Broadband Network Aboard

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The broadband network aboard Island Spirit:

What the goals were:
1. Have two or three laptops online on the boat.
2. Have access to a printer from the laptops.
3. Have broadband speeds via wireless in the boat to the network.
4. Use ONE Verizon broadband card! (no way)






Readings:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evdo (what is EVDO)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pcmcia (PCMCIA)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard Express Cards)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB (USB)

Resources:
http://www.evdoinfo.com/
(great source for all info on EVDO)
http://3gstore.com/
(their store where I bought all the gear)
http://verizonwireless.com/
(my connection / ISP, look for PLANS…BROADBAND $59.00/mo)
http://www.kyocera-wireless.com/kr1-router/
(The EVDO router, FANTASTIC)
http://3gstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=292
(The trucker antenna)
http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/ViewProductB.php?ID=1 (Wilson Electronics the source for the antenna)
http://www.shopping.hp.com/product/storefronts/photosmart_printers/1/storefronts/Q8220A%2523ABA;HHOJSID=HcnJGWMJ1n38JT2Zb1F4v2vsHJRClfmgtbpf1qJ3GJmKTyYPsyrT!1752868021
(HPPhotosmart C5180 all All-in-one printer)

Speed Test for your Network:
http://SpeedTest.net

How it works:
GREAT….nuff said!

OK, How it really works….
Since we have two laptops with different card slots I needed to buy the Verizon USB720 Broadband card. Card are available in PCMCIA (old school) PC Express (new school) and USB universal (all computers.) Since I needed the USB Verizon card, then I had to go with the Kyocera KR1 EVDO router since it is the only one that accepts a USB modem/broadband card. The KR1 will also accept a PCMCI card as well. FYI: Linksys also makes an EVDO / broadband router, but that one only takes PCMCIA cards. The problem is that we are stuck between a card slot computer change, changing from PCMCIA to PC Express slots. If you only have new laptops, then PC express is the answer.

With the Verizon USB720 broadband modem plugged into the KR1 EVDO router, you simply turn on your laptops and connect to the router which is connecting to Verizon’s broadband network. If you are in range of a cell tower and if you can make a phone call, then you will have internet delivered to the laptops via the KR1 router. The external antenna is not amplified (yet) and it is simply run to the USB720 Verizon card down in the router. Right now I have a range of about 15 miles, and if I amplify the antenna I will be able to get 25+ miles. Overall, this has worked out way better than expected. We seem to have speeds of 1100 kbps download and 500kbps uploads. Check your speed right now. Use http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ and pick a large city nearby to check your speeds. I am on the east coast and I use Chicago as my speed tests. If you are international, then use http://speedtest.net/ and pick a country.

Thanks for reading about our network, it does work and we are proud of the setup!

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Crescent Beach via Great Salt Pond

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One of the many nice aspects of anchoring in Great Salt Pond is the fact that you can take the dinghy (the car) from your anchored boat to the edge of the pond, then walk across the road and over the sand dunes to the ocean beach! This beach is called Crescent Beach and looking at the Google Map on the left you will see where the name comes from. The total distance from the boat to the beach is less than 1/2 mile. I cannot think of too many places where you can live on your boat at anchor and have such great access to an ocean beach. Yesterday we enjoyed the beach for the first time this year and Radeen even went in the water (up to her knees) but the water temp is about 60 degrees so it is COLD.

Below is a video taken from the center of the access trail looking back over Great Salt Pond and then out to the beach. This video will show you why this is one of the greatest boating destinations in the northeast!

Video of Crescent Beach Access
From Great Salt Pond, Block Island
(note: click videos twice. once to select, 2nd to play)
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Swans at Anchor, Block Island

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While living on the anchor you never know when nature will present its beauty. Yesterday, Monday, 7-9-07, we were presented with one of the best experiences we have ever seen, SWANS. Now we have had swans swimming around the boat many times before, but never have we had a swan with a cygnet or young swan resting on her back! These swans could reach the deck of the Island Packet 35 easily as they stretched out their necks. The baby would turn its neck and rest its head on its back as the parent swan swam for the small pieces of bread we tossed into the water. After feeding them one piece of bread, we boarded the dinghy and headed off to shore to visit with Cary and Bobby of IP380 Catspaw. Enjoy the photos….
Close up of the Cygnet
How beautiful is this!

The little swan would hold on as the parent swan!

OK, time for a rest….this is tough!

Thank you for taking a look at our blog, Radeen and I are sincerely enjoying living on the boat. Life slows down, life takes on basic tasks and it is amazing how buzy you can be simply keeping up with the boat, water, electricity, and the weather. Today’s plan….do our work in the AM and then head to the ocean side beach!

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Block Island, RI at anchor

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Living on the anchor at Block Island, RI is near paradise! We are currently at the BLISS Rendezvous and having a wonderful time. Last night we had a storm and I had to run the dinghy out into the storm to check on the boat. Of course we held tight but the boat next to us broke free and was washed up onto the rocks. They got off this AM and are now floating free again. Uploaded here is abeautiful sunset photo from last night of Radeen as we head back to the boat after dinner.

Also here is a 360 degree video of the anchorage. It may not be that clear due to me still working out the resolution and compressions, but it shows that harbor and where we are.
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Dealing with Water on anchor

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Living on a boat at anchor without a watermaker or a rain collection system demands getting water in two ways. One pulling up anchor and motoring to a fuel dock and taking on water, or two going to shore with the dinghy and 5 gallon water jugs and carry the water back to the boat. We carry water back since that is a bit easier. Two people living on a boat will use 15 gallons per day on average. Our boat holds 90 gallons of water, so that will last 6 days. This water is used for showers, cooking, dishes, and washing down the boat. The toilet uses sea water to flush into the holding tank so no fresh water is used for flushing. So, the standard game plan is to everyday run to shore with your water jugs and bring back 15 to 20 gallons. Upon returning to the boat you lift these 5 gallon jugs onto the deck from the dinghy and then climb up onto deck and carry the jugs to the deck water fill fitting. Next you open the deck fill fitting and using a funnel you pour the 15 to 20 gallons of water into the boats water tank. This is our procedure everyday when living on the anchor. Here is a photo of “water boy” at work on day 1 at Block Island, RI. In the photo I am pouring the water into the deck fill and the additional 4 jugs are up on deck next to me. Imagine the next time that you use water, that you will have to go fetch and carry back all the water you use! Welcome aboard, conserve water!

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30 Knots @ Anchor Block Island

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We spent our first night at anchor in true Block Island style with the winds blowing 25 to 30 knots and boats dragging anchor other boats blown up onto the rocks, dinghies breaking feee and drifting by and white caps and wave in the pond. Of course this all happens at midnight to 2 am and the VHF radio is lively with all the hailing and distress calls being broadcasted. We did not have any trouble, lucky for us. We have out a 44 lb Bruce anchor and 175 feet of chain in about 30 feet of water so we held tight all night long. One of the beauties of Block is that in the AM, the pastry boat arrives hailing…”Andiamo….Andiamo” with fresh cinnamon rolls, cheese danishes, hot coffee, and fresh fruit. You have to love Block Island. Here are a few photos to enjoy.

Snubber Line on deck with back up snubber to port
No load is on the windlass
Snubber does not need to be over the bow

The Dinghy Dock where you park your “car”

Our first walk around the town with the Narragansett Hotel in the background

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Sunrise Video off Montauk Point, NY

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We are 25 miles from Montauk Point with current on the bow as the sound ebbs out to sea, ugh! The winds have been calm all night with 8-10 from the SW nearly dead astern so we ran a jib along with the engine all night making 6.5 knots. We do not have a spinnaker, but if we did, it would have been perfect for that. With the boat speed at 6 and the wind at 10 apparent wind is 4 and very light with the jib collapsing half the time. If we would sail with a full main the jib would be too blanketed so that we killed at sunset. Looks like we will arrive Montauk around 10am and Block around Noon.Happy July 4th everyone

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