Panbo

Free Range Radar, Navico Broadband and Expedition

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 9, 2009
Expedition with Navico Broadband Radar.GIF

Excellent and surprising news, I think:  As of yesterday, the widely respected racing/navigation program Expedition supports Navico's Broadband Radar straight up, no Navico MFD required in the system unless you want one.  This means a lot for the serious racers who favor Expedition, and it may well mean a lot for the rest of us...

Here's Pyacht's Rob Emmet, who sent me the news:

Not sure if you're familiar with Nick White's nav software Expedition.  If you're not it is high end racing stuff that is getting better by the day.  Just about every grand prix racing yacht is using it these days.

The idea for integrating Simrad's BR24 into Expedition was hatched in an Annapolis bar during the boat show. A few non-disclosure agreements and two months later and the system is up and running. Screen shot from yesterday's testing on Annapolis City Dock attached. As background, the scanner was 2M off the water and the tuning was all factory default. As a racing navigator, I think this is huge. All the radar controls are built into Expedition. You get all the features of the BR24 like instant-on and very low amp draw right in the Navigator's hands. And I mean literally in the Navigator's hands on deck or on the rail because this all works with the Panasonic Toughbook wireless displays we're all using.

In fact, I am slightly familiar with Expedition as Gram Schweikert is another fan, and I saw him use it along with the SailDocs data he once tutored us about to do some amazingly detailed routing en route from Bermuda in 2007 (photo below).  And I dare say Expedition will be heavy use when Visions of Joanna departs Ecuador for the great Pacific sat comms test.  The fact that I haven't written about Expedition before was a gross oversight, but one I'm going to take care of as I now have a licensed copy to check out myself.  I'm impressed that it not only supports Broadband Radar, but also direct NMEA 2000 data, AIS included, via the Actisense NGT-1 Third Party Gateway.  I was also glad to hear from Expedition developer Nick White that "there are plans for a simpler version with fewer exotic data, analysis and instrument options."

But there's a much bigger picture here.  If Navico is willing to open Broadband Radar up to Expedition users, no strings attached, isn't it likely that it's also sharing the SDK with other developers, like maybe Rosepoint Navigation?  I don't know that for a fact, but wouldn't it add a significant feature to the BR24, and actually to other Navico products like the new NSE MFD series?  Yesterday I was out testing the latest revision of the NSE12, along with the BR24, N2K AIS and more (sadly the last Gizmo cruise of 2009).  I can tell you that the system is really coming together (which I'll detail in a future entry). 
   But, wow, doesn't this news mean that I might be able to easily and fully integrate in a lower station PC running Expedition, or maybe Coastal Explorer, or MacENC, or whatever...using just Ethernet and N2K cables, and able to keep on running even if the NSE crapped out?  And isn't this a shot across the bow of Furuno/MaxSea with their powerful but less open MFD/PC integration architecture (discussed at length recently)?


Expedition_on_VoJ_cPanbo.JPG

Comments

The best software out there keeps getting better. The developer of Expedition really knows sailing and is an excellent engineer. I expect Expedition to keep adding features no one else can touch for years to come.

Posted by: ems at December 9, 2009 10:10 AM | Reply

We live in interesting times. I'm in the market for broadband, low-draw radar in the next two years, and my goal is to have a small display at the outside helm and a laptop in the pilothouse for primary navigation. I would always have a stand-alone radar display at the inside helm, but can see the value in radar overlay.

How I will switch or integrate between inputs like radar and/or AIS over electronic chart, or depth readings is still an open question, but I haven't been happy with the "all or nothing" offerings by some of the larger vendors.

This looks promising. I'm a former club racer who likes to cruise "efficiently", and so nav software aimed at racers would actually intrigue me.

Posted by: Marc Dacey at December 9, 2009 10:23 AM | Reply

Marc, It seems like you're going to get some choices that fit your desires, but there are some details I'm still unclear about.

For instance, I'm not yet sure that Expedition can display/control a BR24 simultaneously with a Lowrance HDS or Simrad NSE. There's also a small issue with Ethernet connectors. The BR24 cable has a standard RJ45 plug, which makes it easy to get from there to a PC using a switch or crossover cable. But the Navico MFDs use a proprietary Ethernet connector that usually plugs into the (optional) BR24 connector box. But it may be fairly easy to chop off a Navico Ethernet cable and crimp an RJ45 on one end (anyone know?).

Finally, there's the weird fact that I had to connect a fast heading source to the comms port on that connector box, using a special AT10-type converter, in order to get the NSE to do MARPA, even though the very same heading device was already connected to the NSE via NMEA 2000. I don't understand that, and welcome explanations.

At any rate, connector box and cable photos here:
http://www.panbo.com/archives/2009/06/broadband_radar_now_shipping_installs_neatly.html

Posted by: Ben at December 9, 2009 11:11 AM | Reply

This is indeed extremely exciting news much more for what it means industry wide than the implementation in what appears to be a very well developed single product. I was happy to see Rosepoint add radar support to their product using the Koden radar products but also a little hesitant. Are the Koden products being developed at the same pace as the Ray, Furuno, Garmin and Navico units? Can they possibly keep up with the pace of technological advance we're seeing right now? When will Koden (or for that matter any other vendor) offer a 'broadband' product. If Navico will make available the API and interconnection information to third parties and allow the use of their radar product without their MFDs the landscape is much more open.

The question now is aligning competing interests. Is Rosepoint interested in implementing this technology? Or do they stand to gain more by selling their own Koden based product? The ability to choose radar vendors is a huge win as a consumer but in what is already a very small market it may prove to be more than the market can sustain.

It certainly will be interesting to watch
Ben

Posted by: HaveADay at December 9, 2009 11:16 AM | Reply

I was having a conversation with a fellow boater yesterday and he had been told from someone at Simrad that you CANNOT have a broadband radar and a normal x-band radar running on the same boat. How can that be safe??? What happens when the x-band radar on the boat 200 ft. away is transmitting??? Will it affect/nullify the data on your brand new broadband radar??? That really raised some red flags in my book. Can anyone confirm or deny these rumors??

Posted by: Yachtsmith at December 9, 2009 11:26 AM | Reply

The BR24 does have an issue with interference, but what you heard is quite exaggerated. I've got four radomes mounted on the test boat and the BR24 does show some spokey noise if one the magnetron radars is also running. But it doesn't ruin the display and it goes away almost entirely if you range way in on the BR, which is probably how you'd use two radars simultaneously. The BR24 also picks up occasional interference from radars on other boats, but it's just intermittent spokes. I think some of the screen shots in my comparison series show what I'm talking about:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2009/09/18_radomes_5_the_3nm_no-one-best-of_edition.html

Posted by: Ben at December 9, 2009 12:01 PM | Reply

Interference from a magnetron radar on your own boat aside, the interference from other boat's radars is a useful feature. It only appears when the two radars (yours and his) are pointing at each other. It shows as a line pointing at his radar, but for just a short time every once in a long while. This should not be a problem unless there are swarms of radars around you. It is a useful feature because it can point out other boats that may not even show up on your radar display. It's a radar detector feature.

Posted by: norse at December 9, 2009 12:47 PM | Reply

There is a new document (16 page PDF) on the Lowrance and Simrad websites called "Broadband Radar: The Essential Guide". Since Navico sells both broadband and pulse radars, they give a very fair comparison between the two. There is also a table of what you can expect to see at what distances.

Posted by: norse at December 9, 2009 12:56 PM | Reply

I would love to see a set of features that expedition support with the radar, or some kind of a more thorough walk through. If I could run proximity alarms and stuff off of a low powered netbook , which seems to draw less power, or at least similar power to a 8" MFD, but with higher resolution, this seems like a win/win.

Posted by: Lauren at December 9, 2009 1:51 PM | Reply

The Rosepoint Coastal Explorer beta forum is already starting to BUZZzzz with the NavicoExpedition news. As yet there is no response from 'the powers that be'.

Posted by: sailandoar at December 9, 2009 2:12 PM | Reply

We are a Navico/B&G-Simrad dealer and agent for Expedition, and as well are quite excited at the prospect of combining the BR24 with Expedition.

Regarding the MARPA issue, we confirm that even though the high speed HDG source may already be on the N2K network to which the NSE display is connected, the BR24 interface box, aside from being "networked" directly to the NSE display, must still also have a direct connection from one of the SimNet ports directly to that N2K/Simnet backbone, for MARPA operation. I can't speak to the design that necessitates this, as it seemed counter-intuitive to me as well, but it is inherent and required for this purpose.

We haven't yet explored the implication of BR24 to Expedition without the connection box.

Posted by: yachtSOFT at December 9, 2009 3:02 PM | Reply

Regarding Norse's reference to the Broadband Radar: Essential Guide - Here is the link below.
http://mediabase.edbasa.com/kunder/navico/lowrance/functions/getfile.php?object_id=navidoc~76097846&file=/images/TIBE/device/navico/library/navidoc/navidoc/navidoc/j2009/m11/t10/0003766_2.pdf&filename=BR-EssentialGuide_US.pdf&type=download

Here's the kicker, on pages 12 and 13, where it notes 'What The Press is Saying', my quote dwarf's Ben's! I can actually say "I'm bigger than Panbo." Take that one Benbo!

Posted by: Labozza at December 9, 2009 6:04 PM | Reply

Yeah, Labozza, but I'm only writer who's quoted twice (though that may have been an edit error ;-).

Overall, this an excellent brochure, informative and honest...but I do think the range tables are bit on the ideal conditions side.

Posted by: Ben at December 9, 2009 7:25 PM | Reply

Yeah Ben, I had noticed you had the plurality in quotations, and knowing Paul Comyns I'm sure it wasn't an editing era. Either way, what kills me is my quote being about as profound and insightful as stating that automobiles were a major advancement in transportation technology. A very well put together BR guide, I must say. Comyns will be missed.

Back to the subject at hand, you've noted that on Gizmo you've only experienced mild noise as a result of another magnetron driven scanner on your own vessel, and intermittent returns from other boats who are Txing. The question is, was that in heavy fog when EVERYBODY is using their radar? And at what wattage were their pulses being transmitted at? Are we talking little 1.5KW JRC domes or a 25W X band array? What I'm trying to figure out is FMCW's ability to produce a clear image when navigating through shipping lanes in busy harbors where different ships are blasting out pulses at variable timing along with variable power outputs. I know this isn't the thread for that question, but since it was brought up and Norseman suggested the utilitarian perspective of using those jagged lines of noise as a navigational aid, I figured I'd dig a bit deeper. Don't get me wrong, the BR24 truly is "a major advancement in radar technology," however it's limitations must also be known in order to better understand it's practicality.

Regarding the integration of the BR24 into the Expedition suite, I'm very excited to see two products from two outfits that really suit the same niche market be compatible. There is a huge number of navigators who rely almost exclusively on PC based navigation suites but have been without a viable cost effective solution.

To the question from HaveADay: As far as Koden goes and its integration to Rosepoint, Koden is also the manufacturing partner to Nobeltec's line of scanners that are compatible with their software. Koden actually private labeled the radar products for Northstar, Si-Tex, Simrad-Post-Anritsu, Standard Horizon, etc. JRC makes the majority of open array systems out there for almost every manufacturer, with Garmin and Furuno being exceptions. Both are heavy hitters when it comes to commercial grade radars, and while the Koden RadarPC lacks the 'HD' ability of other radars now on the market, the lack of DSP hardly diminishes the quality of what you see if you understand how to utilize gain controls.

Posted by: Labozza at December 9, 2009 8:02 PM | Reply

Um, yeah, I received a rather shall-we-say 'exasperated' note from Koden today. And maybe I have ignored the company some, for which I apologize. I don't know much about commercial level radars, and thus haven't written much about them, but I certainly don't question Koden's competitiveness in that realm.

However I do question the competitiveness of Koden's PC radomes. The 24" model retails for $3,495 from Rose Point, which is significantly more than the best all around radomes I tested this summer, the Furuno UHD and Raymarine HD. And they're sporting useful advanced features like independent dual ranges, automatic rotation speed control, and true echo trails. Plus superb target discrimination and noise rejection.

Rose Point is not selling the 18" Koden dome, and the one Nobeltec sells only ouputs 480 x 480 pixels and connects via RS 422. I don't know it's price, but doubt it's especially low.

As for interference, Chris, I'm not sure I can help you. We just don't have a lot of ships or big sport fishing boats up here. My impressions definitely include fog and lots of lobster boats and medium-size yachts running 2/4 kW radomes and 4/6 arrays, plus a few big ferries and megayachts, but that may not be the same as you're talking about.

Posted by: Ben at December 9, 2009 8:38 PM | Reply

I guess Ben actually makes a couple of the points I was trying to make about Koden's products. The underlying quality may well be very high, but the price points don't seem especially competitive and the feature set certainly isn't "sexy." The product design isn't nearly as compelling as any of the more consumer oriented competitors either. And I'd hate to admit it but we all care at least a little about the way technology as visible as radar is on our boats.

So yes, the Koden product may be quality but in summary it's kind of homely and tends not to match up too well on a feature list. I understand the underlying performance is solid but that appears to be an attribute shared with nearly every offering in the marketplace.

Ben

Posted by: HaveADay at December 9, 2009 10:09 PM | Reply

I'll give you that Ben, honestly, the Koden domes are junk for the price you pay, although the newer digital Si-Tex T900 series system is actually a great stand alone radar package. Koden's open array systems perform the way you would expect a tradition x-band array to perform, just without some of the bells and whistles we've seen with the latest Furuno and Raymarine scanners. That being said, the fact is that the general population now will be able to add a BR24 to their Expedition arsenal, like you said, at an affordable and practical price. I'm glad to hear that the BR24 worked well in the traffic you described, I guess it's going to take a trip down Hell Gate into the Harbor this spring to see how it handles the shipping lanes.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 9, 2009 11:02 PM | Reply

If there is too much interference, just turn on interference rejection. The interference pattern is so unnatural, it must be very easy to remove it with processing.

The n2k heading sensor connection for MARPA sounds like a bug that should be easy enough to fix, for Navico. The n2k connection works for radar overlay but not for marpa? odd.

In my opinion the biggest disadvantage of the BR24 is its size and weight, but that might not be a problem for everyone.

This is a great move. Congratulations to both Expedition and Navico!

Posted by: norse at December 10, 2009 3:17 AM | Reply

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-CEghUhn8M
This link is the video of Nobeltec-Koden 4kW Radome RADAR with chart overlay.

Posted by: Alex at December 10, 2009 3:40 AM | Reply

A few years ago, I purchased a professional version of Transas NaviSailor (1100 at that time) and continuously updated it to NS4000. NS is a quite expensive product, but the chart prices are very reasonable (including the updates). Although most people a sceptical to using normal laptops aboard, to this day I have never had any problems with the laptops the software runs on. Instead I enjoyed the advantage that I was able to upgrade the rather cheap laptops without losing my investment in the Transas software and the charts. Most importantly, the performance (handling, display and features) of the NaviSailor are by far outperforming all of these expensive Chart MFDs I have seen. With these advantages, I am happy to not to have the chart display in the wet cockpit, but at the desk only.

What holds true for NS should also be true for other software based solutions. Hence, I welcome any development to open up and extend these electronic platforms rather than closing down systems with proprietary, expensive and soon out-of-date display hardware.

Maybe, at some time we see an open standard allowing radar operation to be performed over plain Ethernet and TCP/IP, opening up radars to all innovations thinkable on the software side, the same way we have seen it with ECS like NS, Expedition, .......

Posted by: Peter at December 10, 2009 6:05 AM | Reply

Ben,

The MFD requirement vs stand-alone PC issue aside, how does Expedition compare against The new Maxsea Time Zero program? I would like to see a round-up comparison. My dealer said he has been very impressed with the new Maxsea program.

Tom

Posted by: Tom Becker at December 10, 2009 7:35 AM | Reply

Super Cool.

This is the best news all month! Now let's check if I can keep my investment in Nobeltec / C-Map Max Pro charts ...

Posted by: Kees at December 10, 2009 11:03 AM | Reply

It was my understanding that MARPA is only available with Northstar 8000i MFDs.

Has this changed with the introduction of Simrad NSE displays?

I can find no reference to MARPA in the publication mentioned above.

Am I missing something?

Posted by: Roger B at December 10, 2009 11:17 AM | Reply

The NSE definitely does MARPA, if you have a fast heading sensor wired into the BR24 connector box. I've tried it, though not enough to get a solid sense of how well it tracks.

Posted by: Ben at December 10, 2009 11:44 AM | Reply

"can keep my investment in Nobeltec / C-Map Max Pro charts ..."

Quick answer - no. As we understand it, the Max Pro format is the only c-map cartography Nobeltec will use. Expedition uses the more portable Max or NT formats.

Posted by: eric s at December 10, 2009 2:40 PM | Reply

Hello,

Exp supports MAX and NT+, but not the MAX Pro charts. It also support the various Bsb formats.

Possibly the next mainstream C-Map format will be the 4D a few display manufacturers are starting to support.

I looked at the MAX Pro system, but the charts are a lot more expensive. With the recent merge of Nobeltec and MaxSea, this may have been a wise choice.

Also, Exp doesn't do Marpa at this stage.

Nick

Posted by: Nick at December 10, 2009 4:40 PM | Reply

Hello again,

Sorry guys, but I have just been asked to remove the BR24 radar support from the web while they sort out pricing plans etc.

No idea on when/if it will be available again. Will keep you in the loop.

Nick

Posted by: Nick at December 10, 2009 8:13 PM | Reply

Apparently Navico was not fully prepared for the speed at which Nick can develop software; he mailed me that Navico has requested that Expedition delays support for the BR24 until they work out the pricing.

As to the chart situation -- I understand how it would not be economical for a small software development company to support any and all chart formats, and Expedition already does a better job than the competition here.

Maybe if Navico wants to step in and build competition for Furuno NN3D/MSTZ that the situation will improve -- I'm thinking Navico could offer some type of competitive upgrade programme?

I hope that Navico sees what a potential winner they have on their hands here. Besides dollars we're also talking the marketing opportunity for them to see their radar scanners (& nav systems) on high profile racing yachts (Volvo Ocean, Vendee Globe, etc...) as Expedition is sort of the "secret sauce" for those guys (and the only real competition to MaxSea.)

Posted by: Kees at December 11, 2009 3:10 AM | Reply

This is very interesting news. A couple of comments spring to mind.

Firstly it seems strange that Navico should integrate with Expedition prior to delivering integration with their own racing software - Deckman. Is this a sign that they are giving up on Deckman entirely? (development has been woefully slow)

Secondly, Expedition's primary market is high-end racing - a market where size and weight matters - the Navico Broadband radars are certainly not the featherweights of the radar world. However I like the idea of being able to plumb one in easily for delivery trips.

Posted by: Nat Ives at December 11, 2009 5:09 AM | Reply

Hi Nat,

Raymarine's lightest radome (RD218) is 7,5 kg.
Furuno's lightest radome (DRS2D) is 6,0 kg.
BR24 is 7,4 kg.

I admit there is a small difference when compared to the Furuno but it's not huge is it?

There's a difference in height so a BR24 will have more wind resistance.

Posted by: Kees at December 11, 2009 7:03 AM | Reply

Furuno claims that its DRS dome designs have notably reduced windage, and they've done wind tunnel tests to prove it. I had a link to the report once, but it isn't working anymore. Maybe Furuno can supply?

Posted by: Ben at December 11, 2009 7:36 AM | Reply

Here is an interesting test on wind resistance and performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1qirAe5Sdc

It's powerbaot related but still a valid concern.

Posted by: Arnie at December 11, 2009 7:38 AM | Reply

The new Furuno Navnet 3D DRS UHD Domes have a much broader upper radius and have a flat, V'ed design on the bottom. They actually generate some lift and have a much lower drag coefficient at the same time! This effectively acts to help unweight the DRS 18" 2.2kW and 24" 4kW domes in higher Apparent Winds. The broad upper radius on these new DRS domes was also increased as much as possible to assist in passing the jib during light wind tacking. We received complaints in Europe from competitor's customers because of their inverted designs that have sharper, tight radius top edges.
The testing in the youtube link...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1qirAe5Sdc (Thank you Arnie)
...was performed at the University of Washington Aeronautical laboratory two years ago.
Interestingly, we found that the new DRS 24" dome reduced drag by an equivalent of almost 1400 Watts(about 2hp) at a wind speed of 72 knots! At speeds of 35 knots, it was just over 400 watts equivalent power savings. The drag vs. power savings relationship is a logarithmic function of wind speed.
Our validity testing proves that even in light winds the new Navnet 3D DRS Domes have 10s to 100s of watts equivalent drag advantage over our older designs.
Naturally, we tested our main competitor's models as well to confirm we were on the right track.

Furuno Tech

Posted by: Furuno Tech at December 11, 2009 12:15 PM | Reply

After I wrote this entry I emailed Navico management with questions about how far they were willing to go in terms of freeing up Broadband Radar and maybe other of their innovative high bandwidth sensors. I should have asked the questions first!

Navico's official reply to my query is "no comment" but I'm beginning to realize -- largely based on Navico's request that Expedition withdraw BR24 support -- that this entry may be based to some degree on miscommunications. In other words, I may have established some expectations that aren't actually going to happen. I don't feel good about that.

But there is a story here, somewhere, and Navico assures me that I'll be the first to hear it, when they're ready. So please stay tuned.

Posted by: Ben at December 11, 2009 2:32 PM | Reply

Hello,

Yes, apologies about that. It seems there have been mis-communications within and with Navico.

Unfortunately, I suspect the project may not be viable from an end user point of view now.

However, as suggested above, it is just one small part of the radar spectrum and Exp does have support for all the Koden radar range.

Nick

Posted by: Nick at December 11, 2009 3:10 PM | Reply

I have the Koden 12kw open array radar as sold through Nobeltec and I am very happy with it. It has been (touch wood) absolutely reliable and the performance is very good. I am able to pick out small fishing boats from rocky shorelines, and can even discriminate individual boats at the marina.

Are the new HD radars a different scanning technology, or is it the same scanning technology with a digital signall processing algorithm added to it? Most PCs are fast enough to do DSP as a post processing step, so if that is a competitive disadvantage Koden could work with its VARs to add the feature.

Posted by: George R at December 14, 2009 2:35 AM | Reply

You should be able to with a 12kW radome!

Someone else can probably answer the HD question, but it is still just a radar.

The Koden radars are very good. They just don't push the leisure consumer channel as much as the Garmins or Raymarines of this world.

They do have a range of consumer radars (MDS1R, 8R, 9R & 10R) that connect directly to OEM displays. They are a lot cheaper than the other models. The 4kW dome is also a little smaller.

Quite why they have never pushed these into the retail market escapes me, but it is possibly due to a lack of retail channels that Garmin for example has.

Posted by: Nick at December 14, 2009 4:17 PM | Reply

Nick, do the Koden consumer radars you mentioned connect via Ethernet? Rose Point suggests that any Koden Ethernet radar should be compatible with Coastal Explorer Radar Edition. But I agree with the previous comments about the Kodens offered by RP and Nobeltec not being cost-competitive.

Posted by: Adam at December 14, 2009 6:25 PM | Reply

Hello,

Yes, these just have an ethernet cable from the radar. The other option Koden has is an interface box to connect any of their radars to a computer.

I don't know which ones Rose point uses - the image formats are slightly different. However, their web page at www.rosepointnav.com/radar/default.txt suggests they use the interface box.

I see Sitex OEMs these, but couldn't see a price.

www.si-tex.com/2009products_radarsensorseries.htm

The one downside is (I believe) that you can't connect a Koden display to the 1,8,9 & 10R models.

Posted by: Nick at December 14, 2009 8:10 PM | Reply

Adam,

I'm not familiar with the model numbers that Nick mentioned. As soon as it uses the MDS-5R or MDS-6R black box you're ok.

See this Koden leaflet: https://www.koden-electronics.co.jp/eng/marine/pdf/marine/mds50r63r-e.pdf

Posted by: Kees at December 15, 2009 3:50 AM | Reply

Koden makes several families of radar scanners for different applications and markets.
Most third party software developers (Nobeltec, Rosepoint, P-Sea Windplot) use our RADARpc product which in turn is a combination of our commercial RB series scanners (2 - 25 kW) and an MDS-5/6R Ethernet radar interface box: http://www.kodenamerica.com/marine-radar/radar-pc.html
Si-Tex and a number of other MFD manufacturers use our MDS1,8,9 radomes and the MDS10 open array that provide a serial connection to the MFD.
The MDS line has been updated recently to feature an Ethernet output straight of the dome, so these are now called MDS1R, 8R, 9R and 10R. Expedition is first among the PC software makers to offer support for the MDS R series scanners. The MDS R series scanners are now available in OEM quantities, we are studying the market for non OEM sales also and plan to make a limited quantity of them available for sale in the US early next year.
As far as the price/value ratio of the Koden RADARpc line: http://www.kodenamerica.com/prices/radarpc.html -
one would be hard pressed to find a more cost effective solution (even with the cost of third party software and the computer factored in), especially with our 6-25 kW units. The features such as recording, playback, multiple control stations, ability to use the innovative user interfaces and the variety of chart formats (all courtesy of our fine software partners), plus not having to throw away your scanner every 2-3 years when a new MFD comes out - all these enhance the overall value proposition of the Koden RADARpc, not only for recreational, but also for our commercial and government customers.
Gleb Tchaikovski
Koden America, Inc.

Posted by: KodenAmerica at December 15, 2009 4:33 PM | Reply

Nick and Kees:

Thanks for the data. It's hard to tell whether the Sitex and the Koden are the same products or not; the specs are subtly different so I am guessing the answer is "no". And since Koden doesn't sell through online retailers price shopping is all but impossible. I would like to use Koden+Rose Point as a backup to Navnet3D but the Koden scanner prices are really hard to swallow...

Posted by: Adam at December 15, 2009 6:32 PM | Reply

KodenAmerica:

Is it possible for third party software developers to use the nice features of the MDC-900 series.
Dual range display and True trail functions to be implemented in the MDS-5/6R Ethernet radar interface box.

Posted by: Andreas at December 16, 2009 3:26 AM | Reply

Andreas,

While your question should be directed to our software partners, I would think it should be fairly easy to do the True Trails in software. True dual range might be a little more difficult, hardware changes may be required. We'll put that on our wish list for engineering.

Adam,
while it's true that Koden (like other professional equipment) isn't sold through online retailers, we do provide e-mail and weblinks to most of our professional dealers: http://www.kodenamerica.com/dealers/dealers.html, we will be updating that section soon to add that information for all of the listed dealers. Many of the Nobeltec, Rosepoint and Expeditions dealers can be reached through the websites of those companies and some of the those dealers do have websites that are more consumer friendly. You should be able to receive several competitive offers fairly quickly, and you will be dealing with true marine electronics professionals who have the expertise and resources to back you up, not a college student selling from his garage. Regarding the affordability of our scanners - as this thread illustrates - other manufacturers haven't figured a way to make money selling just the scanners, they need to sell the whole package with the MFD and one really ought to compare system prices, not scanner prices, for a more valid comparison. The Koden RADARpc pricing and distribution model has served our consumers well, but we appreciate all comments and suggestions on how to improve it.

Gleb Tchaikovski
Koden America, Inc.

Posted by: KodenAmerica at December 17, 2009 2:00 AM | Reply

Hello again,

Actually, the Koden PC radars do have dual range functionality. I just haven't implemented it yet due to lack of demand ...

Nick

Posted by: Nick at December 17, 2009 3:43 PM | Reply

Good news (finally)! "SIMRAD YACHTING LAUNCHES BR24PC SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT KIT" is the title of a press release that just hit my email box, and it sounds good. "Approved" developers will be able to interface their marine, security, or whatever software with off-the-shelf BR24 radar units. A Simrad NSE display does not need to be part of the system, but there are licensing fees. More detail should emerge soon.

Posted by: Ben at June 21, 2010 6:03 PM | Reply

Gee...I have MacENC on my Macbook...now I am dreaming of broadband radar overlay on same, while outputting DVI to a monster flatscreen in the cockpit.

Posted by: peter coupland at June 21, 2010 9:20 PM | Reply

Ben,

That SDK is cool news. Glad that I wired up the BR24 onto the Ethernet network. Guess Nick will be back with more info soon.

You asked earlier whether anyone know how to attach 'yellow' Navico Ethernet cables to normal Ethernet networks. Since nobody else came forward I tested it myself and have determined how to do this. See http://yachtelectronics.blogspot.com/2010/05/lowrance-yellow-ethernet-cabling.html

Posted by: Kees at June 22, 2010 7:43 AM | Reply

I just checked the pricing on Expedition's website. The license fee to ADD broadband radar support is $1299, four dollars more then the cost of the software itself.

Chris

Posted by: Chris Witzgall at October 13, 2010 9:14 AM | Reply

Posted by: Ben at October 13, 2010 9:32 AM | Reply

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