Electronics

Standard Horizon HX850S

Standard Horizon HX850S

Credit due: Uniden built the first handheld combination GPS/ VHF, but the Mystic was quite bulky and expensive and is now out of production. Standard Horizon's HX850S hopefully represents the first of a new, much more practical combo generation (at least Lowrance has another in the works). With a body about

Managing the Waterway: Electronic Charts 2008

Managing The Waterway: Electronic Charts 2008

It may be an Intracoastal Waterway guide publisher, but the name Managing the Waterway doesn't do this company justice. Neither does the product title Electronic Charts 2008, even though this two-DVD set contains every single digital chart—more than 3,000—currently put out

Garmin GMI 10

Garmin GMI 10

The 3.5-inch color screens on Garmin's new do-it-all instrument heads looked bright and sharp at the European trade show where I saw them previewed, and they should be available by presstime. They purportedly can display just about any NMEA 2000 data, including engine info, as well as sentences from NMEA 0183 smart

Hello, Spot

Spot measures about 4 1⁄4" x 2 3⁄4".

As an innovative satellite messenger, Spot is hot, but in terms of marketing, Spot should be shot. And, thankfully, those are all the easy Spot word plays you'll hear from me. But be prepared for an onslaught elsewhere. Spot is getting a

Simrad NX40/45

Simrad NX40/45

Simrad is refreshing almost its entire product lineup in 2008. The major themes are the extended use of SimNet (a.k.a. NMEA 2000) and the "Simradization" of multifunction display technologies proven by other members of Navico's "family of brands." The $2,450 NX40 and $2,950 45 single-station MFDs closely resemble

Simrad GB40

Simrad GB40

Given the NX series and other new gear noted above, plus the big-yacht Glass Bridge GB60 system introduced last year, the networked, blackbox GB40 neatly fills the remaining hole in Simrad's lineup. Again, the

GME Emergency Beacons

GME Emergency Beacons

Though GME has been manufacturing emergency beacons in Australia for more than 30 years, its EPIRBs and PLBs are new to America. The regular AccuSat 401 and GPS-assisted 401G models shown are said to be the smallest and lightest available, and each features an LED strobe light and a seven-year battery, not to

MatsyOnBoard SMART9522

MatsyOnBoard SMART9522

MatysOnBoard is a little like Spot, as it uses a satphone system's SMS facilities—in this case, Iridium's—to send one-button-push distress messages as well as other short messages and automated tracking

Standard Horizon CPV555

Standard Horizon CPV555

Combine a top-the-line VHF radio with a competent chartplotter/fishfinder, and you get Standard Horizon's unusual and under-appreciated CPV series, which began with a seven-inch display and now also comes in this jumbo 12-inch unit. Given its considerable size you may not save any helm space, but man, you

Navionics Platinum+

Navionics Platinum+

As the ever-so-slight name change implies, "plus" is only an incremental change from the original multifaceted Platinum format, mainly offering improved resolution of the photo maps and panoramic port photos. But the improvement is major. One measure of how much more data is included in Platinum+ is that the

PAS-Thru Box

PAS-Thru Box

Life's hard; your friends are all enjoying NMEA 2000 install benefits with their new gear, and you're still struggling with an unruly mess of NMEA 0183 data connections. I know your pain, and a PAS-Thru Box can at least soothe it. The $150 model shown here can beautifully organize, connect, and protect 16 cable pairs,

Simrad AP 24 and AP 28

Simrad AP 28

Simrad's two new autopilot control heads, the AP 28 (above) and the smaller, knobless AP 24, may look like minor upgrades to the revered Simrad (Robertson) line, but there's a big change behind the scenes. Each head uses SimNet, a flavor of NMEA 2000, to communicate with one of two new SimNet-talking autopilot

3D & G

The competition is fierce, and I'm not just talking about the grandiose debuts held simultaneously and almost chin-to-chin across a Fort Lauderdale boulevard the evening before the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show began. The two combatants (Furuno's new NavNet 3D and Raymarine's new G Series) both crave, and deserve, attention from the same sort of users—bigger-boat, bigger-budget

PulseTech Xtreme Charger

PulseTech Xtreme Charger

What with the lab and a fleet of small craft, I use and abuse a lot of 12-volt batteries. Wasn't I tickled with how well the $100 Xtreme "five-stage maintenance" Marine Charger tested and then, when possible, charged and desulphated my scraggly collection, all the while telling me what it was up to with

KVH FleetBroadband

KVH FleetBroadband

The good news is that the advent of Inmarsat's FleetBroadband in November means that a yacht cruising almost anywhere from the U.S. West Coast eastward to Australia can get a decent Internet connection ("up to" 284 kbps) and make clear phone calls with a stabilized antenna dome just a foot high—even at the

Glomex Polaris

Glomex Polaris

Satellite TV and radio are great on a boat, since they're able to deliver clear and familiar channels most everywhere you cruise. But what about unfamiliar content? Glomex's amplified and directional antenna might be just

Maptech Touch Screen Navigator

Maptech Touch Screen Navigator

Next month I'll profile the exciting new Raymarine G-Series and Furuno NavNet 3D systems, both of which are actually powerful PCs, though dedicated almost entirely to navigation. Maptech pioneered this concept, along with the touch-screen nav interface, way back in 2001, first with the Sea Ray

Tacktick Wireless Instruments

Tacktick Wireless Instruments Micronet Power Boat Wind Transmitter

The direction and speed of the wind are not only important pieces of information when maneuvering in close quarters, they're also a tip-off to weather changes. Tacktick makes it easy to get precise wind information—and most any other numerical

Nighttime Navigation

Bright Charts

The LightWedge Night Vision ($40) is one of those simple but decidedly useful products that makes you ask yourself, "Why didn't I think of that?" Designed for boaters and pilots, this lightweight illuminator casts red LED light onto charts, so you needn't ruin

AmbientNAV Alpha

AmbientNAV Alpha

West Coast-based AmbientNav has introduced a new monitor line named Alpha, as in "alpha dog." This leader-of-the-pack boast is based on high-end specs like 170-degree viewing angles and 700:1 contrast ratios, not to mention an awesome rack of inputs. These monitors even have satellite-ready, HD-compatible TV

Lowrance LVR-880 VHF/FM Radio

Lowrance LVR-880 VHF/FM Radio

In a world with so many VHF choices, two features on the Lowrance LVR-880 are especially noteworthy. One, it can receive stereo FM stations, even cut in with DSC calls, purportedly a first for a fixed VHF. Two, it uses NMEA 2000 to input GPS information and output DSC call data. This is especially

Swift Hitch

Swift Hitch

As the name implies, this $309 wireless color camera and display are meant to make hitching a vehicle to a trailer easy, and they do. Features that help: The image can be reversed to sync with your rear-view mirrors; the camera automatically switches to infrared-lit grey scale in the dark; and its base is magnetic. And

Freestyle Audio Sport MP3 Player

Freestyle Audio Sport MP3 player

So I not only tested the Freestyle water- and shockproof Sport MP3 music player, but also my ability to windsurf like I once could. Unfortunately I can't, and hence the test was thorough! The Freestyle is simple—a gig of flash memory, four buttons to control volume and tracks—and tough.

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