Recently in Technology Category

Saturday was one of those "over the top" summer's days. A hot gusty westerly wind which fries your eyeballs. A forecast Southerly buster was due to hit in the late afternoon. We picked up a buoy at Towlers Bay on Friday evening and made an early start for Maitland Bay, lunch time destination for an Australia Day weekend cruise with "Alfreds".

Jake, Te Moana's dog in his wetsuit Leaving Towlers' at 0830 hrs, there was already a nice breeze and we had a very enjoyable sail all the way. While Maitland Bay has a couple of reefs at its entrance, with common sense and a chart it's no problem. We anchored without incident a little after 1000 hrs. We have no temperature gauge on Te Moana, but soon the temperature was surely up 40 deg C.

So  into the water we went,  However, Jake prefers dry land (or boat), so he survived with a wetsuit (a damp tea towel).


As part of another project, I've been doing a "mashup" of Google Maps to build an online log (as opposed to blog)for cruising boats. The idea being that someone on the boat posts regular position reports to a website, which plots the position of the boat using Google maps. That way, friend and family can follow progress by checking that web site. As I'm "crewing" on Belage, I thought that would be a good opportunity to trial the sytem. We're bound to have a glitch or two, and we'll find out whether it is practical to upload position every four hours or so. Follow along here and at the Skipr site.

Internet at sea

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Because we spend a lot of time on Te Moana, and my life depends on email and web access,(well...) I have experimented with a few services over the past few years. With common access to wireless hotspots on marinas and the latest high speed mobile internet services it has now become quite practical to get online from wherever you are. Here are some further details:

Sangean Radio

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I've been thinking of doing some quick reviews here of some of the pieces of equipment that we value (or not). For example, of the new Telstra wireless broadband service at sea and our experience with Jabsco accumulator tanks.

Last year, we bought a Sangean radio so we could listen to weather broadcasts on HF if we were out of VHF range. A few people have asked me about how well it worked. Sangean's reputation is built on its shortwave band performance (see this review by Radio Nederland). It is popular with the diminishing number of shortwave listeners. Today, satellite television entertains most remote communities and the Internet keeps us in touch while we travel. And Radio Moscow is not as interesting as it was in the sixties.

HF has been a lifeline for yachties ever since solid state transceivers became affordable 30 years ago. it made it practical for individuals to venture out to remote locations. Today, satellite communications has been adopted by most commercial shipping and HF services are diminishing rapidly. So why buy a HF capable radio?

ake asleep on the Sangean radioI bought the Sangean radio by way of insurance before we set off on our trip to the Whitsundays last year. I thought that we might occasionally be out of VHF radio range and consequently be without weather information. In practice, we had VHF coverage wherever we were and even mobile phone coverage was almost complete.

The Sangean needs an external aerial to get acceptable HF coverage and while I had been prepared to rig one up, it was never needed. We just used it to listen to AM/FM radio, which it does well, with better sensitivity and less interference than the radio which came with Te Moana.

So, our only use of the radio is to listen to our favourite radio programmes. Until Jake discovered it make a good dog pillow...


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