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Author Articles

by Tim Bartlett

PMY Electronics Editor:
Based out of the U.K., Tim has a lifetime of experience running and writing about boats. For more than ten years, he served as the technical editor of Motor Boat and Yachting—the UK’s leading powerboat magazine. Since leaving that position in 1997, he has penned articles for various boating publications, including Power & Motoryacht’s sister magazine, SAIL Magazine. Read more here...

Stay Safe WITH AIS

By Tim Bartlett | Posted April 2010 | Add a Comment

Why a collision-avoidance system is must-have technology.Vesper Marine’s AIS Watchmate RX displays data from its built-in receiver on a simple, radar-like display or as a prioritized list. ($700; www.vesper marine.com) Every year, the U.S. Coast Guard publishes its Recreational Boating Statistics—70-odd pages of

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Ultrascan PC90

By Tim Bartlett | Posted March 2010 | Add a Comment

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.

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Jotron AIS SART

By Tim Bartlett | Posted March 2010 | Add a Comment

Jotron's Automatic Identification System (AIS) SART is a search-and-rescue beacon based on AIS technology; it transmits a dedicated identity code and GPS position to produce a distinctive red cross icon on the bridge display of every AIS-equipped ship within range, marking the position of a liferaft or a vessel in distress.Jotron was instrumental in carrying

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Follow the Birds

By Tim Bartlett | Posted March 2010 | Add a Comment

What's the secret to piscatorial success? Simple. Just follow the birds!Terns and pelicans don't go fishing for fun. They do it because of their need to survive. And because they do it almost all day, every day, it stands to reason that they get pretty darn good at it.Okay, I've never heard of a bird tackling a marlin or tuna—they're

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Sea-Me Dual Band

By Tim Bartlett | Posted January 2010 | Add a Comment

Sea-Me, the popular RTE (Radar Target Enhancer) or “active radar reflector” has been dramatically improved. The new Sea-Me Dual Band does exactly what its name suggests: it responds to both of the frequencies that are used by ships’ radars. Until now, commercially available RTEs responded only to X-band radar transmissions. This meant

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ACR EMERGENCY BEACONS

By Tim Bartlett | Posted January 2010 | Add a Comment

ACR Electronics has introduced what it describes as the newest generation of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) in the shape of the AquaLink PLB. Although less than six inches long and thus truly pocket-size, the newly approved AquaLink features an integral 66-channel GPS. Once the unit is triggered, the lat and lon provided by its GPS should guide rescuers to

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When To Go Manual

By Tim Bartlett | Posted January 2010 | Add a Comment

Most of the time fishfinders work great on auto mode. But not always.Fishfinders don’t just find fish; they also find the places fish are likely to be, like reefs, wrecks, and drop-offs where baitfish and predators gather. But sometimes they need a little help to do their job.Fishfinders produce short pulses of high-frequency sound that

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Make A Call, Save Some Cash

By Tim Bartlett | Posted January 2010 | Add a Comment

Onboard satcom is now cheaper than cellphone service. Did you know that it is now cheaper to phone home from the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands through a shipboard satellite terminal than it is through a cellphone?Verizon, for instance, charges $1.99 per minute for calls from the Caribbean to the United

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Avoiding Disaster

By Tim Bartlett | Posted January 2010 | Add a Comment

True Motion displays like this one have come down from the big-ship world. For collision avoidance, switch to the unit’s relative-motion mode.One foggy May morning, a few years ago, a 900-foot container ship heading westwards at 25 knots collided with a 40-foot yacht called Wahkuna, which until a few minutes before the collision,

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Looking Ahead

By Tim Bartlett | Posted November 2009 | Add a Comment

The Interphase IScan V90 is vertical-scanning look-ahead sonar, made in the USA. ($2,388) www.interphase-tech.com.Whenever and wherever we go offshore, it's a fair bet that the closest

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