HydraPower Hydraulics

It has been six years since HydraPower Hydraulics built a beautiful custom hydraulic cylinder to give us complete control over our Reef-Rite boom furling mainsail. ADAGIO’s “hydraulic spring” boom-lifting system was designed by engineer Chris Mitchell. This earlier post summarizes the design.

Because the hydraulic system has worked flawlessly since installation we had never actually used the manual hydraulic pump to pressurize the accumulator and cylinder. When I couldn’t figure it out on my own I twice rang up Paul Lamont at HydraPower Hydraulics in Christchurch with questions. Paul quickly accessed the original design drawings for our system, then stepped me through the correct process for re-pressurizing, bleeding the cylinder.

That’s the sort of customer service that makes us smile!

Iridium satellite phone service

If you use a lot of satphone minutes within a 12 month period, then pre-paid minutes will likely be the cheapest per-minute air time. Typically around USD $500 for 500 minutes (which expire after 12 months).

We use very modest air time, so what works best for us is a “pay as you go” plan. The best plan we have been able to find is the “Casual Plan” offered by Australia’s TR Telecom “Iridium satellite call plans Australia “[PDF].

There is NO activation/cancellation fee, but there is a four month minimum at AUD 30/month, which includes $10/month call credit. Any time after the four months minimum period, we have the option to cancel when we are done passaging, or to suspend service, for AUD 15/mon — which allows us to keep the same number. Air time for voice calls is AUD 1.98/minute.

We have hard-mounted our Iridium so it has a high gain external antenna and is always on the charger and always connected to the serial-USB hub if we need to download e.g., a GRIB and Steve isn’t willing to wait until propagation improves. If we need to make a voice e.g., med emergency call we have to sit on the port hull steps 🙂 We use Sailmail (or Winlink) first, Inmarsat-C second, Iridium third or for data too big for Sailmail. If we wish to get a quick note off to our weather router, Rick Shema, we just use Sat-C because the msg is short, and we know we will get an alert soon as Rick’s msg comes in.

Diesel Bug (Bacteria Contamination of Diesel)

Whilst preparing samples for the NZ Goughs Fluid Analysis Centre I came across the labs info page on diesel bug. Since 2000 we have been successful avoiding becoming hosts for bacteria by treating all ADAGIO diesel fuel with DFT 1500 Hammerdown (produced by LV Petro, Inc.)

Bacteria in diesel is a well known problem to anyone who works with diesel engines, so what is this bug and why does it contaminate diesel?

Diesel is an organic fuel so it provides an ideal environment for microscopic fungi, yeast and bacteria to feed and grow.

This environment provides:

  • dissolved water for germination
  • carbon for food
  • oxygen and sulphur for respiration
  • trace elements for growth and propagation.

As many as twenty seven (27) varieties of bacteria are responsible for the majority of problems with diesel engines and their performance. There are many differing types of bacteria which can infect systems and form bio-films on steel surfaces. Accelerated corrosion can also occur wherever the bio-film settles, usually in pits or crevices. Unlike general corrosion, it is an attack on a very specific area.

It is very difficult to determine when a system is first contaminated, but once contaminated diesel enters the fuel system, it is very difficult to eradicate.

Diesel bug can originate from the air or moisture, or during tank filling and/or expansion and contraction of storage tanks, the bacteria cover themselves in a protective film (slime) to protect against biocides and can lie dormant in the minute crevices of the metal, rubber and polyurethane coatings of the fuel tanks and fuel systems.

Then, when water is present (a droplet is a lake to a microbe) and the environment hits the right temperature range, they begin reproduction in the area of fuel/water interface.

Microscopic in size, they can develop into a mat easily visible to the naked eye very rapidly. A single cell, weighing only one millionth of a gram can grow to a biomass of 10 kilograms in just 12 hours, resulting in a biomass several centimetres thick across the fuel/water interface.

Each species has its own characteristics:

BACTERIA

Bacteria utilise hydrocarbons and reproduce asexually by binary fission; swelling in size as they feed, they then separate into two cells. In this way, microbes double their numbers every 20 minutes, one spore converting to 262,144 in 6 hours.

SULPHATE REDUCING BACTERIA (SRB)

SRB’s are a specific group of bacteria utilising simple carbon, not hydrocarbons, and require the activity of other microbes in a consortium. Aerobic (in the presence of oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen) bacteria have a combined effect. The aerobic bacteria (sulphate oxidising) create a film to consume the oxygen first. This allows the anaerobic (sulphate reducing) bacteria to thrive.

SRB’s reduce sulphates and produce hydrogen sulphide (a lethal gas). They are directly involved with many microbial corrosion reactions and can cause sulphide souring of stored distillate products. Their action changes the Ph creating an acidic environment, conducive to accelerated corrosion. They attach themselves to the steel as a film and go to work. They derive their nutrition from the surrounding environment and multiply. They are particularly difficult to deal with and produce a sludgy by-product with a strong sulphur odour similar to rotten eggs (hydrogen sulphide).

IRON REDUCING BACTERIA

These also contribute to corrosion, eating steel and reducing ferrite to an oxide through a chemical reaction.

YEASTS

Yeasts prefer acidic environments, such as produced by SRB’s. They bud on the parent cell, eventually separating. Reproduction takes several hours.

FUNGUS

Fungi grow in the form of branched hyphae, a few microns in diameter, forming thick, tough, intertwined mycelia mats at fuel/water interfaces.

All of these can and do cause damage to the fuel system.

PREVENTION

Maintain the fuel system by draining water very regularly, keep the tank as full as possible, (especially over-night) and try to ensure your supplier maintains his system well.

CURE

Clean the entire system with a cleaning agent available from or recommend by your diesel supplier.

Nine Questions, Nine Answers.

Science-Based Medicine is a great resource. Mark Crislip provides a good example with his rebuttal for the anti-vaccine clowns:

(…) What brings on this particular bit of angst is a bit of whimsy on the Internet called “9 Questions That Stump Every Pro-Vaccine Advocate and Their Claims.” by David Mihalovic, ND. Mr. Mihalovic identifies himself as “a naturopathic medical doctor who specializes in vaccine research.” However, just where the research is published is uncertain as his name yields no publications on Pubmed. BTW. I specialize in beer research. Same credentials.

The nine questions show up frequently on the interwebs, similar to questions on what to ask when you want to stump an evolutionist. Similar to the supposed stumpers for evolution, the vaccine questions are grounded in misinformation, ignorance or laziness. Let’s go through them one at a time.

1. Could you please provide one double-blind, placebo-controlled study that can prove the safety and effectiveness of vaccines?

One trial? It took me 55 seconds to find ”Efficacy of 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine in preventing pneumonia and improving survival in nursing home residents: double blind, randomised and placebo controlled trial” and that included time to boot the browser and mis-spell the search terms. ’Vaccine’, ‘efficacy’, ’randomized’ and ’placebo control trial’ results in 416 Pubmed references; add ’safety’ to the search terms, you get 126 returns. 416 is easily more than one. Of course, to find them you have to look.

Of course, I am a highly educated adult who constantly searches the web for medical information. For hoots and giggles, I asked my 12 year old son, whose passions are basketball and filming comedy videos, to find me a reference that met the same criteria and I timed him.

Twenty two seconds, not including boot time, to find “Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine in Cuba” from the NEJM. Can anyone beat my son?

12 yo one, Mihalovic 0. Served.

As long as we are on the topic, since he evidently place great store in science, could Mihalovic please provide one double-blind, placebo-controlled study that can prove the safety and effectiveness of naturopathy? I would be happy at this point to know just to know he was able to do a pubmed search correctly just to make me look the fool.

There are eight more smackdowns to enjoy.

Is the Panda genset nightmare concluding?

Yesterday we completed a successful 3 hour 70% to 90% load test of the rebuilt Panda genset. We’ve invested well over 100 hours of our own labor to the project, plus what will probably add up to nearly NZ$10,000 in vendor invoices.

Possibly the Panda nightmare will be over soon. The Kubota 3-cylinder 18HP diesel engine continues to wobble speedwise at light loads, but smoothes out once the load increases above 50%. We have new rings and valve seats to wear in, but it isn’t clear why that would have anything to do with varying engine speed (this RPM warbling happens with Panda voltage control system (VCS) disconnected).

Yesterday I stripped all the sagging, disintegrating sound foam from the Panda sound shells. 90% of the foam just fell away as the contact cement had no hold on the foam. 100% of the lead sheet lining the capsule fell off — there was zero effective adhesion of the contact cement. Now we need to decide whether we will attempt to bond the lead sheet correctly. We paid a large premium for the “4D” sound capsule so we are reluctant to just throw all of it overboard. It was very quiet, even while it was falling apart. We have the Panda sound capsule mounted inside of a dedicated machinery room that is also heavily sound insulated, so it is hard to know whether the increase in radiated sound would make any real difference to us. But if we bond the new sound foam directly to the FRP capsule shells (and don’t like the higher noise levels) then it will be a very big job to start over restoring the lead sheet.

Panda 10kw generator failure

The following is a softened summary of the bad Panda genset news. The good news is that the customer service and support of our supplier in New Zealand has been absolutely first-rate — that is Enertec Power Solutions. Enertec also supplied all of our Mastervolt chargers, DC-DC converters and 230V inverter. Because we have had problems every year over the past ten years with our Panda 10kW genset, we have emailed or phoned dozens of inquiries to Enertec, who have always supplied prompt, expert, relevant support and guidance — especially from Colin Pawson and Maladen Bartolec. From them we have compiled a trouble-shooting guide that usually helps us fix the Panda beast ourselves — in remote locations of course.

That was the good news. For two months we’ve been immersed in dealing with the catastrophic failure of our Fischer Panda generator. There is a serious design fault in our Panda, which appears to be present in both the smaller and larger Panda models owned by other yachts we know.

In particular, our asynchronous alternator housing has the windings harness exiting very near the bottom of the casing. To my astonishment there are no water tight seals, not even a basic $2 gland – just a roughly 50mm hole in the aluminium casting. Therefore, any significant seawater leak in the genset plumbing can fill the sound shield to a level where the seawater enters the alternator casing and infiltrates the windings. In our case in less than 5 minutes that seawater flood fatally damaged the alternator winding insulation.

Our flooding and alternator damage was caused by the complete failure of the Panda-supplied GEM hose clamp securing the heat exchanger seawater-out hose barb. The GEM hose clamp sheared across it’s width. Worse, none of the Panda hose barbs were double-clamped as they should be. Most of the Panda-designed hose barbs are so short that it is nearly impossible to double clamp safely.

Given the very real probability of seawater faults it is very clear that the alternator must be protected from seawater damage. Similarly, there is a serious fire risk for any seawater leak which results in spray falling on any unprotected wiring or terminations. So not only the alternator requires at least IP-66 protection, so does all of the wiring vulnerable to seawater faults. And obviously, all of the seawater hose connections require double hose clamps of highest quality. We have replaced all the Panda hose clamps with double ABA all 316 clamps. Similarly the exhaust hose barbs are secured with Mikalor all 316 stainless T-bolt exhaust hose clamps.

Though the catastrophic failure is entirely the fault of Fischer Panda, they take no responsibility, and want NZ$ 7,000 just to deliver a replacement alternator assembly (no labour, just the destroyed part — so realistically to fix Fischer Panda’s gross design problem would have cost us a minimum of NZ$10,000 using Panda parts). Our only other official Panda option is to buy a new genset for NZ$ 23,000 + deinstallation and reinstallation costs. So we had no practical alternative other than to send the alternator off for rewinding, and the Kubota three cylinder diesel off for new rings, valve lapping and other upgrades that we hope will help the diesel perform through the 7,000 hour mark.

This is not intended to be a thorough review of the Fischer Panda marine generator. That would require many more pages and more time than I have. If you are buying a generator (or a boat with a generator) you do not want a Fischer Panda UNLESS you absolutely must have a physically small, lightweight generator. If you have the space for a larger generator and can afford, per kW, close to double the weight of the Panda, you will be far happier with a reliable, old-fashioned generator such as the 1500 RPM Northern Lights. It is a heavy monster, but very simple and far less likely to fail.

3M Safety-Walk Tread: excellence in customer service

On 16 February we emailed 3M New Zealand with our problem report of the adhesion problem we experienced with the new clear non-skid. Two days later we heard back from Auckland-based Carolyn Parris, Senior Technical Specialist. Carolyn took on our problem as her own, following it through the 3M customer service channels through successful resolution. It became clear that the adhesive failure was due to a rare defective batch (that’s not proven but we think is the most likely explanation).

After consulting with 3M engineering, Carolyn recommended replacement of the clear product with the black version 3M Safety-Walk Tread (just to be sure we had all weapons deployed in the battle against UV damage). Carolyn then arranged for Brent Dobbe at Anti-Slip Solutions NZ to drive 2.5 hours north of Auckland to ADAGIO where we were berthed in the Whangarei Town Basin Marina. Brent did a first-rate and very-long full day of removal and reinstallation. The new black 3M Safety-Walk Tread looks very smart on the eight reworked hatches.

Our bottom line on this experience: ADAGIO continues to be a happy and loyal 3M customer. That is why excellence in customer service is so important – a principle adopted at 3M long ago.

So we just purchased another 60-ft roll of the 3M non-skid to redo our remaining eight hatches that are still protected by ten-year old 3M Safety Walk Tread (but getting a little tatty cosmetically).

Facet-Purolator: providing customer service the way it should be

As you can see in my email query to Facet-Purolator, we wanted to install a 12 VDC solid state Facet fuel pump in an unusual configuration — as an emergency primer pump that would be sitting on our engines diesel fuel supply 99.99% idle. I.e., if the pump restricted flow, especially if only under odd/rare conditions, it could be very bad news.

My query to Facet engineering for advice was answered within 24 hours. Here’s an excerpt from Facet engineer Paul Puleo’s reply:

Hi Paul,

I think customers need to know who the star-class vendors are.

A quick on-point answer; a recommendation for a superior solution; and a referral to friendly local help. You scored 100% plus bonus points for customer service excellence. (…) I have a new Facet fuel pump in my hand and am about to install.

Thanks again, Steve

Here’s my original query:

Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 9:22 PM

To: sales@facet-purolator.com

Message: This is a “tech support” question, which I am submitting from New Zealand aboard our yacht ADAGIO.

As part of redesigning our inline duplex Racor 500FG diesel filter arrangement, I want to incorporate an electric fuel pump to facilitate emergency repriming of our two Yanmar 3-cyl turbo diesels. E.g., one of the line of Facet CUBE pumps.

My idea is to just switch on the pump for repriming, so 99.999% of the time the pump is OFF. This saves a lot of effort and expense of valving the pump IN/OUT of the fuel line.

My question: if I permanently plumb in the appropriate Facet solid state pump, between the outlet of the Racor filters and the fuel distribution manifold, will the pump present any meaningful resistance to the fuel flow when the pump is not energized?

Our fuel flows are very small — the maximum consumption rate is about 16 litres/hour. If the return volume is 80% then the gross flow rate is 80 litres/hour or 1.33 litres/minute. I was thinking of ordering the 40108, but that may be ridiculous overkill.

Here in New Zealand, none of the Facet dealers I’ve contacted know what the restriction of these pumps might be.

Thanks in advance,

Steve Darden s/v ADAGIO

And here are Paul’s answers:

Hi Steve

No problem you can use many of our Cube solid states pumps for your application and there will be no significant flow decrease when the pump is turn off. There are many OEM installations just as you stated. However I believe the 40108 is an over kill and a 40106 will work just fine. I have a distributor in Australia/New Zealand that can help you. Please contact Mick Ryland at <excised> at ashdown-ingram.com.au and he will be happy to help you.

Regards Paul Puleo

On the Alinghi decision not to "wing it"

Gino Morrelli has been reporting from the America’s Cup race course in Valencia. That is the Morrelli of Morrelli and Melvin Design & Engineering, the naval architects who designed our catamaran ADAGIO. Here is an example of Gino’s commentary, from the day of Race 2, February 14, 2010 10:16:29 AM, where Gino breaks down the relative performance of the big cats so you can see how fast BMOR is:

We are instructed by the RC to move a bit offshore. Looking for more stable winds no doubt.

Hopefully I will still be within cell range to continue reporting…if there is a several hour gap…it means we are out of range.

BMOR is out with sails up nearby giving everything the once prior to the start…

Alinghi still under tow nearby. I think their only chance is to get in a light/shifty race where they might catch a break and out sail/out luck the boys on BMOR.

A recap of Race #1:

8:32 margin of victory (not including silly penalty turn fiasco at finish) + 1:27 late start = approx 10 min delta (time margin of victory)

3m21sec weather mark delta (BMOR rounded first) + late start 1:27 =4m49sec

4m49sec / 90min (elapsed leg time) =5.4% faster upwind

down wind delta 5:11 ish

60min (approx elapsed leg time) / 5m11sec = 8.6%

Total race time 2h30m or 150 min / 10 min victory margin = 6.7% faster overall

Wow!

Nearly 9% faster downwind. Why….duh “The tower of power” the wing…

Why Alinghi chose not to build a wing will go down as a major management Faux Pas…

Gino

BOI: ADAGIO installs 3G wireless broadband for NZ and Australia

UPDATE 11 August, 2010: Australia wireless broadband. It was challenging to uncover the Telstra post-paid, no-contract 3G service. The secret words are “Browsing Pack”:

“There is a range of Browsing Pack options that start from 30MB ($5) of included data per month – up to 9GB ($99) per month of included data. You can change your Browsing Pack as your needs change. Unused included data expires each month.”

We are on the 9GB/month plan. Like Telecom NZ, credit approval for post-paid was simple and quick. Before you go in, call the Telstra shop to inquire which ID they will accept to make up your required 100 points.

6 December, 2009: We are anchored near the beach south of Roberton Island in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. I should say “happily anchored” both because this is a truly lovely spot, and because we now have aboard ADAGIO broadband wireless internet access. We are confident that the solution we have adopted will continue to work well throughout most of coastal New Zealand and Australia. It will also work in U.S. waters should we decide to sail back there.

This all started when we read a report in The Albatross, the monthly newsletter of our home Hobart club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania (CYCT). This report “Cruising the Australian coast with Broadband Internet” described the successful experience sailing from Brisbane to Hobart on Alamak. Former Telstra engineer Andrew Boon brought along for the trip an Ericsson W25 Fixed Wireless Terminal:

Essentially it is a mobile phone on steroids. It runs under 3G (or in the case of Telstra, Next G) mobile networks and contains, like any normal mobile phone, a SIM card. The difference between it and a normal phone is it has ports that allow it to be connected to a normal telephone handset and/or a computer and/or a fax machine – all at the same time.

We found that download speeds were equivalent to land based broadband speeds (Andrew can give you the numbers if you are interested) and other than dropping out a couple of times, it proved to be very reliable. For crossing Bass Strait, we rigged the external aerial, otherwise we got by on the stub aerial connected to the unit. We had good coverage the whole trip with the exception of a short break in Bass Strait.

That report really got our attention – especially because we have observed a steady stream of “success” field reports from CYCT sailors – testing their new Telstra Next G phones whilst cruising a variety of Tasmanian waters. The alert reader will recall that most Tasmanian cruising, away from Hobart, is anything but Urban.

Then we were doubly blessed when Andrew agreed to join Adagio for the New Caledonia to New Zealand passage. Andrew patiently answered a long series of questions about the technical feasibility, and how best to configure to get good results. So with Andrew’s encouragement we set about to see if there was a commercial offering that would meet all of our non-negotiable requirements:

* No contract: it is impossible for us to agree to a 24-month contract.

* Practical rural coverage, obviously.

* Enough monthly data allowance (at least 8GB).

* And enough portability so we can use the same equipment investment for at least NZ and Australia.

Before explaining what we did I should mention that we investigated whether an iPhone could meet our objectives. We decided not – principally because the iPhone is not designed for an external antenna, nor is it designed to robustly support tethering another computer to the iPhone’s 3G connection. There are workarounds, but we did not want to get into an “iPhone development program”. We’re here to go sailing!

But which network – Telecom NZ or Vodafone? From Andrew we learned that hardware-wise, the big divide is whether you choose 850 vs 900 MHz, which means the following network choices relevant to our portability requirement:

850/2100 MHz = Telstra NextG / Three (AUS), Telecom (NZ), various in USA.

900/2100 MHz = Optus YesG / Vodafone (AUS), Vodafone (NZ), various in EUROPE.

The telecom vendors do not make it easy to discover how their network coverage performance compares across locations. A key insight came, again, from Andrew, that Telstra/AUS and Telecom/NZ had both invested in widespread deployment of the longer range 850MHz cell towers, using 2100 MHz towers to infill in coverage soft spots. Contrariwise, Vodafone et al had focused upon 2100 MHz towers to concentrate their coverage where most of the people live. Since we prefer to mostly cruise where people don’t live, it became quickly clear that 850 MHz best met our “Practical rural coverage” requirement.

Now the question became commercial terms with Telecom NZ. To cut to the chase, we went to the Telecom retailer “Orb Communications” in Kerikeri, where Ms. Amanda Walker quickly set up just what we required – all of these items are what Telecom calls “Open Term”, which means we pay monthly bills, but can cancel at any time:

• a “Plan Only” sale, meaning we supply our own equipment

• a no-charge SIM card for the Telecom XT network (i.e., 3G)

• Data plan: “Mobile Broadband 8GB”, $79.95/month

• “One Rate 100” voice service, meaning 100 minutes airtime for a monthly minimum of $50.

Translation: we pay nothing up front, have no contract, but agree to pay $50 + $80/month for the voice + data service until cancelled or amended. For those who need a fair bit of data like Adagio does, we were fortunate to have the benefit of the Xmas promotion — so we get 8GB per month for same price as 4GB. Telecom’s normal price is $29.95 for the extra 4GB, then $0.10/MB over the 8GB allowance.

Because this is a postpay plan Telecom requires a credit check. That seemed very straightforward as we only had to supply two current photo-ID, our NZ mailing address (of former neighbors on Te Wahapu), and when asked “How many credit cards do you have?” I replied “two, would you like to see them?”. Answer “no thanks”.

So, confident we had a telecom deal we could accept, we ordered the equipment:

A$ 470.00 ex-GST Ericsson W35: Fixed Wireless Terminal from Powertec Australia

NZ$ 130 ex-GST RFI CD2195: 890mm tall four-band external antenna (gain of 6.5dBi for 824-960 MHz, 3dBi for 1710-2170 MHz) from RF Industries New Zealand, Paul McKnight +649 5372683.

NZ$ 20 An inexpensive Slimline landline phone from Dick Smith

Configuring the W35 to work with the Telecom network was straightforward, taking about 10 minutes. An ethernet cable will be required until you have configured the WLAN wireless access point. The parameters required are similar to configuring an ADSL router. Fortunately we had long range wifi access, as I had to search up the Telecom Access Point Name (APN, which is internet.telecom.co.nz).

We have run just a few objective speed tests using SpeakEasy.net/Speedtest. Anchored in the Waikere River – with external antenna and without

– With antenna signal bars = 100% test #1

   – Download Speed: 3939 kbps (492.4 KB/sec transfer rate)

   Upload Speed: 457 kbps (57.1 KB/sec transfer rate)

– Disconnect antenna signal bars = 50%

   – Download Speed: 1682 kbps (210.3 KB/sec transfer rate)

   Upload Speed: 509 kbps (63.6 KB/sec transfer rate)

– With antenna signal bars = 100% test #2

   – Download Speed: 2991 kbps (373.9 KB/sec transfer rate)

   Upload Speed: 681 kbps (85.1 KB/sec transfer rate)

Some more details: the Ericsson W35 includes an internal 802.11 wireless access point. So the installation can be done where it is most convenient to connect to an external antenna. E.g., for us and for data-only we could mount the W35 near our cockpit external microwave jack. If you don’t need a landline phone, then you just need DC power and the antenna.

The landline phone is an experiment. One motivation was to get cheaper airtime than Vodafone prepaid at NZ$ 0.88/minute. The Telecom One Rate 100 plan was $ 0.50/minute. But now we have 2degreesmobile.co.nz GSM prepaids at a current promo rate of $ 0.22/minute. The other motivation was remote location coverage. We expect to get voice coverage with the W35/external antenna where we would have no useable GSM signal on Vodafone (and 2degrees uses the Vodafone network).

The external antenna connection can be a challenge on some boats. Our case is simplified in that we can repurpose our already-installed LMR400 low-loss microwave cable which we have used since Hobart 2001 to connect medium-range and long-range wireless antennas to our wireless bridge. When we have access to a 3G wireless broadband network we don’t need the 802.11 wi-fi setup, so we can switch the use of the routing of microwave cable from our nav station to a protected cockpit bulkhead connector.

I am awaiting shipments from AUS and NZ of some more antenna cabling parts I need to finish the installation. By finish I mean “all that we need for further testing”. Ultimately we will install the external 3G antenna on our radar arch, but that involves a new run of LMR400 and sacrificing one or more antennas that already have space allocated on the arch. Meanwhile the W35 will go under the nav station with our other access points and routers. This is less convenient than having the W35 on the desktop where we can easily see the indicators and operate the low-power/sleep button. But the less-convenient location is is close enough to the existing LMR400 cable to connect with a 500 mm MCX to N-Male pigtail/patch cable. We are striving to minimize connections as each connector can add 0.1 to 0.5 db to the signal acquisition losses. I also have to wire up the DC supply power properly, utilizing our regulated 12VDC supply (or maybe I can use the ship’s 24VDC as the input spec is 10 – 28VDC).

Our bottom line is that we can now enjoy cruising the more remote areas as we do not feel the need to scurry back near “civilization” hunting for a wireless signal.