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Welcome to next generation navigation from Digital Yacht

Please remember our main website is at www.digitalyachtamerica.com so please visit there  for further product information.

This site is a daily news feed – packed with useful hints and tips on marine electronics in general, useful installation guides, white papers and links to other sites too. Feel free to subscribe by joining our list. Follow us also on Twitter and Facebook.

Digital Update October 2014 Out Now

The October 2014 edition of Digital Update, DY’s monthly newsletter, is now out and available to download from HERE

In this month’s publication we take a look at two new product introductions.  AquaMedia is Digital Yacht’s new on board entertainment server for digital media and AquaWear brings wearable navigation to boating.  Great new innovations from Digital Yacht – read about them right here and see them at METS2014 in November

NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2014 COVER

Oasis of the Seas drawn to scale

Oasis of the Sea

Further to our post last week about the update of our NavLink App for iPhones/iPads, here is a great screen shot of the new AIS targets drawn to scale feature. In the image above you can see the largest cruise liner in the world “Oasis of the Seas” entering Southampton Waters for the first time, which was taken at 9.00am this morning.

Unfortunately due to the sea mist, it was not possible to see her by eye, so we had to make do with plotting her progress on the NavLink App.

NavLink takes the ship’s dimensions from the data it receives from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder fitted to the Oasis of the Seas and draws the ship to scale on its electronic chart. Note the relative size of the Red Eagle ferry, which is dwarfed by the 362m cruise liner, on its starboard stern.

Two versions of app are available NavLink UK and NavLink US on the Apple App Store and for more information on the new features in this latest update please click here.

New UK Digital Yacht Product Guide

Here’s our latest UK Product Guide -Edition 5 for 2014.  Please note all prices exclude VAT and are in GBP. This latest edition has details of our new AIT3000 Class B transponder  as well as NavLink UK MAC and iOS charting and navigation apps.  Click on the image below to download

DIGITAL YACHT PRICE GUIDE UK 2014_Page_01

For Euro and US$ versions, please contact your local office or sales contact.  You can also download the UK Guide from HERE

New update for NavLink App for iPhones/iPads

iTunesArtwork

We are pleased to announce a new update is now available for our popular NavLink UK and NavLink US apps for iPhones/iPads. The update which existing users can get free of charge from the App store provides the following new features;

-  External NMEA GPS support – great for iPads without built-in GPS (also supports GPS from AIS transponder).
–  Rate of turn vectors showing bending ship course prediction.
–  Relative scale ship icons – so big ships appear bigger.
–  Ship names displayed on map – so you can see the ships’ names without having to tap on them.
–  Ships drawn at true scale size when zoomed in on the map – vital for seeing the size of the gap or passage around large vessels.

Our NavLink apps which work with all of our wireless NMEA servers are perfect for anyone that wants to wirelessly receive AIS and GPS data from their boat’s AIS system. For more information click on the links below.

NavLink UK which includes UKHO vector charts for UK+Ireland and optional in-app purchase for other North European charts.

NavLink US which includes NOAA vector charts for the US

If you do not already have an AIS but want to get one with this wireless capability, please look at our iAIS (receiver) or our brand new AIT3000 (transponder with splitter) products.

AquaMedia – Let Digital Yacht Entertain You Afloat!

This week we launch AquaMedia in the US – our solution for easy, on-board digital entertainment.  Solid and small (about the size of a small bag of sugar – and packed with the same e-calories!) , it’s super fast, simple and becomes the gateway for digital media afloat.  Here’s a sneak preview:

aquamedia montage small

AquaMedia is an on-board media server.  Playback music, video, pictures or internet TV and integrate with your existing or new boat audio and TV system.   Step on board and plug in your USB drive/hard disk  including audio, video and photo media for on board playback.  Aquamedia will quickly index the drive and logically arrange the media through its custom Razor operating system leaving your original drive structure intact

aquamedia features 1

AquaMedia also supports audio playback via AirPlay via iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.  Connect AquaMedia via HDMI to your choice of TV or display and via an AUX connection to the boat’s audio system.  Up to two displays can be connected.

Connect to the internet for web and internet TV functionality via built in wifi or through the WL510 power wifi solution from Digital Yacht.  It also supports an IP camera feed for CCTV or thermal camera integration.

aquamedia features 2

Despite its powerful Intel processor, it consumes under 25W and is designed to connect direct to the boat’s DC 12V system so there’s no need for inverters or power packs.  AquaMedia can be controlled and operated via a variety of products including keyboard, mouse, trackpad and standard remote control.

aquamedia typ setup

With a stunning, easy to use interface and blisteringly fast processor, AquaMedia brings you the best, easiest and latest in media entertainment afloat.  Download the launch pack HERE and make sure to visit Digital Yacht at the NMEA convention, Fort Myers 8-11 Oct for a demo

aquamedia front page

Getting Maximum VHF/AIS Reception

AIS Antenna on Roof

We are often asked about the best antenna to use with our AISNet Base Station Receiver, which is used by many customers to send AIS data to online AIS websites like Marine Traffic, Pinkfroot, AIS Live, Boat Beacon, Shipfinder, etc. We usually suggest a good quality, AIS tuned antenna, with at least 3dB gain and in most cases this gives a good reception range – up to 20-25miles or more. You can get greater range by going to a more expensive directional Yagi antenna, but these often have a limited beam width and may only receive strong signals from vessels within a 120deg arc of the antenna.

Generally speaking a 1/2 dipole, omni-directional whip antenna is probably the best choice for most installations, as they are generally not too expensive, give a good 3dB of gain and will receive targets through a full 360 degrees. In our opinion, it is better to spend time and money on getting the antenna mounted as high as possible than to spend more money on a higher gain directional antenna.

This week, however, we were contacted by a customer who had bought a well known brand of AIS whip antenna but was only seeing targets out to about 12-15 miles. Looking at the spec of the antenna, everything seemed OK but then we noticed that it came with 20m of RG58 coax cable which, according to the attenuation table below, would lose over -3.6dB negating the benefits of using a 3dB antenna.

Attenuation figures of different types/lengths of Coax Cable
Coax Type 20′ (6m) 40′ (12m) 60′ (18m) 80′ (24m) 100′ (30m)
RG-58 -1.2dB -2.4dB -3.6dB -4.9dB -6.1dB
RG-8X -0.9dB -1.8dB -2.7dB -3.6dB -4.5dB
RG-213 -0.5dB -1.0dB -1.6dB -2.1dB -2.7dB

When selecting antennas, the coax cable is often overlooked and, as we discovered, this can have a significant impact on reception range. We suggested that they looked at an alternative whip antenna that came with no cable but had an N-Type or PL259 type connector on the base of the antenna. This would then allow them to make up their own coax cable, using the minimum possible length of low loss RG-213 coax cable.

Even with RG-213, you can lose approximately 1dB for every 10m of cable that you use and as the AISNet is fairly portable, it is always better to move the AISNet closer to the antenna and reduce the coax cable length. You can always run longer lengths of RJ45 network cable inside the building (which does not suffer the same attenuation as coax cable), or better still use a wireless access point or repeater to wirelessly connect the AISNet to the main router in the building.

For more information on our AISNet Base Station receiver, click here.

 

What’s in a Name ? – Good and Bad SSIDs

Bad SSID

We have noticed that quite a few of our WL450 and WL510 customers are using their long range Wi-Fi installation to connect to a “personal hotspot” or “tethered phone” depending upon whether they are an Apple or Android user. If you have a good or unlimited data plan on your phone, then this is a very useful way to get internet in places where the Wi-Fi is not so good but the 3G signal is strong. Normally it is the other way round, but if you find yourself in this situation, it is a “good tool to have in your tool box”.

The long range performance of the WL450/WL510, means that you can place the phone anywhere on the boat to get the best 3G signal and the WL450/WL510 will connect to it. If you also have the WL450/WL510 connected to a router like our iNavConnect then everyone on board connected to the router, will also be able to use the 3G internet connection.

Last week we were contacted by a customer trying to do just this with his iPhone but he could not get his WL510 to connect to his personal hotspot. After a bit of head scratching, we realised that he had an apostrophe in the SSID like the one in the image above “Paul&Kay’s iPhone” and this use of a special character was stopping the WL510 from connecting to it.

Looking online there did not seem to be a definitive Specification or RFC that stated what characters must or must not be used in an SSID, but the general recommendation seems to be that SSIDs should use standard characters, avoiding the use of special characters and spaces. So in our example above a much more compatible SSID would be “PaulandKays_iPhone”.

Once we changed the iPhone’s name (SSID) to a more compatible set of characters, the WL510 connected first time and he was able to get a very good 3G connection in the Norwegian Fjord he was moored in !