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Clear Eyes

by Gordon West, Posted October 14, 2009
Robert Miller of Port Isabelle, Texas, asks:"If I don’t bother to clean my radome when it gets covered with dried salt spray, dirt and dust, will that have any effect on the efficiency of my marine radar antenna?" Gordon West replies:It could be significant, which is why you should always keep your radome as clean as possible. Soot, dust,

Ready on Deck

by Don Casey, Posted October 14, 2009
Steve Karas of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, asks:"My 1985 Catalina 27 is in good shape except for some tiny spider cracks in the foredeck gelcoat. The previous owner tried to repair the cracks by drizzling loose gelcoat into them, but the repaired deck looks worse than it did before.I had to sand it all down—losing the non-slip prism deck pattern in the process—and then I

Clear Channel

by Gordon West, Posted September 20, 2009
Henry Meyer of Chicago, Illinois asks:"I'm thinking about getting a satellite radio receiver so I can download all the marine weather products that are available these days. But I'm curious: Will I have to mount one of those softball-sized antennas above my deck?"Gordon West replies:Before you do anything about mounting the antenna, first

Circuit Breaker

by Don Casey, Posted September 20, 2009
Gene Cramer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, asks:"Where can I get a galvanic isolator of the sort you mentioned in your excellent piece on wiring a boat for shore power? Also, the circuit you described in that piece doesn't seem to provide ground-fault protection either for the battery charger or for other branch loads, such as the water heater, which would be hard-wired to the

Dirty Ground

by Nigel Calder, Posted September 14, 2009
Mark Karwowski of San Francisco, California, asks:"Recently we had trouble starting the diesel engine aboard our Nordic 40. Although all the lights and other electrical equipment aboard worked fine, whenever I touched the starter button, the starter motor hesitated at first then sped up. We checked the batteries and found that they were eight years old, so we decided to

Power Savers

by Nigel Calder, Posted July 20, 2009
Lisa Jawork of Toledo, Ohio, asks:"So far I’ve only used my 24-foot Bristol Corsair for daysailing, but this summer I’m planning to take some weekend cruises. I want to be sure I have enough power, not only for the battery that currently feeds the cabin lights and instruments, but also for a second back-up battery I carry for miscellaneous uses. I’m thinking about getting

VHF Alarm System

by Gordon West, Posted July 20, 2009
D.B. of Marina del Rey, California, asks:"Not long ago I received a phone call from my dockmaster telling me a loud alarm was coming from my boat. I told him I’d be right down, and to keep an eye on things until I arrived. When I went aboard I found the sound was coming from my RayMarine Ray 240 marine VHF. How could it possibly go into an alert mode after being turned

Wired and Wonderful

by Don Casey, Posted July 14, 2009
Mike Montanaro of Cornelius, North Carolina, asks:"Don Casey’s thorough and very informative article on the proper way to install shorepower on a boat (Sail, January) clarified a lot of points for me. But he says that if you touch both wires in a 12-volt DC circuit it is unlikely to cause injury. This assumes your body is the only current draw. What would happen if there

Strength in Numbers

by Win Fowler, Posted July 14, 2009
John M. Bollinger of Bellevue, Ohio, asks:   "I’m planning to replace my halyards this summer and I would like to learn how to splice them to the shackles myself. Where can I find this information?" Win Fowler replies: Splicing techniques vary depending on the type of cordage you plan to use. Most manufacturers provide detailed splicing

Battery Buildup

by Nigel Calder, Posted June 20, 2009
Joseph Strong of Barrington, Rhode Island, asks:"I am repowering my Bristol 35.5 with a Yanmar model 3YM30 diesel engine, but I also want to increase my electrical capacity. Currently I have two 12-volt batteries with a standard three-way battery switch (Bat. 1, Bat. 2, and Both). I would like to add two more 12-volt batteries and align them like the two-bank configuration
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