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Author Articles

by Ben Ellison

Franson GpsGate 2.5

By Ben Ellison | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

GpsGate started as a simple utility that let GPS data coming into a PC or PDA serial port work with many programs simultaneously. The latest $30 version extends the concept to things like Bluetooth and Internet, often simplifying their use in the process—and lets groups share their locations on the Web. Members can see where his/her buddies are at

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'Lectronics Lab

By Ben Ellison | Posted July 2007 | Add a Comment

Most people, including my wife, call it a "basement," but I prefer to think of the area beneath our Maine home as a multifunctional work area, and a nice hangout. The carpentry shop under the original building, once used to finish off—well, almost finish—the floors above, even has south-facing windows, as the whole place is tucked into a hill. That topography also permitted a two-car

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Displacement Speed

By Ben Ellison | Posted June 2007 | Add a Comment

Running a sporty planing boat at dead slow ahead for 23 hours nonstop?! I know it sounds plumb crazy, but I'm hoping that once you understand my strategies and the results, you'll conclude, "Yeah, crazy like a fox!"Jamie BloomquistA slow cruise from Maine to Connecticut provides a chance to test some

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Paradox Marine Magellan Platinium

By Ben Ellison | Posted June 2007 | Add a Comment

The marine version of the Paradox Magellan wireless security and monitoring system is earning a good reputation with boaters and insurance writers. Now the original developer, Edgewater Technologies, has further focused itself by becoming Paradox Marine and improving the system’s shore connection. While WiFi and cellular may work fine for a cruiser’s online

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Shakespeare CruiseNet

By Ben Ellison | Posted June 2007 | Add a Comment

Shakespeare’s new CruiseNet illustrates how far cellular data can be taken. This high-end box, which starts at $1,750, combines a compact server with a full-powered, industrial-quality cellular modem that can be set up with either Verizon or Sprint EVDO/1xRTT data

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Connected Cruising

By Ben Ellison | Posted June 2007 | Add a Comment

Picture a spring evening that's so clear and calm you've jumped out from Charleston, South Carolina, planning to chug through the night to Beaufort, North Carolina, and thus skip a sometimes shallow and/or tedious section of the Intracoastal Waterway plus enjoy some offshore solitude. But, darn it, you've got 21st-century habits and would like to spend some of that time on the Web, checking your

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SeaKey v2.0

By Ben Ellison | Posted June 2007 | Add a Comment

SeaKey v2.0 is major upgrade from the original, adding an LCD interface and two-way Orbcomm satellite communications. However, the goals remains the same: to connect boaters underway with a call center able to both handle emergencies and deliver concierge service, plus provide geo-fence security and simple monitoring of bilge level and main battery bank when

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Gauges to GUIs

By Ben Ellison | Posted May 2007 | Add a Comment

Why reinvent the wheel? Faria tapped Maptech to help create Maestro.You can almost smell stacks of freshly stitched and pressed Civil War uniforms as you walk around Faria's antique brick and granite factory on the banks of the Thames River just north of New London,

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Cobra 425

By Ben Ellison | Posted May 2007 | Add a Comment

The big consumer electronics company Cobra has gotten serious about marine VHF, introducing both this feature-packed handheld and a Class D DSC fixed radio. For instance, the $170 HH425 and the $190 F80 are each submersible and backed by three-year warranties. Both also offer a "rewind, play again" feature that spaceshots like me will find handy—a built-in memory chip records the last 20

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McMurdo SmartFind

By Ben Ellison | Posted May 2007 | Add a Comment

Similar to ACR’s ResQFix PLB, McMurdo has introduced a GEPIRB (GPS-equipped Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) that's smaller yet supposedly performs better. The $849, 1.5-pound SmartFind Plus accomplishes this largely by using LEDs for its strobe, which

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