Whole-Boat Electronics

Think about each component of your boat’s electronics to create a powerful system that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Satellite communications in 2012

High Beams

Learn to think differently about satellite communications. After all, they’re changing fast.

Think about this: While AT&T charges cell-phone users $2.29 per minute to phone home from the Bahamas, one satcom company charges only $1.49 per minute from anywhere in the world. Another is offering unlimited free airtime as part of $20-per-month package. Of course per-minute airtime charges don’t tell the whole story, but satellite communication is no longer restricted to the very rich or to ocean voyagers.

Iridium Extreme

At 8.7 ounces, nearly an ounce lighter than the popular Iridium 9555, the latest Iridium satellite telephone...

Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro

Inmarsat began offering text messaging and data transfer through its IsatPhone Pro—that blue phone with the foldout antenna...

Comar AIS-2-2000

Comar Systems’ affordable AIS receivers. Comar AIS: This receive-only black box helps you stay safe in high-traffic areas.

Spot Connect

The latest addition to the growing line-up of Spot’s pocket satcoms is called Spot Connect,it turns your smartphone into a satellite communicator...

Rescue 21

It’s been a long time coming, but the U.S. Coast Guard’s new communication system is up and running.

An Alternative to the iphone

Apple Alternative

The halo effect of the iPod aside, not every smartphone shopper winds up with another iconic device from the bushel in Cupertino. There’s another technology company out there called Google—maybe you’ve heard of it—that has created a smartphone operating system known as Android that serves as a sort of

Comar AIS CSA 300

Comar CSA-300: A more affordable yet still full-feature AIS.

Comar AIS CSA 300

Comar Systems has two new affordable AIS transponders and receivers.

The CSA300 is Comar’s new flagship product and its first Class A unit. Although intended primarily for commercial vessels and fully approved by the

Icom MA-500TR

Icom MA-500TR

Class B AIS Transceiver

Icom’s MA-500TR—the company’s first (and only) Class B AIS transceiver—broadcasts position, track, and speed data derived from its own internal GPS. Cosmetically compatible with Icom’s rugged, chunky IC-M504 and IC-M604 radios, the MA-500TR monitors the two AIS frequencies for incoming information

Watchmate 850

Vesper Marine is a New Zealand-based company that specializes in easy-to-use AIS equipment for recreational and light commercial craft.

Recently granted FCC approval, the third member of Vesper’s Watchmate range is the Watchmate 850, which has a built-in AIS B transponder and is priced at $1,099. While the transponder broadcasts details of your boat’s

Geopro Messenger: Two-way texting for twenty cents—worldwide

Geopro Messenger
Two-way text messaging through the Iridium satellite system $699.


Reception Connection

Two-way texting for twenty cents—worldwide

Spot can send, but it can’t receive. The Globalstar constellation on which it depends has a long-standing problem handling two-way data. Solution?

Spot satellite tracking-and-messaging device

Get Found

Spot is a pint-size tracker

Base model of a range of one-way satellite messengers is $169.99

Globalstar has introduced a second generation of its Spot satellite tracking-and-messaging device. About the size of a pack of cigarettes, the new Spot Messenger is smaller than the

Inmarsat phone

Inmarsat, the granddaddy of satellite communication services, has launched a truly portable satellite phone.

The company says that the new phone is "targeted primarily at professional users in the government, media, aid, oil and gas, mining and construction sectors," but its $699 list price and pay-as-you-go airtime at about $1 per minute are likely to win it

My Anchor Watch

There are more than 150,000 apps for the iPhone, ranging from the puerile and pointless (such as iBeer, that turns your $300 phone into a virtual beer glass) to the almost indispensable (Google Earth, a guitar tuner, and a virtual spirit

Wireless On The Water?

Wireless On The Water?

We have wireless networks in our homes and offices. Why not on our boats, too?

I can’t remember the last time I used a phone that had a wire attaching its handset to its base, but the fact that I have a hard-wired computer network at home apparently qualifies me as one of the last of the dinosaurs. And given the

Controlling Power

Twenty-first-century technology has changed the way your electronics communicate.

It’s more than ten years now, since we learned to spell “millennium,” stocked up on canned food, and braced ourselves for the computerized apocalypse that was supposed to happen as we rolled over into the 21st Cen-tury—but never did. Yet while Y2K never lived up to its

Ultrascan PC90

One of the drawbacks of forward-looking sonar has always been that sound travels much more slowly through water than radar waves travel through air. At a sluggish 5,000 feet per second, it takes half a second for a sonar “ping” to travel out and back to an object a quarter of a mile away. So for a scanning sonar to build up even a crude picture of what's ahead can easily take several seconds.

KVH Tracphone FB150

KVH has joined the growing list of suppliers that are offering phone and Internet services through Inmarsat's new Fleet Broadband 150. With a dome that is just 13.5" in diameter and that weighs a little over 11 pounds, the Tracphone FB150 is the smallest and lightest of KVH's family of Inmarsat satellite broadband systems.

Described by the company as

Iridium Openport

After conducting extensive beta-testing that included sending five terminals around the world in boats competing in the Vendee Globe single-handed sailboat race, Iridium has launched the world’s only global broadband service.

Called OpenPort, the new service provides three independent phone lines and an Internet connection at anything up to 128 kilobytes


The latest addition to Icom’s lineup of handheld VHFs is the IC-M36, a waterproof, floating radio with a couple of extra features specifically intended to minimize the effect of background noise. One is a noise-cancellation system similar to those found on headphones from Sony and Bose. A second microphone on the back of the radio picks up background noise, which

Garmin VHFs

Long known for its navigational electronics, Garmin is now about to enter the VHF market with two fixed-mount radios. Pre-release information describes the VHF100 as an entry-level radio, but at $250, it’s definitely full-featured. It’s waterproof, has a large 3.2-inch screen and straightforward controls, and can handle NOAA weather alerts as well as the usual

Radio Days

Everyone understands the importance of a VHF radio. A fixed-mount unit provides a key communications link to other boaters, the Coast Guard, and local police. If you travel offshore, a VHF may be your only means of requesting assistance. On the other hand, if disaster strikes or your boat loses power, a portable handheld VHF could make the difference between inconvenience and calamity.

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