by Gordon West

Long-time SAIL contributor Gordon West is a nationally recognized expert and educator specializing in radio communications

Ask SAIL: Bad Plug?

by Gordon West, Posted March 9, 2015
Do marine electronic plugs just go bad on their own? I have a GPS chartplotter that sometimes go off intermittently until I reach back and wiggle a certain multi-pin plug connection.
I am doing a retrofit on my old CRT radar to a new Garmin LCD radar system. All my wiring is replaced, except for a spaghetti-sized coax cable that was original

Ask Sail: VHF Radios Ashore

by Gordon West, Posted September 16, 2014
I just bought two marine handheld radios that also have land channels for GMRS. A few weeks ago on a hike to Mt. Whitney, the marine VHF channels gave us extraordinarily increased range over the GMRS channels...
Can a forward-looking sonar effectively spot floating deadheads ahead in the water when cruising in the Pacific Northwest?

Wet Batteries

by Gordon West, Posted July 22, 2014
I recently purchased a handheld battery-operated GPS chartplotter. I was told it could survive 30 minutes in a couple of feet of seawater. But once when landing the dinghy on a beach, I jumped out too soon with the GPS in my pocket.

Two AIS Numbers

by Gordon West, Posted June 18, 2014
I have a Boat U.S.-issued MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) number for my VHF radio, and now I’m adding a Garmin AIS 600 Class B transponder.

Ask SAIL: Scrub or Paint?

by Gordon West, Posted April 25, 2014
I plan to haul out soon, and I am at a port where they let me work on the hull myself. Should I leave my underwater depthsounder transducer scrubbed clean...
When I have guests aboard for a weekend my autopilot just can’t keep a straight course. With any seas, it continuously ...
We are cruising to the Bahamas this winter, and I plan to use my dinghy to explore safe passages through local reefs. I’d like to use a depthsounder and GPS chartplotter to do this, but don’t want to carry a heavy battery in my dink to run electronics for a couple of hours. Any suggestions?
I am going to install a satellite TV aboard my boat for a long cruise from Seattle down to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Will Direct TV work all the way from here to there?
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