Simple things just get a little trickier on the boat. We’re getting more and more acclimated everyday, but this was a steep learning curve moment for me: installing our WiFi antennae. We bought it used from a lovely gentleman named Brian on a beautiful traditional boat called Pyxis. The antennae aesthetic was too modern for his boat, but just fine for ours. The trick about all things nautical is that they don’t just come with a plug. They come with a red and black wire that gladly accept 12V electricity, and blithe instructions that say, “connect to a 12V power source…” Uh, yeah. Right. I’m pretty tech savvy. But I’m also used to just plugging things into an outlet and they work. This was a humbling process.
I contacted Brian and asked if he would be willing to get me a basic Boat Wiring 101 lesson. He graciously agreed. (There's nothing better than instruction given with a cheerful, British accent!) We explored my circuit panel, found an empty circuit I could connect to, and found a negative "out" (the back of the ‘cigaretter lighter’ outlet). I bought a solder iron. Forgot to buy the actual solder. Went back and picked that up, and then proceeded to heat up the iron. Solder is pretty cool. It’s a light metal that liquefies at relatively low temperatures. Once in liquid form, you treat it like glue for wires. Get it in between whatever you want to stick together, and let it cool in that position.
I connected the router to the hot spot, both which needed their own ‘power source’. There was Ethernet cable everywhere. After I got everything connected together, I turned to my girls and said, “Okay, if this works, you’re witnessing a small miracle.” And by ‘works’ I meant, green lights show up when I turn on the power. I pushed in the button on the circuit panel.
Not only did I get a green light on the modem, but also on the hot spot. Amazing! Success. I’d just 'plugged them in'. I could then proceed to configure them. For me, that was the easy part. So now we have a WiFi antennae and hot spot on the boat. We still need to find a strong enough signal on shore that we can lock into (and know the password), but it’s a start. But I’m glad to have one successful solder under my belt. Point Fezywig.