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About axolotl

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    San Diego
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    Sailing, Camping

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  1. Hard to misinterpret the SI rule: Special Regulation 4.09 (a): An AIS Transponder shall be carried and be switched on, such that it is receiving and transmitting.
  2. axolotl

    Sail #s on Genoas

    What is your situation? The RRSs still require numbers on spinnakers: "G1.1 Identification Every boat of a World Sailing Class shall carry on her mainsail and, as provided in rules G1.3(d) and G1.3(e) for letters and numbers only, on her spinnaker and headsail."
  3. I'll hold my position that WOXI deliberately shut off their AIS transmit capabilities to gain an advantage during the race, and their posted after the race race mea culpas are not believable. I understand the point of order that no competitor raised the red flag in time so no formal protest issue ensued. So let's all move on, WOXI is the line honor boat, but with an asterisk after the trophy. Case closed.
  4. axolotl

    N2E changes

    Did the Race from 1991 to 2012 on various boats including my own, with mixed results. A grand time but I soured on it for several reasons: Shortened finished at Hotel Coral instead of outside of the Ensenada harbor breakwater. Those last few extra miles were a tactical nightmare, both good and bad, but a fun component of the race. Everybody anchored off the Hotel Bahia & that was race central & within walking distance was Hussong's & Papas&Beer & cheep restaurants. Hotel Coral is slips only and you're stuck there unless you hire a taxi to get into town. Engine allowed cruisers. That really fu*ked up the race. The race is won @ nite but with folks powering it's hard to judge inside/outside, header/lift, pressure/hole stuff based solely on observing other boat's lights. The Agean Sea deaths, we were only 2-3 miles from the Coronado headland that night & it was good visibility, moderate seas & to learn at the award ceremony that they'd died was a shocker. I mean how many entrants around us were also that lame? Scarey. Let's face it, it's a light air race with usually massive bobbing around @ night; not much fun except every few years where it's raging winds all the way & you earn your stripes. Plus the hassle of the Mexican/USA paperwork which was nonexistent 20 years ago. I'm old now, so am not invited on the line honors boats anymore and actually had to pay my share of hotel accommodations, slip fees on lesser boats. Nay, not worth it, There's plenty of good races in So. Cal. American waters which involve good seamanship.
  5. Sorry, but why doesn't an AUS investigative reporter look into this, interview all involved including the Channel 7 copter which allegedly announced "we blew your comms out", look into the actual Tx power of all cams covering the start, get access to WOXI's splitter to see if it was truly fried, review WOXi's & other's AIS signal record during the race, look up the records concerning "our AIS has always been Transmitting in all our previous races", a basic look into how AIS works between boats within 5 miles of each other and its reliability, etc. It would seem to be newsworthy to do so. But nay, the PC has ruled no valid protest(s) were filed, case closed, WOXI is the line honors boat. I stand with Comanche's claim that they were disadvantaged by WOXI's dark AIS; it was a breach of the SIs and should have been penalized, but they stood tall and did not protest feeling the race was won on the water, not in the room. So all parties are exonerated, except WOXI's ridiculous post race assertions their AIS was "blown out", "did not know", "we have proof", "will publicize next week" media blather. A sad state of affairs in a premier world sailboat race where the line honor boat did not RAF when informed they broke an SI during the race. The stakes are high of course and at the highest levels pushing the edge of the rules is mandatory to win line honors, but the 2018 S2H will always have an asterisk after WOXI's trophy placement due to shutting off their AIS for the race, a cheap shot. I don't think it was deliberate, although AIS has been required for years on the race, this is the first year it had to be transmitting 24/7. WOXI missed that and went dark as I would on any race where transmitting my exact Lat-Lon, SOG & COG would give an advantage to my competition within 5-10 miles of me.
  6. axolotl

    Sydney To Hobart 2018

    Ch 7 and the WO syndicate are bosom buddies. From the WO webpage:
  7. I do not know what the transmit power is for an on board camera and asked the question in an earlier post. Concerning the helicopter downlink Tx power, I quote from my earlier post: For example concerning live video feeds from airborne helicopters modern practice is "the microwave transmitter chosen was the Nucomm PT-6 digital radio. It is a compact, high-powered unit that provides a full 12W in analog mode, or approximately 8W in digital." So, I looked up what a typical broadcast grade wireless camera's Tx power is: "ABonAir’s AB405™ wireless video system enables camera teams to wirelessly transmit video directly from Cameras to media centers or OB vans. 2,500 foot range, Transmit Power - Adjustable 50-350mW" Take your pick, 8 watts from a helicopter +-1,000 feet distant, or 1/3 watt from an onboard camera, in the 5GHz microwave band. Both rather weak sauce concerning their splitter "frying" capabilities.
  8. I've learned a lot about AIS from this thread and have pontificated mightily about it's technical aspects above concerning this incident, and we all know I'm always right. But, having looked over the latest statements from those directly involved & media reports, I wish to retract some of my earlier blather. WOXI's spokesmen first claimed "a News 7 helicopter transmitted and forced a reset of our onboard electronics which disabled our AIS TX capabilities", but I think they actually meant the onboard live camera transmission(s) (to a helicopter relay or direct to a terrestrial downlink) damaged or reset their electronics systems. Now that I can actually buy. I don't know the particulars of long range wireless media camera systems, but think it's more plausible the onboard camera caused the problem, given that only a few line honors boats carried one (and the camera person once outside the harbor), so the "black helicopter should have fried all boats" theory falls by the wayside. I'm leaning toward giving WOXI the benefit of the doubt now.
  9. Jeezuz! Can't even get that right. "Orbital stability. A geostationary orbit can be achieved only at an altitude very close to 35,786 km(22,236 mi) and directly above the equator. All geostationary satellites have to be located on this ring."
  10. Not salient, the Tour De France airborne video is a different much more complex environment with the camera helicopters suffering are from line of sight terrain obstructions to a downlink station and often being 50-100 kilometers from the nearest station. So airborne relay stations properly positioned relay the video feed above terrain and with enough power to hit a ground station 100km away. Amazing technology, with mobile ground stations covering gaps, the motorcycle video feeds which are highly attenuated by terrain which must be live, etc., etc. The S2H situation is vastly different. The start and finish venues are open metropolis major harbors which provides Ground stations for various news organizations on high buildings only a few km away. All the media have this down pat and cover fires, car chases, etc. The Channel 7 video helicopter transmits @8-12 watts to downlink stations line of sight. There is no need for an airborne relay. Similarly for onboard cameras so until a few dozen miles out after the start 12 (8 digital) watts from a transmitter (within a kilometer of a boat) at a different frequency isn't going to fry anything except your pride if the video feed is revealing. If airborne relay aircraft were needed, they'd be so far away from the video helicopter that their much more powerful downlink re-transmission(?) would have no effect on a boat from the original feed near the camera helicopter concerning "frying" things. I find your "you are too dumb to understand this stuff" attitude offensive. I think you're searching for "what if" scenarios, where the reality is TV helicopters are harmless and don't "fry" AIS Class B devices or their antenna splitters in the real world 99.99% of the time Yes, AIS can go down due to power supply, device, splitter, cabling, antenna, lightning problems, but my experience with them (Coastal racing & deliveries from SanFran to PV) is *they always work* when powered up and are a fabulous nav aid, and when racing when not required I've always turned TX off, but they're very reliable. And when they don't work, a bunch of LEDS blink like crazy monkeys and can't be ignored. The idea that an AIS transciever shit the bricks and nobody noticed it for two days I find comical.
  11. No, there's four indicator LEDS on the (all?) splitter(s), which (AMEC CUBO-162 splitter example): LED INDICATION One Power Indicator (Green) One Error Indicator (Red) "The built-in test function gives a simple diagnosis in the event of an antenna problem." One VHF Radio Transmission Indicator (Green) One AIS Transponder Transmission Indicator (Green) If the green power LED is on, the green AIS transmission LED is blinking every 30 seconds when underway and the red Error LED is not lit I'd say you can be 95% sure your AIS is transmitting properly. I'd suggest you cut a small window in your wooden panel so you can monitor the splitter's status LEDs.
  12. Class A AIS is required only for Category 0 multihull races. Monohulls, even in CAT 0 races, are only required to carry an AIS transponder, Class B AIS is acceptable, in CAT 0-2 races. See OSR 3.29.13: Mo0,1,2 Mu1,2 3.29.13 an AIS Transponder which either:
  13. I've had some time to ruminate on Richard's Sail-World interview and find his story less than convincing. To wit: "We did an AIS check, there is video footage of Juan Vila [top Volvo Ocean Race navigator] doing the AIS check on the way out to the start", an indignant Richards told Sail-World from Sydney. We do the right thing for the club and the spectators, and every year we carry a cameraman aboard the boat, says Richards. "We did the AIS check and that can be seen on the website." According to NOC #2, during the mandatory PreRace Radio Check "it is recommended" that AIS system(s) be turned on for verification. Surely a line honors contender would comply. But, here's the stinker, the Radio Check is required to be completed by 2359 December 22nd, 3 days before the start. Unlikely an onboard Channel 7 team actually videod the PreRace Radio Check three days before, so he may mean "somebody" videod a test of AIS transmission working immediately prior to the start. Cool if true, AIS verification on tape. But I've looked high and low on the Interwebs and cannot find the referenced video. "As soon as we went around Bradley's Head the Channel 7 TV guys started live streaming from the helicopter. The instant they started streaming, we lost all our instrumentation. We lost our wifi, and a lot of instrumentation went down on the boat. The cameraman told us "sorry guys that is probably from the download. It is a very high microwave frequency and it can interfere with other equipment at times," Richards explains. Today, I totally believe that is what happened." Now, this is an interesting claim. An airborne video link is UHF and is unlikely to interfere or damage nearby VHF transceivers. For example concerning live video feeds from airborne helicopters modern practice is "the microwave transmitter chosen was the Nucomm PT-6 digital radio. It is a compact, high-powered unit that provides a full 12W in analog mode, or approximately 8W in digital." Hardly a "splitter frying" amount of RF power. Curiously, hundreds of other boats at the start did not suffer damage from the rogue helicopter, and I've found no evidence that it has ever occurred in previous aerial heavily covered media sailboat starts, or any venue FTIW. Also, consider that helicopters are complex machines and depend heavily on constant voice & telemetry to stay aloft and safe. That a microwave video UHF payload would interfere with VHF transmissions is impossible; helicopters would fall out of the sky. "We got everything rebooted and got everything going afterwards. We were receiving AIS, when you are receiving, you also believe that you are transmitting OK as well. When you are on board the boat you've no idea whether you are actually transmitting or not. If the device says you are transmitting then you assume that you are sending a signal. The AIS had nothing to show that we weren't transmitting, and as far as we were concerned that was end of story. Our AIS was on for the whole of the race, " he reiterated. Bullocks! Every AIS transceiver I've seen when connected to a splitter (common on masthead sloops with a single antenna aloft) the splitter has LED readouts that guarantees you are transmitting on VHF & AIS, and alerts if there's an antenna problem. Witness: To say you didn't know your AIS splitter failed then it becomes magically fixed within 40 minutes of finishing implies your comms guys are blind.
  14. Well said. The point is a Class-B STDMA devices, which I suspect were the devices used on all the S2H boats, are not generally reported by satellite reception due to weak transmission power; they're designed for boat to boat close in encounters. That being said, many commercial entities have deployed S-AIS systems which are entirely reliable assuming a SOTDMA transmitter, have resolved the problem of the satellite's big footprint concerning reception (thousands of transmitters) and are a go to technology for commercial traffic. So the present state of advanced AIS is robust, not so much for a racing sailboat with a 3 year old AIS system.
  15. Eggzactly. Radar, SAT trackers, visual observation will always be less accurate than an actual ping on the AIS-B network.