Commissioning the Mast Lights and Sensor

We have been rewiring Fir for months. First, we wanted to paint the masts therefor this process started from the top and worked down. After the application of primer (PPG Amerlock 2), we applied a single pass of top coat (PPG PSX 700 Light Tint Base) then started installing the various antennas, sensors, and lights.

On the A-Frame (forward mast), we replaced the masthead and anchor lights with LED units from McDermott Light and Signal. We made room to accommodate two radar systems: a standard magnetron based open array unit and a digital doppler open array. We installed two Shakespeare 6396-AIS-R Phase III antennas for AIS. The mechanical weather station was replaced with a Maretron (WS100 ultrasonic). We added a Lars Thrane LT-1000 antenna for GNSS/GPS, heading and various motion sensors. Garmin GXM53 satellite antenna was added to capture XM Sirius marine weather reports, and we replaced the actuator on the original air horn. All of this equipment has been sitting unused for months as we finished painting the A-Frame and pulling wires.

 
 
Joe installs one of the Shakespeare 6396 antennas.

Joe installs one of the Shakespeare 6396 antennas.

 

During our February work period, we started commissioning these devices. Frankly, it went better than expected. All but one device booted up as soon as we applied network power. A couple of wires for the Maretron weather station were damaged during painting, but easily repaired and the station was reporting.

We mounted the antenna for our Furuno Class A AIS (FA170) to the A-Frame supports. This antenna connects directly to the AIS receiver. The AIS receiver connects to our Rose Point NEMO by way of an NMEA183 network connection. The NEMO then connects to NMEA 2000 network and our navigation computer running Coastal Explorer. This allows us to use the Furuno antenna as a backup GPS antenna that is available throughout the NMEA 2000 network.

 
 
The Furuno GPS antenna for our class A AIS system mounted to support bar for solar panels between the two A-Frame supports.

The Furuno GPS antenna for our class A AIS system mounted to support bar for solar panels between the two A-Frame supports.

 
 

On to the Aft Mast

On boats larger than 50 meters, masthead and anchor lights are required on both the bow and stern masts. Fir also had numerous signal lights for a variety of purposes that will not be required in her new duties. The original lights were gorgeous bronze units with thick glass lenses. Unfortunately, they leaked terribly rotting the internal components. In addition, the original units were incandescent lamps that consumed a lot of electricity. We decided to replace these lamps with LED units from McDermott Light and Signal. The new lights are efficient, made from a polycarbonate material, and easily replaced. switching, The old lamps were repurposed into sconces for use interior use.

 
One of the original anchor lights.

One of the original anchor lights.

 
 
 
Leo painting the aft mast

Leo painting the aft mast

 

On the aft mast, we are mounting the required masthead and anchor lights. We will also add a tow light consisting of two red signal lights, a white signal light, and an LED flood light to illuminate the 02 Deck. A panning camera will be installed to provide the Wheelhouse with an unobstructed view in all directions. Antennas will include a Shakespeare 3019 Seawatch HDTV,and Shakespeare A-VAT-10-R SuperHalo cellular booster kit. The Seawatch will allow us to receive over-the-air high definition television and FM signals. The cellular booster is important because, second to WIFI, cellular is our least expensive way to connect to the internet.