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Thread: Offshore Tracking

  1. #1
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    Sep 2007
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    San Francisco Bay
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    Default Offshore Tracking

    I got this email, which got me thinking about other options, which got me thinking that you SHTP'er are probably thinking about it too. If there's already a thread on the forum that covers this topic, please direct me to it. Is this a seminar topic already?

    If not, please share your knowledge of whatcha got, whatcha like, whatcha woulda coulda.

    Does anyone have one of these? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKNOzDWpbtc

    Thx.
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip.
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. On your way to a world that others might have missed.
    ~ Blues Image

  2. #2
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    Nov 2007
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    552

    Default

    I do not think this device has any satellite communications ability outside of WIFI.

    "The DataHub connects to your existing mobile or satellite communication device, so no additional monthly subscriptions are required."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    36

    Default

    I have been experimenting with InReach Explorer for the past six months. Seems pretty solid and it's a relatively low power solution. Unlimited tracking points for $24.95/month plus texting send and receive. Pairing with phone app Earthmate makes messaging simple. Sharing tracks with folks onshore over the internet has worked well. Weather information is available, but very basic so for those looking for grib files, it's not a good alternative.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2007
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    Default

    I've been using the inReach SE since 2013 to send position information ashore so my Mom can see where Beetle is I set it to transmit at 10 minute intervals. The unit is mounted belowdecks in a RAM mount that positions the antenna up against a portion of the fiberglass deck that is solid glass (no core there) and it works well. I keep a USB cable loose at the nav station that is used to recharge stuff, including the inReach, as needed.

    Attempting to send an SMS message over the inReach using its tiny buttons is useless - much better to pair it with an application running on a smartphone or iPad makes it possible to send SMS via inReach (which is using Iridium satellites).

    I much prefer using SailMail on the laptop to send/receive email via the Iridium GO - which I've also had since 2013. That works a treat. As a fallback to Iridium I continue to use the Icom M802 SSB and Pactor III modem directly to SailMail - that works well, but not as convenient as running traffic through Iridium GO.

    It's not clear to me what problem the PredictWind DataHub is trying to solve, as it doesn't seem to add much beyond instrument data logging and the idea of having PredictWind attempt to generate boat polars. The other touted use cases are otherwise trivially solved by typing in a position; perhaps it's useful as a time-saver? To use it offshore you'd need an installed WiFi-enabled satellite communication system so the DataHub could connect to it. It's likely the satellite system would already have GPS coordinates and UTC time, and possibly a tracking/position function as well. So what's DataHub adding to the mix?

    And I don't use PredictWind - so there may be some integration functionality between DataHub and PredictWind that is handy, I do not have any awareness of how that might play.

    Eyrie - what problem are you aiming to solve?

    - rob/beetle
    Last edited by tiger beetle; 03-23-2022 at 09:08 AM.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2007
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    Default

    I watched the promo video and agree w/Rob - instrument data logging appeared to be the only substantive add. Developing reliable polars while sailing solo has proven elusive, so maybe collecting reams of instrument data would help. But I'm not that motivated.

    I bought an InReach Explorer for the 2019 LongPac and experienced the "tiny buttons" challenge. What do you like for an app to use it with an iThing? Steve mentioned EarthMate. We'll have an Iridium Go! for Pacific Cup but I plan to take the InReach as a backup.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2007
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    442

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    What do you like for an app to use it with an iThing?
    The only game in town I know of is the DeLorme Earthmate application available through the Apple App Store (and Google Playstore). inReach uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPad (and Samsung Note 8 phone on the boat), and then it's possible to utilize the iPad's onscreen keyboard to create an SMS message to be sent through the inReach out to Iridium. I don't use the Earthmate application for any other purpose than typing a note - it's supposed to do other things, but I'm only using the inReach as a transponder and an occasional SMS note.

    A unique feature of the inReach as used on Beetle is that when the account is set up correctly a remote person *can* send an SMS to the boat and make the inReach start flashing a green LED, the functional equivalent of a ringing telephone. All other communications to the boat are not annunciated - I only learn about a message/email when I choose to check SMS/email. The Iridium GO also supports SMS messaging - but those are not annunciated unless I leave the Iridium GO powered on, which I don't.

    - rob/beetle

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tiger beetle View Post

    Eyrie - what problem are you aiming to solve?

    - rob/beetle
    Just my curiosity. So tapping on the collective for data.

    Another good thread might be about generating boat polars. A pretty handy tool if you're reaching for the pickle dish I'd say. Are there other tools available or do you have to write your own software?
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip.
    Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship. On your way to a world that others might have missed.
    ~ Blues Image

  8. #8
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    Sep 2007
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    For boat polars the key is data logging and taking notes - time, sea state, and sail configuration + sheeting angles. Note the time(s) you think the boat is going really well - that's what you're looking for in the sea of logged data. Extract the relevant data and start constructing the performance polar graph. It's mostly just a matter of: go sailing, get the boat going well, turn on the logging for maybe 15 minutes to capture what's going on, take notes, turn off logging and save off the log file. Adjust sails to some new configuration and repeat. Takes a lot of time to quantify all the possible settings - but I expect you already know exactly when Eyrie isn't going the best and wouldn't need polars at all to know what to do to increase performance. It's kind of fun to try and fill in gaps in the polar when out sailing on a particularly pleasant day - just how fast will Beetle go on a beam reach in 8 knots of wind with the kite up? what about with a jib up? It's fun to calculate VMG points for windward/leeward courses - though I never actually do windward/leewards.

    For NMEA 0183 data logging I used Paul Elliott's NavMonPC running on the laptop, it's got handy logging features built in.

    For NMEA 2000 (which I've moved to now that I've updated Beetle to B&G H5000 instruments) I'm using Actisense's NMEA/EBL Reader software to log and read the data coming in over their W2K-1 NMEA 2000 -> WiFi gateway, the logging software writes data out to the hard drive, just be careful about how much room is available on the drive! For the PC cartography I'm using Coastal Explorer connected to the NMEA 2000 network via a separate wired gateway (Actisense NTG-1), so logging doesn't interfere with the nav software. If you've got Expedition it has some very nice logging features, but I didn't feel up to spending another $1300 on software.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2021
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    8

    Default

    Two other tracking options to consider: PredictWind Tracker and Following Sea Yacht Tracker. Both work well with Iridium Go. A previous instructor colleague of mine, Bill Kenny, has been cruising up and down the east coast for the past several years and effectively using the PW tracker on his website: https://fetchinketch.net/where-are-we-now/
    If you're going to have an Iridium Go on board, might as well use it for tracking too...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    At this point I'm just planning to get an Inreach, specific model TBD. Plenty of food for thought in this thread, but I find all this wonky stuff utterly bewildering. Maybe I can figure out how to use my phone or Android tablet (which I've rarely touched since I bought it from Alan Hebert) to get around the tiny button problem, but even that seems like a long shot.

    I'm also going to reinstall the M700 Pro SSB that I used in 2010, hopefully with a better ground plane setup. More mumbo jumbo.

    Max

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