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New electronic wizardry for your boat

As the pandemic continues to complicate lives nationwide, we’re hearing encouraging reports that boaters in some areas are spending more time on the water than usual. The reason is obvious—you’re outside in fresh air with a lot of control over who’s sharing your space. To celebrate the pleasures of boating-and to ring in summer-here’s a look at a half-dozen new electronics products that could make that time with family and friends even safer and more fun.

Marine PC delivers on nav, entertainment and more

Digital Yacht has launched a new marine PC designed specifically for onboard navigation, entertainment and office tasks. The latest DC-powered, Aqua Compact Pro+ utilizes Intel’s 10th generation i7 processor. It has a large, rugged, solid-state hard drive (480GB) and 8GB of fast DDR4 RAM and can support up to three displays. Despite the powerful new processor, average power consumption is only around 25 watts.

PCs have found markets in ocean cruising and offshore racing where users want advanced navigation software or multiple chart systems, weather overlays and routing. They are also popular in commercial fishing, where professional mariners want charting, radar and bathymetry/sonar overlays, which demand fast 3D graphics. The Aqua Compact Pro+ has been optimized for Maxsea TimeZero and Adrena systems.
There’s a built-in SD card slot that is ideal for use with Digital Yacht's SmarterTrack navigation software, which can accept plug-in Navionics charting cards. Network connectivity is provided by a wired gigabit port as well as the latest AX200 WiFi card, which supports 802.11ax protocols (2.4 and 5GHz with up to 3x bandwidth) and has built-in Bluetooth 5 for easy connectivity. There’s a USB interface option for NMEA 2000 systems using the Digital Yacht iKonvert gateway.

Garmin rolls out Apollo audio system enhancements

Garmin has expanded its Fusion-branded Apollo Series with the introduction of the Apollo WB670 premium hideaway system and the Apollo ERX400 wired remote.

The WB670 eliminates the need for a stereo to be present on the dash, while the ERX400 offers users complete audio entertainment control with an all-new intuitive user experience, and an ultra-compact design that can be mounted in convenient places around the boat.

A powerful extension of the Apollo Series, the WB670 inherits the key audio innovations from the Apollo RA670, but in a compact, space-saving form that can be hidden away behind the dash or mounted in a variety of locations like storage lockers, inside of the helm console or a glovebox compartment, and controlled through a compatible multifunction display (MFD) via NMEA 2000 or Ethernet.

Like all Apollo Series stereos, the WB670 includes Fusion’s Digital Signal Processing Technology (DSP) that enables the optimization of Fusion speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers in each audio zone on the boat. With a few clicks via the free Fusion-Link app, you can set up the preconfigured DSP profile to play custom high-quality audio. It also features Fusion’s PartyBus network capabilities, which give boaters the freedom of musical choice across the entire boat, especially when there are multiple PartyBus-enabled stereo options onboard.

The ERX400 with Ethernet connectivity allows users to add full control of their audio entertainment to any zone on board and across multiple Apollo Series stereos. It has a 2.7-inch optically bonded, full-color LCD display that can be mounted with a conventional flush finish or integrated into the helm with a flat finish.

Navionics adds high-resolution relief shading

High-resolution relief shading is now available for Navionics Platinum+ marine charts and HotMaps Platinum lake maps, as well as on the Navionics mobile Boating app, for US coastal waters and more than 150 lakes. Platinum products and the mobile Boating app will also feature updated SonarChart Shading and improved satellite imagery.

Relief shading, created from multibeam surveys and high-definition data, provides a multidimensional illustration of bottom topography, which can reveal hidden fish-holding formations and diving locations. Navionics customers can enjoy high-resolution relief shading by downloading the chart content to Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum chart cards for compatible chartplotter systems. The rich color and shadow of relief shading cartography is also available in a subscription to the Navionics mobile Boating app.

Updated SonarChart Shading features expanded coverage and improved satellite imagery. This is the first update since this exclusive Navionics content was launched in 2019. The overlay coverage combines satellite imagery with detailed renderings of bottom structure, based on SonarChart 1-foot bathymetry data, to reveal visual cues of underwater topography at a glance for the ultimate situational awareness.

Compact EPIRB operates on multiple sat systems

Ocean Signal is offering what it says is the world’s most compact Category 1 (auto-deploy) Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacon, the SafeSea EPIRB1 Pro that is 30% smaller than other EPIRBs and has a 10-year battery life. It weighs 14.9 ounces and measures 7 inches high by 3.5 inches wide.

The EPIRB is designed to release automatically once submerged in water and float free from a sinking vessel. When floating on the surface, it transmits the boat’s distress message to alert rescue authorities.

The SafeSea EPIRB1 Pro operates on the three Cospas-Sarsat satellite systems including the new MEOSAR, ensuring they will offer the near instantaneous signal detection and transmission enabled by the global MEOSAR satellites and upgraded ground-station components. Using the next-gen network, anyone activating an EPIRB1 Pro can expect their beacon to be located within 100 meters (328 feet), 95% of the time, within 5 minutes of the distress signal. The new EPIRB1 Pro incorporates a state-of-the-art 66 channel GPS receiver for faster location and improved accuracy.

Standard Horizon GX2400B Matrix handles several functions

Standard Horizon has announced the availability of its GX2400B Matrix VHF/GPS/AIS/NMEA 2000 radiotelephone.

The integrated NMEA 2000 interface supports navigation, GPS, AIS and DSC functions. Simply plug the NMEA 2000 into your existing network to complement your system with full VHF and DSC features. You can wirelessly control all radio functions of the GX2400 with the interface of the RAM4X wireless remote access microphone. Using the SCU-30 wireless access point plugged into the back of the radio, you have the capability of syncing up to 4 RAM4X units. With an operating range of up to 65 feet, the RAM4X allows you to control all radio functions including DSC Calling, Position Polling, Group Calling and more.

The GX2400 Matrix displays AIS target information on the large front panel display. Having this information allows you to contact an AIS ship directly using DSC, shows your vessel’s position in relation to AIS targets and alerts you when an AIS ship may be approaching too close to your location via the Closest Point of Approach (CPA) Alarm.

It has a powerful 30-watt integrated PA system with loudhailer and listen-back capabilities. The internal 32 code voice scrambler is compatible with all Standard Horizon 4-code scramblers already in use. Simply select a channel to be scrambled then select a common code between the transmitting and receiving radios and your communications are secure.

Mast displays yield lots of data

Whether you’re a racer or bluewater cruiser, access to data is critical to maximize the performance of a sailboat. With Veratron's new NMEA 2000-compatible mast display units, it's easy to add one or three 7-inch AcquaLink TFT multifunction displays to a mast for use on a NMEA 2000-wired yacht, where helmsman and crew can all see. Each screen can display 16 data streams, assisting the racer/cruiser who has different information needs depending on how the boat is being used.

Full-color AcquaLink displays are designed for continual exposure in the harshest elements. A unique transmissive layer makes them readable in any condition, even direct sunlight. The units include capacity touch control or a NavControl can be added for remote cockpit control. The system automatically self-configures the TFT displays for mast display, making for easy installation.

The triple mast display model is made from carbon fiber and includes three 7-inch TFT screens that display horizontally. The single model is black powder-coated aluminum and secures one display vertically, with the look and feel of a smaller triple display. Both offer minimal installation depth, yet sufficient room for running rigging.

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