Our boat box corner is slowly taking over our living space. Yesterday NASA Marine delivered some very important electronics for IKOKO.
As indicated in the picture we bought a Battery Monitor to see how many Amps we are using at any given time. We do have instruments for battery voltage, but I found this little gadget to be very cool... a must have. Also we are installing LED lights throughout the boat. We already bought some examples for the interior "illumination" and now started to tackle the "outside". The first one is a TRI Color and Anchor LED mastlight. As soon as we are on the boat, we will check the other navigational lights for LED replacements. Right now I just can't remember which "bulbs" are going in there. :-(
Two antennas were also on the shopping list. One for the VHF (an more rugged design) and one for the SSB Receiver, which is an active antenna. We do have an isolated backstay, which we could use too, but since this particular antenna wasn't that expensive, we will give it a try.
One absolutely important piece is the little SSB Receiver, which we need to receive weather information (grib files) worldwide and to listen to cruiser networks around the world. This particular one comes with a little piece of weather software as well and wasn't expensive either.
Many cruisers have a full-blown SSB Transceiver set-up with Pactor Modem on their boats. Even though I find it pretty tempting to be able to send and receive basic eMail messages and participate in global "discussion rounds" as well as the ability to talk to individuals and groups etc. I don't see a reason to spend several thousands of dollars (most likely USD 5,000+) to have such a set-up on board. We intend to do our eMail stuff with a SatPhone. If you carefully compare both investments, it is cheaper to have a SatPhone on board for speaking and eMailing.
One disadvantage though is the concept of "only" having a "one-to-one" device. Means, we can only call one person as to compared to a "one-to-many" device (SSB Transceiver), where we could call many people with one call. This is a safety aspect and nothing more really. I figured that we have plenty of safety with a "one-to-one" device (SatPhone) + an EPIRP and a Spot Messenger.
For the non-boaters among you. On a boat you usually have a radio set for short-range communication, which is called "VHF". We have one installed on the chart-table and two handhelds. For global radio communication you need different frequencies and different technology, so most boats have a SSB Radio on board, which enables them to communicate on a global basis and also hook up this device to a computer in order to receive weather forecasts. This can be very integrated with your navigational systems (chart plotter or PC navigation)... mostly to have the weather as on overlay of your electronic charts. Just compare this with your GPS device in your car and think of traffic warnings, which is sort of an overlay as well.
Anyways. One more week to work. Yeahhhhhhh. /k.