Maretron ultrasonic wind sensor, the plot thickens
At the NMEA show, Maretron showed off a prototype of this ultrasonic wind sensor that also measures air temp, barometric pressure, and relative humidity. In other words, the WSO100 Weather Station Outdoor is quite like Airmar’s WeatherStation. Neither, in fact, is actually a shipping product yet, even though Airmar’s was introduced at the 2004 NMEA show (the power boat model is supposedly very close, and is now detailed in a .pdf at Airmar’s Web site). Airmar’s first unit, for about $1,000, will talk in NMEA 0183 and will include an electronic compass and GPS so it can calculate true wind speed and direction. Maretron’s will cost around $600 and will need heading and SOG info from the NMEA 2000 network to do the True calculations. Airmar plans to eventually introduce a 2000 WeatherStation and Maretron may very well do an 0183 version of its sensor, which, by the way, it engineered from scratch. I hope to try both when possible, and figure that having two ultrasonic wind sensors on the market (beside the French original) will be good for consumer awareness (and a healthy competition).