I have been running a “hockey puck” GPS unit with my laptop computer. There were times when the hockey puck unit would appear to lose sight of the satellites while sitting on the chart area in front of the helm on my 32 (the laptop and hockey puck GPS are redundant to my Standard Horizon GPS Chart Plotter). I solved the problem by mounting the hockey puck unit on top of the pilot house, so it always had a satellite view. However, I mounted it in such a manner that it is not exposed to the elements, and is easily removed should I want to use it with my laptop off the tug.
I drilled a hole just large enough to allow the USB plug to pass through the roof of the pilot house. If you’re careful, you can drill the hole and not pierce the headliner. Then you can cut a slit in the headliner to allow the GPS cable to pass through. When the GPS cable is removed, the slit in the headliner is hardly noticeable, unless you look for it. I then mounted a short nylon deck mount antenna base (West Marine #139685, Sea Dog SDL#329500-1, or equivalent) to the top of the pilot house roof (well bedded of course) with three stainless screws.
I used a round TUCKS Medicated Pads container (the 40 pads/container size) to which I had attached a 2.5″ diameter, perhaps 1/2″ thick piece of plastic cutting board material (the container is well bedded and attached to the cutting board material with stainless screws from the inside of the TUCKS container). I drilled a hole, just slightly smaller than the threaded deck mount antenna base, through the center of the container so that the container could be screwed on to the antenna base (again, well bedded). The GPS puck sits inside the container with the lid on it, the cable running down through the hole into the pilot house. The hole in the overhead is just aft of the forward pilot house windows, and just forward of the instrument and electronics console above the helm station. The cable runs down between the pilot house windows, so is not obtrusively hanging in front of a window itself. By the way, the TUCKS label and verbiage on the lid of the container is easily removed with some acetone and a paper towel.
When I want to remove the GPS “hockey puck”, I just unscrew the top of the TUCKS container, grab the puck, pull the cable up through the hole, and reinstall the top on the container, retaining the water tight integrity of the container.
Charlie & Sharon Billings
Nobska – NT 32-057