Browsing: Electronics

Cruising Life
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“Best & Brightest” New Autopilots

Autopilots are becoming almost essential equipment on new cruising boats, but how to choose the right one? To help you out, the Marine Electronics Journal asked manufacturers to single out their Best & Brightest autopilots for review. These are not necessarily the latest models, or those with the most features, but ones that are the most popular or technologically advanced. Here are the replies from Garmin, Simrad, Raymarine, ComNav, Furuno, Octopus, SI-TEX, and B&G: Garmin’s Reactor 40 hydraulic autopilot (pictured at top) keeps you on course at cruising speeds, minimizes heading error, reduces power consumption and more, so you can…

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ACR Launches Small Bivy Stick Sat-Comm Device

ACR just launched its new Bivy Stick, the world’s smallest two-way satellite messenger and app. The Bivy Stick works anywhere with a view of the sky, with 100 percent global satellite coverage, and it measures just 4.5 inches by 1.8 inches. It weighs only 3.5 ounces. Built to be used whether you’re out on a day cruise around a lake or on an ocean voyage, the Bivy Stick lets you send messages, track and share your location, access GPS maps, view live weather forecasts, and place an emergency SOS call. The Bivy Stick has a high-power antenna for reliable connections…

Cruising Life
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KVH Launches New, Faster, Mobile Connections

Here’s some good news from KVH for better and faster cell service wherever you’re cruising this summer, including up to 20 miles offshore. KVH just introduced its TracPhone LTE-1 Global, a compact new antenna based on LTE advanced cell technology that extends the range for mobile connections in more than 150 countries around the world. The new LTE-1 Global is faster than the previous 4G LTE and includes a high-gain dual antenna array, a modem, GPS, and Wi-Fi router in the dome. This means you can surf the web, hold video conferences, post on social media, enjoy streaming video and…

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Garmin Making New GPS-Based Marine Compass

Garmin just announced that it’s offering a new marine satellite compass to help make navigation safer and more accurate. The new MSC 10 has multi-band GNSS and a fully integrated attitude and reference system to provide accurate heading and position information. Garmin says the MSC 10 provides precise positioning and heading accuracy within 2 degrees. The system is based on information from GPS, so it will not be affected by any magnetic interference. “An advanced navigation tool, the GPS-based MSC 10 won’t be impacted by magnetic interference, so even in challenging situations, you’ll know exactly where you’re headed,” said Dan…

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Garmin OnDeck: Stay Connected to Your Boat

Garmin has launched a new remote OnDeck system that keeps you connected to your boat, no matter where you are. OnDeck lets you track, monitor and control (via up to five switches) what’s happening to your boat. “OnDeck is a comprehensive vessel monitoring and management tool designed to deliver important information about your boat directly to your fingertips, so you’ll always know that it’s safe, secure and ready for your next adventure,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin VP of global consumer sales. Is your bilge pump running, and running and running? You’d certainly want to know. Has your boat moved, and…

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How To Get Your VHF Ready for the Season

Here’s some timely advice from BoatUS about how to get your VHF ready for the season: ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 23, 2021 – In recreational boating, cellphones are just fine for routine communications. So why do you need a VHF radio – either a handheld or fixed mount – on your boat? Because in an emergency it’s the only thing that can directly connect you to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system, giving you access to high-tech emergency response and Digital Selective Calling (DSC) capabilities that can hasten your rescue. All you have to do now is to ensure VHF…

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New ICOM VHF: First Handheld with AIS

ICOM just launched its new breakthrough IC-M94D handheld VHF, the first in the world with built-in AIS. Combined with DSC (Distress Signal Calling), AIS (Automatic Identification System) is a boon to boating safety and secure navigation. Until now, AIS was limited to larger VHF units and helm-mounted display screens. With the new Icom, you can have all the safety and communications features (receive only) of AIS in the palm of your hand. You can use it on a smaller boat, a dink or simply as a back-up system on a larger vessel. The M94D is a significant VHF even without…

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Meet Orca, Your New Marine Co-Pilot

Orca, a brand-new Norwegian startup, just introduced its new wireless navigation system that is designed to become your “marine co-pilot.” A combination of hardware and software, Orca is organized around a built-from-scratch interface that is meant to make your cruising life safer, easier and more up-to-date. Orca’s founders say they started with a blank slate to rethink the entire design of marine electronics, looking for an iPhone moment. They ended up with a system that includes a rugged tablet from Samsung, a mounting arm, an interface for quick attachment and charging, and an Orca Core computing base unit that connects…

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Is Our GPS System Too Vulnerable?

What would happen if your GPS went down? I don’t mean just the GPS on the chartplotter on your boat, or on your smartphone, or on your tablet, or even on your fitness watch. I mean the entire system. What would happen? Total chaos. Much of our infrastructure and our national defense is based on GPS. Forget about autonomous trucks on the interstate, or getting your next delivery from Amazon. GPS has become an unseen, but invaluable, part of our daily life. The problem is, at least according to this thought-provoking story in The New York Times, it’s too vulnerable.…

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Iridium Launches First World-Wide Marine Distress Service

Iridium just launched the first world-wide, real-time emergency marine distress service. The new Iridium Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) started last week; it is the first immediate response and rescue service that works anywhere in the world, even in the Arctic and Antarctic. At a virtual press conference from its headquarters in McLean, Virginia, Iridium officials said the new service can provide life-saving help to mariners at sea. “This is a historic moment in both the satellite and maritime industries,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “It is not every day that you get to announce the launch of…

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