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Marine Electronics Journal Blog

Best wireless devices for 2018, part 2

This week we continue the rollout of Best & Brightest wireless products for boaters. A quick scan down the list illustrates the variety of wireless equipment aimed at making time on the water more connected, safer and fun. Some provide wireless devices with more bang for the buck by expanding the range and accessibility of wireless communications and entertainment hardware.

The exercise works like this---Marine Electronics Journal asks manufacturers to identify the one model they produce in a particular category that they consider to be the Best & Brightest—not necessarily the most technically advanced or newest but rather the one they rate highest in the product line for one reason or another. Could be the functions and features it offers, or maybe it breaks new ground in maximizing effectiveness or utility, or maybe it’s the most popular as measured by sales to boaters. It’s interesting to note that the wireless devices category is our largest.

There are 17 categories in all­, ranging from AIS and fishfinders to vessel monitoring systems and multi-function displays---MFDs. Last week we rolled out wireless devices--part 1.


KVH TracPhone LTE-1

Boaters can now enjoy high-performance LTE service for HD streaming and Internet as far as 20 miles offshore, with KVH’s new TracPhone LTE-1, providing data download/upload speeds as fast as 100 Mbps/50 Mbps. Powered by LTE-Advanced network technology, TracPhone LTE-1 is an ultra-compact, marine-grade system that includes a high-gain LTE-A antenna array, modem, and WiFi router in the dome. TracPhone LTE-1 features automatic switching between two industry-leading LTE carriers, a flexible airtime plan to meet unique boating needs, and the ease of an end-to-end solution. The 34 cm (13.5 inch) diameter dome has a single-cable design making it easy to install and use. The TracPhone LTE-1 is an ideal solution for multi-device connectivity for everyone onboard.


Humminbird FishSmart

Operating through a clean, intuitive interface and working with a device’s GPS, FishSmart allows users to view their precise location. But the true power of FishSmart is revealed when it’s used alongside a Humminbird LakeMaster map. Within the app, users can purchase and download any of the 1,500+ high-definition LakeMaster maps, then highlight depth contours and shallow water, offset the water depth based on seasonal changes, or even mark waypoints or routes. Another valuable feature is that FishSmart lets Humminbird owners make valuable software updates wirelessly. Customers with Bluetooth-enabled HELIX and SOLIX Series fish finders can sync each unit with their phone using the app, search for available software updates, and send the files wirelessly to the fishfinder’s internal storage.


Clarion MF2

The Clarion MF2 is a convenient way to control the powerful Clarion audio system on any boat from your smartphone from up to 100 feet away. Whether you’re at the beach with your boat anchored out in a cove, or just hanging out on the deck while docked in the marina, Clarion’s MF2 provides boat owners the flexibility and convenience of fully controlling their boat’s audio system over WiFi via the Clarion remote smartphone app. Unlike traditional RF and IR remote controls, the MF2 allows the boat owner’s smartphone to communicate with the boat’s audio system over WiFi, meaning there is no need to be in close proximity to the audio source unit, and you don’t need to point a remote in any specific direction.



Designed for small- to mid-sized watercraft and vehicles, the HSL30 is guaranteed to light up the night. The KJM HSL30 Wireless Halogen Searchlight is affordable, compact and powerful. Command full functionality of the spotlight wirelessly within 90 feet. Control with up to four WRC30 wireless remotes. The HSL30 is a rugged, marine-grade halogen searchlight with a brilliant 30,000 candela of light output. The wireless remote simplifies installation by eliminating long cable runs to the helm.


Maretron SMS100

Maretron’s SMS100 cellular modem automatically sends text messages from your vessel to your phone. The SMS100 works with Maretron’s displays to detect programmable alert conditions from onboard sensors. The displays instruct the SMS100 to connect to the cellular network and transmit an alert message to selected telephone numbers. Whether it is high bilge water, low battery voltage, unplugged shore power, or an opened hatch or door, the SMS100 quickly alerts you to conditions onboard your vessel that require attention anywhere you have cellular network coverage. You can also send a text message to your vessel and with the proper sensors installed, the SMS100 will respond with the vessel’s position, bilge status, battery and shore power voltage, wind speed, inside and outside temperature.


Ocean Signal ATA100

The Ocean Signal ATA100 Class A AIS (Automatic Information System) transponder has integrated WiFi and USB interfaces for PC and tablet connection and is user-intuitive, featuring large illuminated keys and easy-to-grip jog stick. The combined SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and Inland-approved single-unit device is capable of exchanging dynamic and static ship data with other AIS systems and developed to meet the latest IMO (International Maritime Organization) carriage requirements and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards. Easy to use and simple to install, the ATA100 is the only Class A AIS transponder rated to the IPX7 waterproofing standard. It features a 7 inch high-intensity, full-color, rapid-response LCD to clearly display real-time marine traffic information. It is compatible with Ocean Signal’s rescueME MOB1 and programmable to accommodate up to 30 MOB units.


Shakespeare WebWatch

Take your entertainment wherever you go. WebWatch lets you access the Internet from a nearby WiFi hotspot or cellular network with up to 4G speeds and share it wirelessly through the built-in hotspot or via Ethernet. The receiver auto switches between WiFi signal and cellular data to maintain Internet connectivity. Now, you don’t need another antenna for your TV. Access your favorite local TV channels through the WebWatch’s built-in HDTV receiver. “Web and Watch” on your boat, recreational vehicle, cabin or anywhere else.


Wave WiFi Tidal Wave

Onboard wireless connectivity is important to boaters. They want Internet access and Wave WiFi has solutions. Tidal Wave from Wave WiFi provides high-powered, dual-band WiFi + 3G/4G that allow for concurrent listening across 2.4 GHz and 5.1 5.8 GHz WiFi channels along with SIM-activated cellular data. Tidal Wave comes equipped with a gigabit port to support the fastest connection speeds. It includes high-gain antennas to seek the farthest-reaching connections attainable. The device uses our customer-inspired, browser-based interface so there is no software to download or install, providing simple plug-and-play integration. POE (Power Over Ethernet) makes installation easy. Tidal Wave brings boaters the luxury of WiFi, and/or cellular Internet at the marina, on the hook, and in many remote areas.



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Page 1 of 3 ( 12 comments)

AC/DC grounding distance:(8/2/2018 1:29:35 AM) "What about the grounding points of AC /DC systems? can they be grounded at the same point?
If one system has both AC and DC can they both be grounded to a common buss-bar that has only one conection to the hull?

Here's what Ed Sherman, electric tech guru at the American Boat & Yacht Council, said:

The ultimate goal should always be to tie ac and dc grounds together on board at a single point. In ABYC Standard E-11, it is described as “the engine negative terminal or its buss.” It is most commonly done at a buss."
Hard-Over with Brushed APilot Pump:(12/18/2017 5:37:05 PM) "Jim.
What do you mean by ...."Garmin GHP 20 with SmartPump...Because it is a brushless system, it is fail-safe and won’t execute a hard-over turn the way a brushed pump can."

Thanks for the note. Since the description came from Garmin I contacted the company for an explanation. Here's what one of their engineers told me:

On brushed DC actuators, a single-point failure in the drive circuit (shorted wire or blown component inside the controller) could cause the motor to run full speed in one direction and take the rudder all the way to one rail. A brushless actuator relies on timing-controlled commutation, so a short or component fail would cause the actuator to stop moving rather than moving at full speed.

Hope this helps,

trawlerdeejay:(10/13/2017 3:46:51 PM) "Excellent article. I had no idea what the differences were between o183 and 2000, Thank you so much."
Darryl:(3/27/2017 10:17:15 PM) "Putting the MSRP with each unit reviewed would have been helpful. If each unit was actually tested, the reports on each unit would have been helpful too.

Thanks Darryl---we generally don't mention prices due to confusion over so many variations---MSRP (mfg. suggested retail price), MAP (min. advertised price), MRP (min. resale price) and then there are internet prices on some websites that go their own way. But your point is well taken--buyers need to know if something is in their price range. We'll work on it.
There is independent testing of some of these products on sites like but the information we receive from manufacturers rarely cites the results of any shootouts they may conduct against the competition's products. "
Laurie Seibert:(2/16/2017 2:00:20 AM) "Thanks EV Collier for sharing this informative blog. It is important to know the causes of EMI filters. We use these parts in our daily life in the electronic products so we should know that what are the causes are cures of EMI Filters.

Great job and keep updating!

Laurie Seibert"
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