Choices in Plotting Tools

Beginners typically ask which plotting tools they need. It’s a good question, because the available range of tool types is greater than one would likely need. For example, parallel rules, rolling plotters, course plotters, triangles and plotting board pantographs all do essentially the same thing; that is enable you to draw a line in a [...]

About Artificial Horizons

Artificial horizons were used by sailors of sailing ships when they were becalmed. This condition was frequently accompanied by fog which obscured the natural horizon. A tray of mercury was used, and the image of the actual body was superimposed with the image reflected by the mercury. Half the angle was used as the sextant [...]

About Electronic Charting

Background. The world of electronic charting has seen a severe transformation in the recent past. First, NOAA released vector charts of U.S. waters free of charge to the public. These are called Electronic Navigation Charts (ENCs). Now they have done the same thing with Raster Navigation Charts (RNCs). These actions have changed the revenue and profit […]

How to Choose a Barometer

Even in these modern times of satellites and Internet, the atmospheric pressure measured with a personal barometer remains the most important indication of weather changes at your location. To evaluate present weather or forecast coming weather, we need accurate barometric pressure. Most common barometers on the market are not accurate enough to serve this purpose. [...]

Why Fujinon 7x50s?

The only two binoculars rated as SUPERIOR by Practical Sailor magazine, were the Fujinon Polaris and the Zeiss 7x50s (which cost about $500 more). In fact Fujinon was rated best in dim light conditions. Thanks to a proprietary zirconium oxide, electron beam coating (EBC) process, they are able to transmit an incredible 95% of the [...]

Should You Get a Compass Model

Experts are divided about the wisdom of having binoculars with a built-in compass showing in the field of view. There are several arguments against this configuration. Repairmen say that the compass is the weakest link in the system. The compass protrudes outward from the binoculars, and is thus the first thing to be damaged. Some [...]

Choosing a World Band Radio

The job for a world band radio is tough. Crowded signals traveling long distances require proper equipment for good reception. Yet, there is a global free-for-all in the manufacturing and merchandising of these radios. Some do an excellent job, and some are sold on the basis of good looks while having terrible performance. The following [...]

Time Signals

Having the correct time is important in all navigation, but is paramount for celestial. Determining longitude has always been the strictest test of timekeeping which is today improved by quartz clocks and worldwide broadcast time signals. These time signals are broadcast on shortwave frequencies of 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 20 MHz in the USA, [...]

About Basemaps

Several of these GPSs which have “MAP” in their name, have what is called “a built-in basemap”. The benefits of a basemap are as follows: Intuitive orientation. Simply turn the unit on, and upon acquisition of satellites, your location will be shown in the center of a map. Pick up the unit and start walking, and [...]