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Electronics guide

See related story: Electronics 2005


While development continues on the next generation of Furuno’s 4-year-old NavNet integrated network, the company introduces a stand-alone WAAS-enabled GPS/chart plotter. Designed for boats as small as 20 feet, the GP-7000/NT has a 7-inch color LCD that features an anti-reflective coating and wider viewing angles. The unit is available with a built-in dual-frequency fishfinder (50/200 kHz) with eight custom ranges to 4,000 feet. It retails for $2,195 with the fishfinder, $1,795 without. The combination unit, which will eventually replace the GP-1850, is the first Furuno plotter engineered specifically for use with C-MAP NT+ charts. Earlier last year, Furuno came out with new 12- and 15-inch color monitors (MU120C $4,995, and MU155C $6,495). Furuno recently became the exclusive North American distributor of MaxSea software, which works with the NavNet system.


Last year, 35-year-old British sonar manufacturer EchoPilot formally entered the U.S. marine market by enlisting Boater’s World as its first stateside national marine dealer. At the time, EchoPilot also introduced its forward-looking sonar, which displays potential hazards ahead and below the boat in “real time,” continuously updating the imagery. The flush-mounted units provide depth, current depth, speed, distance and GPS data. Range ahead delivered from the three models (Bronze Pro, Gold Pro and Wreckfinder) is 330 to 495 feet. Prices range from $799 to $1,799. EchoPilot also has designed a 3-D side-scanning sonar for small boats and a wreck finder for divers and anglers.


Two low-profile radar scanners round out the Garmin Marine Network. The GMR 20 has a 2-kW radome for a range of 24 nautical miles ($1,919), and the GMR 40 has a 4-kW radome for a range of 36 nautical miles ($2,347). Garmin says presentation of radar signatures is fast because the raw data is processed within the 28-inch radome and presented on Garmin’s GPSMAP 3006C (6.4 inches, $2,285) and GPSMAP 3010C (10.4 inches, $2,857) multifunction displays. Both sunlight-readable, 256-color VGA screens feature high-speed processors and graphics controllers for fast redraw of charts and weather graphics. Both are fully compatible with Garmin’s BlueChart marine cartography. With the addition of the GDL 30 weather data receiver ($857), boaters can access real-time weather data from XM WX Satellite Weather. Garmin also has come out with two new value-based monochromatic chart plotters, the GPSMAP 172 ($429) and its combination plotter/ sounder, the GPSMAP 178 ($457 to $535, depending on configuration). Garmin is offering a free sonar upgrade to give its GPSMAP 276C fishfinder capabilities.


Humminbird this year adds 19 new models to its lineup. The 987c SI Combo ($1,999) is a high-definition side-imaging fishing system with GPS/chart plotter and ultrawide screen (7 inches diagonal). It’s also available without the GPS/plotter (981c SI, $1,749). The 900 Series includes five other models, and all units use side-scan technology derived from military and commercial products, according to the company. Sonar beams scan each side of the boat (240 feet in each direction, 75 to 480 feet of bottom coverage), while traditional dual-frequency down-looking capabilities are built into the same transducer. Depth capability is up to 2,500 feet, and Humminbird touts the “picture-like” detail of the image scans. The company also offers new 3-D sonar technology in its new Matrix 47 3-D fishing system ($499) and 947c 3D Combo side-scanning unit ($1,649). Humminbird adds three new models to its Matrix Series ($149 to $699); four new models to its 500 Series ($129 to $549); three new entries to its SmartCast wireless fishfinder line ($119 to $169); and one new model in the PiranhaMax Series ($199).


The new iScan 180 compact color sonar uses two through-hull transducers to produce a 180-degree forward view. The iScan 180 functions in three modes: forward vertical scanning, forward horizontal scanning, or down-looking depth sounder. A split-screen mode simultaneously displays forward and down-looking scans, and a video output allows imagery to be displayed on other shipboard monitors. Peak-to-peak power is 3,000 watts, while ranges reach up to 1,200 feet ahead. The iScan 180 uses a sunlight-viewable color display with a 16-to-9 aspect ratio adapted from high-end digital television. With both transducers, the iScan 180 retails for $2,899. The new iScan 90 features most of the same options but with one transducer, and retails for $1,949. The Fish Finder 50-200, a 1,000-watt dual-frequency black box fishfinder ($319 without transducer) adds depth-sounding performance to Interphase’s Chart Master GPS/multifunction displays. Two new color GPS/multifunction displays, the Chart Master V6 ($959) and V6i ($1,079), also have been added.


Lowrance and its Eagle brand release more than 60 new products this year. Highlighting the lineup are several “big screen color” models featuring the company’s next-generation color displays for sonar/GPS and chart plotter units. The 256-color TFT SVGA displays (10.4-, 7-, 6- and 5-inch screens) use a proprietary technology designed to make the imagery sharp and clear even in bright sunlight. Two of the six models in the LCX Series of sonar and sonar/GPS feature a built-in shock-resistant 20-gb internal hard drive preloaded with detailed mapping and charts. All feature NMEA 2000 networking compatibility, Ethernet expansion port, enhanced processing speed, and a receiver designed to reduce clutter and interference. Retail pricing ranges from $1,049 to $2,549. Three new chart plotters in the GlobalMap series feature the same internal 20-gb hard drive ($449 to $1,999). The GlobalMap line also is NMEA 2000 compatible, with Ethernet expansion port, enhanced processing drive, and audio output. Lowrance also debuts a new hand-held marine GPS navigator with WAAS technology, the iFinder H20 ($239), and two new fixed-mount DSC VHF radios, the LVR-850 ($109) and LVR-950 ($159).


Icom’s newest hand-held VHF, the commercial-grade GM1600, is made for offshore conditions. The company’s most advanced hand-held has a built-in Global Marine Distress and Safety System alert to direct search-and-rescue parties in the event of an emergency. Constructed to withstand submersion in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, the GM1600 also features a new “speed water removal” function designed to quickly shed water from the speaker system. Shipped with a Ni-Cd battery pack, the radio also takes lithium and alkaline batteries, as well as AC. Price had yet to be determined. A less-rugged commercial-grade VHF is the M90, designed to replace the M15. It features 100 programmable land channels, voice scrambling, digital signaling, and a hands-free option. The waterproof unit also is a full-feature marine radio with access to all weather channels. Price had yet to be determined. For inland boaters, there is Icom’s new “stubby” antenna option (CEN EXX 150 SMI) for its M88 or M1V VHF hand-helds. Measuring 3.75 inches, the $14 antenna is designed to be less obtrusive when a hand-held is worn on a belt.


The three-model eXplorist series of hand-held GPS navigators feature Magellan’s new TrueFix technology, which incorporates a 14-parallel-channel WAAS/EGNOS-enabled GPS receiver. WAAS provides positioning to within 10 feet, while EGNOS gauges the reliability and accuracy of the signal. The units feature one-button access and store up to 500 waypoints, 20 routes and multiple track logs with up to 2,000 waypoints each. The impact-resistant, waterproof receivers measure 4.6 by 2.1 by 1.3 inches and weigh less than 4 ounces. The eXplorist 100 retails for $99; the 200 (with built-in mapping) is $149; and the 300 (with barometer, altimeter and electronic compass) is $199.

Standard Horizon

Standard Horizon has introduced two new hand-held VHF radios, the HX370S and HX270S. Both are submersible (30 minutes in 3 feet) and are backed by a three-year warranty. Powered by a 1,400-mAh nickel metal hydride battery that lasts 18 hours, the radios also come with a waterproof alkaline battery tray, 12-volt DC charger, 110-volt AC charger, and a desktop drop-in cradle for charging. A battery-life indicator on the oversized LCD warns when the battery needs recharging. All marine VHF channels (North America and international) are factory programmed. A preset key allows recall of the eight most-used channels. The HX370S includes a high-intensity strobe light that automatically emits the SOS signal and can be seen from a mile away at night, according to the company, as well as optional CTCSS or DSC signaling. Minimum advertised prices are $149 for the HX270S and $179 for the HX370S. The new Quantum Series commercial-grade fixed-mount VHF radios feature DSC call information, 30-watt hailer, and GPS interface. The GX2360S retails for $399, the GX3500S for $499. The Phantom PS2000 is a commercial-grade black box fixed-mount VHF specifically designed for vessels with limited mounting space. Price had yet to be determined.


A year after introducing its 6000i integrated navigation network with 6.4-, 8.4- and 10.4-inch screens, Northstar adds a 15-inch display. All models in the series come standard as stand-alone WAAS-enabled GPS/chart plotters that accept Navionics Gold or Classic XL3 CompactFlash cards. The multifunction monitor displays black box radar, black box sounder, on-board PC, DVD player, or on-board cameras in full-screen, split-screen and picture-in-picture modes. Suggested retail price is $7,995. Also new is the 972 multifunction navigation system, built for serious sportfishing boats and large cruisers. Features include a 15-inch sunlight-viewable display, sonar/radar integration, and preloaded Nobeltec Passport OnBoard cartography. The unit offers raster and vector charts, 3-D bathymetric charts, and satellite photography with vector overlay. Price is $11,995. Also, a new 15-inch monitor, the 1502, can serve as a repeater for the 6000i and 972. Price is $6,495.


The Navman Fish 4600 is a color fishfinder designed to complement the company’s Tracker 5600 chart plotter. A dual-frequency transducer (200/50 kHz) offers 600-watt RMS power to provide sonar readings from 2.5 to 3,300 feet. The unit incorporates Navman’s proprietary sonar processing software (SBNII) designed to enhance sonar signals while reducing interference. An array of depth, temperature and battery alarms are included. With Mercury SmartCraft functionality incorporated, engine and fuel data also can be displayed on the 6.4-inch high resolution (320 by 234) color TFT display. Retail price is $899.


Designed for workboats or large recreational boats, JRC’s new JMA 5300 Series black box radar is the first built around the company’s proprietary JRC ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) architecture. The radars incorporate processors specifically designed to enable parallel processing using multiple ASICs for speed. Available in five power outputs, the JMA 5300’s options include TrueTrails, a real-time “true representation” of target movements; Constaview, a continually refreshing radar picture; and TEF, a multilevel target enhancement feature. Suggested retail price is $14,000.


FarSounder’s first commercial forward-looking 3-D sonar, the FS-3, delivered detailed color “true 3-D” imagery, providing range, bearing and depth, with the entire image updated every two seconds. The system was designed for surface ship navigation, whale detection and obstacle avoidance. The company’s next generation sonar, the FS-3DT, adds dual transmission capabilities for longer-range obstacle detection. Like the FS-3, the unit will provide a 90-degree field of view depth map. The FS-3DT adds a narrower, longer range beam that scans up to 1,400 feet ahead, according to FarSounder. Retail price for the FS-3DT basic unit (aluminum housing) is $65,000.


A newly designed “ultra fast” processor is designed to provide rapid screen changes on Si-Tex’s compact color GPS WAAS charting system, the Navmate. The unit’s sunlight-viewable 5.7-inch color, active-matrix vertical LCD boasts 320-by-234-pixel resolution. The 18-channel GPS/WAAS receiver, available with internal or external antenna, is accurate to within 10 feet of a waypoint. Features include Guardian Grounding Alarm, a programmable anti-grounding feature; a slot for C-MAP NT+ C cards; a man-overboard feature; and multiple display options. Input up to 25 reversible routes with a total of 500 waypoints and 1,000 track plots. The unit allows color selection for recordable waypoints, marks and events. Suggested retail price is $879 with the internal antenna, $959 with the external.


Raymarine’s new H6 integrated network unites navigation, security and entertainment units into a single system. Powered by two computers (one for navigation, one for entertainment), the expandable H6 features a “command center” for every helm, each incorporating two 15-inch flat panel, high-resolution, high-contrast, sunlight-viewable color displays and a track-ball computer mouse. Data can be displayed in graphic, chart or alphanumeric form. Radar and weather overlays, simultaneous display of multiple data, an integrated entertainment console (DVD, CD, satellite, plasma or LCD TV), and multiple-camera closed-circuit television are among the features. Raymarine plans to add Lifeline, a clip-on man overboard alarm that integrates with on-board radar. Call for pricing. Also new is the Ray240 modular DSC VHF radio. The unit features a handset with cell phone-style keypad, DSC position request, and positioning output capability. Suggested retail price is $675. A new wireless autopilot, SmartPilot S1000, is designed for powerboats to 25 feet and with hydraulic steering. Price is $1,300. RayTechRNS 5.0, the latest version of the company’s PC charting software, debuted last summer. Call for pricing. Also last year, Raymarine rolled out its A-Series fishfinders ($535 to $1,285), chart plotters ($710 to $1,100), and VHF radios ($180 to $215); and C-Series multifunction navigation displays (which can take inputs from GPS, radar and digital sounder modules) for boats in the 25- to 45-foot range. Prices are $2,760 for the 12.1-inch C120 display, $2,040 for the 8.4-inch C80, and $1,399 for the 6.5-inch C70.


Uniden’s new ES Series fixed-mounted VHF radios feature color displays, touch screens, and voice prompts. Compact designs with large screens and user-friendly features characterize the submersible radios. All are compatible with Uniden’s new WHAMx4 2.4-GHz wireless remote and incorporate Class D digital selective calling with DSC polling capabilities, and a built-in loud hailer with intercom and pre-programmed fog signals. The units are GPS intuitive, meaning GPS data determines such features as proper fog signal pattern and recommended channel band. Minimum advertised prices are $199 for the UM525 ES and $299 for the UM625c ES. A production delay has postponed the introduction of the top-end model for the series, the UM825 ES. The WHAMx4 retails for $129. Uniden also has replaced its Solara fixed-mount VHF with a DSC-equipped model. It sells for $119


Set to make its U.S. debut at the Miami International Boat Show in February, Simrad’s CX NavStation is a flexible, multifunctional navigation system. The NavStation offers a choice of GPS/chart plotter, sounder, radar or combinations of three from one base station. The base NavStation units — the 7-inch CX34, 10.4-inch CX44 and the 15-inch CX54 — are fully functioning GPS/chart plotters. Adding radar and sonar involve simple upgrades. A dual station system is an option. Features include improved screen viewability, radar overlay, and preset headings. Simrad says NavStation is one of the first systems to use the new C-MAP MAX Chart system. Price had yet to be determined. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Simrad also is introducing a new entry-level, waterproof chart plotter for smaller boats. The CP31 has “hot keys” and a 6-inch screen for simple operation and clear chart viewing. Incorporated is Simrad’s Advanced Chart Management System, which automatically presents the most suitable chart depending on the selected scale as well as presenting more chart area ahead as boat speed increases. Price had yet to be determined.

See related story: Electronics 2005