Saturday, March 31, 2012

Andren waypoint format conversion magic

It's time for the"Dark Arts." On goes the robe and conical hat with the stars and moons. A quick check tells me the goat is prepared, and out of assorted secret chests various magical implements are extracted.

Today we are casting a difficult, and dangerous spell to exorcise the waypoints out of an ancient Garmin 215 chartplotter, and whisk them into a newly installed Garmin 7215. For those who are afraid of such unnatural, and "olde magicks", you should stop reading now, lest your soul inadvertently gets sucked into the black technical vortex to suffer for all time. For all else, have your garlic and amulet close at hand while you read.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Congressional hearing

For the record, I'm Congressman Weal, and today's investigative subcommittee hearing is regarding the high cost of marine electronics repairs. There has been an overwhelming number of letters from my constituents complaining about the gross, and flagrant billing costs by marine professionals, and our job is to get down to the nitty gritty of this onerous situation.

I have before me a letter from a Mr. Berlusconi describing exactly this problem, and offering the entire committee the opportunity to spend a week on his boat doing the peoples hard work of reviewing his extensive maintenance records, We took him up on his offer, and frankly we were aghast at the costs the poor man was billed.

I want to assure all Americans that not a single dime of taxpayer's money was spent during this important, and difficult investigative trip. I think it may be time to consider some greater regulation of this obviously out of control industry. We have testifying before us Mr. Installer, a purported expert in the repair of marine electronics. It is unfortunate that we had to subpoena Mr. Installer to appear today, but we felt that his claims about not being able to afford to fly here were spurious to say the least. I would like to turn the first five minute questioning period over to my esteemed, but somewhat misguided colleague Congressman Fester.

Thank you my good, but ideologically deluded friend for the introduction. Just for the record, I don't think that there is any role for gummit regulation in this matter at all, especially for people that own boats, or anyone else period.

I was only on one once, and that was during our investigative trip. If you want to own a floating hotel, that is your business, not the gummit's. Mr. Installer, just to get a feel for the important things here, are you an American, and did you bring your birth certificate with you to prove it? I'm concerned that these claims of over billing might actually be caused by illegal aliens.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Selecting the right chrip transducer for the GSD 26

For fishermen, the use of fish finders have always required a little black magic to get the most out of them. Tweaking settings to find thermoclines, and playing with knobs with names like gain or TVG. Trying to decide if the big target on the display is really a school of bait fish, or a Warsaw grouper.

As good as sounder systems have become through the years, the approach of doing a single frequency ping (tone burst) has been, and always will be limited by basic physics, and the industry has basically taken the technology about as far as it can go. Now with "Chirping" sounder systems, the game has changed. In 800' of water, you can now tell if that target is a single fish, or a school of bait. At 2000', or possibly more with the right transducer you can still see larger fish targets, and bottom can be found at depths of up to 11,000'.

Talk about fish finding now includes jargon like "number of elements", "Q" values, figures of merit, and DSP processors. Now with about two dozen chirping transducer options, what's best for your boat? This is what we're going to explore, and along the way give you some of the tools to help you make the right decision.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Degrees, minutes.... Hours? Weeks? Months?

What's up Dick? You can't enter the waypoint position? Okay, I understand it's in a degrees minutes, and seconds format, and you changed your system format to input it I assume? Good. You say it won't accept the seconds, that's odd, what did you do then? You inputted it again, and just dropped the seconds, and that didn't work well either? Then you changed the latitude from 23 minutes to 24 minutes, and it was near the mouth of the channel? What was next? You just gave up? There was no place called Little Palm Island on your charts, and you even called and asked the dock master to verify that the website lat/long numbers on the website were the correct ones? Tell you what Dick, send me the link for the marina where you got the numbers, and I will take a look. A little while later I do take a look, at the link, and I immediately see what's going on. Boy are the directions screwed up. This marina would be lucky if anyone could find them based on their published directions.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Springeth forward

It's MRI's biannual PSA reminder about that daylight savings time clock thing that has been going on, and off in the US since 1918. DST has not been always very consistently applied in the US due to state, and federal legislators mucking around with the issue. In the early sixties a 35 mile ride on Route 2 between Moundsvile WV, and Stuebenville OH required 7 time changes. In 1966 the Uniform Time Act was enacted, and  Daylight Savings Time became generally standard, but states could still opt out of the program, but at least the entire state would have to opt out, sort of. Arizona, with the exception of the Navajo reservation, and Hawaii do not use DST. Why? I don't have a clue, maybe they they just have a lot of extra photons to waste.

So in sum, the GMT offset for Eastern Standard time is now -4,00 hours. so check, and if needed change your chartplotter's offset from the -5.00 hours on Saturday to -4.00 hours on Sunday if you're in the eastern time zone. Add one hour for each time zone going west. If your chartplotter's clock is off, it shifts the tide calculations, and in some cases the estimated time of arrival. Ahem, for those of you who may be clock challenged, this means you move the little clock hand forward one hour. Leave the big hand alone. Or is it you move the big hand all the way around once, and the little hand will follow. Heck, I'm not sure, my VCR has been blinking at me for two decades.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm mad. I'm mad. I'm really really mad.

Every time I see a boat
It's always just the same
With the fighting und the biting
Then there's wiring und there's bleeding
Und there's scratching on the head
When I get to where we're going
I'm just ready for my bed
I'm mad, I'm mad, I'm really really mad.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Battery trial

Opening argument, the defense:  "Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the jury. My client, Mr. Battery who you see slumped in the wheelchair before you, has been accused of attempted murder in the first degree. I'm going to prove to all of you beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Mr. Battery is indeed innocent. His disfigurement, and subsequent leakage of poisonous gas was in reality caused by his owners neglect, faulty equipment, and poor installation. Look at my poor client in his charred and bloated condition, and ask yourself, could the loyal Mr. Battery truly have deliberately tried to kill the owners he loved? I know you will all make the right decision. Thank you for your attention."

Opening argument, the prosecution: "Good morning members of the jury. My esteemed colleague would have you believe that Mr. Battery who you see before you is just an innocent victim of circumstances, and abuse by its owner. But in fact we will prove to you that he is really a cold blooded killer, filled with dangerous chemicals, gases, and murderous intent. I feel pity for his condition, but we will show that his damage was self inflicted, in an attempt to viciously kill its owners in a fit of rage. Thank you members of the jury."