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by Ben Ellison

Broadband Radar

By Ben Ellison | Posted February 2009 | Add a Comment

It’s long past time that the magnetron was consigned to the dust bin of maritime history,” enthused Larry Brandt, a commenter on my electronics blog who is both a professional mariner and a radar tech with experience working on everything from 60-ton 1960’s Air Force sky scanners to the super-compact, super-high-performance solid-state sets

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Lowrance HDS Series

By Ben Ellison | Posted February 2009 | Add a Comment

When Lowrance announced its all-new HDS Series in October, there seemed to be several valid rationales for the letters, which stand for “High Definition System.” All the plotter/fishfinder models have high detail but formerly black-box Broadband Sounder digital technology built in. They also have more detailed Lowrance lake and ocean cartography built-in or

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Si-Tex T-900 Series

By Ben Ellison | Posted February 2009 | Add a Comment

Not all boaters, not even techy ones, enthusiastically embrace multifunction navigation electronics, let alone new-fangled solid-state radar. The conservative bullet points are, one, that several stand-alone devices will never leave a skipper completely functionless and two, that traditional magnetron-based marine radar is still being

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FLIR M-Series

By Ben Ellison | Posted February 2009 | Add a Comment

FLIR’s methodical two-year entry into the recreational marine world has been a thing to behold. Both its products, the popular entry-level Navigators and powerful Voyagers, and they way they’ve been promoted, through demo cruises, technical seminars, and the creation of a devoted dealer network, have been impressive. But while all this was going on, FLIR was also

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Maretron SIM & RIM

By Ben Ellison | Posted February 2009 | Add a Comment

Maretron’s new Switch and Run Indicator modules—the $375 SIM100 and the $299 RIM100—are at the expanding frontier of NMEA 2000. Each plain black box can convert a variety of system sensor inputs into N2K messages available to any device on a boat’s backbone. A SIM, for instance, can monitor up to six D.C. switches, such as sensors for high water, CO2, LP, and

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Fusion Marine Stereo

By Ben Ellison | Posted January 2009 | Add a Comment

Photography by Fusion MarineNow I just need the boat. When I first wrote about the Fusion Marine Stereo system in my column last July, I not only saw a lot to like but had already half talked myself into an Apple iPod as the centerpiece of my next onboard audio entertainment system. A Touch model is sitting on my desk today,

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KVH TracVision M1

By Ben Ellison | Posted January 2009 | Add a Comment

Photography by KVHThe competition for world's smallest stabilized satellite TV antenna has come down to definitions. KVH's new M1 is a 12.5-inch dish that only weighs 7.5 pounds while Intellian's new i1 (see below) is an 11-incher that tips the scale at 9.5 pounds. Both make onboard TV easier to have. In fact, KVH says the M1

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Intellian Technologies k6

By Ben Ellison | Posted January 2009 | Add a Comment

Photography by IntellianWhen DirectTV decided to migrate its HD programming—now 130 channels strong—from Ku to trickier-to-lock-onto Ka-band satellites, it was a bummer for boaters with the big, hi-res screens on which HD truly shines. But newcomer Intellian Technologies has come to the rescue with the first marine system to

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MySiMON

By Ben Ellison | Posted January 2009 | Add a Comment

Photography by Palladium TechnologiesWhile Fusion's super safe iPod dock is reassuring (see main story), there are increasing reasons to risk carrying one around on deck. On top of the iNavX and Navionics navigation apps for the iPod Touch and iPhone described last month, Palladium Technologies has developed an interface to its

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King Controls VuQube

By Ben Ellison | Posted January 2009 | Add a Comment

Photography by King ControlsLast year King Controls introduced a clever portable satellite TV dish called the VuQube, and some boaters began enjoying its ability to tune in DirectTV, Dish, or ExpressVu channels while only costing $899. But they had to place the 17.5''-high "cube" on a dock for stability and use its remote

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