Electronics

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.

Boatsense Solutions

Boatsense solutions remote vessel monitoring system

The new company Boatsense Solutions has applied a rigorous keep-it-simple, -rugged, and -economical approach to its single eponymous product. It does not offer GPS tracking or a display screen, it does not include a call center or user Web site, and it doesn’t even send alarms by

E.E. Owner

"Glass bridge? Nah...been there, done that!" That's George Wallner surprising me as we tour his splendid and almost-finished 94-foot Electra. I'm already intrigued.

George Wallner maneuvers Electra from her upper helm during a trial run in Maine.

It isn't just that Wallner

Interphase SE-200B

Interphase SE-200B

Interphase's SE-200B forward-looking sonar (FLS) can be neatly integrated into most any helm. Its video output can go to one or more of the many multifunction displays that now support video, and/or its VGA output can go to one or more monitors with this PC-type input, while one or more compact keyboards can be

Krill Black Box

Krill Black Box

For a while now Krill Systems has been building sophisticated sensor pods that collect all sorts of vessel info—tank levels, switching states, power parameters, etc.—for delivery via Ethernet to a yacht's PC and, if desired, onto Krill's private Web service and then to you wherever you roam. Now it's

Raymarine A60

Raymarine A60

The 5.7-inch, dual-function A60 is only a minor model shift from 2006's 6.5-inch A65, but electronics designs can age well, particularly when software and value improve. It was interesting to test an A60 side by side with the fairly equivalent, if adolescent, Garmin 545s. The A60 has all the dedicated and soft keys

Where To?

The four units displayed in my test lab below—ranging from the diminutive 440 all the way up to the touch-screen 5212—are a good representation of the five multifunction series that Garmin rolled out this year. Actually there are some 20 new models within those series, depending on what's included in terms of charts and functions like sounder and XM weather/radio and how you count

KVH TracPhone V7

KVH TracPhone V7

Always-on offshore high-speed Internet just became possible on yachts well under mega size. KVH's new TracPhone V7 system claims solid broadband speeds previously only possible with a VSAT antenna measuring one meter (about three feet) or more, though its 26-inch-wide dome is an astounding 85 percent smaller in

Raymarine ST70

Raymarine ST70

I believe strongly that bright, well-designed color screens can communicate information much better than the grayscale ones that we are generally used to seeing on the smaller devices around our helms. So if Raymarine's about-to-be-released ST70 instrument heads look anywhere near as crisp in real boat conditions as

Franson GpsGate 2.5

GpsGate started as a simple utility that let GPS data coming into a PC or PDA serial port work with many programs simultaneously. The latest $30 version extends the concept to things like Bluetooth and Internet, often simplifying their use in the process—and lets groups share their locations on the Web. Members can see where his/her buddies are at

Tiki Navigator Pro

Tiki Navigator is a particularly straightforward charting program with a clean, colorful interface. All sorts of help facilities, like those shown, are available but only show when you need them. The program just displays BSB raster charts, but that's the format NOAA makes available for free download (inexpensive DVD compilations are also available), and Tiki

Rendez-vous Tender Tracking

Rendez-vous uses 100-watt digital radios to create a private network amongst a yacht and her tenders. The technology, proven in the railway industry, has a 20-mile range from the mothership and farther if another tender is in between. Basic tracking information is cleverly sent in AIS data format so that any AIS-enabled plotter/computer that's also wired to any

ACR Nauticast B AIS Transponder

As you may recall from my March column, “Here Comes Class B,” I think yacht-level AIS transponders will be a valuable safety tool (even if there are a few glitches to overcome). Now I've had my first at-sea experience with one, an ACR Nauticast B, and I like it! First of

Riding on Penobscot Pilot

Huge freighters and tankers may frighten us small boaters, but they're also fascinating. I mean, how do you maneuver and dock a single-screw mountain of steel that's optimized for running long, straight legs? The answer, of course, is "very, very carefully," and it also applies to the way the pilots who specialize in this demanding task get to or from their work. I know a lot more about all this,

Magellan Crossover

In some ways Magellan's Crossover fulfills the navigate-anywhere promise even better than the Lowrance iWay 600c reviewed here last month. Compact, tough, and battery-powered, it can guide you on foot as well as in your car or boat. In fact, this 8.5-ounce PND (Personal

'Lectronics Lab

Most people, including my wife, call it a "basement," but I prefer to think of the area beneath our Maine home as a multifunctional work area, and a nice hangout. The carpentry shop under the original building, once used to finish off—well, almost finish—the floors above, even has south-facing windows, as the whole place is tucked into a hill. That topography also permitted a two-car

SeaTel Coastal 14

Last year KVH shook up the world of marine satellite TV with its unusually small M3 (see my column "TV on a 25-Footer?" November 2006). Even some big boats liked the idea of simple, solid performance in a subtle 14-inch dome, and the competition didn't wait long to respond. SeaTel's Coastal 14 ($4,395), for instance, offers the same dome size but builds in the

Sea-King 9815-RJ

King Controls, though a major player in the RV market, is still a new guy on the block in the yachting world. Hence the aggressive $3,695 price tag on its 14-inch Sea-King stabilized antenna system, which can feed two user-supplied receivers as is, more with an optional multiswitch. The 9815-RJ is also HD-compatible, which means that you'll need HD receivers, as

KVH M2

KVH has met the competition by rejiggering the original battle-beginning M3 into three models. Actually the M3st is the original—with a DirecTV receiver and IR/RF remote included—only a thousand dollars less costly at $3,995. Assuming the $4,995 position is the new M3dx, which lets you use your own HD receivers for DirecTV (plus $295 for a

GlobalStar 1700

The GlobalStar 1700 satellite phone ($999) is more than 40 percent smaller than previous models, plus it has a bright color screen and is purportedly a snap to use with a laptop, even a Mac, via a USB cable. That latter feature means that taking advantage of Globalstar’s 9.6-Kbps data rate—slow, but four times faster than chief competitor

Lowrance iWay 600c

The iWay 600c is a navigate-anywhere portable plotter featuring a bright five-inch touchscreen and a 30-gigabyte hard drive nearly filled with cartography. That includes Lowrance's complete NauticPath U.S. coastal charts (significantly improved from the original version), more than 3,000 U.S. lakes, all U.S. and Canadian roads, 5.5 million POIs, and even photo

Paradox Marine Magellan Platinium

The marine version of the Paradox Magellan wireless security and monitoring system is earning a good reputation with boaters and insurance writers. Now the original developer, Edgewater Technologies, has further focused itself by becoming Paradox Marine and improving the system’s shore connection. While WiFi and cellular may work fine for a cruiser’s online

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