Category: Communications

Remote Boat Monitoring: here comes Navico GoFree Vessel/Track and Siren Marine MTC

Oct 19, 2016


While off-boat monitoring was already getting better and more competitive, finally one of the big four marine electronics brands is about to join the fray. Navico's GoFree Connected Vessel concept is not just important because it will be marketed and serviced worldwide, but also because the development team took the time to think out a truly comprehensive system that can potentially serve a wide variety of boaters in multiple ways. Meanwhile team Siren Marine has been building on their years of remote monitoring, tracking and control experience and will soon announce a series of second-generation MTC products that sound exciting. This entry will take a preliminary look at both these systems and I'll soon share testing results on two more...

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Standard Horizon GX6500: a loaded VHF radio also integrated with Class B AIS

Oct 11, 2016


The wait is almost over. The Standard Horizon Quantum GX6500 combines Class B AIS and VHF transceivers into one device, an important first in critical marine communications that some boaters have long hoped for. It is not yet for sale pending FCC approval, but the expected price of $800 seems quite reasonable given the install efficiency, the integrated GPS/VHF/AIS features, and a lot more that Standard has designed in. The GX6500 would be an extraordinary radio even without the AIS...

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Navico NASA moves tech support to the cloud

Sep 10, 2016

navico_nasa_logo_aPanbo.jpgMarine electronics tech support is a ritual I'm all too familiar with. Dial the phone, wade through the metaphorical press one for yes, two for no and wait until the tech picks up. For the average boater this can quickly turn into a button pushing slog with unsatisfactory results. Tech: "What version of software are you running?" Boater: I don't know, where do I find it?" Tech: "Go to the System tab." Boater: "Where's the system tab?" Tech: "It's in Settings." Boater: "Where's Settings?" I won't belabor this but sometimes it takes a lot of patience to provide tech support with the information they need to help you. This is now changing for the better with Navico's new cloud-based Network Analyzer Service Assistant (NASA) software. It's the most significant use of the Internet by a MFD to date, I think, and the high-tech aspect of the NASA acronym isn't lost on me either.

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Bill Bishop | Permalink | Comments (11)

DeLorme inReach gets weather & goes to Cuba

Jun 21, 2016

DeLorme_inReach_weather_feature_cPanbo.jpgI've long felt that the DeLorme inReach is a valuable safety and communications tool for boats that sometimes go beyond reliable cellular (and/or VHF) contact with friends, families and rescue centers. But one gripe for skippers hoping to use an inReach as their only offshore communications device was the lack of weather forecasting. There were some necessarily crude third party solutions, but now DeLorme itself is offering easy-to-use and understand forecasts, both marine and terrestrial. I've just been testing this and many other inReach features in Cuba, though the legality of taking a satellite messenger/tracker there is uncertain...

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Yacht Devices N2K display, RedPort & PredictWind, NMEA & ABYC, and ONWA radar

Apr 18, 2016

Yacht Devices NMEA2000 Text DisplayYacht Devices appeared suddenly on the marine electronics scene last summer when Ben discussed their new temperature and barometer sensors. Not resting on their laurels, they then launched a $189 voyage data recorder that similarly came with either DeviceNet or SeaTalkNG connectors to minimize additional drop and/or adapter cable expense. More recently they joined NMEA and have now launched a new NMEA 2000 (N2K) text display which seems to be the least expensive and least power thirsty N2K data display available...

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Adam Hyde | Permalink | Comments (8)

Iris NightPilot, Humminbird SmartStrike, Vesper AIS update, and Icom 7300 HF Radio

Apr 7, 2016

Iris NightPilot thermal camera at Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 2015Stormtroopers will be pleased with a new value-priced gyro stabilized thermal camera from Iris Corporation. The Iris255 NightPilot looks like an accessory from Star Wars and includes some pretty hi-tech wizardry considering its $4,895 suggested retail price. Specs include 320 x 240 resolution, 8x digital zoom, and built-in heater with automatic temperature control for cold conditions. And since Panbo wondered if the Iris NightRunner PTZ cam "was too good to be true" in 2013, the company seems to have established itself as a serious player in lower priced thermal cameras...

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Adam Hyde | Permalink | Comments (19)

Boat Command: remote vessel monitoring for the app age

Mar 23, 2016

Boat Command vessel monitoring

In today's world of always-connected systems, I am surprised that there are not more vendors in the space of vessel monitoring. My adventures with remote monitoring systems started in the late 80's in the information technology world, and then in earnest in 2008 with Boat Sense Systems, and continued along through many other ups and downs. In my view, there are currently two promising players in the market -- Siren Marine & Boat Command. While searching for a system to keep my beautiful new Benetau 311 "Grace" safe, I chose to install and review the Boat Connect from Boat Command...

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Steve Mitchell | Permalink | Comments (13)

TBF: Icom M93D, Garmin Quatix 3 & GNX Wind, Imtra Largo LED, and Navico makes ForwardScan more accessible

Jan 22, 2016

Icom_M93D_DSC_VHF_prototype_aPanbo.jpgI'm slightly reluctant to mention this Icom M93D announcement because it's only "scheduled to be available in the second half of 2016" with price unknown, but, dang, it sure looks like an interesting DSC VHF handheld radio. I still think that many boaters don't realize the added safety, tracking, and navigation capabilities possible when GPS is integrated with portable VHF, though the Standard Horizon HX870 (that Icom is clearly gunning for) has been earning great reviews for a while. Also, note the lovely color-screen Icom GM600 fixed VHF "coming soon" with an SSB sibling.

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iKommunicate from Digital Yacht, Signal K gets kickstarted

Oct 26, 2015

iKommunicate Signal K proof of concept aPanbo.jpgSorry for the fuzzy photo, but it makes sense as the iKommunicate Signal K Gateway isn't a real product yet, and the real product may look quite different from the "Proof of Concept" prototype above if it actually materializes early next year. Why so vague? What's happening here is a techy chicken and egg thing. Digital Yacht was understandably hesitant about developing a gateway for Signal K apps and services that hardly exist yet, but the Signal K universal boat data concept -- open source, entirely free, and created by unfunded volunteers -- needs a commercial level NMEA gateway so that third party developers can easily show us what the potential apps and services can do. That's my understanding of why DY launched the iKommunicate Kickstarter campaign and also why I'm hoping that fellow boat geeks and related companies will join me in backing the project and thus helping Signal K become real...

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TBF: NV Cuba, YB3 free, Furuno GP1x70F steals, BT VHF, and Sailing A

Oct 23, 2015

TBF_logo_Panbo.jpgApologies in advance to Panbo readers who've complained about too many acronyms, because I'm adding a new one. The idea of Tidbit Friday (TBF) is to create an entry type where I can share some of the juicy morsels I often come across as I indulge my endless appetite for marine electronics and the wider world of boating. You won't see one every Friday, but when I started listing possible recent subjects, it sure got long in a hurry. There's lots I can do with one image and a paragraph...

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