I went a little bonkers this winter… again. The relief at getting a new job and paying off the truck with my severance meant I could get a little spendy so I did. I bought an Icom m803 radio for long range communication. It’s nice, it does ham bands too so I can be ultra nerdy while in the boat. The radio my friend gave me was an older model, very big, and I never found a place it’d fit conveniently but having it solidified the idea that I wanted one so I got one.
I added a red ring locking pushbutton switch to control the strobe mentioned previously, as well as the mute switch for the Vesper XB-8000 and the alarm buzzer. I removed the old Anderson Power Poles connector now that I won’t be plugging in a ham radio there.
After talking to several people about radar (I know, I know, on this boat, it’s an elevator in an outhouse… but why not?) I knew I wanted one and I also knew I wanted one of the wifi models. My old chart plotter didn’t have wifi so… new chart plotter. Along with a Sirius XM receiver so I can get weather as well. That part is actually pretty useful in the mountains because there’s no internet where the boat is kept and I can never see fronts rolling in. This will help a lot, plus I love the thematic channels.
You can see output here from the WS320 wind sensor. It works great where it is now (in the cabin).
I mounted an inverter under the nav station. It’s only 400w, just enough to charge laptops, run a sewing machine, or maybe a small guitar amp (my wife’s spark amp only draws 140w). I didn’t want a big complicated system because I don’t have a ton of house bank capacity.
The radar works great. I only need to get power to it and the wifi does the rest. Setup was really easy. If I crank the range all the way up I can get a bounce off the Flatirons 14 miles away. What you’re seeing here though is buildings and trees around my house.
I couldn’t put it on the mast, well, not easily, so I built a pole mount for the back. It has a manual gimbal on it so you can adjust it to match the heel of the boat. Useless here, since we have to tack every minute or so, but fine on the ocean.
In my final bout of craziness I bought a life raft…. and then realized I can’t really mount it anywhere. It’s huge – and this is the smallest 4 person offshore raft made.
I think I might end up building a proper solar arch to handle the radar, solar panel, and if I do that I may be able to mount the liferaft cradle in there somewhere. I’m not sure where yet, but it’d solve a lot of problems because right now the back of the boat looks like an erector set with all my mounts. I’ll have to build something custom though because most of the rear arches I’ve seen look horrible, way too big. My favorite welder has retired and I don’t have the tooling to bend that much stainless. We’ll see.