Saturday, November 06, 2010

Standard Horizon 2100 AIS with Dedicated GPS Puck

The Standard Horizon 2100 decodes AIS messages from the same antenna that is used for voice communications. It can display AIS targets on the radio's small screen and also send NMEA AIS messages to a chart plotter. In order for the AIS to work at all the radio needs to know where it is. This means it needs NMEA GPS messages coming in.

The real way to do this is to send the GPS data to both the chart plotter and to the radio. I wanted to see if I could use a cheap GPS "puck" to feed the radio its own GPS data. Turns out you can.

I picked up a serial PS2/USB GPS puck from eBay for about $20. It needs 5 volts to work so above you can see my "breadboard" setup to do this.

I got a 5 volt regulator from Radio Shack (item 276-1770) and wired it into the boat's 12 volt supply.

All my alligator clips forced me to make a rough schematic.

Once the GPS puck got power it started sending GPS sentences to the radio. The radio knew where it was and started plotting AIS targets.

The puck works fine below decks sitting right on top of the radio.

Studying for Captain's License

Skip at Flagship Maritime Training is keeping the class busy. This is a good thing. His class is serious and interesting at the same time.

The boat is a pretty good place to get totally immersed in this.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Redwood City Tug

Went up the mast the other day and used my Leica to get great shot of the tug Redwood City.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Went up to replace the bulb and check the upper terminals of the rig. I wish I would have taken a picture a little more to the left to include the wind transducers. I have to service those ancient pieces of gear and it would be great to know what I'm getting into before I go up.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rainy GIg Harbor

Spent the weekend in Gig Harbor at Jerisich Park (city dock). Rained hard the whole time. Still nice to get out. Watched movies, cooked, tackled some inside-the-boat projects. Surprisingly the dock was completely full the entire weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Construction at Gig Harbor Entrance

From what I could glean from locals at Gig Harbor they are changing their sewer outfall from the middle of the harbor (!) to outside where the current can help with the flushing.

There are two of these platforms, one inside the harbor and one outside, that they are using to lay the pipe under the spit that makes up the harbor entrance.

Be careful.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Gennaker

The new gennaker from North works very well. They were very late in delivering it - I ordered it in January, promised in 30 days, but didn't get delivery until May. The roller jib I ordered at the same time arrived as scheduled.

North was was okay to deal with and seemed to make an honest effort to get the sail built. They threw in a snuffer to offset any inconvenience and in the end I'm pretty satisfied.

The gennaker is a bit easier to fly than a symmetrical spin but it's still hard to find storage for it below.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

LED Deck Lighting

There's a combination deck/steaming light about midway up Scamper's mast. The steaming light is fine but I've never been happy with the deck light. The incandescent bulb draws almost an amp and is really not that bright.

I tried a "high power", single LED bulb from It draws very little current but is quite a bit dimmer than the original. In a pinch it is workable but I wanted a little more light so I poked around for parts to build a bulb I couldn't find anywhere else.

The bulb on the left is a "Miniature Reflector Bulb BA9S Base" from The middle bulb is from The assembly on the right resulted from cutting the reflector from the first bulb and attaching it to the second bulb. The bulb closest to the camera is the original bulb from the fixture.

The 5-LED bulb (middle and right) draws almost no power but in stock form puts most of its light out the side. I found the incandescent reflector bulb (left) via Googling for "ba9s reflector" and bought 5 of them for experimentation. They're cheap but not very bright. Not sure what they would be good for.

I cut the plastic reflector off with a razor saw, held it onto the LED bulb with some handy butyl tape, which also created a dam, and squirted in some epoxy using a West System syringe. I made 3 so I'd have spares.

The new bulb gives a nice glow to the foredeck, somewhat like bright moonlight. You can't quite read with it but you can do most other tasks and it doesn't affect night vision. Since it draws so little power I can leave it on all night in addition to the anchor light adding a bit of visibility.