Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

Datawake - Life Aboard a Floating Laboratory

My new boat, Datawake, at her slip in Friday Harbor

When I made the decision in 2015 to sell Nomadness and go the Dark Side, it was an opportunity to integrate lab and mothership into a long-savored fantasy of a nomadic research platform... launching probes, collecting data, and having enough on-board tools to at last escape land-based facilities. I have lived aboard this boat since early 2016, surrounded by blinkies and gizmology.

Datawake Walkthrough: Welcome to the Dark Side

I moved aboard the new boat in February 2016, and immediately dove into the essentials... like pulling out the beautiful L-shaped sofa and replacing it with a lab desk. Shortly thereafter, I wrote this walkthrough piece, then broke blogging rules by going back occasionally to bring it up to date. So it is not quite current, but is a pretty good introduction to the boat.

Over in the next column, there is much more detail about the console, and the third one will lead you to lots of scattered systems and projects scattered around Datawake.

Nautical Geekery... Console and Lab Equipment

There is a very dense collection of systems aboard Datawake, and most of them are integrated into an 8-foot lab console with a wing desk for the workstation. This article goes into considerable detail about all this, along with links to posts about related things.

As in BEHEMOTH and Microship, a big part of this is resource management... a set of tools that make it easy to connect anything to anything. It also supports data collection, networking, a capable electronics lab, audio and video production, a pull-out piano, software-defined radios and a ham shack, and other essential tools. If you are most interested in the geeky bits, this is the one to read.

A Sampler of Projects aboard Datawake

There have been lots of recent posts about tech goodies aboard, including the machine shop, the holodeck, a radio scanner, a feline outhouse, the piano drawer, the bidet retrofit, D-Star and FT8 ham radio, thermography, a weather station, my ADS-B feeder, and more.

Current projects include a Trident ROV, digitizing old 8mm movies, more antennas, SDR tools, and a new power system.