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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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,

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

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

'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

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