Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time to get Motivated

It's snowing here again in Asheville today, but the weather at the boat is looking pretty good for the weekend, more or less anyway. I haven't been in a while, so I am going to take advantage of the sunshine and see what projects on the list I can knock out over the next couple of days. This has been some winter but, from the pictures of the snow you all have posted on your sites, I don't have to tell you that.

On a different note...for those of you who are pulling the marina's wifi signal and have low connection speeds or spotty signals in general, you might want to check this out. I just purchased the ALFA AWUS036H long-range USB adaptor as I could barely pick up a signal at the end of my finger pier. Let me tell you, for $40 bucks, it was the best money I have spent in a long time. I originally tried it at home to see what it was all about. It's a very small unit, so it's a good fit on a boat. It came with 2 antennas, one about 6 inches and one about 14 inches.

A quick test showed that I could pick up about 3 wireless routers with just the laptops receiver. After installing and plugging in the ALFA with the 6 inch antenna, I was able to pick 9 different signals and the 3 that I could barely pick up with computer alone were at full signal strength. Now, when I went with the 14 inch monster antenna, I was able to pick up 16 different signals. One of those signals was the Asheville town center free WIFI that had to be at least a quarter mile away if not more. Truly a worth while purchase for anyone having issues with signal or anyone that will be on the hook and would like to have Internet.

Might as well keep the techie vibe going here. I have finally finished the set-up of the SeaClear navigation software on the laptop. I am all for getting as much free stuff as possible, so this was a great alternative. If you haven't checked it out yet, you should. Once it's all set, it turns your computer into a very accurate chartplotter with all of the charts you need free as well. So here is how it works.

Once you download the free SeaClear software, you need to get the charts downloaded as well. If you go to the NOAA site, they are all available for download, again for free. I went with the Atlantic charts from Maine to Cape Horn...hey, I can dream. :) The only thing you need to purchase is a USB GPS puck. It cost me $40 bucks but with everything else free, not a bad investment.

Once it's all set-up, a little red boat floats in your slip on the chart and you are ready to go. A few cool can do all of your planning and create routes which you can access and run at anytime. It shows waypoints and a bread-crumb lines for you to follow. You can set a ton of preferences like, if you get a certain distance of the line, an alarm goes off. As well, it shows speed, heading and a dozen other bits of useful info. You can also set an anchor alarm which I love as well. The coolest feature however is the seamless movement between charts. So when you get to the end of one chart, it automatically puts you on the next chart and you are on your way. So check it out and let me know if you have any questions.

Will give an update from the boat tomorrow or Saturday. Enjoy!


  1. Just found your blog thru the grapevine, and that's a great tip you posted here. I'll have to try this, coz why not?

  2. Glad I could help. Looks like you guys have quite a project in front of you. I look forward to following your adventure.

  3. Hey, I rode in here on Travis and Maggie's coattails. I will be looking forward to keeping up with your adventures as well ~ ain't boat life grand?

  4. Sweet, I am getting that. Thanks for the tip, great write up homie!