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Welcome to next generation navigation from Digital Yacht

You’ve reached the daily news-feed site for Digital Yacht.  Remember our main website is at www.digitalyachtamerica.com so please visit there  for further product information.

This site is packed with useful hints and tips on marine electronics in general, 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

New set of “How To” Videos on our Long Range Wi-Fi Products

WL510+iNavConnect

Getting a good long range Wi-Fi connection in a marina can be a challenge, particularly if you have not used the equipment for a while and cannot remember the steps involved.

To try and help make this a little easier, Digital Yacht have created a set of “How To” videos that explain how to connect to the two main types of wireless hotspots that you will come across on your travels; the “Open” captive portal type hotspot favoured by most marinas these days and the “encrypted” password protected hotspot that most bars and restaurants still operate.

At the same time we also created a third video that covers the important process of securing your boat’s wireless, by changing the default wireless network name and password, so that only the people you want to connect, can join your network.

We recommend watching them in the order shown below and simply click on the link to take you to the video on our YouTube channel…

  1. Connecting our WL510 to a Captive Portal type Marina hotspot
  2. Connecting our WL510 to a Password Protected type Restaurant/Bar hotspot
  3. Changing the default SSID and Password on our iNavConnect/iNavHub/iKConnect routers

IMPORTANT NOTE
After Apple changed the way their auto login feature of iOS and Safari behaved earlier this year, we now recommend installing the free Google Chrome web browser for maximum compatibility when connecting to hotspots, on your iPad or iPhone and this is also true on Windows PCs as Internet Explorer does not always seem to trigger the re-direct to the marina’s welcome/login page.

Best Marine Apps for Android (V1.05)

Marine Android Apps

We have just updated our “Best Marine Apps for Android” list to include the some important new Apps now available on Android devices. The actual number of apps has only slightly increased since our last update, iRegatta a popular racing app has been withdrawn from the Play Store, while the popular Transas iSailor App is now available on Android. Featuring the same Transas charts that you find on many commercial ships and a host of powerful features, iSailor is definitely an app to consider for any Android user.

Another very important new entrant on the list, is the Android version of the hugely popular OpenCPN app. OpenCPN was developed by the open source community and is the most popular navigation program for Windows, LINUX and Macs. Now this new Android App, is set to become equally  popular on Tablets and Phones, although it does need a fairly powerful processor and an SD Card slot is also useful to make it easier to load the charts on. For more information visit http://bigdumboat.com/aocpn/forum

Our “Best Marine Apps” list focuses on navigational apps that can be used with our wireless NMEA and AIS products and as long as the App you are interested in has a tick in the “External NMEA” column then it will work with our wireless NMEA products. With nine wireless NMEA products in our range, it can sometimes be confusing for customers, as to which product they need, so we have just published a comparison sheet to make it easier to choose the best product for your application, click here to read it.

We are fairly confident that we have captured most of the popular apps currently available. However, if you are a user or developer of a good marine navigation app for Android that is not on our list, please let us know and we will get you on the list at the next update.

If you are interested in Digital Yacht’s popular AISView app for Android devices, you can learn more about it by clicking here.

To download a PDF copy of this new updated list of Marine Apps for Android devices, please click here Android Apps V1_05.

AISNet helps improve OnLine AIS coverage of Puget Sound

Puget

Arguably the most beautiful sailing location in the USA, it is no surprise that there are always lots of pleasure and commercial vessels in the Puget Sound. This week, we helped one of our customers to upgrade his shore based AIS reception station to one of our latest AISNet units and in so doing helped to improve the AIS coverage, in Puget Sound, of Marine Traffic the world’s largest online AIS network.

Ralph an experienced radio ham, whose home on the Olympic Pennisular is perfect for good AIS reception, contacted us when his initial attempts to send data to Marine Traffic failed. His old setup which required a PC to be permanently on, had been working well for some time but he hoped the new AISNet would free up the PC and reduce power consumption. It quickly became clear that his AISNet was receiving AIS targets and after setting up a test server, in our UK office, we also confirmed that the UDP and TCP data feeds were OK.

AISnet+ Receiver-LR

We have been selling AISNets since 2010, so they are a well proven design, but earlier this summer we released a new version that had a completely new AIS receiver and Network adaptor. Despite the fact that we had done lots of testing in the lab, including sending data to different web servers, there was a nagging doubt that perhaps this new design was not compatible in some way with Marine Traffic. Fortunately the technical support team at Marine Traffic are really fast and efficient and over the course of a couple of nights (due to the time differences), we managed to test and get Ralph’s unit working, by just a simple change to the TCP mode setting.

On  the original AISNet we had always used and recommended “TCP Mixed Mode” for Marine Traffic servers, but with the new AISNet we found that we had to select “TCP Client Mode” or “UDP Mode” to make everything work OK. With the new settings made, Ralph’s data started streaming in and by looking at the statistics found that his new AISNet was giving significantly better reception coverage than his previous setup; 15000km² compared to 3500km².

datauri-file (002)

The improved receiver sensitivity of our AISNet, plus the fact that it was a true dual channel receiver, simultaneously monitoring both AIS channnels and never missing a message, all contributed to the improved coverage. In fact AISNet was on average receiving nearly four times the number of targets per hour compared to Ralph’s old system. As you can imagine, Ralph was very pleased, as were Marine Traffic who now have much better coverage of this area and ultimately everyone sailing in the Puget Sound will benefit from an even better free online AIS service.

datauri-file

CLA1000 Fault Finding Guide

CLA1000 Bundle HR

Despite our popular CLA1000 Class A transponder being predominately fitted to commercial ships by experienced electronic installers, an increasing number are being fitted to pleasure craft and are often installed by the boat’s owner or an installer who has never fitted a Class A transponder before.

Installation is pretty straight forward, but there are a number of steps and procedures to follow:-

  • Mechanical Installation
  • Power Connections
  • GPS antenna installation
  • VHF Antenna installation
  • Interfacing*
  • Configuration via the supplied configAIS program

*Many CLA1000 units are interfaced to our HSC100, USB to NMEA Adaptor cable, Pilot Plug or PilotLink units.

Things do not always go to plan and with this in mind, we have released a Fault Finding Guide to help users, new to Class A transponders, work out what is wrong. To download a copy of our AIS Class A Transponder Fault Finding Guide, click here.

 

WL70R – New lower cost solution for wifi afloat

A new, competitively priced hi power wifi solution is now available from Digital Yacht called the WL70R

The system uses the well proven, WL70 1.25m wifi antenna (details HERE) and ships complete with a compact, DC powered wireless router called  iKConnect.  This creates a local wifi network on board the boat allowing mobile devices like phones, tablets and laptops to share the connectivity of the long range wifi antenna – effectively allowing multiple devices and users to share the internet connection.

The WL70 features a hi power modem integrated into the rugged 15dBm antenna.  It’s self powered from a USB connection – either direct to a PC/MAC or via the iKConnect router in the new WL70R bundle making installation really easy.

WL70R bundle features:

  • Rugged 1.25m 15dBm antenna with industry standard 1″ mount compatabilty
  • Super compact iKConnect router with direct 10-18V DC power connection
  • Simple to use web interface for setting up and connecting to hotspots
  • Offers typically 15-20x normal wifi connection range and maximises speed
  • iKConnect creates an 802.11n wireless network onboard with full WEP/ WPA/WPA2 encrypted password protection
  • Detachable 5dBi antenna on iKconnect router to footprint boats up to 25m
  • LAN and WAN connections for network expansion and other applications – compatible with iKommunicate too
  • Also compatible with Fusion marine audio network for Fusion app audio control
  • 3G/4G USB modem support coming soon

ikc router

More and more boaters want access to the internet afloat. Marinas and ports as well as a large number of cafes, hotels, restaurants and service providers offer wifi connectivity but you may just miss that vital connection if you’re moored or anchored away from the dock – especially if you’re below decks about to enjoy a movie or catch up on email. The WL70 can offer reliable and fast connections up to about ½ mile/1km depending upon conditions.  For ranges up to 5-7NM, the more powerful WL510 is available.

The WL70R system is shipping now.  Download the manual from HERE

Part number: ZDIGWL70R (comprises bundle of WL70 and iKConnect router)

UPC: 081159830472

Price: GBP£300/US$449.90/EUR415

Find out more by calling + 44 1179 55 44 74 (US 978 277 1234)

AIS Antennas & Accessories

We’re often asked for compatible AIS antennas, mounting accessories and connectors for use with our range of products so the latest AIS Antenna & Accessory Guide is now available to download.  Just click on the image below.

antenna accessories page

It’s not just AIS products either – we’ve accessories for our wifi products too that will prove prove popular with users of our WL70 wifi antenna.  Many boaters want to rail mount the antenna when in port and stow away below decks while sailing.  The PA41 detachable rail mount makes installation a breeze.

The PA82 can also be used as a mast mount for the DTV100 DTV antenna

There’s lots of possibilities here for the best, professional installation.  Just drop us a line or call if you need to order any parts (Europe + 44 1179 554474 or US 978 277 1234)

iKommunicate – Welcome to next generation interfacing

iKommunicate is Digital Yacht’s NMEA to Signal K gateway which brings the internet of things to anything afloat and will introduce a new generation of interfacing and applications to the marine electronic’s world.

ik a4  intro postcard

Things are changing in the world of marine electronic interfacing with the introduction of a new open source platform called Signal K. It’s been developing quietly over the past few years by a group of enthusiastic and very bright  developers and boaters and is now ready for wide scale implementation. The name comes from the original Signal K (kilo) flag which indicates “I want to communicate”!

Signal K aims to be the next generation solution for marine data exchange. It is intended to be used not only for communication between instruments and sensors on board a single vessel, but also to allow for sharing of data between multiple boats, aids to navigation, ports, marinas, etc. It is designed to be easily implemented by web and mobile applications and to connect boats and ships to the Internet of Things Afloat.

Many of you will be familiar with NMEA data standards which have been prevalent over the past 30 years.  While reliable and proven, they are slow and also expensive to develop for as there are legal, certification and documentation costs.  These standards were developed when the instruments on the average boat were much simpler and less capable. Today’s world is a lot more connected and there are huge benefits of tablet, PC and smartphone integration for data displays, applications, sharing and control. However, we don’t see the NMEA standard disappearing over night but equally a new format is needed for the next advance in applications.  In fact, the combination of NMEA and Signal K on board is the best technical opportunity.  That’s where iKommunicate comes in – a full featured NMEA to Signal K gateway and server allowing existing marine electronics to integrate with Signal K apps.

Like any new standard, it would take early adopters and lots of hard work to flourish but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign in the back end of 2015, iKommunicate was created and is now in production.  Thanks to nearly 500 early backers, iKommunicate was designed and manufactured.  Now everyone can now start to take advantage of next generation interfacing.

ipad and ik lr

iKommunicate has inputs for both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 so it will work with the latest generation of marine instruments as well as legacy systems.  You can now integrate your older marine electronic equipment to the next generation of interfacing with tablets, PC and other devices.  To start sharing data, it’s designed to connect to a router and to complement iKommunicate, Digital Yacht have introduced iKConnect – a compact wifi router with easy integration for iKommunicate as well as a WAN port for internet connectivity.

ikc router

Out of the box, iKommunicate can do some really clever things

  • Converts NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 to the new Signal K Open Data format
  • Includes two Web Apps; iKompass and Instrument Panel so that you can look at the Signal K data
  • Re-transmits all of the NMEA0183 and some of the NMEA2000 data it receives in to TCP or UDP network data
  • Can host other Web Apps and documents (PDFs, JPGs, etc.) on its 8GB micro SD Card

With data in Signal K format, it becomes incredibly easy to write apps to make boating more fun, affordable and safe.  We’ve produced a simple SDK at our www.ikommunicate.com site to help budding developers. Popular apps could include

  • Logging – log your engine data and track any changes over time – a gradually rising water or oil  temperature can be diagnosed prior to becoming an expensive problem
  • Twitter and Facebook integration – create your own Facebook logbook and share your boating experience with friends. Auto tweet your boats position for an easy tracking solution
  • Integrate with hobby hardware platforms like Raspberry Pi to create a custom alarm or monitoring platform for you boat

In fact, the sky is the limit!  You can also download the iKommunicate manual from HERE

Lots of major app developers are starting to interface with Signal K and iKommunicate’s support of NMEA data over TCP and UDP connections makes it compatible with lots of older apps too.

iKommunicate is now available to order.  You can order NOW

Dealers, marine electronic installers and boat builders should read our iKommunicate Guide HERE

Welcome to next generation interfacing for everything afloat!