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

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

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

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

Connected Cruising

Picture a spring evening that's so clear and calm you've jumped out from Charleston, South Carolina, planning to chug through the night to Beaufort, North Carolina, and thus skip a sometimes shallow and/or tedious section of the Intracoastal Waterway plus enjoy some offshore solitude. But, darn it, you've got 21st-century habits and would like to spend some of that time on the Web, checking your

Icom M34

Icom's new handheld VHF is its first without an aluminum chassis, but it's purportedly still "military rugged," and it actually floats, a combination that fuels the company’s "last handheld you’ll ever need" pitch. The M34, which costs about $180, also has an Aqua Quake mode that shakes water from its speaker plus a "favorites" feature that lets you limit channel scrolling to just the ones you

Cobra 425

The big consumer electronics company Cobra has gotten serious about marine VHF, introducing both this feature-packed handheld and a Class D DSC fixed radio. For instance, the $170 HH425 and the $190 F80 are each submersible and backed by three-year warranties. Both also offer a "rewind, play again" feature that spaceshots like me will find handy—a built-in memory chip records the last 20

VHF 101

When it comes to communicating on a marine VHF radio, there are no "good buddies" and no "breaker 19s." Smokey and the Bandit may have made CB radio jargon hip for a time, but a marine VHF is definitely not a CB radio. It’s a serious piece of safety equipment whose use is regulated by the FCC and the U.S. Coast Guard. When used properly it provides a critical communication link to

Northstar 6100i Sirius Weather

Also at Miami, Northstar demonstrated how the powerful soft-key interface on its 6100i multifunction displays (MFDs) can now enable users to easily mix and view all the real-time and forecast weather elements available from Sirius Satellite Radio. For instance, that overlay key can rotate through six customizable data mix presets, each neatly represented in the little window by icons. The

Ray218 VHF

Raymarine has started an impressive new VHF line with the $569 Ray218. It’s a Class D DSC set that purportedly offers the best audio specifications—like receiving sensitivity and intermodulation rejection, plus spurious transmitting emissions—in the business. It’s also the first VHF ever with soft keys, which appear quite useful for negotiating complicated menus or getting at favorite

Furono FA30 AIS Receiver

The Furuno FA30’s Ethernet port means it can plug right into a NavNet vx2 network, but it also offers standard NMEA AIS output and comes with a PC AIS plotting program able to use the Ethernet feed, so it can be set up in many ways. The FA30—expected to cost less than $1,000—is a true dual-channel receiver (see more on

Last Call VHF Repeater

Last Call is the good idea of a professional skipper in Puget Sound, Washington. Superficially it is simply an improved speaker for your VHF, but inside is a chip that constantly memorizes the last 60 seconds of whatever transmission breaks the radio’s squelch. Push the button on the top, and it will repeat it back to you, amplified even. This $100 accessory

Charles IMcharger

Charles’ new battery charger is a good example of how old-time electrical manufacturers are getting into microprocessors, info screens, and boat networking—and hence into your helm and my electronics columns. The IMcharger, as in Intelligent Marine, really is pretty smart. It can feed four battery types—gel, lead acid, AGM, or NiCad—in up to four 12- or 24-volt

Here Comes Class B

Thanks to Software Radio's all-in-one PCB, firms like Comar coan easily produce Class B AIS units-once they are approved.

That printed circuit board (PCB) at right may not look like much, but it's a key ingredient to the any-moment-now advent of Class B AIS transponders, and for that we kiss it. The evolving Automatic Identity

Port Network WiFi

Port Network’s approach to maximized marine WiFi is to minimize coax loss, packing a high-powered radio and 5.5-dB antenna into a waterproof box for deployment on deck whenever you anchor or tie up. Both power and signal run through a no-loss 25-foot Ethernet cable. While the $349 MWB-200 will usually find the best available WiFi signal automatically, complete

Saltwater Cellular II

Electronics — - Boat Phones - October 2001