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Old 12-11-2021, 12:00 AM   #341
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Each progress update makes our new boat seem more real. We are anxious to see it out of the molds so we can drool over the blue color we picked out for the hull. We got super excited when we saw the completed gelcoat in the molds. Neither of us has ever had a house built, but I did spend a lot of time helping my younger brother build his last home when I retired, so I know how is to see the evolution from concept to completion.
Will be nice to see the blue when the boat is put together. We thought about blue. It will be a really elegant looking boat, I think.
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Old 12-13-2021, 07:23 PM   #342
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A question for folks who have a Helmsman 38E. What size TV will fit in the pull down cabinet aft of the kitchen?
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Old 12-13-2021, 08:47 PM   #343
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Scott said a 32 inch set would fit. From the photos, it looks like a larger set would fit. The photo on the web site shows a set that looks like it’s smaller than the space available. Knowing the available height and width would be very useful. It looks like a 40 inch (34.9 x 19.6 inches) would work. We had a 40 inch set on our 32 foot boat. A man we hired to show us the ropes, jokingly said we were breaking the one inch per one foot rule.
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Old 12-13-2021, 10:00 PM   #344
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Scott said a 32 inch set would fit. From the photos, it looks like a larger set would fit. The photo on the web site shows a set that looks like itís smaller than the space available. Knowing the available height and width would be very useful. It looks like a 40 inch (34.9 x 19.6 inches) would work. We had a 40 inch set on our 32 foot boat. A man we hired to show us the ropes, jokingly said we were breaking the one inch per one foot rule.
Thanks, Doug. The weight of tvís are certainly lower than they used to be. I think the weight on the cabinet door is something to consider. Would like to have something larger than a 32Ē TV, if possible.
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Old 12-15-2021, 10:13 PM   #345
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So enjoying the progress reports...

We are really enjoying hearing from those whose boats are in progress! We are still 9 months or more away from ours being delivered and are living vicariously through your progress reports! Any pictures would be welcome!

.
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Old 12-15-2021, 10:17 PM   #346
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Helmsman has a policy about not sharing their progress photos publicly. Scott says there is some concern about trade secrets. We think we’re about to get our first photos of our boat out of the mold. With Scott’s permission, we will post an exterior shot of the hull.
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Old 12-15-2021, 10:55 PM   #347
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That explains why we don't see any progress pictures. Had not had that conversation with Scott, probably since we are so far out from the start of our build.

Thanks, Doug!
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Old 12-15-2021, 11:10 PM   #348
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Helmsman has a policy about not sharing their progress photos publicly. Scott says there is some concern about trade secrets. We think weíre about to get our first photos of our boat out of the mold. With Scottís permission, we will post an exterior shot of the hull.
They asked that the out of the mold pictures not be shared.
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Old 12-15-2021, 11:13 PM   #349
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I guess that settles that. Their own videos show a lot more about how their boats are built than one still photo. We’ll comply but regret that we can’t share.
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Old 12-15-2021, 11:19 PM   #350
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That explains why we don't see any progress pictures. Had not had that conversation with Scott, probably since we are so far out from the start of our build.

Thanks, Doug!
Typically, we get about five pictures of the boat every 10 days or so. The pictures help us see some bit of progress. At this stage, the pictures wouldnít add too much to the discussion anyway, in my opinion.

The gel coat looks great, and the teak work is underway. I havenít seen any mechanicals yet.

One debate going on in the electronics area and on the great loop forum is what folks will be doing for connectivity to the internet. I will probably be going with a Pepwave Cat 18 modem router, and a Pepwave 42G antenna set. That along with a SIM card from one of the big three will get me cellular, and WiFi when it is available and within antenna range. If folks would like to hear about the complete set up, I will do a post with links and cost.
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:41 AM   #351
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Typically, we get about five pictures of the boat every 10 days or so. The pictures help us see some bit of progress. At this stage, the pictures wouldnít add too much to the discussion anyway, in my opinion.

The gel coat looks great, and the teak work is underway. I havenít seen any mechanicals yet.

One debate going on in the electronics area and on the great loop forum is what folks will be doing for connectivity to the internet. I will probably be going with a Pepwave Cat 18 modem router, and a Pepwave 42G antenna set. That along with a SIM card from one of the big three will get me cellular, and WiFi when it is available and within antenna range. If folks would like to hear about the complete set up, I will do a post with links and cost.
I am interested. Especially any insights on complexity and range increases to snag a signal. On complexity, I see conversations about settings and such that are way beyond me. I need pure plug and play. I am an idiot about this gear, so it needs to be idiot-proof, and insight on that would be appreciated.
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Old 12-16-2021, 07:39 AM   #352
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One debate going on in the electronics area and on the great loop forum is what folks will be doing for connectivity to the internet. I will probably be going with a Pepwave Cat 18 modem router, and a Pepwave 42G antenna set. That along with a SIM card from one of the big three will get me cellular, and WiFi when it is available and within antenna range. If folks would like to hear about the complete set up, I will do a post with links and cost.
If it's in the budget, I'd spring for the Pepwave Max BR1 Pro 5G at this point. It's a bit more money, but it's a more powerful device and has a newer radio, so it should last you longer before there's a reason to think about upgrading.

That said, I'm using the Max Transit CAT18 on my boat and have been quite happy with it. In my case, I'm using a Mikrotik Groove for pulling in external wifi rather than big antennas on the Pepwave.

If you use the Pepwave for WiFi WAN, you may want to consider a separate access point for onboard wifi instead of spewing it back out through the big antenna (plus, using the Pepwave wifi for both functions at the same time hurts performance).
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Old 12-16-2021, 11:28 AM   #353
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I agree with rslifkin. I would get the Pepwave Max BR1 Pro 5G if your budget allows. I wanted T-Mobile channel 71 and Wi-Fi as WAN. I use the peplink AP access points in the cabin since I have the BR1 mounted in a dome so as not to run long db loosing antenna cables instead of an Ethernet cable.

I also went with their just released maritime 40g antenna which will give you 5g (you need 4x4 for that) as well as Wi-Fi. Call Doug at Milltech who is a dealer and knowledgeable.
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:27 PM   #354
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...I would get the Pepwave Max BR1 Pro 5G...with their just released maritime 40g...
Even though I have a long time before I have to decide, I too like the BR1 Pro 5G with the Maritime 40G antenna.

As always I am looking for anything that I can find to read about these products.

Rick.
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:29 PM   #355
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Even though I have a long time before I have to decide, I too like the BR1 Pro 5G with the Maritime 40G antenna.

As always I am looking for anything that I can find to read about these products.

Rick.
Check out the Seabits blog. He's a member here and has done a bunch of comparisons and reviews of equipment for that purpose.
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:38 PM   #356
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Check out the Seabits blog. He's a member here and has done a bunch of comparisons and reviews of equipment for that purpose.
Doug at Milltech who I mentioned as a dealer and a good information source, works often with Steve from what I understand stand.

Itís important to shorten as much as possible the cable lengths. There is a lot of loss in them. Itís best if you can put the radio near the antenna either with their dome product if you donít need wifi as wan or maybe as I did buy the br1 in an unused dome.
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:52 PM   #357
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Check out the Seabits blog. He's a member here and has done a bunch of comparisons and reviews of equipment for that purpose.
I will do that right now! Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:59 PM   #358
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Doug at Milltech who I mentioned as a dealer and a good information source, works often with Steve from what I understand stand.
Will check Milltech out too!

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Itís important to shorten as much as possible the cable lengths.
How short is short?

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Itís best if you can put the radio near the antenna either with their dome product if you donít need wifi as wan or maybe as I did buy the br1 in an unused dome.
Do you mean put the router inside of a dome to keep it close to the antenna?

I've got a lot to learn...

Thanks,
Rick
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Old 12-16-2021, 07:00 PM   #359
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Internet on a boat

External environment

Cellular companies have limited bandwidth. They sell some limited data plans to make a buck, but their networks are currently not set up to handle home or business networking on a mass scale. So, they sell plans to individuals, change them frequently, sell to small third parties who re-market and then go out of business sometimes. So, this market changes quite a bit, even monthly.

Add to that the issue with boats being on large bodies of water, sometimes in very rural areas, and the reception of one carrier versus another can vary greatly. Different wavelengths used by the carriers for different services 3G, LTE, "5G" also complicates it.

Finally, hardware selection can also be problematic, as the manufacturers grapple with the fast changing cellular industry.

The solutions posted in this thread are distilled from several websites including Seabits.com, panbo.com, milltechmarine.com, mobilemusthave.com, and several others. To a large extent, I have come to the realization that most of these sites are trying to use work arounds with service and technology that is ever changing and/or enhanced frequently. That folks can design work arounds that work most of the time is pretty cool, but does require learning a bit (sometimes a lot) about technology, or using the advice from those who do, and mirroring recommended setups that can work well, most of the time. Again, dependent upon geography, and the ever changing market.

I would suggest that satellite internet may be the best, though that also has some issues. The first issue is cost. Really, really high, for hardware and plans, and many times not that great a speed. And, weather dependent sometimes.

Develop a Use Case

It is critical to determine your personal "use case". My two use cases follow.

1) I am retired.

I don’t “need” internet except when planning at night. Using my cell will work most of the time, which would be “ok”. A good quality MiFi would work, and I would be fine with that. However, I also plan to get a TV satellite dish and subscription. My wife likes to watch her shows, and we will use it during college football season when traveling. That will greatly reduce streaming on a cellular based plan with data caps.

2) Working while boating.

If I want my good friend (still working) or my brother in law to ride along (wife won’t always be with me...grandkids, home and friends) then I need a better connection. Same with my son and son in law, who both can work from "home". A more reliable connection is absolutely necessary. So, a modem router which can receive cellular and/or wifi and supports dual SIMS with two different cards becomes an option so that the connection is as a reliable as possible.

Complexity means more options and a higher level of service. The way to think of marine cellular is to remember the hit and miss days of dial ups, and the advent of the router allowing a wireless signal. Simplicity means a cellular hot spot or MiFi with their internal antennas, and the associated (sometimes limited) connections to them.

Now, on WiFi usage. If you can receive and use a WiFi signal at a home or transient dock, and the signal works well enough, then using it will prevent burning up the fairly meager allowance granted by the carriers for their data cellular plans. Those plans weren’t intended for a full time workaboard. a home or a business network. Cellular companies have limited capacity. It also makes sense for the home port, for when you aren’t traveling. Passwords are typically supplied by the marina/restaurant, etc that you are tied up to. A quality VPN will help protect your data if you are on an open (no password) connection. I use Nord VPN.

So, the short answer is that defining your personal use case for your needs is the first step. I enjoy traveling with others, and since my wife can’t be aboard full time, then my plan (boat arrives in April) is to make it as easy as possible for others to travel with me. If you don’t need that solution, no reason to go to the expense.

Boat Environment

Do you want people to easily connect to a Local Area Network when on your boat? Or are the few connections on a MiFi sufficient for you?
Do you want to connect to DC power or is a modem router that is AC ok?
Will your connection be always on? Or shut off when you leave the boat?

Do you have systems that you want to be able to look at when off board? Anchor alarms, battery health, shore power, bilge pumps, and on and on. Will those systems allow the use of the ship's LAN?

Antennas can require more holes in the boat. Are you ok with drilling more holes? Do you have a place on the boat that you can place the antenna(s) internally that will give you a "good enough" signal?

What areas of the boat will create interference with both inbound signals and outbound signals?

Carriers

Carriers switch plans all the time. The cost per gig goes up and down, plans are halted new ones started, some require prepay, others are post pay.

Some attach to your current cell plan, some don't.

Some plans require you to use their router or modem. Some say they do, but don't. (You can get help with this on some of the sites listed. Some RV sites do a lot of reporting on this) It can be discouraging at first, but once resolved is typically good for a few months to years.

Third party resellers can provide comparably great plans, only to go out of business a few months later.
T Mobile currently has the most complete "5G" network. 2G and 3G towers are being removed as we speak by all the carriers.

Equipment

It is important to know how a Pepwave modem router works. It gathers inbound cellular and wifi signals through antennas. passes them through the SIMs and creates a Local Area Network (just like inside your home) on the boat side. It decides which inbound signal to use, based upon criteria you use to set it up. All of this can be invisible to the users on the boat. All they know is that there is a network on board.

Pepwave BR1 Pro 5G CAT 20 $1,499

Handles 5G and TMobiles's 71MHZ channel. Has 4 cellular antennas, 2 WiFi, and 1 GPS. Has Prime Care which is 1 year warranty and speed fusion, which will fuse to incoming signals to get the fastest connectivity.
https://5gstore.com/product/10890_pe...r1_pro_5g.html

Pepwave Max Transit Cat 20/5G $1,199 Handles 5G and TMobiles's 71MHZ channel. Has 4 cellular antennas, 2 WiFi, and 1 GPS. Has Prime Care which is 1 year warranty and speed fusion, which will fuse to incoming signals to get the fastest connectivity.

https://5gstore.com/product/10666_pe...ransit_5g.html

Pepwave Max Transit Cat 18 $749

Handles TMobiles's 71MHZ channel. Has 4 cellular antennas, 2 WiFi, and 1 GPS. Has Prime Care which is 1 year warranty and speed fusion, which will fuse to incoming signals to get the fastest connectivity.

https://5gstore.com/product/9906_pep...sit_cat18.html

Antennas

An antenna's strength is measured in gain or DB. A discussion with a 5G store representative suggested the Poynting antennas will give you a better signal than the Pepwave 42G (4 cellular, 2 wifi(2.4 and 5.x) and a GPS (used by industry to track the attached asset) or 40G (4 cellular, no wifi) and a GPS.

There are several caveats with antennas. The first is length of cable from the antenna to the modem/router (signal loss measured in DB), quality of cable for same (NMEA workshops stated that the LMR 400 are the best). The number and quality of connections also affect gain.

So, you have competing issues. The closer the SIM Cards are to the antenna(s), the better signal you will have. The higher and clearer view the antenna has, the better the signal. So, compromises are necessary.

In my opinion, the best way to decide what antenna(s) you want, is to settle on the modem/router, decide what you can live with in terms of antenna placement and then talk with an expert at the 5G store, or Milltech for a recommendation. I am now leaning towards Poynting antennas.

A single separate antenna is a “better” solution than a puck or grouping, for a particular wavelength, for the same reason that it is “better” to have separate antennas for AIS and VHF. For example, VHF antennae’s are tuned to 156 mhz while AIS is tuned to 162 mhz. So, as an example, for the Vesper Cortex, which uses one antenna for both, Vesper offers an antenna tuned to 159 mhz. A 159 mhz antenna will never receive as well as a 156 mhz antenna for VHF, nor as well as a 162 mhz antenna for AIS but is typically considered good enough.

The downside of the Pepwave 42G and 40G is that crowding all of those antennas into one puck may cause interference with each other. That is why the Poynting sometimes get the nod. However, the downside to the Poyntings is more mounting locations, and possibly more holes in the boat for cabling.

A live example that people say gets good results, is the Pepwave 42G antenna cables connect to the 7 antenna connections on the Pepwave modem/router. Signals are received from those antennas connected to those cables either through cellular connections or WiFi connections. The Pepwave modem router uses those inbound connections to connect your boat to the internet. It also creates a wired and wireless Local Area Network on the boat. The beauty of the Pepwave is that it decides which signal to use, and switches seamlessly between the access signals as conditions change without the user (LAN) seeing the change.

The only variable is whether you want to pay for a 5G capable device. I think I will, with the hope that I dont need to change until StarLink solves its problems with low orbit satellites. and gets to a reasonable price.

So to summarize, Use Case, Boat Environment, Equipment, Tolerance for a changing landscape, Cost, and Antenna management are all issues to consider. The solutions range from your cellular phone all the way to satellite internet (a very expensive solution). All dependent upon your use case.

I know this post is a lot to absorb, and I apologize for the length of it, but when I started looking on the sites I listed above a few months ago, all I saw were solutions, without a full explanation of varying use cases, and without explanations as to why a certain product may be better than another. Please pass along any questions that it might generate and I will try to answer them. Hope this helps!
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Old 12-16-2021, 07:27 PM   #360
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For what it's worth, I'm still using the included antennas on my router. I figure I'll add an external one when I feel the need (cost). So far, I haven't seen the Pepwave report less than 3 out of 5 bars of signal, even when I've looked while 6+ miles offshore. Even the included antennas inside the boat (mounted fairly high and not near metal) are significantly better than the antennas on a cell phone.
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