eagle units. If you are looking to tie everything together, the LowranceNET is an interesting concept. The chart plotters and combo units are NauticPath and Navionics compatable. A point brought up was to buy a combo unit or a seperate fish finder and a seperate chart plotter / gps. General consensus : If you have the room, buy the seperate units,because if one goes bad, you still have the other. As of now, the agreement was the best bang for the buck is Lowrance or Eagle. Terry, this should open up a can of worms, because everyone has their own prefrences and has had bad and good luck with all the manufacturers.

John
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merwin10
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My recommendation for combo units is two of the top end and expensive units Furuno and Simrad. I have used almost every type of unit on the market and nothing compares to these for ease of use in rough conditions and the best of displays and sensitive electronics. My choice is Furuno that is what is on my boat and it has never failed me. Raymarine and garmin and lowerance are nice but are not easy to use menu driven for things you need to do often. Difficult to use under rough stressful conditions and not very sensitive. I have been traveling with other boats that I had a clean fix on my Furuno radar and the other guys have not seen the target until it was on top of them. Yea it may have been there set up procedure but that should not be. Good instruments set up correctly without any fiddling. Take it from a instrument pilot the last thing you need in so so conditions is to be fiddling with instruments. You need to be on watch and be able to glance at the instruments and it tells you what you need to know. Simrad has some new models that are one button setup no menus to scroll through - that is a good idea and I wish more companies would do that.

Best thing to do is to try to use some of the units under actual conditions - This will be hard to do because most boaters that have the other units have them set up and don't want to start over because it is a pain.

One thing here a good instruments cluster start with the boats battery! You want a battery that is not the starter battery as it will spike when you start the engine. Imagine being in dense fog going slow and a engine stalls you go to start it and you spike the insturments that causes them to reset. Gps has to re aquire, radar has to go thru warm up procedure and for the next five minutes you are wandering around in the dense fog trying to get your instuments back on line. Not a good senario!!!! Not only that by spiking your instruments will cause them to break down early and have a shorter life span.

When you get ready to install electronics post me and I will help you with what to watch out for.

Mike - Rolling Eyes
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changeofpace
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input, I was looking at the LOWRANCE GlobalMap 7600C HD 10.4" Color LCD Chart Plotter with 20GB Hard Drive for under $1000 to use with my digital depth sounder and thought why not see if there is a good combo unit which can give me both GPS and Fishfinder capabilities. Then I started thinking about having radar capabilities for the run out to the race from New Haven would be nice since the GPS is no good in fog for telling you whats around you as far as other boats and such.
Like Mike, I want a unit which only requires a glance to tell me whats going on. Thats why I figured I'd ask here and see what other boaters thought about different combo units. I've read all of the posts on the other sites and all of the reviews from the different manufacturers, but If I'm going to spend the money, I want input from fellow boaters since they will usually give an honest opinion from their experiences. Mike steered me right on the fuel tanks, and I got tons of good advive on everything else so...
Right now I'm still thinking about which way to go and hopefully, some more boaters will check in with advice
Terry
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Rich P
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently traded in my Micrologic Loran for a Garmin GPSmap 3210. If you are looking for a GPS, I would recomoend it to anyone if you have the space. Radar I run Furuno and have no intention of getting the add on radar for the Garmin. I am due for a new depth/fish finder. The current is an old Eagle that I am sure is no longer in production. I might do the add on box for the Garmin for an additional depth, but will still do a stand alone.
-Rich
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merwin10
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry watch out for hype - Many of the so called equipment testers are nothing more than marketeers. They test the good points and don't mention the bad ones. Radar is a funny beast on small boats. Don't get sucked into more is better! In some cases on smaller boats MORE is WORSE! Watch out of the power sales gimmick - You know you need this 6000 watts open array narrow beamwidth radar - Fact in point a 2000 or 6000 mounted on your boat is NOT going to see any further. The reason is the curvature of the earth basically a radar mounted 8 feet above the water looking for a metal target 8 feet above the water - (how many boats have you seen with metal that is flat 8 feet above the water) can see about 12.4 NM that is it PERIOD.

Here is the formula - Range Max = (SQRT your radar antenna +SQRT of the reflective source height) X 2.2

What that means if your radar is a 48 mile radar and it is mounted 8 feet above the water to see something 48 miles away it needs to be a good reflective source 360 feet tall. Hmmmmm!

Terry I give a basic radar class particularly to new preferable before you buy owners. I go over the important factors and specification to look for. What the real purpose of small boat radar is "collision avoidance". I also go over the health hazards of radar as well as the compromises in mounting positions.

The course is about 6 hours long and covers some 60 slides along with lecture notes.

Believe me no matter how friendly the sales guy is he is there to get as much of your hard earned cash as he can get.

Just as a note I met a guy on another forum he had a 30 open sport Center console with a hard top. He had a small radar 2000 watt prefect for his boat. However he wanted to see birds 20 miles away to know where the bait fish were. The sales guy sold him a 6000 watt open array narrow beamwidth 72 mile radar. On the forum he was wondering why with his new powerful radar he still could not see the birds. My response was unless that new powerful radar has a way of making the earth flat your limited to about 11 NM and birds rarely have any metal that would make them reflect radio waves. He answered no it is a 72 mile radar. Then I explained the fact of the earth is round. His answer I just spent over $12,000 for this radar and it is no better than what I had. YEP! but the 6 foot open array looks cool!!! Needless to say he was not ever happy!

Hope this helps!

Mike - Rolling Eyes
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Last edited by merwin10 on Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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merwin10
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things that baffle people is how radar works - It is actually very simple radar is nothing more than a radio transmitter and receiver - Radio beams travel in straight lines at the speed of light. This beam of radio energy leaves the antenna travels out until it hits something then comes back. The time is measured from the transmitter to the receiver and computed into distance. The important fact to remember is that there is only one signal send then a wait period then received, then the next signal is sent and so forth. ONLY ONE SIGNAL AT A TIME CAN BE IN THE AIR FROM YOUR RADAR! Of course because this is electronics it is very fast compared to us slow humans, we see it as a continuous sweep.

Here is where the curvature of the earth comes in since the radio wave travels in straight lines and the earth is round there is a horizon where the straight line leaves the round earth. The further out the signal goes the higher the object needs to be to reflect the beam. SIMPLE RIGHT!

How there are certain specifications that will improve your clarity of the reflection to a point. These are horizontal bandwidth (think slice of pie pointed end at the antenna); Pulse width (think length of the radio pulse) the small the better to see objects close together; Pulse repetition rate (think the number of times in a second the pulse is sent out). Under normal circumstances the small the expected distance window is the shorter the pulse width and the higher the repetition rate. AGAIN THESE ALL HAVE TO DO WITH SEEING THE OBJECT BETTER! (Discrimination)

Obviously the higher you mount your antenna the further you can see! But is that what you want? As the antenna height raises the collision avoidance distance increases. How do you know what the collision avoidance distance is? Simple pick a metal channel buoy head towards it. Notice that as it comes on the outside ring of the screen it shows as a large dot as you get closer to the buoy the dot becomes smaller. This is due to the piece of pie (horizontal bandwidth) less and less of the radio signal is hitting the buoy the closer you get. Now as you approach the buoy keep a watch on the radar dot on the screen that represents the buoy. As it approaches the center of the screen (that is you) it will disappear completely - Look up and judge that distance. This is your blind collision avoidance distance where you will not see any boats crossing your path. Not to worry the buoy really did not disappear it is going to pop up behind you (lower portion beyond center of the screen) when it come on the screen behind you that is your collision avoidance distance behind you. This distance is important to remember when navigating a harbor or channel in the fog - JUST REMEMBER THE HIGHER THE ANTENNA THE FURTHER YOU CAN SEE BUT AT THE COST OF GREATER COLLISON AVOIDANCE DISTANCE - Compromise is a bitch but that is life - Also remember your collision avoidance distance increases as you come on plane as the antenna is no longer parallel with the water, it usually rises by about 5 degrees. REMEMBER RADIO BEAMS TRAVEL IN STRAIGHT LINES. Increasing the collison avoidance in front of you and decreasing in back of you.

This is just some of the simpler facts on radar that a small boater (less than about 60 feet) needs to account for.

Hope you find this helpful!

Mike - Rolling Eyes
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