Like Furuno's SC-30 Satellite Compass, the latest all-solid-state Airmar WeatherStation uses acceleration and gyro sensors to correct its compass for boat motion. Hence the test graph below, which shows the PB200 maintaining a solid heading even while rolling 30 degrees, and pitching 15, every few seconds. Humans will not be pleased in such conditions, but your autopilot, radar overlay, and so forth should perform happily. Knowing its own motion, even high on an electronics mast, also helps the PB200 fine-tune data from its WAAS GPS and ultrasonic wind sensor. Add temperature and barometric feelers, and that six-inch-tall device is quite the data source. And yes, it provides pitch, roll, and rate of turn info, too, but likely not with SC-30 precision. The $1,495 PB200 uses NMEA 2000 for power and data and is also offered by Furuno as the WS200. Airmar will soon have an optional $350 Combiner Box that can additionally deliver WeatherStation data via NMEA 0183 and/or via USB to a PC running its WeatherCaster display and calibration software. I saw all those options working well on an Airmar test boat, which was also peppered with fishfinder transducers, the subject of next month's column.
This article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.