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Electronics - The newest in plotters, radar and software

Known for its fishfinders and combination units, Humminbird has introduced a fixed-mount VHF radio and a line of hand-helds.

 The VHF255s fixed-mount radio features control keys on the microphone for such functions as channel up/down, high/low transmit power, channel 16, and DSC transmission. The fully submersible radio has a 2-1/2-inch backlit LCD and retails for $149.99.


The VHF55 series hand-helds are fully submersible with a 1-1/8-inch backlit display. The three radios receive all U.S., Canadian and international channels, 10 weather channels with NOAA Weather Alert System, and have selectable 5- or 1-watt transmit power. Prices range from $89.99 to $119.99.


British marine manufacturer EchoPilot has introduced the Platinum FLS, a forward-looking sonar system that can spot objects up to 650 feet ahead and 330 feet below the boat.


 Features include a wide-screen color display, forward alarm and built-in simulator. Among the options are multiple displays, speed and a wireless link to the transducer. The sonar operates at 12 or 24 volts at a frequency of 200 kHz.

Price is $2,995, including installation by a licensed installer.


NavNet vx2, the next generation of Furuno’s integrated navigation system, uses the same Ethernet network as its predecessor but offers increased flexibility.

 The 10.4-inch color LCD comes with a keypad to make entering waypoints and routes easier, and multiple displays and components (chart plotter, fishfinder, radar, video) can be added with an Ethernet hub. The system accepts Navionics Gold XL3 and C-MAP NT MAX charts and can connect the FAX30 weather fax. Prices range from $4,895 to $9,320.


Furuno also has introduced the CH-300 dual frequency Searchlight Sonar, which incorporates a low/high frequency (60/153 kHz or 85/215 kHz) transducer in one soundome. Display mode options are horizontal scan, vertical scan, a mix of both, and an echo sounder. Prices start at $17,495 for the black box model.


Garmin this year is introducing 20 new products, from chart plotters and fishfinders to its new BlueChart cartography. Most of the company’s new line of plotters and combination plotter/sonar units feature preloaded cartography (except models 2106 and 2110).


 The GPSMAP 3210 tops the 3200 series of waterproof color chart plotters preloaded with Garmin’s U.S. coastal charts that utilize the company’s new BlueChart g2 technology. A 10.4-inch sunlight-viewable display and high-speed microprocessor allow faster redraw and response rates,

and the plotter connects with other displays and sensors to deliver XM weather, radar and sonar. The three units in the series range in price from $1,099 to $2,499. The GPSMAP 492 plotter ($899.99) comes with charts of the entire U.S. coast, including Alaska and Hawaii. The GPSMAP 392 ($799.99) and 292 ($799.99) plotters also are new. All are loaded with Garmin’s proprietary new CANet bus that allows sounder data from a separate unit to be displayed on the plotter. Four new fishfinders ($109 to $499.99) feature UltraScroll, which offers faster refresh rates for sonar display. Garmin’s next generation BlueChart g2 charts feature a 3D perspective and richer detail and content, like tide and current overlays. Prices start at $199.


Cobra has expanded its marine line with two chart plotters. The MC 600Ci and MC 600Cx feature Cobra’s exclusive iASAP GPS technology, 6-inch color screens with anti-reflective coating, “Sunlight” and “NightWatch” modes and it uses C-MAP NT MAX charts.

 The plotters interface with Cobra’s MF 2500 fishfinder and VHF radios (for DSC emergency calling). The MC 600Cx retails for $699.99 (with external antenna and flush-mount options) and the MC 600Ci for $649.99 (with internal iASAP GPS antenna).


Magellan’s new MapSend BlueNav XL3 wide-area charts are preloaded on SD cards for Magellan hand-held GPS units. Derived from Navionics Gold XL3 charts, BlueNav XL3 is compatible with the Magellan eXplorist 400, 500, 600 and XL, as well as the Meridian series. Each of 18 North American regions, sold separately for $199.99, display locations of moorings, supplies and services, shipping lanes, restricted areas as well as shoals, wrecks and other structures. www.magel


Navman continues to expand its line of chart plotter/sounders and fishfinders. The TrackFish 6500 is a WAAS-enabled GPS plotter/sounder preloaded with a 32-MB world map (C-MAP MAX and NT+ compatible) and a fishfinder capable of reaching 1,000 feet. The 5-inch daylight-viewable screen has a dual display mode. Price is $749.95. Two new WAAS-enabled plotters — the color Tracker 5380 ($399.95) and grayscale 5430 ($299.95) — are preloaded with a 16-MB North American map and feature 3.8-inch daylight viewable screens and singleC-MAP slots for adding cartography. Navman’s new FISH 440 series consists of four grayscale models ($119.95 to $229.95) that offer twice the ping rate of the line of monochrome fishfinders they replace. The new PILOT 3380 autopilot incorporates a full-color display and an integrated SmartCraft engine-diagnostic option for Mercury and MerCruiserengines.



 Icom enters the marine radar market with the new MR-1000 and its 10-inch monochrome green display. The 4kW radar is available with either a 48-inch open array scanner (MR-1000TII, up to 48 nautical miles, $3,400), or 24-inch radome (MR-1000RII, up to 36 nautical miles, $2,299). Features include two EBLs (electronic bearing line), two VRMs (variable range mark), sea and rain clutter, interference reduction and auto-calibration functions. When connected to a GPS, the unit can display course- and north-up, true motion indication, man overboard point, and more. Icom has also released two new VHF radios. The waterproof IC-M504 fixed-mount radio ($299) features hailer and foghorn, Class D DSC calling, and is compatible with the Command Mic3 (HM162, $149). The new waterproof IC-M72 hand-held ($199) replaces the IC-M1V model.


Si-Tex’s new CVS-833 and 833C dual-frequency sounders feature 8-inch daylight-viewable color screens and a Mix Mode that helps highlight small targets like bait fish.

 The 600-watt 833 ($1,699) has eight range scales from 10 to 2,000 feet, while the 1,000-watt 833C ($1,899) ranges from 10 to 4,000 feet. The new MDS Radar Sensor series adds full-featured radar capabilities to Si-Tex charting systems, including overlay to C-MAP MAX and NT+ charts.


Other features include interference rejection, FTC (to reduce rain clutter), and STC (to pick out targets hidden by high seas and spray). The five models range from $1,299 to $3,999. Lastly, the new e-Loran integrated GPS/Loran Receiver Sensor — which connects to Si-Tex charting systems and P-Sea WindPlot software — incorporates the strengths of both systems to provide bearing accuracy of better than 1 degree. Price is $999.


Fugawi has added weather overlay in Version 4 of its Marine ENC. The software supports NOAA Gridded Binary data files (GRIB), which contain dates produced by computer generated forecasting models and contain weekly forecasts for barometric pressure, wind speed/direction and wave heights.


 The free data is updated and delivered to the user by e-mail. Marine ENC V4 software also features 3D Chart Visualization and Navigation, which allows viewing of BSB, ENC or SoftChart nautical charts in 3D.

The software supports AIS (automatic identification system), and when combined with a third-party AIS receiver can display commercial traffic on charts. More than 1.8 million place names and 25,000 marine service providers are plotted and can be searched. Price is $199.95. The company has replaced its Fugawi 3 GPS Mapping Software with Fugawi Global Navigator, which supports a variety of free and commercial charts and incorporates a 3D map view. Price is $99.95.


The newest version of C-MAP’s PC-Planner software includes a new Dynamic NavAids feature in which navigation aids flash on-screen as they do on the water (both NT+ and MAX charts).

 The software also includes a new Current Prediction Menu (MAX users only) that shows current speed/direction predictions for future dates and times. Aerial photographs and/or detailed drawings of marinas have been added.


Price is $149, though a free upgrade is available for owners of a previous version. A licensing agreement with Nobeltec now allows C-MAP to offer Nobeltec’s Bahamas Explorer Chart data on NT+ and MAX electronic charts. Price is $199.


Global Navigation has added AIS support to its NavPak Professional and NavPak Pilot Pocket software. When a target is double-clicked a box pops up showing the name, call sign, course, speed and other information about the vessel. The MapSetup feature in all versions of NavPak has been enhanced to make viewing and incorporating NOAA’s free ENC (S-57) charts easier. A Float Plan feature also has been added, which includes the ETA from a given position to each waypoint in a route. Prices range from $119 to $300. All features of NavPak can be seen in demo programs on the company Web site,


The entire NOAA chart collection covering all U.S. waters is incorporated into Version 1.1 of Rose Point Navigation’s Coastal Explorer PC navigation software. The program includes predicted tide heights and currents, text weather support, graphic weather overlay, GPS route and waypoint transfer, and integrated gazetteer and Coast Pilot. Anobstacle-checking feature points out obstructions and warning areas as routes are being created, and a Cruise Mode for use while under way features larger menu items for easier access to functions. Coastal Explorer is compatible with many NMEA 0183 equipped electronics. Price is $399.


The CPV350 is Standard Horizon’s new WAAS-enabled GPS/plotter that includes a 25-watt Class D DSC VHF with an integrated 30-watt hailer.


 The waterproof unit has connections for two remote VHF stations using the CMP 25 RAM+ or VH-310 telephone style handsets. It is compatible with Standard Horizon’s FF520 black-box fishfinder, enabling split screen (chart/sonar) imagery on its 7-inch sunlight viewable color display.

Base price is $1,099.99. On the CP350, the VHF is an option. Price is $999. Both units are compatible with C-MAP MAX or NT+ cartography.


Maptech continues to develop its i3 touch-screen command center, adding a fishfinder with 3D color display ($1,199) to the navigation, radar, communications and weather features.

 Fish are displayed individually, sorted by size and grouped within Maptech’s 3D Contour Charts, which show bottom contours, shelves and structures in color gradations. The recently introduced Model 300 i3 (starting at $12,999) features such new options as pan/tilt video cameras ($1,499) and on-board entertainment ($499).


The new Chart Navigator Pro is designed for ease of use, with fewer keystrokes for functions, and comes with charts for the entire U.S. coast (free updates). NOAA charts (raster and vector), navigation and aerial photos, Contour 3D charts with GPS Planning and Cruising software, and Internet weather overlay are included. Price is $499.95.


The new CX NavStation Series multifunction units from Simrad offer the choice of WAAS-enabled GPS/chart plotter, sounder or radar — or any combination of the three — from one base.


 The Slimline color SunView Bonded LCD (available in three sizes) is designed to create an airtight bond with the screen, reducing glare, eliminating condensation and extending viewing angles.

With radar functions built in, a Simrad high-speed scanner of up to 12 kW is all that’s needed to add functionality. An upgrade card and choice of transducers is required for sounder functionality. The CX system is compatible with C-MAP MAX charts, and prices range from $2,520 to $6,995. Also, Simrad’s Virtual Feedback AP16 and AP25 autopilots have been approved for use with Mercury Verado 4-stroke outboards.


iGPS is the new line of combination sonar/chart plotters from Lowrance. The units feature a 5-inch (diagonal) color display, memory card (MMC or SD) slot with waterproof door, split-screen and overlay, and fast screen updates.

 The built-in WAAS-enabled GPS receiver/antenna saves space and makes installation easier. The LMS-334C has a 200 kHz Skimmer transducer (depths to 900 feet) with built-in temperature sensor and retails for $699.


The LMS-339C DF has a 50/200 kHz dual-frequency Skimmer transducer (depths to 2,500 feet) with temperature, speed and distance. It retails for $749. The units are also available as plotters only.

A single Navionics Platinum 2-GB plug-and-play card contains charts, cruising guides, satellite photography, panoramic port photographs, 3D bathymetric views, coastal piloting text guide, wreck database, coastal road networks, and enhanced port services. The new Platinum level is available for Navionics’ large XL3 charts, which combine three cartography zones. Price is $499.99. Navionics also recently released its Silver level of cartography, which features complete coverage for coastal areas of the contiguous United States and the Great Lakes on one plug-and-play card. Price is $129.


Uniden fills out its ES series of fixed-mount VHF radios with the UM625c. The compact radio has a 2.2-inch diagonal daylight viewable color display and features a built-in hailer with intercom, PA, preprogrammed fog signals; DSC polling capabilities; NOAA emergency/weather alert with SAME; programmable scan; and a speaker microphone with one-touch emergency 16/9 key and up/down channel select. The radio also accepts up to four of Uniden’s WHAMx4 wireless digital remotes. Price is $299.99.



 Version 8.0 of Nobeltec’s popular Visual Navigation Suite and Admiral navigation software incorporates such new features as multiple radar support, camera/video display (for up to four DirectX-enabled cameras), place/name search capability, DSC functionality, NOAA ENC support, GlassBridge Network support, and integrated SkyMate communication.

Price for VNS 8.0 is $489.99 ($149.99 for an upgrade from previous versions). Admiral 8.0 retails for $1,199.99 ($599.99 for an upgrade).


The combination of Raymarine’s E-Series multifunction navigation display (released last February) and Navionics Platinum cartography was awarded “best in show” at the National Marine Electronics Association’s annual convention. With Navionics Platinum charts the E-Series displays offer 3D views and aerial overlays ($3,200 for the 8.4-inch E80, $4,600 for the 12.1-inch E120). Also, Raymarine has expanded the functionality of its H6 integrated command center, adding multiple station capabilities, satellite communications interface, and a built-in uninterrupted power supply. Raymarine’s new A65 dual-function chart plotter/fishfinder incorporates the company’s patented High Definition Digital technology. The unit has a 6.5-inch sunlight-viewable color display and comes with a CompactFlash card with Navionics Silver cartography for the entire U.S. coast. Navionics XL3 Gold charts and Hot Maps are also compatible. The A65 incorporates a 12-channel RS12 satellite differential (WAAS) GPS sensor and DSM25 digital sounder. Price is $1,399. Raymarine’s new 45 STV satellite television system incorporates Dynamic Beam Tilting and Wide Range Search to locate satellites and track satellite signals while under way. Price is $5,395.


NavSim is launching the second version of its BoatCruiser GPS navigation software.

 The PC-based software comes loaded with a full region C-MAP Max chart and features a vessel trajectory simulation that factors in more than 70 parameters, including wind, tides and current.


In addition to seamless chart quilting, GPS and autopilot tracking, other features include AIS, fishfinder, ARPA/MARPA compatibility, and customizable screen displays. Price is $499.


Version 8 of The CAPN PC-based navigation software adds support for vector charts created from NOAA and NIMA sources, including SoftChart’s new vector CDs. A new standard feature is 3D Calypso (previously an option), a built-in module that reads National Ocean Service bathymetric survey data (provided free on selected SoftChart CDs) and displays position and depth information as color 3D ocean floor contour maps. Optional Nautilus 4D allows users to create bathymetric charts with a sounder. Other features include autopilot and video monitor compatibility, visual and audible alerts, seamless display, and an optional route-planning feature. The CAPN was recently chosen by the Coast Guard for use on its cutter fleet. Price is $429.


Northstar’s new flagship 8000i is an integrated navigation/entertainment network system. Available with 12- or 15-inch displays, the 8000i incorporates infrared technology for touch-screen capability, and the PC-based black box system supports up to 20 sources, including chart plotter, radar, sounder, cameras and SmartCraft fuel/engine management.


 Digital music and movies/video can be loaded on the hard drive, and a fast processor allows instantaneous changing between screens and programs. The unit comes preloaded with C-MAP’s new Max PRO cartography with worldwide chart coverage.

Pricing, with GPS, starts at $5,500 for the 12-inch and $6,800 for the 15-inch.