Under the See
|| |—| || |The touch screen of the i3 can be packed with chart plotter information or (below) show both fishfinder and 3-D contour charts on a split screen.| The Maptech i3 integrates navigation, radar, fishfinder and communications functions with touch-screen capability and contour 3-D charts. In a fishing test of the unit on Chesapeake Bay with two of the developers of the i3 charts, we cruised with the chart plotter with radar overlay and 3-D contour charts in a split screen. When we slowed to troll, we switched to a split screen with the fishfinder and contour charts. The fishfinder – a new module – uses a 170 kHz transducer (either transom-mount or through-hull) with a 22-degree beam to depict fish targets and bottom composition and structure. The fishfinder can place the fish targets on the 3-D contour chart, an interesting effect that gives a sense of the fish around the boat, even labeling them with their respective depths. The touch screen allows for easy data manipulation, such as rotating the 3-D contour chart for different views of underwater structure, or scrolling back through recorded fishfinder data linked to a GPS record. The chart plotter and radar use the same intuitive touch screen to adjust their settings. The i3 starts at $12,500. Maptech; (888) 839-5551; www.maptech.com. – Jason Y. Wood
The ART-3 antenna and radio tester from Shakespeare lets users test their own radios, without requiring unreliable radio-check calls. Operating on either battery power or 12-volt DC, the meter tests both receiver function and transmitter output power as well as antenna efficiency. The compact device is simple to use and sells for $90. Shakespeare; (803) 227-1590; www.shakespeare-marine.com.
Loud and Proud
JBL Marine’s latest high-quality speakers sport new grille designs and exceptional power for clear sound and long-term performance on the water. The UV- and water-resistant lineup includes the 61¿¿2-inch MS6100 and the six-by-nine-inch MS9200 and prices start at $90. Prospec Electronics; (843) 849-9037; www.prospecelectronics.com.
Microfiber electronics cleaning cloths from Swobbit Products make it easy to keep a clean helm. The lint-free material is gentle enough to be used on sensitive LCDs and lifts dirt and oils without smudging or streaking, while a damp cloth cleans keypads and housings thoroughly, without harsh chemicals. The cloths sell for $6. Swobbit Products; (561) 596-2085; www.swobbit.com.