Monthly Archive: January 2011

Garmin’s wireless VHF mic, Simrad’s too 21

Garmin’s wireless VHF mic, Simrad’s too


Anyone with a Garmin 200 or 300 series VHF will likely be pleased to learn that they can now add up to three wireless mics with full controls.  Garmin announced the GHS 20 handsets along with the GWH 20 wireless hub needed to run them last week, and the product page suggests they’re nearly ready to ship.  It’s all sort of sneaky — though in a good way — as the wireless mic possibility is not even mentioned in the VHF 200 or 300 literature and manuals.  However, these handsets are not inexpensive…

SPOT Connect(s), the mobile apps way 15

SPOT Connect(s), the mobile apps way


Yes indeed, that is an Android app serving as the extended front end of yet another iteration of the good old SPOT satellite messenger.  It’s called SPOT Connect, and it’s a close relative of the Delorme joint product announced at this time last year.  The SPOT hardware is again an independent, waterproof communicator that can send out a distress message by itself, but now its third internal wireless component — after GPS and Globalstar short burst messenging — is Bluetooth.  Which means that a SPOT app on most any sort of mobile device can be used to send canned “Help” or “Check-in” emails/texts, or to turn on tracking, or — and this was the big new feature on the Delorme PN60W — write a custom 41 character message.  Another Connect difference is that the actual shipping date will apparently come much sooner after the announcement…

Warranties, Raymarine (FLIR) goes to three years 19

Warranties, Raymarine (FLIR) goes to three years


Nice!  As of New Year’s Day all new Raymarine products are eligible for a free extra year of warranty as long as the owner registers them online (always a good idea anyway).  And that’s not all:  Raymarine has also instituted “Rapid Care” which means that if your product (excepting radar and sat TV antennas) is in its first year of warranty and needs repair, Ray will ship you a “like-new remanufactured” unit within two business days of receiving the broken one.  This strikes me as a smart way for FLIR — which might be called Raymarine’s thermally-obsessed sugar daddy) — to express its longterm commitment to the company and its customers, but does it also mean that Raymarine now has the best warranty program in the business?…

Garmin GMR 604 xHD, hand’s on 10

Garmin GMR 604 xHD, hand’s on

Garmin GMR406 Jonesport harbor cPanbo.JPG

So that’s the Garmin GMR 604 xHD open array radar I installed last May painting a crowded harbor on the screen of a GPSMap 7212 in late July.  Gizmo was headed southwest at the time — the GPS heading, or COG, is meaningless because she’s tied up to a float — and so you have to twist your brain a bit to see how well the radar is imaging the details of Jonesport’s Sawyer Cove, and hence that the long straight target at the upper left is the famously uncharted steel and concrete breakwater there.  And I think if you make the comparison you’ll agree that the true color target display really helps to understand what the radar is doing.  Those light blue and green returns at upper left, for instance, are almost certainly some sort of noise created the breakwater’s heft and hardness.  I could have turned the gain down to eliminate that noise, but then I might not have seen the light blue at lower left — which is an emerging mud flat, I think — and similarly difficult targets once I got underway.  True color returns is indeed my favorite feature of the xHD/7212 combination…