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Hot products from the top electronics makers

The 4000 Series is Garmin’s new flagship line of multifunction displays, featuring a redesigned flat-screen look and revamped user interface designed to be more intuitive, according to the company. Optional BlueChart g2 Vision includes high-resolution photo-mapping, 3-D views above and below the waterline, and auto-guidance technology that suggests the best route for a passage. All chart plotters

come loaded with an enhanced worldwide satellite imagery base map to complement the standard vector charts. The line includes the GPSmap 4012 (12.1-inch, $2,559.99) and 4008 (8.4-inch, $2,026.66); the GPSmap 4212 (12.1-inch, $2,666.66) and 4208 (8.4-inch, $2,133.32) come preloaded with detailed U.S. coastal charts, as well as data for the Bahamas. Garmin’s new three-model GPSmap 5x5 Series comes loaded with charts and features sonar capability. The three-model GPSmap 5x0 Series and 4x0 Series are tailored for smaller boats and are marketed as value units. A new fishfinder, the 400C, has a 4-inch QVGA sunlight-viewable display and retails for $342.85. The new 4 kW GMR 18 radar ($999) is an 18-inch radome model that offers a range of 36 nautical miles. Last summer, Garmin introduced two open array radars with 4- and 6-foot antennas and a maximum range of 72 nautical miles: The GMR 404 retails for $3,599.99, and the 406 sells for $4,399.99.

Raymarine’s new G-Series multipurpose displays — the 17-inch G170 and 19-inch G190 — feature anti-reflective filters and impact-resistant glass fascia that is bonded to the LCD for improved contrast and to prevent condensation. Up to nine video inputs can be plugged into the displays, with direct access keys for each input source. The displays feature an on-screen display menu for advanced management of inputs and picture-in-picture capability. Owners of Raymarine’s E-Series system can use the display as a large remote station with the company’s SeaTalk2 high-speed network protocol. The G170 sells for $8,995, the G190 for $11,995.

Following last year’s introduction of the 18-inch (dome) 45 STV satellite TV system, Raymarine unveils the larger 24-inch 60 STV. Features include high-definition capability, dynamic beam tilting, wide range search and enhanced signal reception. DirectTV’s HD programming packages are expected to be added to both systems this year. The 60 STV has a suggested retail price of $7,895.

Lastly, RayTech RNS 6.0 navigation software, named best in show by the National Marine Electronics Association, is now available. An at-home planning feature has been added to the software, first introduced in 2000. The full version of RayTech RNS 6.0 retails for $699; upgrading to the new version from 5.0 costs $199.

Icom is touting its new M34 as the world’s first floating hand-held marine VHF radio. Unlike the other units in Icom’s line, which have one-piece aluminum chassis, the radio is constructed of high-strength polymers. At press time, Icom had tested an M34 floating for a month and reported it was still operational. The Li-Ion battery powers the radio for a reported 10 hours of typical use on a single charge. A three-year waterproof warranty comes with the $180 radio.

Icom has introduced its most powerful hand-held VHF, the 6-watt (transmission power) M72. The radio’s “submersible plus” (IP-X8) rating is the company’s first. A price has yet to be determined. The new M304 submersible fixed-mount VHF is built with a one-piece, die-cast aluminum chassis. Price is $200. Lastly, Icom’s M504 was recently named the top communications product by the National Marine Electronics Association.

Simrad’s new GB60 Glass Bridge system allows the configuration of more than 12 monitors for displaying and controlling such functions as advanced charting, radar, 3-D bottom imaging, video and more. Designed for motoryachts and cruising sailboats (about 45 feet and up), the GB60 features a dual processor “black box,” and each monitor can be configured for six preset views of the black box data. The charts, radar, 3-D sounder imagery and video can be displayed on 12-, 15- or 19-inch monitors. Vector charts and satellite/aerial photos can be displayed side-by-side, and a 3-D Generator allows a three-dimensional bottom image to be overlaid with a Passport World Chart. Up to two RA60 radars can be controlled from each black box, and radar overlay can incorporate targets, charts, depth soundings, channel boundaries, markers, obstacles and bridges. A basic, full-function GB60 system with one 19-inch display starts at about $25,000.

In other Simrad news, the RemoteCommander, which provides wireless control of a full electronics suite from anywhere on board, won an Innovation Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Suggested retail price is $965.

The Navman brand is disappearing in the United States and the products will be marketed under the Northstar name. (The line will still be sold as Navman outside of North America.) Northstar and Navman are owned by Brunswick New Technologies Marine Electronics, which had marketed them as complementary brands, with Navman considered an entry-level line. The products from both lines had been manufactured in New Zealand for the past several years. Also, parent company Brunswick Corp. last spring announced its intent to sell the Brunswick New Technologies division.

Navman’s top-of-the-line non-networked multifunction displays, introduced a year ago, are now the Northstar M-Series, while the rest of the Navman line is now being marketed as the Northstar Explorer series. All Navman warranties reportedly will be honored by Northstar. The M-Series displays are available in two sizes — the M84 (8.4-inch, $1,699.95) and the M121 (12-inch, $2,199.95) — and feature chart plotter, sonar and video capabilities, support for the Automatic Identification System, compatibility with Northstar’s recently introduced High Definition Digital Radar, built-in SmartCraft capabilities, and a digital fuel computer for gas engines. The M-Series comes with a differential GPS and sounder as standard equipment.

The Explorer Series includes 27 products — combination units, chart plotters, sounders, VHF radios, an autopilot, instruments and fuel computers. Key features include AIS support, SmartCraft integration and C-MAP NT MAX compatibility. Three combo units — 660, $1,249.95; 657, $749.95; and 650, $649.95 — feature high-resolution color screens, external GPS antenna, and 600-watt dual frequency 200/50 kHz sounder. Six color chart plotters — from the Explorer 538 to the 567 — range in price from $399.95 to $799.95 and in three sizes (3.8 inches, 5 inches and 6.4 inches). The Explorer line also includes four color fishfinders as well as four grayscale models. The color displays range from $249.95 to $799.95, the grayscale models from $119.95 to $229.95.

Two fixed-mount DSC VHF radios, the 710 and 721, are priced at $149.95 and $224.95, respectively. Rounding out the Explorer line is the 338 autopilot ($699.95), and a series of six 4-inch-square and two 2-inch-round instruments for displaying such vessel information as depth, speed, wind and fuel. Price range is $109.95 to $629.95.

Northstar’s flagship integrated navigation/entertainment network system, the 8000i, hit the market in November, and the company says it has added Sirius (satellite) Marine Weather to its 6100i system, with plans to expand the service to other products.

Furuno is adding Sirius (satellite) marine weather to its NavNet vx2 system. The continually updated weather information can be overlaid on C-MAP MAX charts, and additional features include NOWRad high-resolution weather radar imagery and high-resolution sea surface temperature images. Also, Furuno has coupled its RD30 Nav Data Repeater with Airmar’s PB100 electronic weather station to display weather data on a 4.5-inch Silver Bright LCD. The PB100 sells for $995. Other recent additions to the line include the FR8002 series radar ($8,520 to $10,920) and fishfinders, the 620 ($895) and the FCV585 ($1,495). The 585 was voted best fishfinder by the National Marine Electronics Association.

Standard Horizon has introduced three new WAAS GPS chart plotters and a hand-held VHF. The CPV550 ($2,299.99) combination chart plotter features a 12-inch sunlight viewable LCD, integrated Class D 25-watt DSC VHF, and an optional FF520 fishfinder that connects to the display, which offers split-screen capability. The CP500 plotter ($1,999.99) features a 12-inch sunlight viewable TFT display and can be connected to a compatible Standard Horizon DSC VHF for distress and position polling functions. The CP300 and 300i plotters ($899.99 and $849.99) feature 7-inch sunlight-viewable displays and also can be connected to a compatible DSC VHF. The CP300i comes with an integrated WAAS GPS antenna.

The HX500S 5-watt hand-held VHF is designed to be rugged and submersible, and includes a high-capacity non-memory 1,400 mAh nickel metal hydride battery and AC/DC charger with drop-in cradle. The radio features NOAA weather channels with weather alert, dual-watch and tri-watch channel monitoring, programmable and priority scanning, and a bright LED distress strobe that blinks the internationally recognized signal for SOS. Price is $149.99.

Si-Tex offers three new charting systems, a sonar and a fixed-mount VHF radio. The three ColorMax charting systems all feature an external 18-channel WAAS GPS receiver, color LCD, NMEA 0183 ports, and are C-MAP MAX compatible. The ColorMax Pro ($2,399) features a 10.4-inch high-resolution color daylight-viewable LCD, split-screen capability and two video ports. With options, the unit is expandable to an all-in-one GPS charting/fishfinder/radar unit. The ColorMax Sea Link ($1,299) features a 7-inch color active-matrix daylight-viewable LCD. The ColorMax 5 ($699) features a 5-inch color active-matrix daylight-viewable LCD.

The ESR-140 color LCD Searchlight Sonar ($7,999) features a high-resolution 10.4-inch Color TFT LCD. The compact soundome (4-inch hull tube) houses a transducer that emits a high-speed sonar beam that scans sectors horizontally and vertically to search up to a 360-degree area around the vessel. The sonar features 800-watt power output, 200 kHz frequency operation, and scanning ranges from 0 to 1,000 feet.

The DSC-900 waterproof fixed-mount DSC VHF radio features 25 watts of transmitting power, three scanning modes, NOAA weather alert and supports distress, all ship’s and individual DSC emergency calls. Price is $159.

Lowrance has added an internal WAAS GPS receiver/antenna to its larger LCX and LMS series sonar/chart plotters and GlobalMap stand-alone plotters. The addition applies to 20 models, all with color displays 5 inches or larger. The new models now have “iGPS” incorporated into their names and range in price from $549 to $2,449.

Performance enhancements include NMEA 2000 Molex micro C connectors; a five-pin Ethernet expansion port for radar, video and satellite radio; and two RS-232 ports for NMEA 0183 communications for autopilots, DSC and other add-ons. The LCX and GlobalMap units have 30 GB hard drives (up from 20 GB). An 8.4-inch Super VGA display complements the 7- and 10.4-inch displays for the LCX and GlobalMap models.

Interphase Technologies has introduced four “Radar Engines” that work with its Chart Master GPS displays and complement its black box fishfinder. The Radar Engines, known as the RE-Series, all have a vertical beamwidth of 25 degrees to help compensate for vessel pitch and roll in rough weather. The RE-1 ($1,699) is for smaller vessels, sailboats with arches or stern-mounted radar masts, and for use as backup radar on larger boats. Its 12-inch 2 kW radome will show targets up to 24 miles with a horizontal beamwidth of 7 degrees. The RE-8 ($1,999) is for midsize power- and sailboats and features a 20-inch 2 kW radome, delivering a 4.7-degree horizontal beamwidth and a range of up to 24 miles. The RE-9 ($2,899) features a 23.5-inch 4 kW radome and has a range of 36 nautical miles and a horizontal beamwidth of 4 degrees. The RE-10, available with either a 3.5-foot ($4,799) or 4.5-foot ($4,899) open array, sports a 4 kW transmitter for a range to 48 nautical miles. The 3.5-foot version has a 2.4-degree horizontal beamwidth, the 4.5-foot version a 1.7-degree.

Cobra Marine has added a fixed-mount and a hand-held VHF to its line, with plans for more products to be announced at the Miami International Boat Show (Feb. 15 to 19). The MR F75 is a dual-power (1 or 25 watts) fixed-mount DSC VHF that includes DSC call waiting, GPS interface, weather alert, tri-watch channel monitoring, memory scan, and PA capability. The radio, which retails for $219.95, meets JIS7 submersible standards (30 minutes at three feet). The MR HH400 XVP dual-power (1 or 5 watts) hand-held features a signal strength meter, illuminated function keys and LCD, weather alert, 10-channel memory, tri-watch channel monitoring, channel scan and memory scan. A battery tray allows its six 2,100 mAh AA NiMH batteries to be recharged inside the unit. The radio, which retails for $169.95, also meets JIS7 submersible standards.

Navionics’ new XL9 size Gold+ charts allow complete U.S. coverage on three cards. The new charts provide more than three times the coverage of the XL3 size and feature the same level of detail and accuracy. Designed for long-range cruisers, the XL9 charts are priced at $199, the same as XL3 charts.

Navionics says a “recent and dramatic” decrease in the cost of digital media cards has allowed it to reduce the cost of its charts. Navionics Platinum Charts, which include such advanced features as panoramic port photography, top-down photo/chart overlay, and 3-D bathymetric views, have been reduced 40 percent in price, from $499 to $299. Classic L Charts, used in many earlier-model chart plotters, and HotMaps Premium Lake Maps have been reduced 33 percent, from $149 to $99. For its freshwater cartography line, Navionics has added HotMaps Platinum, which provide 3-D lake bottom views and are priced at $299.

C-MAP’s MAX Pro charts are now standard with Northstar’s 8000i touch-screen navigation/entertainment system and will become available in other PC navigation software packages. MAX Pro features 3D virtual earth displays, satellite image overlay, and real-time updating and weather forecasting. More than 20,000 charts come loaded on the 8000i. Large cruising areas can be unlocked for $499, and smaller areas are available at $349. MAX Pro comes with a free one-year online chart-updating subscription to Coast Guard Notice to Mariners changes. Also new from C-MAP are MAX bathymetric charts (compatible with Furuno, Simrad, Navman, Standard Horizon, Si-Tex, Cobra and Interphase Technologies chart plotters). The 32 levels of color are said to produce the highest degree of bottom detail ever by C-MAP charts. Features include current predictions, flashing nav aids and aerial photos of select harbors and inlets, in addition to fishing spots popular with area anglers. Also, C-MAP has updated its library of NT+ bathymetric charts. The new MAX and updated NT+ bathymetric cards are priced at $

Humminbird has introduced its first line of chart plotters. The Navionics-compatible 955c, 785c and 755c all feature color displays, 16-channel WAAS GPS, and can link with any Humminbird fishfinder or combo unit. The top-of-the-line 955c ($1,199.99) features an 8-inch wide-format display designed for split-screen viewing. The 755c ($449.99) and 785c ($549.99) both feature 5-inch displays, the latter offering higher resolution. Humminbird also has upgraded its 900 Series fishing system with larger displays, more powerful microprocessors, and exclusive sonar technology. The four units in the series range in price from $999 to $2,199.

Fugawi’s new Marine ENC version 4.10 software is now fully compatible with existing Navionics Gold+, Gold, Silver and HotMaps charts. (Compatibility with Navionics Platinum charts is in the works, according to Fugawi). The software enables the use of a PC at the helm or below deck for planning, navigating and monitoring trips using the same cartography installed in Navionics-supported chart plotters — a first for Navionics. Fugawi Marine ENC 4.10 is priced at $219.95; version 4.0 users can upgrade for $79.

Maptech continues to add options and features to its i3 all-in-one, touch-screen command center. XM WX satellite weather adds continuously updated weather information, including NEXRAD, surface analysis, buoy data, lightning, storm tracks and forecasts. The XM WX option costs $1,299, plus a monthly subscription fee ranging from $29.99 to $49.99. New features of the i3 (base price $12,999) include engine data (temperature, fuel level, battery charge, burn rate, speed and mileage, etc.) that can be presented on the display, a Trip Computer that shows a bar graph of how far the present fuel supply will take a vessel, based on course and speed, and AIS support. Also new is home-based trip-planning software and charts on DVD, with a USB thumb drive for transferring to the boat. Lastly, a new “Red Carpet Orientation” provides new i3 users with two hours of instruction aboard their boats.

Jeppesen Marine has released version 9 of its Nobeltec Admiral and Visual Navigation Suite software. Features of VNS version 9 include real-time tracking, AIS target tracking, and seamless chart quilting and rotation, as well as a customizable NavInfo panel for display and histogram representation of navigation data, a hand-panning tool, GRIB weather overlay, and a GPS signal strength and trip odometer display. It also serves as the launch platform for sounder and radar integration and new Plus Pack add-ons. Admiral version 9 includes the new VNS features as well as multimonitor support, GlassBridge Network and data sharing, track-line coloring, dual radar support, vessel scaling, AIS filtering, four NavInfo panels, GRIB and XM WX weather overlay and a NavView touch-screen user interface. Admiral software sells for $1,200, VNS for $490. A limited-time offer allows users of VNS 5 or higher to upgrade to version 9 for $130, while Admiral 6.5 or later users can upgrade to version 9 for $280.