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December 10, 2009

2010 Marine Electronics Preview

A list of 13 top new innovations to look out for...

The newest crop of marine electronics is poised to hit the shelves for the 2010 season. There's a world of improvement in the integration of instruments that provide a richer data environment in combination than any one ofthem can by itself. And where companies have met the challengeof these times head-on and renovated their gear, results arespectacular. Whether you are outfitting a new boat or retrofittingand improving the one you have, this year's new electronics offer honed information systems that yield more-efficient operations for more-successful fishing.


Bigger Motors

The Garmin 6000 and 7000 series chart plotters represent the next iteration of the venerable series 4000 and 5000 plotters, and the bigger series numbers mean the multifunction displays have, as Garmin likes to state it, "bigger motors." Both hardware and software have been performance-upgraded for improved graphic rendering; faster map redraw, zoom and panning speeds; and greater overall fluidity. Two models in the 6000 series, the GPSMAP 6008/6208 ($2,899), with an 8-inch display, and GPSMAP 6012/6212 ($3,999), with a 12-inch display, operate with a keypad-driven user interface. The 12-inch GPSMAP 7012/7212 ($4,899) and 15-inch GPSMAP 7015/7215 ($6,999) models are touch-screen driven. Both series are the first plotters designed from the ground up for compatibility with Garmin's full-bandwidth xHD open-array radar antenna. www.garmin.com

 

Going Real Time

FurunoMaxSea Time Zero navigation software has opened the door to the next dimension in marine electronics. With an all-new graphics engine, updated tools, and a complete set of raster and vector charts, the Explorer version ($1,250) merges seamlessly with NavNet 3-D and the plotter at the helm. Plus it goes live: An online site specifically for users provides access to service and support areas, free of charge. Especially impressive are the personalized weather downloads: Define an area on the touch screen, and a real-time weather overlay appears on the specified area, with selectable weather-system and sea-state parameters. Specific chart and software updates, as well as training and technical support, are available 24 hours a day. MaxSea Time Zero Explorer connects to the NavNet 3-D network right out of the box, offering full control of the radar and chart plotter system, as well as waypoints and routes, directly from a PC. www.furunousa.com


New Flagship 

Raymarine has revamped the top-of-the-line E-series this year with three Widescreen options, the 9-inch Raymarine E90W ($3,995), the Raymarine E120W ($4,995) with a 12-inch screen and the 14-inch Raymarine E140W ($6,495). A new user interface designed around the easy-to-use Home Screen provides the navigational backbone, and an innovative feature, Hybrid Touch, allows both keypad and touch-screen control. The E-series comes loaded with Navionics cartography and features a chart engine that uses Navionics Platinum+ charts, powered by TurboView technology. E-Series Widescreen displays are easily expanded with SeaTalkhs digital network sensors for radar, fish finder and satellite weather, as well as SeaTalkng data bus port for compatible instruments, autopilots and NMEA 2000-compatible devices. NMEA 0183 inputs and outputs are available for AIS and third-party devices, and a first-generation SeaTalk port allows networking with an external GPS sensor, LifeTag, and SeaTalk-compatible instruments and autopilots. www.raymarine.com   



Sirius About Weather  

A new powerful option for its groundbreaking High-Definition Systems (HDS), the Lowrance LWX-1 Sirius Weather/Audio Module ($349) delivers Ethernet output to multiple HDS displays and stereo output to any onboard sound system. Two U.S. subscription choices are available: Sirius Inland Content Package includes high-resolution weather radar, lightning and other cross-country weather features; the Coastal Content Package includes weather and sea-condition information, including sea-surface temperature, wave and wind speed and direction. An additional monthly fee provides 120-channel crystal-clear radio service with music, news, NASCAR, NFL and college football, to name a few. Fully weatherproof, the 1.6-pound LWX-1 antenna is designed for deck flush-mounting, with pedestal and pole options. To ensure weather-data retention during power interruptions such as refueling, the LWX-1 features internal memory capable of saving received data for up to 30 minutes. www.lowrance.com



Fine-Tuned Humminbirds 

The new Humminbird 800 series fish finder offers a range of screen sizes and includes the most popular high-performance features. The Humminbird 898c SI combo ($1,499.99) is the first 7-inch model to offer side-imaging sonar. Both this and the 858c combo ($999.99) incorporate the new proprietary dual-mode SwitchFire sonar. Max Mode reveals the smallest subsurface objects, including plankton, thermoclines and current, and even tracks lures as they're retrieved. On Clear Mode, the return is filtered to display only fish and structure for a clean image, especially useful for reducing clutter in shallow and rough water. Both models come loaded with ContourXD by Navionics and are compatible with optional Navionics Platinum+, Gold, HotMaps and HotMaps Premium packages. Dual SD card slots allow for upgrading chart libraries, as well as for capture and storage of displayed images. www.humminbird.com


Sound-Sensitive VHF

The Icom IC-M36 handheld VHF ($189) adjusts both outgoing and incoming audio to compensate for the ambient noise level. Whether the unit's in a loud environment or a quiet area, this feature assures quality transmission and reception, sent and received as clearly as possible. This is accomplished by the submicrophone on the rear panel, which inverts phase and cancels out ambient noise from the main microphone. As a result, the IC-M36 reduces the effect of background noise (particularly treble noise) from the transmitted signal and makes it easier to hear voice communication. In an engine room or high-noise environment, the submicrophone detects the ambient noise and automatically increases the volume output. The VHF is completely waterproof, and it floats. www.icomamerica.com

 

Generic Data Feed

The new Airmar B744V Triducer Multisensor ($450) features embedded microelectronics that process depth, speed and temperature signals for display on any radar, chart plotter or device that accepts NMEA 2000 data. The 235 kHz frequency prevents mutual interference with other echo sounders on the boat. The housing design allows the Multisensor to be fully recessed into its fairing for a streamlined installation. At speeds above 30 knots, the Airmar B744V produces clear images and has solid bottom tracking, an update rate of one second and a maximum depth range of 590 feet. www.airmartechnology.com


Combined Strength 

The 12-inch Simrad NSE12 ($4,595) and the 8-inch NSE8 ($3,295) multifunction electronic displays incorporate a new user interface that combines elements of Northstar's legendary ease of use with Simrad's powerful menu-driven procedure. A key feature is the rotary dial with push-to-enter selection for function access and cursor control; direct-access keys speed navigation, and an alphanumeric keypad makes data entry a snap. Both models are compatible with BR24 broadband radar and the BSM-1 broadband sonar module, as well as Sirius weather. Nautic Insight high-resolution vector cartography with high-resolution 2-D and 3-D shaded contour and satellite imagery comes preloaded on the NSEs, and both are upgradable to Navionics Platinum, Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum cartography. www.simrad-yachting.com


Affordable FLIR

The FLIR First Mate line ($2,999) of handheld night-vision cameras offers the same core technology as FLIR's Navigator II, Voyager II and M-Series. Valuable for navigation, safety and security, the high-resolution imagers reveal navigation hazards, channel markers, land, other boats, rips, bait and people in the water in total darkness. Unlike image-intensified night vision, thermal imaging creates pictures from heat, so the First Mate can see clearly without any light at all. Contrast, zoom, and image-capture controls fall naturally under the fingers atop this unit; a video-out allows image viewing on the multifunction display at the helm. Fully submersible, it runs for over five hours on a charge, with more than 120 hours of standby reserve. www.flir.com

Smart VHF

The Standard Horizon GX2000 Matrix ($229.99) displays target vessels on the radio's readout screen when connected to an optional AIS receiver. Along with the relative position of vessels, the GX2000 provides target information, including Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, call sign, ship name, BRG, DST, SOG and COG, and it allows direct contact with an AIS ship using DSC. It also shows your vessel's position in relation to AIS targets and alerts you with the CPA alarm when an AIS ship approaches. Features include a commercial-grade receiver with local/distance attenuator, Class D DSC, 30-watt PA/loud hailer with fog signals, changeable channel names, voice scrambler, ClearVoice noise-canceling speaker microphone, 4.5-watt output with treble and bass adjustment, NOAA weather alert, programmable scan, priority scan and dual watch. The GX2000 is also capable of entering and saving up to 100 waypoints, which may be selected and navigated to using an integrated navigation-compass display. www.standardhorizon.com


New Expandables

The new Si-Tex EC Series includes three models of all-in-one expandable GPS/WAAS charting systems with brilliant daylight-viewable screens. The 10.4-inch EC11 ($2,099), 7-inch EC7 ($1,069) and 5-inch EC5 ($599) accept C-Map MAX, NT+, NT or NT wide SD cards and feature ultrafast processors for instant screen changes. All three can be expanded to multiple functions with the addition of optional fish-finder modules: a MDS radar sensor, ranging from a 2 kW 12.5-inch radome up to a 4 kW 4-foot open array; an AIS transceiver; or a GPS loran receiver that offers true loran position. The 5- and 7-inch models are available with internal antennas, making them especially suited to smaller fishing boats with limited space, like center consoles. Also, the two smaller models are available with built-in fish-finding sonar. www.si-tex.com


Growing Family

Intellian FleetBroadband antennas with bundled airtime (starting at $7,495) are moving the company into comprehensive offshore communications to complement its TV capabilities. The new antennas by Thrane & Thrane incorporate proven Inmarsat-driven service. Available in three models, including Intellian's newest and smallest Inmarsat antenna, the FB150, the antennas are design-matched to Intellian satellite TV antennas. With simultaneous data services such as fax, Internet and e-mail access, and quality voice and text messaging, FleetBroadband systems include a rugged plug-and-play IP handset with a 2.2-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) color screen. A local-area network (LAN) interface and router allow convenient telephone and Internet connectivity throughout a vessel. Intellian f-series antennas have a single coaxial cable for easy installation and connection to below-deck equipment and support a wide connectivity range for easy integration into onshore networks. www.intelliantech.com

 

 

Expanded Service Options

The Shakespeare CruiseNet CN-1200 series ($1,095.95)  is available with service on Sprint and Alltel networks, and the CN-1200-V on the Verizon network. The CruiseNet CN-1200-A ($1259.95) is compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile and Rogers (Canada) networks. CruiseNet works just like broadband at home, providing access to the Internet and all accustomed e-mail functions. A Wi-Fi connection option allows laptop use anywhere on board, or on the dock. The CN-1200 includes a cellular modem, 110-volt AC power adapter, 12-volt DC power cord, quick-connect portable flex antenna and external shipboard antenna adapters, and a one-year subscription to Shakespeare's Full-Throttle Web-acceleration software. All require a cellular-network data subscription. www.shakespeare-marine.com