Monday, October 6, 2014

The Mutiny of the Radar Officer

I've talked about our Radar setup aboard Eolian before.  And that setup worked out very well for us...  as long as it was a rare occasion that required Radar.  Down in Puget Sound, it was indeed a rare occasion.

But not so rare up here north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, when crossing Rosario Strait.  In fact, I think we may have put more hours on the Radar set this summer than in all our previous time on Eolian.

A consequence fell from this.  Jane, our Radar Officer, mutinied.

She said that she didn't like having to stay below and shout up to me the "hits" on the screen, especially when the engine was running, making the communication essentially one-way (it being difficult for me to make myself heard by Jane sitting down below, almost directly above the engine).

So, I did what any self-respecting Captain would do having received permission to spend money:  Notwithstanding all those things I said before, I scurried off to craigslist and found a used Furuno Radar with an LCD screen that is water resistant and daylite readable, and can therefore be mounted in the cockpit next to the GPS.  No Radar Officer required.

For sale - any takers?

Yesterday and today I spent removing the old Radar. A trip up the mizzen was required to disconnect the interconnect cable and remove the radome (boy that sucker is heavy!). Next, I tied a string to the end of the cable and lowered it thru the mizzen to the cockpit.

Then the big job started - unthreading the interconnect cable from the path the original installer had used between the base of the mizzen mast and the display unit that used to hang overhead in the navigator's station.  It would have been much easier if I had cut the cable, but I didn't want to do that because the interconnect cables are very expensive, and the lack of a cable would seriously impair the old unit's resalability.

Then the next day was spent on:
  • Ascend the mizzen mast again, this time with electric drill in hand so that I could drill new mounting holes in the mounting plate on the mast.  Layout the new holes that were needed, since neither of the two sets on the mount matched up.
  • Drill those holes, starting with a 1/8" drill bit and ending with a 7/16" bit.
  • Hoist the new radome up and bolt it in place.  Working up the mast is scary...  you want to always have everything tied off, either to you or to the mast, because gravity is such a bitch.  So this was a very scary action, because the radome is a curvy beast, leaving only a bolt thru one of the mounting holes to use as the hoist point.  This meant that I had to disconnect the only thing securing the radome up there in order to mount it.  Until I got the first bolt in place, it was just my hands fending off the depridations of gravity.  Every motion was thought out ahead of time, and somehow every task had to be done with just one hand, the other being designated as the "keep the radome from falling" hand.
  • Thread the new interconnect cable (already attached to the radome) down the mizzen mast, using the pull string I left in place.
So this is where things stand at the moment:

It works!
There it sits, just as pretty as can be, right next to the GPS (or where the GPS would be, if it were mounted).

Still to do for a complete installation:
  • Permanently mount the new display on the coaming next to the GPS
  • Drill a hole thru the coaming for the cables
I have a stainless steel "desk grommet" on order for the cable penetration of the coaming - you've seen these on newer office furniture, intended for computer cables.  Hopefully this will give a finished appearance when the displays are mounted and when they are not.



thom said...

What are you asking for the old one?

Robert Salnick said...

$400 - works perfectly.

Anonymous said...

You are my new "working-aloft hero." I admire your tenacity. Congrats on not dropping anything expensive!

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