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Marine Electronics Journal Blog
Treat your boat to some new electronic wizardry

With the boating season just getting underway in some parts of the country, many of you are thinking about investing in new equipment, including electronics. Your interest isn't lost on manufacturers, who pummel publications like Marine Electronics Journal with information on their latest widgets. Here’s a sampling:


By Jim Fullilove

MEJ Editor


Chartplotter/sonar combos sport new capabilities

The ECHOMAP Plus series is Garmin’s next-generation of chartplotters and sonar combination units designed for both saltwater and inland anglers and boaters. Building on the success of its predecessor series, ECHOMAP CHIRP, the new ECHOMAP Plus features powerful sonar capabilities, preloaded charts and mapping, and built-in Wi-Fi for access to the new Garmin ActiveCaptain marine app, which creates a simple yet powerful connection to a compatible mobile device.

Available in a range of display sizes, the Plus series features a bright, sunlight-readable 4, 6, 7 or 9 inch display. The 6 inch units are new to the ECHOMAP series and are larger with more pixels and easier to read than previous 5 inch models. The ECHOMAP Plus series also offers the convenience of a new keyed-assist touchscreen on the 7 and 9 inch units.

For crystal-clear scanning of fish and structure, the ECHOMAP Plus offers built-in CHIRP traditional sonar and CHIRP ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonar. All 7 and 9 inch Plus units provide support for Garmin Panoptix sonar transducers, so anglers can see real-time sonar imagery at video-like speed.

The ECHOMAP Plus units feature built-in BlueChart g2 charts, and US or Canada LakeVü HD maps. U.S. LakeVü is an extensive database of more than 17,000 inland lakes, reservoirs and rivers that includes over 13,000 lakes with high-definition 1 foot contours. Canada LakeVü features more than 13,500 lakes, 4,800 of which have 1 foot contours.


Smart speed sensors are low maintenance

Airmar Technology Corp. has rolled out its next generation of Smart speed sensors. Combining speed, depth and fast-response water temperature in one compact, thru-hull fitting with no moving parts makes Airmar’s two new sensors high- precision, low-maintenance solutions.

By eliminating the traditional paddlewheel, fouling is minimized so boaters have one less maintenance concern, according to the company. They add that “new features such as transverse speed, leeway, heel and trim make the DX900+ a perfect solution for racing sailors and long-distance cruisers, while the UST800/850 and UDST800 are ideal for use on sailboats and cruising boats of all types and sizes. Another major advantage is that both new sensors easily retrofit in most Airmar two-inch housings, making upgrades incredibly simple.”

Airmar’s ultrasonic speed sensors utilize new patented adaptive digital signal processing to calculate speed based on water clarity, depth of the water and other variables and can deliver data up to 10X per second to NMEA networks. The DX900+ dual-axis electromagnetic speed sensors measure forward and transverse speed and outputs leeway angle, heel, and trim–valuable information for performance racing and when docking larger vessels.


Furuno autopilot learns new tricks

Furuno has taught their self-learning autopilot some new tricks, and steering your boat is about to become easier than ever before with the introduction of the NavPilot 300. This new autopilot is designed for center consoles with outboard engines and drive by wire systems on small- to mid-sized boats.

The NavPilot 300 features a single-DIN, 4.1 inch color LCD and a new Bluetooth Gesture Controller, which allows you to point and shoot in any direction, controlling your vessel’s steering from anywhere onboard within 10 meters of the helm. Push the button, point to the desired heading, and release the button to let the autopilot redirect the boat.

The NavPilot 300 incorporates Furuno’s popular Sabiki mode, as well as four Fish Hunter turning maneuvers. The Sabiki mode lets the NavPilot stay in control while you are drifting astern, so you can focus less on steering, and more on fishing. The FishHunter function uses a Zigzag, Orbit, Figure 8 or Spiral maneuver around a specified target at the distance you select


Sailboat glass helm series offers 24 inch display

B&G has introduced the Zeus3 Glass Helm series. Designed for blue-water sailing, multihulls and superyachts, the super-fast, large-screen, multi-function display sits at the heart of a fully integrated navigation system. It’s available in 16, 19 and 24 inch displays.

The B&G Zeus3 Glass Helm has an ultra-bright, wide-angle, full HD display featuring an all-weather, easy-to-use touchscreen and a low-profile, glass design. The screen enables users to view data through polarized lenses, from any angle, even in bright sunlight. The display can also be controlled using both buttons and rotary dial through a Zeus Controller.

Like all B&G chartplotters, Zeus3 Glass Helm comes complete with many sailing functions, bringing together all key sailing data on one screen via a multiple-split screen, or overlaid on charts for the modern sailor’s ultimate navigation view. A powerful, built-in quad-core processor provides super-fast data processing and eliminates the need for a separate black box, simplifying installation and making it easier to integrate radar, ForwardScan, charting, autopilots, sonar, digital monitoring and control and more into the glass helm system.

3G and 4G cellular devices work with WiFI antennas/routers

Wave WiFi introduces new 3G and 4G cellular products that work in conjunction with their WiFi antennas, routers, and proprietary web-based firmware. The devices allow users to connect to 3G and 4G cellular when WiFi signals are not available.

Tidal Wave provides high-powered dual band WiFi + 3G/4G and allows for concurrent listening across 2.4GHz and 5.1-5.8GHz WiFi channels along with SIM-activated cellular data. It comes equipped with a gigabit port to support the fastest connection speeds. It includes high gain antennas to seek the farthest-reaching connections attainable.

Tidal Wave uses the company’s browser-based interface so there is no software to download or
install, giving boaters access to WiFi, and/or cellular Internet at the marina, on the hook, and in many remote areas.

The MBR-550 is a compact multi-source router with a built-in access point that can be used as a stand-alone Sim-activated cellular data receiver. The MBR-550 can stay online 24/7 when all sources are connected. It runs off Wave WiFi’s browser-based interface. All MBR-550 ports can be reprogrammed for LAN or WAN and also allows you to configure an onboard guest local area network.


Commercial display combines quality and value

Green Marine Monitors has launched the Pilot-19 monitor for the commercial/work boat market. The company’s first low-cost pilot house-only monitor features a sunlight-readable 19 inch display that delivers impeccable picture quality at a great value.

Designed with everything you need and nothing you don’t, the PILOT-19 monitor strikes a balance between capability and cost. Features include: 800 nits sunlight viewable
, dimming control knob (dim to black), two signal inputs (VGA & DVI)
, low-power LED backlights
, VESA mounting for 75 and 100mm, anti-reflective cover glass
, and 9-36V DC isolated power supply.


Waterproof display housings fit all major brands

NavPod’s new line of high-quality waterproof housings for marine electronics, PowerPods with RAM Mounts, can be installed on a sloping dash or vertical bulkhead.

PowerPods are better than bracket mounting. Very sturdy and secure, yet clean and attractive, these mounts provide protection for fishfinder/chartplotters from the harshest of wet boating conditions. PowerPods give the convenience of easily reaching and controlling a multifunction display while providing added security with protection from theft. NavPods’ unique stainless steel tamperproof fasteners and the RAM Mounts’ Pin-Lock security system are combined to allow boaters to leave electronics on board the boat without worry. All NavPods are manufactured with a double gasket system that provides an excellent watertight seal.

RAM Mounts are designed with a patented rubber ball and socket system that allows precise positing of your fishfinder or chartplotter. NavPods are available in pre-cut models compatible with all 7, 9, 10 and 12 inch LCD displays from all major marine electronics manufacturers. charts now available on OpenCPN

Under an agreement with OpenCPN, is making its library of downloadable raster charts available to OpenCPN software users worldwide. This provides the over quarter million OpenCPN ( users charts from for navigation on their Microsoft, Linux, Mac and Android devices.

OpenCPN is a free and collaborative software that has been providing boaters with S-57 and S-63 support for the official ENCs, RNCs, and various other formats, facilitated by the integrated chart downloader. This new collaboration adds an extensive array of quality raster charts, such as those produced by Canadian Hydrographic Service, nv charts, Delius Klasing, Solteknik and other popular chart brands.

OpenCPN says over the past decade it has developed and supported a robust software with route planning and real time navigation, AIS, anchor alarm, GRIB weather and many other features and plug-ins. With S-57 support from the outset, they integrated S-63 compatibility, providing access to the complete portfolio of the official ENCs for their standard and oeSENC formats.

The OpenCPN built-in quilter tiles multiple raster charts into one in seconds, delivering the look and feel of a vector chart with smooth zoom and pan but with the unmatched detail and familiarity of paper charts. The raster charts available for OpenCPN include the official Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) charts of Canada; nv charts for the US, Europe, Bahamas, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Caribbean; Delius Klasing for Northern Europe and the Adriatic Sea in the Mediterranean; Solteknik Marine Charts of Sweden and Finland; Blue Latitude Press’ charts of Bahia and Sea of Cortez in Mexico; and NZ Mariner charts of New Zealand just to name a few, with more areas coming soon.


New sensors for boat functions monitoring system

Siren Marine has added important features and functionality to its MTC Boat Monitoring and Tracking system, making it easier for boat owners to create their own “connected boat” and access onboard information from a phone, tablet or computer.

Siren Marine’s new custom-designed wireless sensors are compact, attractive, quick to install, and purpose-built for the marine environment. The five sensors---High-Water Sensor, Bilge Pump Sensor, Battery Voltage Sensor, Entry Sensor and Temperature Sensors---connect to the MTC without a hard-wire connection. Using the Siren Marine app, users get instant alerts and can monitor their boat in real time. The wireless sensors are easy to configure and can be installed on any size and type of boat, without the need to drill holes or run wires through crowded rigging tubes.

Siren Marine engineered its proprietary wireless sensors to withstand the harsh marine environment and perform in real-world conditions.  These compact sensors are IP67 waterproof rated for use above or below decks and are designed to complement any vessel’s aesthetics. For practical performance aboard today’s high-tech vessels, the wireless sensors offer long battery life (up to 2 years) and use a sub-gigahertz frequency that penetrayes through bulkheads and communicates over long distances (up to 200 feet). Each wireless sensor package includes a wireless module, an interchangeable sensor “tail”, mounting bracket, and a replaceable coin-cell battery.

The MTC+2 Starter Kit includes an MTC Boat Monitoring and Tracking System and two wireless sensors that monitor battery voltage, high water or unauthorized entry. The MTC+2 has an annual subscription of $180 or a monthly subscription of $17.97. The MTC+2 can be easily expanded with additional wired or wireless sensors.

VHF features private text messaging

Uniden’s new MHS335BT VHF marine radio offers private text messaging. The 6 watt, Class D, floating, handheld VHF with Bluetooth sports advanced features and solid performance.

Operators of the MHS335BT marine radio will be able to use a smartphone (AndroidTM and iOS) to text message other VHF radios and to update radio firmware. Leveraging the VHF band, the private text messaging capability of the MHS335BT functions even when no cellular coverage is available.

Features includes full Class D DSC, largest screen, text directly from your phone to other VHF radios (a maritime industry first), Bluetooth wireless links your phone and radio for messaging, integrated GPS receiver, IPX8 submersible, floating radio, auto plot to distress call and built-in compass screen.



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