I wanted to use the Raymarine C120 as the primary means of electronic chartplotting while on board – it is interfaced to all the instruments as well as the the DSC radio, radar, and AIS.
But while onshore, at home, at anchor or in a marina it is often more convenient to use a laptop. It is now so easy to download grib files, look up weather forecasts, email, browse the web, and forums and so on.
I thought I would use the laptop for two main additional purposes.
a) Chartplotting using the software I already had before installing the Raymarine kit on board ie. Garmin’s Map source software which uses the Bluechart charts – all proprietory to Garmin.
b) Interface to the Target SSB radio so that I could get Navtex, RTTY and Weatherfax transmissions and store them on the laptop for reference while on passage.
I have been able to achieve all of this but I must admit that using the SSB is a lot more tricky than I anticipated. The picture here shows the audio cable from the SSB radio into the MIC input of the laptop….
The laptop is an ACER Aspire 5020WLMi and is – in hindsight – probably way over specified now that I have experience of using it in action..it has a built in card reader (very useful) 1Gb of RAM and a 100Gb HDD – but at least it will cope with advances in nav software which like all PC software is destined to bloat and bloat..