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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

Wet and Worried

by Gordon West, Posted June 20, 2009
J. Hillier of Sausalito, California, asks:"I bought what I thought was a waterproof handheld VHF radio, but when I dropped it in some water in the bottom of my inflatable it died. It was only in the water for a few seconds before I picked it up, and even though it did work for about two hours it went dead after that. What do those specifications really mean?"

Clues for Clews

by Win Fowler, Posted June 14, 2009
Jim Ballantine of Charleston, S. Carolina, asks:   ’ve installed new adjustable cars for my genoa aboard my 39-foot sloop. But now that I have them, I’m not sure what adjustments I should make to the cars when sailing in different wind conditions. I do know that whenever I reef down the headsail I should move the cars forward. But I’m not sure what other adjustments to make
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