DEBUTS FROM MIAMI BY LENNY RUDOW, ELECTRONICS EDITOR
DIGITAL ON DISPLAY
The 2013 crop of hot new electronics introduced at the Miami Boat Show
is one doozy of a display of digital developments
DARWIN MAY HAVE LOOKED at evolution in terms of millions of years, but when it comes to marine elec- tronics, epochs go by in a matter of months. The proof is plain to see. Just check out how many new and advanced items were introduced this year, even with a delicately improving economy. Sure, we have a slew of new apps, more system integration than ever before, and a series of upgraded offerings. But there are also imaginative items that give new meaning to the word “innovation.” So perk up and pay attention,
because these hot new goodies soon will be coming down the pike to a marine electronics store near you.
RAYMARINE DRAGONFLY brings
ClearPulse sonar technology (some call it CHIRP,
some call it Spread Spectrum) to the masses.
We’ve seen most of the major manufacturers come
out with spectrum-sweeping multi-frequency abilities, but up until now, you couldn’t touch this stuff
without spending thousands. The Dragonfly, however, is $650. Plus, it incorporates a second distinct
channel that pings through a higher frequency band
to provide extreme detail (though only in water to
250 feet; frequency ranges for the two channels are
170-240-kHz, and 320-380-kHz). Raymarine also
incorporated a 50-channel GPS into the Dragonfly,
with chartography coming courtesy of Navionics, via a
microSD card. The display has 640x480 pixel resolution
on a 5.7-inch VGA LCD screen, waterproofing is to IPX7
standards, and although the unit can be flush-mounted,
it’s really intended for small to medium helms with binnacle installation.
MCMURDO has a new GPS-equipped personal locator beacon
(PLB), the Fast Find 220, which has a
battery with six-year shelf life (
transmission time is 24 hours at five watts). The
unit is the size of an average cellphone,
operates down to - 4 degrees, and is
waterproof down to 10 meters. The
size of the Fast Find 220 is kept down
by integrating a nifty pop-out antenna
that’s coiled under a plastic cap. It uses
the 406 MHz search-and-rescue satellite system, and transmits a 125 MHz
homing signal. Better yet, cost is around
$250, making the Fast Find a serious
BAD ELF GPS PRO may be a funny name, but this
little doodad is anything but laughable if you want to bring
GPS functionality to a variety of devices all at the same time.
The Bad Elf GPS Pro can interface with up to five units simultaneously (via Bluetooth), or can be used as a stand-alone
GPS and data-logger, thanks to the 128 x 96 pixel LCD screen.
It’s compatible with iPods, iPhones, iPads, and iPad Minis. But
the Elf is rated IPX4, which is “splash-proof,” and in my experience splash-proof electronic devices don’t survive for long
on boats. I’d slide the Elf into a waterproof bag before stepping aboard. List price is $179.