This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Project Progress

I have been making steady progress on several projects which I have already reported on here.

Icom handheld VHF radio
The first one, the remote mic project, is actually complete and working great! My Standard Horizon Matrix 3000 VHF radio at the main helm has always had the capability to have a remote mic added at a secondary location aboard The Key of Sea. I intended to add the remote mic at the fly bridge helm above the main cabin. Instead I purchased a handheld Icom brand VHF radio. Waterproof and as it turns out, pretty bounce proof, it can be used anywhere aboard or in the dinghy.

Since adding a Ditch Bag to our boat, my intent is to place the handheld radio into the ditch bag. For that to work, I needed to install that remote mic which is exactly what I did last weekend.

CMP 30 Standard Horizon Remote mic RAM 30+
This remote is actually wired directly into the radio at the main helm so, unlike the handheld radio, it has the full power of the main radio. That is qu
ite a bit more powerful so this is an important upgrade. The remote mic also has all the control capabilities of the main radio due to all the buttons located on the apparatus. It even has the DSC button on the back of the mic so that, with a push of the button, an instantaneous call can be made to the Coast Guard giving them all the vital data they would need to locate you--boat name, owner's name, lat and lon, a detailed description of the boat and who to call in an emergency.

The hardest part of this project was really just getting the connecting wire run from the main radio up through the tight spaces and up to the fly bridge.

Remote mic connection, left and the hook to hang the mic. 
Then there was the hole that had to be drilled for the connector installed on the control panel. In our case, there was already a hole. It was an ugly thing that had been used for who knows what a long time ago and was now hidden by an especially tacky plastic plaque. The plaque removed, the hole had to be enlarged a bit to accommodate the connector. Once done, the job was pretty much done.

I did add a bead of silicon around the connector to hold out the inevitable water that will splash on it from time to time, rain and waves.

The connector on the curly cord in the mic photo above is plugged into the connector in the photo above right. The connection is covered with a rubber plug in the photo to resist corrosion. Once plugged in, the radio can be turned on and off from this remote station as well as turn on all the sound effects sometimes needed while underway such as a fog horn sound the blasts from the hailer horn mounted above the front windshield. It is also a PA should you need to shout instructions or warnings to nearby boats.

Project done!

Garmin GPSMAP 740s touch screen chart plotter
The second project is a major one and the most time consuming. It is a navigation system upgrade which includes a new Garmin touch screen 7-inch chart plotter which is integrated into a new high
Em-Trek R100 AIS receiver unit
definition (HD) color RADAR dome and my new Automatic Identification System or AIS. Each component of this new system, the charts, the radar images and the AIS targets can all be overlayed to give me all the information I could want when it comes to seeing what is out there in the high traffic areas of our boating area, especially around the many islands that can sometimes hide fast moving large vessels that can suddenly appear around a headland and be on you very quickly.
Garmin HD Radar dome

To date I have the AIS installed, powered up and connected to the chart plotter. I have the chart
lotter powered up and working and I have the RADAR powered up and the connecting wires that send the power to the dome and the wires which send and receive data, all prepared and ready to pass through the hull to the fly bridge and on to the RADAR arch.

Notice the radar dome high above this boat similar to ours. The
narrow white piece of the hull swept back at about a 45 degree angle
 is the radar arch.  
The arch is located at the highest point on the
boat, some 15 feet above the water and above the flybridge helm.  It gives the greatest unobstructed field of view for the radar to seek targets on the farthest horizon.

The wiring has to pass from inside the cabin, up through the hull and inside the radar arch to reach the dome. I'll need a sunny day so I can open up the arch and run the wiring without getting soaked.  I'm still waiting!