Indestructible case for otherwise destructible iPhone

02/07/2010

iPhone gets more and more credit as best sailing gadget ever. There are few big issues

  • iPhone is slippery
  • iPhone is fragile
  • iPhone has mediocre battery life
  • iPhone GPS is not very accurate

All these issues are solved by ToughCase for iPhone by Magellan. This is not another protective case for iPhone. It contains:

  1. IPX7 waterproof casing
  2. SiRF Star III GPS receiver
  3. 1840mAh battery

So, it converts fragile iPhone to sailing-proof platform with much better GPS. Oh, and it’s also compatible with iTouch music playes.


Excellent cellphone to go: Samsung Xcover E2370

01/07/2010

There are many issues on the sea with cellphones. Indeed, the handset should be waterproof, but most common issue is battery life. Samsung came up with excellent solution for that. New Samsung Xcover E2370 has 1600 hour (=67 days!!!) stand by time!!!! Talk time is also impressive 22 hours. Compare to 4-5 hour talk time with most common handsets.

Samsung Xcover E2370 main specs:

  • resistant to water and dust (IP54 rating)
  • anti-shock, outdoor performance
  • VGA camera
  • 67 day stand by, 22 hour talk time, 2000 mAh battery
  • flash-light
  • FM radio

Basic, but tough phone with big heart!


iPhone – one of the best sailing gadgets ever

10/08/2009

iPhone and Apple divide world into two separate groups, ones who love and others who don’t. I’m personally in the second group. But still, have to admit, that iPhone is one of the best sailing gadgets ever. That’s Why:

iNavX

iNavX

1. iNavX navigation program, created by the same people who wrote GPSNavX. Compatible with NOAA RNC raster charts, CHS Canada Charts, Navionics Gold Charts, Discovery Charts, HotMaps, NV. Verlag Charts, TRAK Canada lakes fishing maps and Solteknik Sweden waters charts, purchased separately.

AyeTides

AyeTides

2. AyeTides displays tides and currents for locations around the world. Based upon Mr. Tides, AyeTides is tuned for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It is a stand-alone application and does not require internet access to function. Have tides and currents at your fingertips at all times! AyeTides is available from the iTunes App Store !

3. SailSim sailing simulation program

One video is better than 10 000 words…

4. iPhone WindMeter

5. YourSail Logbook. With JourSail you can document your cruises easily and fast. Whether you’re sailing with a little yacht or are enjoying yourself abord the Queen Mary II: with JourSail you’ll have all your notes and memories in a perfect format quickly at hand. With JourSail you can make entries every hour, every day or every 15 minutes – however you like it. Follow the rhythm you prefer and change it whenever you want – just the way you like it.

SailMaster

SailMaster

6. SailMaster digital display. At a fraction of the cost of stand-alone tactical systems, the SailMaster application for the Apple iPhone provides all the information needed to optimize sailing and racing performance.  SailMaster displays key data in a clear and easy to read format and can help sailors of all abilities understand how to maximize speed and efficiency. Originally designed as an economical tool for experienced sailors to optimise racing performance, SailMaster is a simple low solution that will benefit sailors of all abilities.


Please find out more in iPhone and Mac on Sailing Discussion board and iPhone AppStore

With JourSail you can document your cruises easily and fast.
Whether you’re sailing with a little yacht or are enjoying yourself abord the Queen Mary II: with JourSail you’ll have all your notes and memories in a perfect format quickly at hand.
Easy, mobile and a lot of fun
With JourSail you can make entries every hour, every day or every 15 minutes – however you like it. Follow the rhythm you prefer and change it whenever you want – just the way you like it.



Omnidirectional 9 dBi WiFi solution

06/08/2009

Friend of mine uses for offhore Internet setup like that:

Interline INT-HOR-0924-V omnidirectional antenna

Interline INT-HOR-0924-V omnidirectional antenna

9 dBi omnidirectional 54 cm long Interline in the masttop. Good solution for yacht, cause it’s lightning protection shorted for DC. Same antenna is available also in 12 dBi version, but for yachtowners I recommend 9 dBi model because of wider vertical reception pattern.

Ubiquiti Bullet

Ubiquiti Bullet

…. connected to Ubiquiti Bullet

Bullet turns onmidirectional antenna into Ethernet (RJ-45). Easy and simple. No drivers needed, pure IP internet directly to laptops 10/100/100 base-T connector.

Pro’s:

  • omnidirectional, install and forget
  • POE, needs only Cat5 cable, power is feeded over same cable

Con’s:

  • 9 dBi amplification

Products mentioned

Interline INT-HOR-09/24-V

Ubiquiti The Bullet


USB Internet dongle

05/08/2009

USB internet broadband dongle

USB internet broadband dongle

Close to harbour it’s possible to hook up to local WiFi network, either with WiFi ready laptop, USB WiFi extender of WiFi extender-router. In all those cases, distance to the nearest base station shouldn’t be more than mile or two. We know, that hi-budget ocean-racing teams use all kind od satellite connections. But are there other broadband solutions for less budget. Answer is: mostly.

So-called USB Internet Dongle (broadband dongle) is provided by all bigger mobile networks and they rely on mobile network technologies. So, almost every time, when You have mobile coverage, You are able to use Internet.

USB Internet dongle is connect to computer via USB port. Noew dongles are USB 2.0, but they are backward compatible with older USB 1,0 standard. It needs additional driver and client software. Luckily this all is on the same USB stick and You don’t need to carry along additional CD.

Depending of signal quality and mobile network service providers infrastructure, the speed can vary great deal. In best case You may able to get 3,5G HDSPA speeds at 7,2 Mbps. When signal strength is lower or mobile infrastructure is not supporting higher speeds, USB dongle speed falls back to next available level. Usually it’s shown also in the application window.

Fallback list (download speeds):

  • 7,2 Mbps 3,5 G (HDSPA)
  • 2,0 Mbps 3 G (HSUPA)
  • 0,5 Mbps 2,75 G (EDGE)
  • 0,1 Mbps 2,5 G (GPRS)
Broadband speeds

Broadband speeds

Mbps figures are indicative, depends of sub-standards
and specific hardware in use

GPRS and EDGE speeds may seem quite out-dated. I found it still usable, looking weather website, downloading e-mails and uploading blog posts. Indeed, rich content like multimedia files, large images, video streaming etc is no-no.

Amplified USB cable

Amplified USB cable

It’s wise to use 3 Meter (10 ft) long passive USB cable or even longer (even up to 15 meter or 45 ft) amplified USB cable to place dongle as high as possible, to receive quality signal. I experienced situations, when down in the galley I didn’t have any signal, but standing on the deck with my notebook/USB dongle, I was able to use 3,5G speedy connection.

Some tips using internet dongle:

  • Disable automatic windows update
  • Disable virus database/program updates
  • Disable other automatic updaters (iTunes, Adobe, …)
  • Disable P2P programs like uTorrent clients
  • Configure confirmation requirement before automatic internet connection for e-mail programs, etc
  • Use long USB cable to place dongle to highest point possible
  • Disconnect after use

In near future G4 technology will allow 100 Mbps speeds, but it requires updating all network infrastructure by service providers and in real life it takes some time to get these speeds.


Working solution for long-distance WiFi – Ubiquity NanoStation 2

03/08/2009
Ubiquity NanoStation 2 WiFi extender

Ubiquity NanoStation 2 WiFi extender +10 dB

I posted earlier a story about simple USB-based WiFi amplifier. Many yachtsmen use instead Ubiquity NanoStation and it has been proven working quite well.

Basically, it’s WiFi-to-Ethernet router. It receives WiFi signal via 4 internal antennas, amplifies signal, converts it to copper and passes to Your computer via ethernet cable. All electronics is inside the 26 cm long antenna, so there are no signal losses and noises compared with products using long antenna cables. NanoStation uses power over Ethernet method to provide required power to the circuitry, only single CAT5 RJ-45 cable is needed for connection. Additional RJ-45 POE hub is included.

NanoStation works in b/g range, so don’t expect too swift data transfers, but still much more reliable connections, than std WiFi. NanoStation 2 is directional, so You have to align it towards to base station. Expect to pay for NanoStation abpout U$ 80. Highly affordable product!

There are real-life reports about reliable WiFi at more than 2 miles distance.

Products Mentioned

Ubiquity NanoStation 2


Wi-Fire WiFi range-extending antenna from hField

28/07/2009
hField WiFi range extender

hField WiFi range extender

I use WiFi wherever it can. To write my blog, upload sailing photos and videos, looking weather forecast and regatta information. On the sea, only option is to use GPRS/3G/3,5G, but in most small ports there is free wifi at least in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. Problem is, that yacht is away from WiFi base station and signal is weak or none.

hField technology has handy small USB device, called Wi-Fire, amplifying WiFi signal. The WiFi antenna will provide higher speeds at low signal strengths than your typical internal WiFi adapter. It has even beat Draft802.11n products in range and speed at long distances, up to 300 meters.

hField is connected to computer via USB and requires to install driver and wireless manager. It costs about U$ 60.

Products mentioned:

hField Wi-Fire extender