King Controls VuQube

Last year King Controls introduced a clever portable satellite TV dish called the VuQube, and some boaters began enjoying its ability to tune in DirectTV, Dish, or ExpressVu channels while only costing $899. But they had to place the 17.5''-high "cube" on a dock for stability and use its remote

Furuno FA-50

Furuno's FA-50 is also an unusual Class B AIS transponder. While every other model mentioned in this column, including the two Simrads, is based on a transceiver manufactured by the U.K. firm SRT, Furuno started from scratch, or rather from its experience as a major manufacturer of the Class A AIS

Simrad AI50

Simrad's AI50 is the most feature-packed Class B transponder available. Most obvious is the four-inch display with its world base map. It can serve as a standalone AIS target plotter, or as a useful adjunct to your regular nav system, which the AI50 can feed with target and GPS data either via NMEA 0183

Here Comes Class B, Part 2!

Now Class B-equipped Gizmo shows up on ship AIS displays and Web viewers like this.

I've never been more pleased to write this column. If you read the original "Here Comes Class B" in the March 2007 issue, you'll recall my cautious optimism about the then untried yacht version

Digital Yacht SPL250

Digital Yacht is a substantial U.K.-based marine electronics manufacturer/distributor that is expanding to the United States in a timely manner, given its emphasis on Class B AIS. I'm testing its $899 AIT250 Class B, which—while being the same basic transponder that's marketed by Shine Micro, True Heading,

Icom MXA-5000

Is Icom a Johnny come lately for introducing the MXA-5000 AIS receiver just as Class B transceivers finally hit the market? I don't think so. Not every skipper is as keen to be seen via AIS as I am, and if said skipper does want to monitor Class A and B AIS targets, ICOM's offering looks easy to

ACR GlobalFix iPro

ACR GlobalFix iPro

ACR's new iPro GPS EPIRB earns its "next generation" marketing tag on three counts, the most obvious one being the reassuring and useful info shown on its one-inch digital display. When you self-test the unit, the screen delivers the results and even

Cellranger STIX

Cellranger STIX

The Cellranger Stix is a portable and affordable cellphone booster that I can recommend but only with certain caveats. The seductive claim is that its microprocessor technology can analyze an arriving cell signal via that five-inch magnetic-base antenna and add 50 dB of

Autopilot Garminized

Garmin's new pilot head is as stylishly informative as its multifunction instruments.

The 50-foot custom Wesmac Kathleen might have been a real autopilot challenge, what with her twin 585-hp Cummins MerCruiser QSM11 diesels powering brutish Hamilton HM422 waterjets and little below for directional stability beyond her


You may have heard that Apple's new 3G iPhone includes a GPS but did you know that someone has already developed a good $50 marine navigation program for it? iNavX is the work of the same development team that built the well-regarded GPSNavX and MacENC charting programs, and it shows. It will not only plot your

Planar LX Mariner

Planar LX Mariner

The global display company Planar has entered the little marine world with quite a splash. Its three new LX Mariner touchscreen PC monitors—eight-, 12-, and 15-inch screens with prices ranging from $2,000 to $2,200—are bonded (no fogging), sunlight-viewable, and

Early Adopter

Mark, Natalia, and Alexis Levey enjoying Camden, Maine, from the flying bridge of Alexis.

Capt. Mark Levey is my kind of guy. When he took ownership of a new Azimut 55 in early 2007, he immediately had the factory-installed electronics replaced with the just-introduced Simrad Glass

Raymarine A-Series

Raymarine has radically redesigned its A-Series of small plotters and plotter/fishfinders, adding AIS tracking, internal “high-sensitivity” GPS receivers, Sirius Satellite Weather and Audio capability, and many of the interface improvements seen in the recent V4 software update to the C- and E-Series. The units will come with Navionics Gold cartography built

Callpod Dragon V2

Callpod's Dragon V2 headsets

When does an everyday Bluetooth cellphone headset become a desirable boating accessory? When a pair of them can also provide a captain and mate hands-free intercom capabilities up to 300 feet apart. The powerful transceivers in Callpod’s $100 Dragon V2 headsets are also purported to double or triple

Standard BH-2

How about a wireless Bluetooth headset designed expressly for marine VHF? Standard Horizon’s BH-2 works with either the company’s new HX760S handheld or as an add-on to certain of its Quantum fixed VHF radios. It can be used in either push-to-talk or completely hands-free voice-activated modes (with two VOX sensitivity levels selectable). The HX760S—which floats

Cobra MR F300 BT

Cobra MR F300 BT

The short-range Bluetooth wireless standard, commonly used for cellphone headsets, is now usefully making its way onto boats. So while Cobra’s new MR F300 BT may look quite like a VHF speaker mic, in fact it’s designed for making cell calls possible in a noisy and potentially wet environment. It has noise-cancelling

Yanmar Smart Check

Yanmar Smart Check

Unfortunately you'll need Yanmar electronic engines like the BY, LY3, and SY Series (so far) plus at least one Raymarine E-120 to even consider plunking down $795 for the Smart Check software package that will debut this fall. But once you realize all that it will do,

FloScan FloNet

FloScan FloNet

Hats off to FloScan for developing FloNet, one of the most NMEA 2000-friendly products I've tested. Rather than trying to grab some of the precious space at your helm with a

Know the Flow

These gauges are using twin FloScan interfaces and GPS to calculate nm/gal and more.

Oil! I won't belabor the pain felt at fuel docks this season, but I sure am glad to report that electronics and engine manufacturers are working hard so that we can get the most boating from every

How's Your "Q"?

Airmar product manager Mark Reedenaur is showing off the company's floating test lab.

"Come on, Mark, can't you just tell me which is the best fishfinder?!?" I couldn't help making that plea when I realized what a fantastic floating fishfinder lab we were headed out to sea in. Before launching the 24-footer into the Piscataqua

Raymarine DSM 400

Raymarine DSM 400

Raymarine's powerhouse DSM 400 black-box fishfinder weighs 27 pounds, contains four independent digital sonar transceivers, and can pump up to 3 kW of ping power on 28, 38, or 50 kHz and two on 185 or 200 kHz. All of which makes it particularly adept at handling some of the high-end Airmar transducer features

Lowrance Broadband Sounder

Lowrance Broadband Sounder

owrance has not lost its innovative scrappiness under Navico ownership. In fact it was the latter's CEO, Jens-Thomas Pietralla, who dubbed the new Broadband Sounder a "disruptive technology." Now, confusingly, this $799 black-box fishfinder, which networks to all current Lowrance displays, is not

Shine Micro RadarPlus AIS-BX

Shine Micro RadarPlus AIS-BX

It's been almost 18 months since the U.S. Coast Guard approved a variety of yacht-size Class B AIS transponders, and the FCC still hasn't added its blessing! I'll spare you further ranting, but understand that we may have to wait for a new administration before we can use this valuable safety tool.

Bushnell ONIX 400

Bushnell ONIX 400

Bushnell's Onix 400 mapping GPS is designed primarily for hikers, but I'm not the only boater to notice its ability to deliver both XM Satellite Weather and Radio in a form portable enough to also go on the water, in the car, etc. Unfortunately the weather data it displays is a limited subset of what's available

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