The new Vesper Cortex smart VHF is much more than just one more marine radio. It’s the first with high-speed AIS transponder technology, making your boat visible to others, and it’s also a major safety device, alerting you to potential collisions, providing an anchor watch, and giving you the security of a sophisticated man-overboard system.
A New Zealand company, Vesper Marine developed the Cortex with wireless touchscreen handsets working with a mounted NMEA 2000-enabled mounted hub; it can work with up to ten tethered or portable rechargeable handsets, so you and your crew can use them from anywhere on the boat.
The Vesper continuously monitors threats from other AIS-equipped vessels, and lets you place a direct DSC call by touching the image of the boat you want to contact on the screen and then pressing the “call” button. Its built-in sensor tells other boats your location and heading.
For its MOB function, the Vesper sounds an alarm and gives continuous updates on the location, bearing and range of the man overboard, with voice alerts that escalate until you acknowledge them. It uses low power, and provides alerts even if your MFD or smartphone is turned off. It lets you monitor the anchor watch remotely.
The Vesper has a four-inch touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass for strength. It’s optically refined to provide easy viewing even at a wide angle or in bright sunlight.
The system comes with a free monitoring package with sensors to keep track of your boat’s power, bilge and depth on smartphones. You can upgrade to a Cortex Monitor Premium package to receive real-time vessel status and alert notifications; you also can control some systems (the fridge or heater, for example) when you’re away from the boat.
The Vesper Cortex starts at about $1,850. Read more: