July 2004 Archives

Radio list

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I collated a list of various bits of information about radio communications for our trip north. It contains:
* the list of VMR stations from Eden (NSW) to Bowen (Qld),
* the list and location of Queensland repeaters,
* Penta Comstat frequencies and schedule and for completeness
* VMC weather broadcast schedules and frequencies [added 24-7-04]
* a list of VHF channels.
Anyone interested in a copy can Download the file here.

ATS505_front.jpg

While we don't have a HF radio, we took a hint from Bob Hogarth (who is also on his way north) and, like him, purchased a Sangean ATS 505 portable radio receiver to at least be able to listen in to weather forecasts while out of range of VHF and mobile phones. We'll let you know how it works out.

The Sheer Size

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After 37 years in Australia, the sheer size of the place still catches your breath occasionally. That's probably due to me growing up in tiny Holland, where my brother and I used to cross the country in a couple of days on our pushbikes. Anyway, here is where we're taking Te Moana next month:

East Coast of Australia showing TeMoana in Pittwater (Sydney) as well as Mooloolaba and Hamilton Island

On 7th August we're sailing to Mooloolaba. That will take around 3-4 days sailing non-stop (460 Nautical Miles, around 850km). From there we'll take it easy, spending 6 weeks sailing to somewhere around Hamilton Island and back to Mooloolaba. That still leaves a lot of the Australian coast unexplored. And those islands on the right hand side have some appeal as well...

Marina directories

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As part of our cruise north, Joy and I are compiling a list of marinas between Pittwater and the Whitsundays (particularly from Mooloolaba north). I'll post relevant URL's here as a reference.

Ship2Shore directoryI picked up a "ship2shore" marine directory at a recent boat show. It has a reasonably complete list of marinas including minimaps of where they are located and pretty comprehensive details of their facilities.

 It's a pity their web site is not nearly as complete as the paper directory and tries hard to get you to subscribe for $25. The free paper directory seems a better deal...

PortFocus has a list of Queensland marinas with Lat & Long as well as links to Marina web sites. In a similar vein, Marina-Info has a list of marinas. Unfortunately neither is very complete and of course while we're sailing, internet access is very limited and/or expensive.

So for the moment,  the paper  "Ship2Shore" directory is our best bet. Leave a comment if you have another source of information.

UPDATE [Aug 4]: Joy and I picked up the latest version of the Ship2Shore directory at the recent Sydney Boat Show, it even covers WA now.

Chart update

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I've decided to stick to Nobeltec Visual Navigator for our Chart Plotter software. Nobeltec VNSI can get an update of the East coast charts for US$89 from the local Australian distributor. That is clearly much preferrable than starting again with some other software and charts. I'm still thinking of updating the software itself as well, although I'm not sure that moving from version 6.5 to version 7.0 is of great benefit.

Also I'll subscribe to e-Notices [to Mariners] as was suggested by Stuart Marshall on the Coastal Cruising list and register the main charts I'll be using.

Charting Decision

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It is now only a little over a month before we sail north. After a non-stop sail to Mooloolaba, Joy and I expect to spend most of August and September cruising the Queensland coast, getting as far as the Whitsundays. The boat is just about ready (as long as the antifouling and diesel service gets done in the coming weeks). One outstanding decision is still which charts to purchase.


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Here's what I've got at present:
Electronic:
Fixed GPS wired into instruments via Seatalk with NMEA interface (no dedicated chart plotter).
Backup portable GPS with NMEA interface.
Laptop (nice new HP pavilion with wide screen and long battery life)
Nobeltec Visual Navigator software (which I've had since 1999, upgraded to version 6.5)
Nobeltec Chart pack covering the East Coast of Australia from Gabo Island to Hydrographer's Passage. It hasn't been updated since 1999.

Paper
AUS 809 Pt Jackson to Port Stephens
Crawford's Mariners Atlas Pt Stephens to Bundaberg
The cruising guides previously described
Alan Lucas' NSW Coast cruising guide

And I'm about to purchase:
The 300 series maps (1:300,000) covering from Norah Head to Whitsunday passage.
AUS252 Cumberland Islands and Whitsunday Passage
Qld Dept Transport Great Sandy Straight series charts
And...

Shall I get the Nobeltec chart pack updated or should I take the opportunity to switch to chart plotter software more commonly available in Australia?

I had a play with MaxSea, which I didn't find very intuitive to use. Seafarer software still uses raster based charts. C-Map charts seem to be the most commonly available in Australia for both dedicated plotters and PC based systems. But in any case, it seems to me that you should always have up to date paper charts on board anyway. And shall I purchase a single update or get a subscription? Too many questions and not enough answers.

Waypoints

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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