Tuesday, 28 April 2009

GPS, meet VHF. VHF, meet GPS.

A few months back I was moaning to a co-worker (Don) about how I absolutely cannot solder wire. I can solder plumbing pipe, but that has little application aboard Iris. Iris is covered in wires of varying gauges and colours, and there are always bits to be connected. Crimping works often, but some things MUST be soldered.

Well, Don took pity on my soul, and showed me the tricks to getting wire to solder together. One lunch hour we sat and soldered together a data cable for the GPS. Yay! I went to hook the GPS up to the VHF Radio, and discovered that I would have solder the opposite end of the data cable (a basic 9-pin serial cable) to the transmission wires on the radio.

No sweat! Just solder those puppies up and plug her in! Except that after the plug her in bit, nothing happened.

Further conferencing Don, and we decided that the Serial cable we had "harvested" must have been a "crossover cable" (techie talk for something I don't know) and the RX and RT (or whatever) leads must have been reversed such that the googlebits were spamming up the flux capacitor. (I made that part up so I would sound techie).

Don suggested that I reverse the cables. Based on all my previous techno-experience, I thought that sounded like a great solution.

Last night I finally got around to reversing the leads, and the radio blinked a lovely little set of coordinates when I plugged the data cable into the GPS. Now the radio knows where it is, even if I don't. On a more critical level, I can now register the boat, and if anything awful happens, with a single button push, we can transmit our position and vessel to the Coast Guard, and get assistance.

If you are hooking up a Standard Horizon DSC -capable VHF, and would like detailed info on how our hookup went, let me know. We used a 9-pin serial cable so that (with luck) I can export my data to a PC after a sail and see where I was on a service like Google Maps or similar. I am not geek-inclined, but I really hope I can figure out how to transfer the data.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please take a minute to share your thoughts!