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New Marine Electronics for 2017

The latest electronics spotlight remarkable advances in technology.

December 2, 2016

A lvin Toffler’s 1970 bestselling book, Future Shock, grew out of a magazine article titled “The Future as a Way of Life.” Even 40 years ago — when GPS was merely a theory and fish finders used messy paper readouts — futurists recognized that technological advances would shape our lives.

Today, such advances certainly affect the way we equip our fishing boats, which now glow, hum and ping with arrays and displays of marine electronics that few could have imagined back in the 1970s.

Sonar systems help us find more fish than ever. Solid-state Doppler radar guides us safely in the darkest night. Plug-and-play networking allows for unlimited system integration. And adaptive software accommodates tomorrow’s upgrades — technology that doesn’t even exist today.

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Marine-electronics companies invent, improve and introduce products at a mind-­boggling pace. And that’s part of the magic of being a boating angler in the 21st century. We never know what new technology will emerge to make our time on the water safer, more productive and more enjoyable. Here is a sampling of what to expect in 2017.

Raymarine p70Rs Autopilot Controller

Raymarine p70Rs Autopilot Controller
Raymarine p70Rs Autopilot Controller Courtesy Raymarine

The p70Rs autopilot controller from Raymarine features a glass-bridge design to match the look of current Raymarine MFDs. The controller also incorporates advanced optical-bonding technology that fuses the device’s LCD panel to the front glass with a layer of optical-grade epoxy. The result is a display with superior light-transmission characteristics and sharper, brighter viewing under all conditions. Optical bonding also eliminates any possibility of fogging, moisture intrusion or other contamination inside the screen. The new autopilot controller is compatible with Raymarine’s Evolution autopilot systems, which received major upgrades for 2017.

Price: $599.99

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Raymarine website

Garmin Fantom Dome ­Radars with MotionScope

Garmin Fantom Dome ­Radars with MotionScope
Garmin Fantom Dome ­Radars with MotionScope Courtesy Garmin

In early 2016, Garmin debuted the Fantom open-array radar series with Doppler-enabled MotionScope. Now the company offers this technology in the GMR Fantom 18- and 24-inch solid-state dome radars. Both use this system to point out targets in different colors as they move toward or away from you. Pulse-compression technology provides high resolution to enhance detection and identification of targets, as well as ­excellent performance at ranges as close as 20 feet and as far away as 48 nautical miles. Pulse expansion maximizes target size to differentiate real targets from noise. Dynamic Auto Gain and Sea Filter settings automatically adjust to your surroundings for optimal performance. A MARPA setting enables simultaneous tracking of 10 targets.

Price: $1,599.99 and $2,799.99

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Garmin website

Furuno DRS6AX X-Class Radar

Furuno DRS6AX X-Class Radar
Furuno DRS6AX X-Class Radar Courtesy Furuno

The newest X-band radar from ­Furuno features a refined 6 kW open array that networks with the company’s popular NavNet TZtouch and TZtouch2 multifunction-­display systems. The DRS6AX X-Class radar features a new Bird mode, capable of picking up flocks of birds at various distances without manual tuning. It even allows you to discern the movement of individual birds with its Echo Trails function. The DRS6AX delivers 50 percent more power on target than previous DRS radars. The gearbox pedestal is also 20 percent lighter and quieter. Array choices include 3.5-, 4- and 6-foot models.

Price: Starts at $5,395

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Furuno website

Simrad GO9 XSE with Radar Capability

Simrad GO9 XSE with Radar Capability
Simrad GO9 XSE with Radar Capability Courtesy Simrad

Fully compatible with Simrad’s broadband 3G and 4G radar systems and SiriusXM weather and radio, the GO9 XSE display features an internal 10 Hz GPS receiver, ­StructureScan HD and chirp sonar, autopilot integration, engine data monitoring, full audio-entertainment connectivity with SonicHub2, built-in wireless connectivity, and the Simrad TripIntel trip computer. With multitouch controls and a 9-inch screen, the GO9 XSE is designed for smaller boats with single-helm stations. The Simrad GO9 XSE connects to NMEA 2000-compatible equipment and requires a TotalScan transducer to utilize the built-in StructureScan HD imaging, DownScan imaging and chirp sonar.

Price: Starts at $1,049

Simrad website

Airmar Adjustable In-Hull Chirp Transducers

Airmar Adjustable In-Hull Chirp Transducers
Airmar Adjustable In-Hull Chirp Transducers Courtesy Airmar

Three in-hull chirp transducers now feature new housings that let you easily adjust the angle at which the transducer sits to accommodate the specific V-angle of your boat’s hull. The M135M in-hull 1 kW ­transducer offers a medium-frequency range of 85 to 135 kHz that operates on a 16- to 24-degree beamwidth for depths to 1,200 feet. The M285HW operates at 1 kW on a high 150 to 250 kHz frequency range at a fixed 25-degree beam angle for depths to 700 feet. The M422 is a 1.5 kW in-hull that offers a low-­frequency (47 to 52 kHz) range with an 18-degree beamwidth, and a high-frequency (190 to 210 kHz) range with a 5-degree beam for depths to 2,000 feet.

Price: Starting at $925

Airmar website

Fusion MS-RA55 Marine Stereo

Fusion MS-RA55 Marine Stereo
Fusion MS-RA55 Marine Stereo Courtesy Fusion

The MS-RA55 is Fusion Entertainment’s most compact marine stereo yet. It’s also one of the most affordable, and features AM/FM and Bluetooth capabilities in a shallow-mount case design with a low-profile face. The MS-RA55 allows independent control of the balance and volume level in two separate audio zones. With Bluetooth audio streaming, users easily stream music from any compatible device. The daylight-viewable 2.6-inch LCD display allows contrast adjustments to facilitate operation in any light level. The stereo carries an IPX5 waterproof rating when properly installed.

Price: $179

Fusion website

Icom IC-M93D Handheld VHF with DSC

Icom IC-M93D Handheld VHF with DSC
Icom IC-M93D Handheld VHF with DSC Courtesy Icom

The IC-M93D is the world’s slimmest floating handheld VHF radio with digital selective calling, according to Icom. Less than 2 inches deep and weighing only 11 ounces, this VHF fits comfortably in your hand, and the 2.3-inch LCD offers good daylight readability. The built-in Class D DSC continually monitors channel 70, and the rear-panel DSC button makes initiating distress calls a cinch. The button also activates the Float ’n Flash function, which transmits an MOB distress signal. The noise-canceling feature removes background noise in transmit and receive modes.

Price: $350

Icom website

FLIR Ocean Scout TK Thermal Vision Scope

FLIR Ocean Scout TK Thermal Vision Scope
FLIR Ocean Scout TK Thermal Vision Scope Courtesy FLIR

FLIR’s Ocean Scout TK improves your peace of mind when boating in the dark. The pocket-size monocular is the most affordable and compact thermal-­imaging scope on the market. It detects the differences in heat emitted by boats, buoys and landmarks in total darkness, making night navigation safer. The Ocean Scout TK also reveals people overboard and marine mammals breaking the surface of the water. It stores up to 1,000 JPEG images and four hours of video. The rechargeable internal battery powers the scope for five hours on a single charge.

Price: $599

FLIR website

BEP CZone Combination Output Interface

BEP CZone Combination Output Interface
BEP CZone Combination Output Interface Courtesy BEP

Digital switching, the latest trend in system integration, allows you to control onboard accessories such as lighting and pumps via a digital switch panel or multi­function display. BEP’s CZone Combination Output Interface is a 30-channel module that lets you convert to digital switching with just one box, replacing as many as five separate units. It features waterproof Deutsch connectors and has an IPX5 water-resistance rating. Geared toward small to medium boats, it has 12 low-current switched outputs, four high-current outputs, eight analog inputs and six digital-switch inputs. A USB port lets you load configurations at the press of a button using a USB stick.

Price: $1,675

Marinco website

Standard Horizon GX6000/GX6500 VHF Radios

Standard Horizon GX6000/GX6500 VHF Radios
Standard Horizon GX6000/GX6500 VHF Radios Courtesy Standard Horizon

Two new fixed-mount VHF radios, both with GPS and NMEA 2000 compatibility, have emerged from Standard Horizon: the GX6000 and GX6500. The GX6000 features an integrated AIS receiver, while the GX6500 features a Class B AIS transponder (with send and receive functions). Both feature an oversize rotary channel knob, an easy-to-operate menu, and a 25-watt dual-zone PA/loudhailer with pre-programmed fog signals and listen-back, voice scramblers, an integrated voice recorder to play back two minutes of reception, and a front-panel microphone that also connects to the rear panel and extends 20 feet with an MEK-4 mic extension kit.

Price: $499.99 and $799.99

Standard Horizon website

Digital Antenna Global WebLink

Digital Antenna Global WebLink
Digital Antenna Global WebLink Courtesy Digital Antenna

Global WebLink from Digital Antenna combines a cellular modem with a Wi-Fi router to keep you connected from as far as 30 miles out at sea. The 27-inch-tall, 2.5-pound antenna supports worldwide 3G and 4G networks and offers Internet speeds up to 300 Mbps, as well as LAN speeds up to 1 Gbps and Wi-Fi on 2.4 and 5.8 GHz. It allows you to stream movies, data and voice to an onboard ­Wi-Fi device. The antenna requires a standard 1-inch threaded marine mount with a 1⁄4-turn mounting coupler to eliminate cable twisting. A UV-stabilized polyurethane finish affords long-term durability.

Price: $1,500

Digital Antenna website

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