Upgrades and New Equipment

We have been working on a few upgrades to the existing equipment such as the VHF radio, renewable energy, and other items.

I installed a new Standard Horizon (Yaesu) VHF radio that has the built in GPS and AIS receiver and the remote RAM3+ Command Mic on the bridge. This is a major upgrade in which I have consolidated two entry level VHF rigs to one very capable unit.

Along with the FCC assigned MMSI number (368125860), it will provide DSC (Digital Selective Calling) distress capabilities as well as the means of individual contact/polling for direct contact with our craft within a 20 or so nautical mile range.

The main unit has been installed and although the radio seems to be transmitting properly I still need to purchase an SWR meter to complete that install to my satisfaction.

The main unit has been installed and once the mic arrives in a day or so, I should have that install completed and photos will be forthcoming.

A new set of work/fishing lights have been mounted on the fly bridge Bimini top and are ready for the wiring and switch to be installed properly. It became too windy on the evening I installed them to solder the wires so I ran them temporarily so we could see how they would work. They performed beautifully and once again, photos will follow once the install is complete.

An entire Jabsco head pump assembly was ordered and installed. This should allow me to rebuild the older unit at my leisure and have available for quick switch out for either head when the need arises. It took about 5 minutes to swap them out.

I am waiting for the 12v 2000w (6000w surge) Inverter/Charger to arrive to begin the installation of the above two components of our renewable energy system which will eventually Include a wind turbine to compliment the solar array.

The DC Multifunction Battery Monitor should give us constant monitoring of our power usage and reserves to ensure maximum battery life. As of now we are using two 8D Flooded Lead Acid batteries, however I believe they will be upgraded to Sealed AGM 4D’s in the future as our budget allows.

And lastly, the existing EPIRB (Emergency Position-indicating Radio Beacon) that we have on board is more than likely the original one from the 80’s and not operational at this time. I was able to formulate a plan to bring it back to life by replacing the battery source with an alternative configuration, however that remains to be seen as to its success. It has the potential to save about $500.00 on a new one.



John Jenks
01/12/2020 at 5:06 PM

Hi Bill.
I enjoy following your blog with the down to earth realities of boat life on a budget.
I was interested to read of your idea to fit a wind turbine to boost the solar panel input. I have a similar setup and I am about to dismantle the wind turbine as I found the noise and the relatively small input from the wind made it not cost effective for me. I upgraded from 3x135w panels to 2×325 panels and I find for the kind of boating we do- on the hook, moving every four or five days- this was a better option.
I am aware everybody’s boating is different so I would value your thinking on this.


    01/12/2020 at 11:10 PM

    Hello John and thanks for the interest.

    I have read where others have also found the noise and vibration to exceed their tolerance. I am still somewhat up in the air on that one, as I have never experienced one first hand. Perhaps your experiences could help guide my decision process. I had my eyes on one of the many Asian imports, but intended to research a bit more before buying.

    Although, with your mention of a 325 watt panel, I immediately had to do a search. I was not aware of that size panel and will have to see how that might work with my available space; based on those dimensions.

    I stumbled upon the Panasonic 325 watt panels and downloaded the Solar Panel Guide they have, and after only a cursory read I realize how much I assumed I knew and how much I need to learn before finally deciding.

    I would be curious to know what kind of average (guesstimate) watts you got out of your turbine and what it might have added to you charging rate. Your “moving every four or five days” type of boating is what we hope to be experiencing soon.


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