Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media unless otherwise indicated. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.

2018-05-20

Comms 'n' sea

The baffled cat, "Shadow". Much as I would like to bring her, she's not coming on the voyage. Wouldn't be fair, and likely would be fatal for the cat.
Leading with a cat photo should not only get me some cheaply earned hits, but also suggest I am capable of whimsy. Which is true, but not often when it comes to the boat. However, I'm willing to make an exception when it comes to my cat, who only goes into the entirely wild yard under supervision.
The Vesper XB-8000 AIS transceiver booting up. All the wiring is loose (and the holes in the pilothouse unsealed) until I can route said wiring back into the pilothouse roof, which will be thereafter fastened down to the pilothouse frame for the first time in ages.
I, on the other hand, tend to work solo on the boat. This is because Mrs. Alchemy works at a distant wildlife centre for stupidly protracted hours, particularly in fertile spring, and I work from home upon request as an editor. Which means, in practice, plenty of work some days and bugger off  by 1100h others. That's condusive to boat work, which is why I haven't worked in an office since I got into boating in 1999. Sincerely, what have I missed? Oh, yes: NOTHING.
Had to download some USB drivers, but otherwise, this installation of Vesper Marine's software was a doddle.
Anyway, in a week that saw, as part of our house-sale process, the acquisition of a stackable washer-dryer and the transport of same about three kilometres by hand cart and shoe leather (we lack a car and rarely miss one, save for when we have to do this sort of First/Third World transit), I was able to drill some strategic holes and get both the radar and AIS cabling inside the pilothouse. The cabling is sloppy and excessive because I have yet to decide where to mount the AIS module and the radar display...to think I thought "I wonder if it's big enough?"...damn, it's huge from 45 cm. away.
From marinetraffic.com, evidence that Alchemy can both see and be seen, at least in terms of AIS. And yes, I turn it off when I leave the boat. I actually have no interest in pointing out where I keep my tools.
The AIS setup was pretty straightforward, save for the usual search for the USB drivers and the paranoia surrounding the correct inputting of the MMSI number. However, all went well and, as seen above, we are now transmitting a Class B AIS signal, complete with some related data attached to our MMSI number. Huzzah! I didn't screw up the mast connections!
Boat, as seen from the boat. It's all a little meta, isn't it?
Sure, English, but just this once.
The Furuno 1815 manual and related guidance (note the "quick start" flip cards to the left of the above photo) are excellent, if densely detailed. Because I tend to learn by doing, I will likely take the now rigged-for-sailing boat out tomorrow to play with the radar controls and see what I (literally) see from a few miles south of Toronto.
The first sweep. Of course, inside a basin next to about 300 condos, plus a tree line, it's a dog's breakfast.

The radar is complex in terms of the variety of tunings, ranges, guard rings, and display options, but not dauntingly so, and on first glance it seems very much what the skipper ordered. What remains to be done is linking the plotter via a to-be-purchased NMEA 2000 patch cord to the AIS unit, so that AIS targets (and their calculated distance away) are visible on the plotter. I may also link via the secondary NMEA 0183 wiring the radar to the AIS, so I can have AIS information available on the radar screen. What I won't likely do is have radar "layover" on the plotter...I think that would be visually too distracting and I want to keep radar church and plotter state separate for now. Still, a good few days' work.



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