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by Ben Ellison

Here Comes Class B, Part 2!

By Ben Ellison | Posted December 2008 | Add a Comment

Photo by Ben EllisonNow Class B-equipped Gizmo shows up on ship AIS displays and Web viewers like this. I've never been more pleased to write this column. If you read the original "Here Comes Class B" in the March 2007 issue, you'll recall my cautious optimism about the then untried yacht version

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Simrad AI50

By Ben Ellison | Posted December 2008 | Add a Comment

Photos courtesy of SimradSimrad's AI50 is the most feature-packed Class B transponder available. Most obvious is the four-inch display with its world base map. It can serve as a standalone AIS target plotter, or as a useful adjunct to your regular nav system, which the AI50 can feed with target and GPS data either via NMEA 0183

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Furuno FA-50

By Ben Ellison | Posted December 2008 | Add a Comment

Photo courtesy of FurunoFuruno's FA-50 is also an unusual Class B AIS transponder. While every other model mentioned in this column, including the two Simrads, is based on a transceiver manufactured by the U.K. firm SRT, Furuno started from scratch, or rather from its experience as a major manufacturer of the Class A AIS

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Digital Yacht SPL250

By Ben Ellison | Posted December 2008 | Add a Comment

Photo by Ben EllisonDigital Yacht is a substantial U.K.-based marine electronics manufacturer/distributor that is expanding to the United States in a timely manner, given its emphasis on Class B AIS. I'm testing its $899 AIT250 Class B, which—while being the same basic transponder that's marketed by Shine Micro, True Heading,

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Icom MXA-5000

By Ben Ellison | Posted December 2008 | Add a Comment

Photo courtesy of Icom AmericaIs Icom a Johnny come lately for introducing the MXA-5000 AIS receiver just as Class B transceivers finally hit the market? I don't think so. Not every skipper is as keen to be seen via AIS as I am, and if said skipper does want to monitor Class A and B AIS targets, ICOM's offering looks easy to

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iNavX

By Ben Ellison | Posted November 2008 | Add a Comment

Courtesy of iNavXYou may have heard that Apple's new 3G iPhone includes a GPS but did you know that someone has already developed a good $50 marine navigation program for it? iNavX is the work of the same development team that built the well-regarded GPSNavX and MacENC charting programs, and it shows. It will not only plot your

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Planar LX Mariner

By Ben Ellison | Posted November 2008 | Add a Comment

Ben EllisonPlanar LX MarinerThe global display company Planar has entered the little marine world with quite a splash. Its three new LX Mariner touchscreen PC monitors—eight-, 12-, and 15-inch screens with prices ranging from $2,000 to $2,200—are bonded (no fogging), sunlight-viewable, and

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ACR GlobalFix iPro

By Ben Ellison | Posted November 2008 | Add a Comment

Courtesy of ACR ACR GlobalFix iProACR's new iPro GPS EPIRB earns its "next generation" marketing tag on three counts, the most obvious one being the reassuring and useful info shown on its one-inch digital display. When you self-test the unit, the screen delivers the results and even

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Cellranger STIX

By Ben Ellison | Posted November 2008 | Add a Comment

Ben EllisonCellranger STIXThe Cellranger Stix is a portable and affordable cellphone booster that I can recommend but only with certain caveats. The seductive claim is that its microprocessor technology can analyze an arriving cell signal via that five-inch magnetic-base antenna and add 50 dB of

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Autopilot Garminized

By Ben Ellison | Posted November 2008 | Add a Comment

Garmin's new pilot head is as stylishly informative as its multifunction instruments.The 50-foot custom Wesmac Kathleen might have been a real autopilot challenge, what with her twin 585-hp Cummins MerCruiser QSM11 diesels powering brutish Hamilton HM422 waterjets and little below for directional stability beyond her

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