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Handheld Electronics

Bad Elf GPS Pro Boosts iPad Nav Apps

Looking to add GPS functions to WiFi Apple devices or increase the GPS accuracy of a Bluetooth device? U.S. company Bad Elf created the GPS Pro, an external Bluetooth wireless GPS receiver and data logger, to simultaneously share GPS data with Bluetooth-capable i-devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It also can serve as a standalone data logger that allows you to record up to 100 hours of trip location data.

Mailport: August 2013

On strolling through Port Townsend (Wash.) Boat Haven, while I was having some work done on my boat, I saw this boat (photo at right) and the owners attitude written on a sign in front of the boat. It reminded me of your June 18, 2013 blog, Dont Let Refit Pitfalls Derail Your Cruising Plans.

Quatix Superwatch

There is no shortage of sailing watches on the market, and weve reviewed our fair share. So when Garmin released its first mariner-specific GPS watch, we were interested to see what features, if any, set it apart from the crowd. After nearly six months of testing Garmins Quatix watch on and off the water, we can report that it is not your ordinary sailing watch. It bundles multiple miniature marine electronics into one small, impressive, hands-free package that is made to withstand life at sea.

Nautilus Lifeline VHF

During our recent test of man-overboard electronics (PS, May 2013)-alarms, beacons, and self-rescue devices-we came across a rescue communication product thats been making waves in the diving community: the Nautilus Lifeline marine rescue radio. Being lost at sea is one of the fears that divers and sailors share-remember the 2004 movie, Open Water? The Nautilus Lifeline is a handheld VHF radio that has GPS and DSC capabilities.

Marine Handheld VHFs Test

Testers evaluated handheld VHF radios from three leading marine electronics makers. From Icom, we tested the M92D and M24. Standard Horizon submitted the HX290, HX300, and HX400, and from Midland Radio, we reviewed the Nautico 2. The VHFs in our test group ranged in price and features from a $50 basic, budget-friendly model to a $299, feature-rich handheld with DSC and GPS capabilities. All offered channel scanning, channel 16 quick select, NOAA weather radio, and weather alert. Unique features among the group included scrambler capabilities and remote microphone options.

Mailport: July 2013

A few issues ago, you had a short article on deck hardware (blocks, traveler, cars, etc.) that included Garhauer, and you mentioned that the manufacturer offered individual parts and complete systems that allow conversion from on deck to cockpit adjustment of the car position. We recently installed the EZ adjustable genoa car system from Garhauer and are very pleased with the results. This equipment fits on existing traveler tracks, is easy to install, and performs as advertised.

Field Testing Kannad, McMurdo, and Mobilarm MOB Beacons

Weve been following man-overboard (MOB) beacons, flags, and lights for more than 30 years now. In our testing, weve found that a major shortcoming of many electronic MOB transmitters is their inability to track the person in the water; most simply alert the crew that someone has fallen overboard. But in the past two years, with the integration of the Automated Identification System (AIS) and Digital Selective Calling (DSC), MOB-recovery technology has changed dramatically. We recently put it to the test with field trials of the Kannad SafeLink, McMurdo Smartfind, and Mobilarm V100 MOB beacons.

Where Credit Is Due: April 2013

About six months ago, I bought a Raymarine Smart Controller remote for my autopilot. It is a great unit that I have come to depend on, especially when single-handing. The Smart Controller plugs into the SeaTalk system and serves as a wireless remote for the autopilot. The weak point in the system is the lightweight lanyard. Recently mine gave way, and the remote bounced twice toward the rail, hung in mid-air, then disappeared overboard. You can imagine my anguish after failing to retrieve it. I contacted Raymarine (www.raymarine.com) and told them my story. I guess it was my lucky day: Long story short, they sent me a new one! Im a huge Raymarine fan now.

DeLorme inReach vs. Iridium Extreme

There are numerous portable marine electronics that can keep you connected while you get away from it all. But which device offers the most features-tracking, two-way communication, location sharing, etc.-at the best price? And which one can be counted on in an emergency? We began our look at these personal electronics with the January 2013 review of BriarTeks Cerberus Cerberlink and the SPOT Connect. This month, we evaluate the DeLorme inReach, another pocket-sized, satellite communication option for the cruising sailor, as well as the Iridium Extreme 9575 sat phone, which is capable of providing worldwide voice communication.

Plotting Your Escape in the Age of Satcom

I wanted to try a little experiment this week. Something safe, with little risk of getting hurt. Something I could do while drinking coffee and listening to Puccini . . . or the Rolling Stones . . . or Mumford and Sons. Something on the Internet. It got off to a bad start. I dropped in on one of those Internet forums where angry people wait to spring on innocents like me. The deeper I dug, the angrier they got.