Most of the electronics are located in the navigation station area, with some instruments in the cockpit/binnacle area, and aft cabin.

ICOM VHF RADIO There is an ICOM M502 VHF radio, new in 2004, at the navigation station. The ICOM VHF radio is served from the VHF antenna on the top of the main mast. There is a plug for the ICOM HM-157SW COMMANDMIC II at the binnacle. This option allows you to control the ICOM M502 VHF radio from the cockpit. The COMMANDMIC II was new in July of 2009. When the COMMANDMIC II is not being used at the binnacle, it is stored on the navigation station door. There is also a remote speaker in the cockpit for the ICOM M502 VHF radio.

STANDARD VHF RADIO There is a second VHF radio in the aft cabin, for security purposes. This is a Standard Communications GX2341S OMNI 25 watt VHF radio, new in 1997, which is served by the VHF antenna on the mizzen mast. This radio also has a PA function, and the speaker is mounted on the mizzen mast. The PA function is why this radio is in the aft cabin. If we are asleep in the aft cabin, and an emergency arises, we can announce to the anchorage that an emergency exists, without leaving our bed.

WEST MARINE VHF RADIO There is one West Marine VHF-100 handheld VHF radio, new in 2005, located in the navigation station.

SSB RADIO There is an ICOM HF MARINE IC-802 control head installed in the navigation station. The actual radio and antenna tuner are located on the port side in the aft cabin clothes closet. This puts the output of the tuner directly under the thru-deck fitting to the port side insulated back stay HF antenna. The Digital Selective Calling (DSC) antenna is located on the port side of the new dinghy davits. The connections between the tuner and the radio are shown here. The speaker for the IC-802, is loacated in the navigation station. The IC-802 enables communication on the SSB marine bands and the HAM bands, downloading weather charts and sending and receiving email. To be able to download weatherfaxes and send and receive email, we have attached to the IC-802, an SCS Pactor Modem. Our modem is located with the radio and antenna tuner in the aft cabin clothes locker. I will have to get my HAM license before I can transmit on the HAM bands, but that is just a matter of time.

INSTRUMENTS The instrument electronics are all products of Autohelm/Raymarine, including the radar and the autopilot. The radar is a ST50 Autohelm radar with the antenna on the mizzen mast and the display unit in the navigation station. The Autohelm ST6000 autopilot display in the cockpit was replaced in November 2005 with a newer Raymarine ST6000+ autopilot control head. The computer and fluxgate compass for the autopilot are in the aft cabin, in a cabinet over the vanity. In March of 2009 the ST50 autopilot computer, model 300, was replaced with a new S3G autopilot computer.The ST50 Steering Compass, the ST60+ Speed, ST60+ Depth, and ST60+ Wind instrument displays are in a console attached to the underside of the main boom gallows. In April of 2009 the older model ST50 depth instrument was replaced with a new ST60+ depth instrument and a new sending unit. Also in April of 2009 the older model ST50 wind instrument was replaced with a new ST60+ wind instrument and new mast head sensor. In April of 2009 the speed transducer was replaced. In September of 2004, a Raymarine ST6000+ Autopilot was installed in the navigation station. This unit enables steering the boat from the navigation station. The unit also has the functionality to display data from the GPS and the other Autohelm/Raymarine Instruments. In November 2005, a Ratheon Autopilot remote was installed on the binnacle. With the attached 30' cable, you can control the autopilot without being in the cockpit.

GPS There is a Garmin GPS 126, installed in November 2005, on the binnacle that has a data wire to the navigation station for interfacing with the CAPN software running on the ship's navigation computer. There is a backup Garmin GPS-45XL handheld GPS that is located in the navigation station. In December of 2003, a Garmin GPS128 was mounted permanently in the navigation station. with the permanent antenna mounted at the top of the mizzen mast.

As with most electronics, companies come out with newer, better units. The newer electronics usually have more features, but the real problem, is the unit is a different size with different wiring and connections. Since Garmin has discontinued manufacture of the GPS 126 and GPS 128, I have purchased one of each as spares. Both of the spare units have been tested, and are good. Now I have 100 % backup on my two primary GPS units.

ENTERTAINMENT Music entertainment on DREAM AWAY is provided several ways, but the heart of the music system is the JVC KD-HDR40 HD Radio/CD receiver located in the navigation station . Wired directly to the JVC KD-HDR40 HD Radio/CD is a 12 CD JVC CH-X200/X11 CD changer located in the mid-cabin hanging locker. With the "AUX" input on the JVC KD-HDR40 HD Radio/CD reciever we have several music sources. We have on board two iPods. Each iPod. can be connected to the "AUX" connector on the JVC KD-HDR40 HD Radio/CD reciever. One iPod is a 10 Gig unit given to us by Stacy and Tina as our departure present when we went cruising the first time in 2004. The second iPod is an 80 Gbyte unit that contains all of the music I recorded on reel-to-reel, including the moon landing of Apollo 11, when I was working on Ascension Island on the MSFN. The last source of music is the Sirius InV2 radio. With this radio receiver we can listen to many venues of music, plus news and our Texas Aggies football games in the fall.

COMPASS On the binnacle is a Aqua Meter Galaxy compass, new in 2000. In February of 2010 I finally installed the telltale compass that I recieved as a gift from Stacy in 2009. The compass was installed on the overhead near the navigation station.

iPAD ENCLOSURE An addition to the binnacle is an ongoing project. This is an Apple iPad in a water resistant enclosure. This project is covered in more detail in the iPad Enclosure Installation under the Construction And Projects section of the web page.

COMPUTER SYSTEMS The ship's laptop computer is mentioned several times. In my specific case I am running the CAPN navigation software on my MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro is running VMware Fusion which allows me to run Windows XP or Windows 7. In my case, I am now running the CAPN on Windows XP. I have Windows 7 running on the MacBook Pro, but have not got the CAPN installed on it as yet. This is a very trouble free setup, now that I have purchased a reliable Dlink USB hub.

When the MacBook Pro is in the navigation station. it is connected to a 19" LCD display. The display is a Samsung SyncMaster 191T. Not only can the laptop use the Samsung as a display, but, with the Viewsonic NextVision5 monitor multiplexer, we can use the Samsung to watch DVDs using the Philips DVP3962 DVD player. The Viewsonic also allows us to watch cable TV, if it is available. Attached to the MacBook Pro is a Dlink USB hub. This allows us to plug in the USB-to-serial-adapter from the serial switch box, the USB-to-serial-adapter from the AIS reciever, the USB-to-serial-adapter from the SCS Pactor Modem., the USB flexible keyboard , and the USB three button Microsoft mouse. The serial switch box has connected to it the Garmin GPS 126, the Garmin GPS128, and the data connection to the Iridium Satellite phone.

There are three other laptop computers on DREAM AWAY. The first mate uses a Gateway PC, running Windows 7, as her main computer. The first mate has a backup computer which is an older Apple G4. I also use a Gateway PC, running Windows XP, with the CAPN on board. It is my backup navigation computer. If the MacBook Pro should die, I will be able to use the Gateway as the backup navigation computer.

WiFi SYSTEM In 2007 I installed a WiFi system aboard DREAM AWAY so the first mate and I could both use our computers at the same time. This system was installed in the mid-cabin on the bulkhead between the mid cabin and the forward cabin. It was installed on a shelf-set I found at Boaters Resale Shop in Kemah. Initially the system was a Kyocera KR1 router. with the Verizon Wireless PC5740 broadband card plugged into the Kyocera KR1 router. I also installed a Belkin USB hub/print server that plugs into one of the wired ports on the Kyocera KR1 router. I have connected to the Belkin USB hub/print server our HP f4180 All-In-One printer, our two Western Digital Passport 60 Gbyte backup hard drives, and our Seagate FreeAgent 1 Tbyte backup hard drive. This system gives us access to the Internet, and both the Admiral (first mate) and I have access to our printer/scanner/copier, and all of our backup hard drives. This picture shows the shelf set without the printer on top, the Kyocera KR1 router on the top shelf, the Belkin USB hub/print server on the middle shelf with the two Western Digital Passport 60 Gbyte hard drive on top of the Belkin USB hub/print server, and on the bottom shelf the Seagate FreeAgent 1 Tbyte backup hard drive.

In September of 2009, several modifications were made to the WiFi system. I purchased a WiFi amplifier system from SeaTech Systems in Kemah, Texas. The system consists of a L-com Omni marine antenna, a Hyperlink 1 watt amplifier, an EnGenius EOC1650 Bridge, an EnGenius ESR-1221 Router, and all of the cables to connect them. The a L-com Omni marine antenna, is installed on the starboard side of the davits installed in 2009. With this system we were able to pick up a signal from a WiFi hotspot while anchored, and be able to use both of our computers to connect to the Internet. When we left the US waters at the end of October of 2009, we used this system exclusively.

In June of 2010, another change was made. When we were cruising in Honduras waters we had purchased a Alcatel Broadband USB Modem to get access to the Internet. This modem worked great, but we could only connect one computer at a time. Neither the EnGenius ESR-1221 Router, or the Kyocera KR1 router could use the USB modem. We then purchased a Dovado UMR USB Mobile Broadband Router. With this unit we could use the Alcatel Broadband USB Modem, or switch to a WiFi hot spot near the anchorage, and both of our computers can connect to the Internet.

SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS The Globalstar satellite phone was installed in the navigation station. In December of 2009 the Globalstar satellite phone was replaced by an Iridium satellite phone. It was not because we did not like the Globalstar satellite phone , the fact was Globalstar was having major satellite coverage issues, and voice and data communication was not very good. We decided we wanted reliable offshore voice and data communication, and switched to the Iridium satellite phone. We kept the Globalstar satellite phone, so if the need ever arrises, we can go back to it.

The Globalstar satellite phone system is based on the Qualcomm model GSP 1600. When we purchased the system, we purchased the SeaTech Globalstar Package. This package included a waterproof Pelican Case. This case allows you to carry the phone around very easily, and to take the phone overboard, if necessary. The package also comes with a data cable, DC charger, and an AC charger. We also purchased Globalstar Marine Kit, which includes Qualcomm GCK 1410 hands free kit. This kit, with the external antenna, allows you to use the phone at the navigation station. The kit has a cradle for the GSP 1600 phone. The kit also comes with a speaker and a microphone to enable the crew to talk and listen in on conversations. There is also a privacy handset for private conversations. The Globalstar electronic module, which is the heart of the hands free system, allows the attachment of a serial cable from a computer to enable the sending and receiving of data with the Globalstar satellite phone. As discussed in our update of December 2004, the Globalstar phone saved us from a really bad time in our Gulf crossing. The Firstmate (Admiral) will not leave port without a satellite phone.

Our Iridium satellite phone system is based on the Motorola 9505 phone mounted in the navigation station. We purchased the SeaTech Iridium package. This package came with a data cable, DC charger, and an AC charger. We also purchased the Iridium Marine Kit which includes the SatStation Hands Free Dock, the SatStation Privacy Handset , and the marine antenna and mount. The external marine antenna, allows you to use the phone at the navigation station. The kit also comes with a speaker and a microphone to enable the crew to talk and listen in on conversations. The privacy handset allows for private conversations. The SatStation junction box, which is the heart of the hands free system, allows the attachment of a serial cable from a computer to enable the sending and receiving of data with the SeaTech Iridium package.

Globalstar satellite phone partie deux! Globalstar had a wonderful year end deal(2011) to activate the Globalstar satellite phone for a year with unlimited voice and data for $19.99 a month because of new satellite launches. I took advantage of the deal!

Purchasing the time was the easy part. If you remember from updates long ago, we had uninstalled the Globalstar system and installed an Iridium system. Now I had to do the flip side, uninstall the Iridium system, and re-install the Globalstar system. One good thing was I had left the outdoor antenna for the Globalstar in place with the cables still run to the nav station.

The very first thing I did before doing anything to the nav station was take the Globalstar phone outside in the cockpit and make a call to Kitty and Stacy. I wanted to verify operation before turning the nav station upside down. The calls were successful, so onto the next step.

I verified I had all of the parts for the installation, so I dove into the nav station and removed the Samsung monitor, and then all of the Iridium car kit parts. The only really difficult part was getting behind the electrical panel, and disconnecting the Iridium system 12 VDC and reconnecting the 12 VDC for the Globalstar system. So now I had the system installed, and all the wires dressed it was time to see if it worked. I also reinstalled the Samsung Monitor.

I powered up the system with the 12 VDC breaker, and then powered up the phone. The phone recognized the car kit so that was good. I waited until I had satellites, and made a call to Kitty. That was successful, now to try a data call from the virtual XP machine running on the Mac. The data calls were successful. The installation was a success, so we now have satellite communication again.

HAND HELD DEPTH SOUNDER In the navigation station is a handheld depth sounder. The HawkEye DF2120PX handheld depth sounder is a great tool when used to enter channels or anchorages that you are not sure of the depth.