header photo

Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

MacGyver adds to the karma kitty

December 28, 2014

The cruisers here have realized MacGyver knows a thing or two about radio systems.  And he loves to fix stuff.

So Randy from Nirvana Now stopped by this morning looking for help with his AIS system.  That's the thingy that lets you see the other ships around you on your navigation system.  Randy has never been able to get his AIS to work.  Dave had been telling him at the BBQ last night that his GPS antenna was probably plugged into the wrong port on the AIS transceiver because the connectors didn't sound right.  Sure enough by the time Randy arrived at the boat, he had realized that indeed he was plugging the GPS antenna into the VHF antenna port.  But fixing that didn't make it work.  It took about 10 minutes for MacGyver to figure out that Randy's GPS receiver antenna wasn't the right kind.  The AIS transceiver requires an amplified GPS antenna.  So Randy will probably need a new antenna.  But MacGyver figured he would hook up the AIS transceiver to Randy's laptop to make sure that at least AIS receiving information could be seen by the navigation mapping system (GPS only being required to transmit your boat's position to other people).  So MacGyver hooks up a piece of wire to Randy's VHF receiver antenna port to act as a temporary antenna (yeah - like an ordinary piece of wire that he had laying around).  He plugs the AIS transceiver into the laptop and promptly discovers that the wrong drivers are installed on the laptop.  Once he fixes that problem, VOILA!  Randy is receiving other ship positions on the AIS system, and they are showing up on his laptop navigation maps.  See the smile on Randy's face?

Then there was this other problem... Randy wanted his Navigation system - same that we use - OpenCPN to be transmitted to his Android tablet for use in the cockpit.  So MacGyver installs Real VNC on his laptop, and VOILA! Randy can now connect his navigation system to a tablet via VNC Viewer on his Android.

Then after lunch, Dave on Heart and Soul (yes - the guys are named the same - this is confusing) wanted some help with debugging his WiFi system.  He has a similar setup to ours with a big external WiFi antenna to connect to the marina WiFi (or hotel/restaurant if you are at anchor in a bay).  But the system has been flaky.  The problem turned out to be that Heart and Soul's extended WiFi receiver was bad.  Because at one point MacGyver thought we had a problem with ours, he had bought a new one - but later discovered the problem was in the wiring.  So we had a spare we could give Heart and Soul.  MacGyver programmed it up for them and sent Dave off with his connector crimp kit to rewire the new unit into the Heart and Soul system.  According to Dave, MacGyver will be Marge's hero if this works and gives her reliable internet on their boat.  Hopefully we will get word tomorrow as to whether its installed and working.

Then it was time for happy hour.  Melissa had made smoked salmon dip with the leftover mascarpone cheese from the mashed potatoes on Christmas.  The dip was as big a hit as the potatoes.  Yep - the secret ingredient - mascarpone.  Yes, that is what you use for tiramisu.  That's pretty much the only thing people know to do with it.  But really, you can use it in anything that calls for cream cheese and it will be just a tiny bit richer.  Mmmmm.  Mascarpone!

Go Back