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Old 03-01-2016, 17:51   #31
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Up until the 30 ton knuckleball episode, I'd always been opposed to installing a transponder. It hadn't occurred to me that another boater could be so dumb as to not keep a visual watch only 1km off the coast.
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Old 03-01-2016, 17:57   #32
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Now is New Zealand's major holiday period. Jeff (Vesper Marine) is likely out sailing, and most businesses are closed until next week. I'm sure he will get back to you then.

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Old 04-01-2016, 18:47   #33
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Indeed... it's holiday sailing time here and I've been out sea trialing the upcoming Vision update the last few weeks. Yes, it really is coming and the new anchor watch worked great. Nice to have too because we got a good blow on New Year's day and the williwaws were blasting down the valley and swinging us wildly.

We've got just a few more bugs to whack out of it which aren't related to the anchor watch and the update will be ready for release.

With regards to some of the other questions:

1. Some units auto-turning themselves on... the turn-on sensitivity was a bit too high in some of the early units. That's been resolved in production for a long time and if you have one that does this, we're happy to fix it for you. Just flick a note to support@vespermarine.com with the serial number whenever you are ready to send it to us.

2. Anchor watch - see above. It *IS* coming. And the new firmware update has a bunch of other enhancements too. One is we've removed the modality on the wheel menu which one of the posters said they didn't like. The wheel menu has been simplified and reorganized instead. I think it works nicely and the switching between the various modes is now gone except for the anchor watch mode.

Another new feature we've added that a poster reminded me of is the ability to more finely control when the external alarm should sound. For example, you can configure an external alarm to only sound when an AIS MOB is received.

3. Touch response - as was posted, the touchscreen doesn't use the same type of screen that is in your phone/tablet. We want it to work with wet fingers, water on the screen, gloves, when the boat is rocking, etc. As a result, it is pressure-sensitive and you do have to touch it. That said, we have made obvious improvements to it in the new release via a variety of things such as increasing the touch detection sensitivity and accuracy. We've also made many user interface changes.

4. Performance has also been addressed in the new release. There's still a bit more we want to do here but it is certainly feeling faster.

5. Reboots... these are not expected. We did have some cases in earlier firmware versions where certain malformed AIS data and other things caused restarts. Again, if you are experiencing anything like this we want to know about it please. It can help if you can check that you have the latest firmware installed and if so send us a note with the details.

If anyone has any other feedback, suggestions or comments just let me know. I'm back to work now
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Old 04-01-2016, 19:12   #34
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Thanks for the update, Jeff. It's good to hear that you have actually beentrialling the new mods. So many vendors don't seem to do this critical, real world testing.

So, please let us know as soon as the updates are available. I'm going to wait to send the unit back for auto-start desensitizing until the firmware is available for you to install and test at the factory.

Finally, after working quite well for months, the AM/FM output from the splitter has suddenly disappeared... no signal whatsoever. All the other functions remain operational, and have been very satisfactory. Any ideas?

Jim
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Old 04-01-2016, 19:35   #35
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Jeff... I have one suggestion..

Please start including the AM/FM cable with the splitter (raise the price $10). It sucks to have to order it separately. Especially when you miss it in your initial order and have to pay shipping on a darn cable
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Old 04-01-2016, 19:52   #36
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Finally, after working quite well for months, the AM/FM output from the splitter has suddenly disappeared... no signal whatsoever. All the other functions remain operational, and have been very satisfactory. Any ideas?
Hmm... I'm not sure what would have happened to it. But since you are planning to send your Vision to us for the updates, why not send the splitter too and we'll check it out at the same time. Once here it will be easy for us to troubleshoot it for you.
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Old 04-01-2016, 20:04   #37
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Please start including the AM/FM cable with the splitter (raise the price $10). It sucks to have to order it separately. Especially when you miss it in your initial order and have to pay shipping on a darn cable
A good suggestion I'm curious to pursue... how many people do you think use the AM/FM output? We don't sell a high percentage of those cables vs. splitters so I wonder if that's because of what you said or because there aren't that many people interested in it.

Another common question with the splitter is the 2nd VHF cable. We don't include that because 850 and Vision owners often install their units away from the VHF radio and so the cable length required varies with each install. It's not so much about the cost to manufacture them; Rather I'm conscious of not including things that many people will just throw away as it wastes so much... cables in bulk are heavy... we ship them from our factory to our warehouse... then we ship them to our distributor who then ships them to a dealer.. then to the customer... then to the landfill...

Its just cables, but any thoughts on what we should do?
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Old 04-01-2016, 20:12   #38
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffrobbins View Post
A good suggestion I'm curious to pursue... how many people do you think use the AM/FM output? We don't sell a high percentage of those cables vs. splitters so I wonder if that's because of what you said or because there aren't that many people interested in it.

Another common question with the splitter is the 2nd VHF cable. We don't include that because 850 and Vision owners often install their units away from the VHF radio and so the cable length required varies with each install. It's not so much about the cost to manufacture them; Rather I'm conscious of not including things that many people will just throw away as it wastes so much... cables in bulk are heavy... we ship them from our factory to our warehouse... then we ship them to our distributor who then ships them to a dealer.. then to the customer... then to the landfill...

Its just cables, but any thoughts on what we should do?
I'm pretty sure that just like me, people forgot to order the cable (or didn't know about the feature), then just didn't bother. I think if it had come with the splitter, then many more people would be inclined to use it. I really think you guys should just include it.

Of course I would have loved if the splitter came with 2 VHF cables, but I'm kinda a unique case with a catamaran. My helm and nav station are back-to-back so all my cables are 2 foot or so. I think it makes sense in most cases that customers will make a custom length cable.

By the way.. I love you stuff and your service is what sold me on it. Vesper equipment has been one of my best purchases.
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Old 04-01-2016, 21:37   #39
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

I have a Vespermarine Watchmate Vision as well as an older "black box" AIS which is plumbed into the plotter. Two completely seperate units. I do rate the Watchmate Vision pretty highly in general, however I have had one fairly significant issue with it. While in the vicinity of the Singapore Straits, where in the busier times targets may top 300 in a 6 mile radius, the VWMV basically just jams out. On approach to the area, as the targets start ramping up towards 100, it begins to slow and become less responsive. No matter how I tweaked the settings down (which was in itself difficult when it is running slowly), it still ultimately jams out in the vicinity of the TSS's there. Kinda exactly where you don't want it to, most of all. Meanwhile my decade old black box AIS kept working seamlessly. This has been my exprience whenever in those waters. I have discussed this with Vesper, who seemed interested and responsive, but in the end the communications just trailed off (almost certainly my fault as I think I left an email of theirs hanging) and I have no idea whether the issue has been addressed. I am no computer tech, but I suspect either system memory is too low or processing speed to slow for such an area, or something like that. Anyhow, system works very well in almost all respects otherwise. And there are very few places in the world as busy as the SS. Overall I would certainly recommend the product, and second those saying that it is useful to have a complete standalone system, rather than one relying on the plotter as a display. Recently I had a transistor blow in my plotter, which went dark. It was fixed in a few hours, but only because I had a skilled electronics tech in the vicinity and I happened to be in a marina. (Note: the VMWM screen is more legible than appears in the attached photo, but my snapshot of it didn't come out as well as I would have liked)
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Old 05-01-2016, 14:37   #40
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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I have discussed this with Vesper, who seemed interested and responsive, but in the end the communications just trailed off (almost certainly my fault as I think I left an email of theirs hanging) and I have no idea whether the issue has been addressed.
Yes, I believe this has been addressed. Would you recontact support@vespermarine.com (I couldn't find your ticket because it's based on email address) and we can pick it back up from there?
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Old 05-01-2016, 16:10   #41
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

I am going to take the stick down in the Spring and run a new VHF cable and put on a new antenna AND add a watchmate.

My questions are:

Should the VHF and the AIS have separate antennae and cables? Or use a splitter? The VHF and the AIS will be mounted about 5 feet of cabling apart. Spec for the splitter if I go that route?

What is the best spec for the cable?

I have a car stereo AM/FM but the reception is awful and shouldn't be. It's got to be an antenna problem (I have a splitter).
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Old 06-01-2016, 21:07   #42
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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Should the VHF and the AIS have separate antennae and cables? Or use a splitter?
You don't want to mount two VHF antennas on the masthead. VHF antennas need at least 3' of horizontal separation and obviously that won't work on the masthead. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing damage to the VHF or AIS.

If you want to use the masthead for both the VHF and AIS then you need to use the splitter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
The VHF and the AIS will be mounted about 5 feet of cabling apart. Spec for the splitter if I go that route?
That won't be a problem. Our splitter comes with 6' cable for the VHF and you can get another 6' cable for the AIS.

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What is the best spec for the cable?
It's a tradeoff on size/cost/weight/flexibility vs. signal loss. If the run isn't too long then RG58-A/U or RG58-C/U is fine. Those are stranded and tinned core. Signal loss is dependent on the cable type and it's length. For better performance you can use lower loss RG213 or LMR400 or similar. It will cost more and be less flexible so a bit harder to work with but worth considering if those aren't issues for you. In any case, be sure whatever you choose is marine grade and 50 ohms. You can find a nice table of cable specs at http://www.w4rp.com/ref/coax.html.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
I have a car stereo AM/FM but the reception is awful and shouldn't be. It's got to be an antenna problem (I have a splitter).
If the existing splitter is passive then that might be the cause. Otherwise perhaps the antenna or cable has a short or open. If the VHF is working fine and the AM/FM isn't then look for a cable/connector problem going from the splitter to the AM/FM.
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Old 07-01-2016, 05:45   #43
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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Originally Posted by jeffrobbins View Post
You don't want to mount two VHF antennas on the masthead. VHF antennas need at least 3' of horizontal separation and obviously that won't work on the masthead. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing damage to the VHF or AIS.

If you want to use the masthead for both the VHF and AIS then you need to use the splitter.

That won't be a problem. Our splitter comes with 6' cable for the VHF and you can get another 6' cable for the AIS.

It's a tradeoff on size/cost/weight/flexibility vs. signal loss. If the run isn't too long then RG58-A/U or RG58-C/U is fine. Those are stranded and tinned core. Signal loss is dependent on the cable type and it's length. For better performance you can use lower loss RG213 or LMR400 or similar. It will cost more and be less flexible so a bit harder to work with but worth considering if those aren't issues for you. In any case, be sure whatever you choose is marine grade and 50 ohms. You can find a nice table of cable specs at http://www.w4rp.com/ref/coax.html.

If the existing splitter is passive then that might be the cause. Otherwise perhaps the antenna or cable has a short or open. If the VHF is working fine and the AM/FM isn't then look for a cable/connector problem going from the splitter to the AM/FM.
Thanks Jeff!

The run down the mast can be the higher spec and more stiff cable... maybe... it only has to bend at the base of the mast (deck step) and pass thru a deck gland to a connection to the cable running about 15 feet inside a conduit above the headliner. That one needs to do 180 small radius to get to the VHF or splitter. I am not concerned about the AM-FM sharing the antenna.. I can do a separate one. But having the AIS and the DSC VHF share one antenna at the mast top would be ideal. The antenna will be replaced as well. Any recommendations for the antenna itself?

The new DSC VHF has an AIS receiver... which I was thinking to output to the Ray c-80 MFD as a "back up" AIS plotter. It's useful to have a radar, soundings and AIS on layers on the MFD display... I think... The Watchmate will be stand alone aside from sharing the antenna with the DSC VHF. I am looking forward to this bringing myself almost into the 21sr century (not at N2K yet)

I also have a B&G TZ which is use as a "portable unit" as a stand alone GPS plotter which mounts into a rarely used winch under the dodger. I definitely would consider running AIS into this unit. This would mean running data cable from either the DSC VHF, or the Watchmate if it has an AIS output. So that's the plans for this Spring.

Watchmate takes the spot of the very old Horizon 170CP plotter
New Horizon GX2200 DSC VHF - w/AIS replace the old Icom
B&G T7 displaying AIS in the cockpit
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Old 07-01-2016, 06:15   #44
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

You will have a problem with your VHF AIS connected to your chart plotter - it will see your own ship from the Vesper and plot it on the plotter. You will need to connect the Vesper to your plotter and leave the radio as the stand alone instead.

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Old 07-01-2016, 06:23   #45
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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You will have a problem with your VHF AIS connected to your chart plotter - it will see your own ship from the Vesper and plot it on the plotter. You will need to connect the Vesper to your plotter and leave the radio as the stand alone instead.

Mark

Thanks.... and disable or ignore the AIS and the VHF?
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