Every year the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) holds a conference where manufacturers, dealers, distributors installers and the media get together to see what is new. In addition to the displays there are seminars for installers and demonstration boats from major manufacturers like Garmin, Furuno, Raymarine/FLIR and Navico(SIMRAD & Lowrance). Because of the importance of electronics to cruisers we reviewed some interesting new products.
While the latest fishfinder might not seem a top priority on a cruising boat, advances in sonar technology have given these units capabilities that are important for passage making. Forward and side scanning features and graphic 3D imagery that paint detailed pictures of bottom topography are now offered by all the leading manufacturers. Multibeam transducers show amazing detail allowing identification of submerged objects, showing bottom contours to find ideal anchoring spots, and of course finding fish. Most cruisers have at least one MFD (Multi-Function Display) at the helm. Now, with a compatible system, accessing advanced sonar is just a matter of plugging in a black box module or connecting a sophisticated transducer.
SIMRAD GO12 XSE
New from SIMRAD the GO12 XSE is the largest of their GO series MFD’s. With a built in GPS and 12” multi-touch display it provides chart plotting and navigation functions ideal for any cruiser. Add on plug and play options like SIMRAD Broadband or Halo pulse compression radar for expand capabilities. A wide array of systems including autoplilot controls, entertainment systems, engine monitoring, and Sirius XM weather to name a few can be connected either wirelessly or through an NMEA 2000 gateway. The sophisticated sonar system uses CHIRP technology for fish finding and echo sounding. Simrad’s “StructureScan” provides HD sidescan imaging all with one multi-function transducer. Customizable viewing areas can run up to 4 screens at once so plotter, radar, navigation, and multiple bottom views from the fishfinder can be seen simultaneaously. MSRP $2,149 (Base price no Transducer or charts.) www.simrad-yachting.com
Raymarine Axiom Pro 12
The Raymarine Axiom Pro series of MFD’s has three sizes of touchscreens (9”,12”, 16”) that also include keypad controls which are sometimes easier to use. The Pro series features a fast, internal quad core processor and Raymarine’s new LightHouse3 operating system. While the PRO series is designed for fisherman, the sophisticated sonar features are ideally suited for finding wrecks, identifying objects on the bottom and finding the best anchoring areas. The Axiom PRO(S) uses a single channel 1kw CHIRP sonar. The PRO (RVX) configuration has both the CHIRP sonar and RealVision 3D. The dual-mode transducer has the power to penetrate deeper water and shoot through thermoclines while providing easy to read 3D images. Rewind, pause and playback controls help set waypoints while identifying underwater shelves or objects. Versatile cartography as Axiom Pro can be configured to use either Navionics, C-Map or Raymarine’s own Lighthouse charts. MSRP $3,849.99 (12”CHIRP, 3D, LH charts) www.raymarine.com
FURUNO DFF3D Multi Beam Sonar
Owner’s of FURUNO NavNet TZtouch MFD (1 or 2) or computers running MaxSea TimeZero can simply connect the all new DFF3D to give their system some of the most advanced sonar capabilities available. FURUNO combines rapid processing with a new multi beam transducer to show both structure and fish in a wide swath beneath the boat even in deep water. Using 165khz (lower frequency) the system penetrates far deeper than other 3D units. Image stabilization provides accurate coverage even in rough seas. The 120degree multi-beam transducer has 40-3degree beams that cover up to 650’ of bottom. This allows users to see where a ledge, rock or wreck is in relation to the boat. The system covers huge amounts of ground making it ideal for searching for underwater objects in addition to fish. There are different modes that include traditional down-sounding, tri-beam with three views, Cross Section, Side scan, and graphic 3D imaging. The unique frequency will not interfere with existing echo-sounders so when added to a NavNet system other equipment can still run simultaneously. It is available with just the multibeam sonar alone or a combo transducer that has all elements in one compact unit. MSRP $2,095 (without transducer) Multifunction transducer MSRP $1,900 www.furunousa.com
Rose Point Navigation Systems NEMO
Older NMEA 0183 and newer NMEA 2000 equipment on board don’t always work together. Rose Point the creators of Coastal Explorer PC based navigation and charting software recently released the NEMO gateway that solves these compatibility issues. NEMO translates the signals of older NMEA 0183 devices so they can be used in conjunction with newer products that use NMEA 2000 and allows onboard data systems to be connected to multiple devices at the same time. NEMO works with Rose Point products and allows other onboard data systems to connect providing PC’s, tablets and phones access to your marine electronics. An Ethernet interface allows you to control onboard electronics like an autopilot using multiple devices. Plug NEMO into a common household router and wireless apps and devices will interface wirelessly with your onboard NMEA compatible electronics. MSRP $599 www.rosepoint.com
The customizable GOST Apparition system provides advanced onboard security and monitoring for any type of vessel. Onboard touch screen displays connect to a vast array of available wired and wireless sensors. The system can also be accessed by Smartphone or tablet. Key fob or card controls can be used to limit access to areas of the vessel. With capabilities up to 192 sensors and access control of up to 32 doors the system can be installed on vessels large or small. Available features include GPS tracking, cellular and satellite monitoring, Live HD camera feeds, video backup systems and more. MSRP $3,000* (*Basic system. Price varies by number of sensors and features.) www.gostglobal.com
Internet access is important, and many vessels are installing VSAT systems to keep them connected globally. Intellian a global leader in satellite communications just released a new 65cm VSAT antenna. It is designed to operate and perform comparably to larger 85cm antennas while providing space savings that many vessels need. Intellian uses advanced RF components that enhance signal strength and clarity to achieve superior gain and isolation compared to other antennas in this size range. The V65 is also the first 60cm Class antenna capable of being converted easily from KU to KA band. A Conversion kit is required but it is an easy onboard change out. This allows vessel owners to run on either frequency depending on where they are traveling, their communication needs, and provider preferences. MSRP $34,000.00 www.intelliantech.com
Cobham SAILOR 600 VSAT Ku
Another VSAT option comes to us from Cobham a large defense contractor. They use high tech construction and advanced materials like Carbon fiber and infused aluminum to keep the weight of this KU band VSAT antenna to a mere 77lbs. Installation is made easier with power, transmit and receive combined in one cable and automatic cable and Azimuth calibration. The antenna is self-balancing and has internal dynamic motor brakes, eliminating the need for mechanical straps. The antenna remains balanced when not powered up or during transport which means the antenna can be moved and installed without having to remove the cover. Cobham has a SATCOM catalogue App with specs and 3D images of their products. MSRP $35,495 www.cobham.com
The SITEX MDA-4 is a new VHF radio with DSC and a built in dual channel AIS receiver. Built to MilSpec 801G it is designed to handle rugged, wet conditions on board. It has a host of features including Dual and Tri-watch to monitor multiple channels at once, programmable scanning, a built in 25 watt hailer with selectable automatic foghorns and listen back. A large LCD displays AIS data including MMSI, Call Sign, ship’s name, bearing, distance, speed, course over ground and closest point of approach with alerts. MSRP $459. www.sitex.com