Northstar 725, w/ 705 wireless handsets
This Northstar Explorer 725 VHF, along with its optional wireless handset, was one of the few entirely new electronics introductions seen at MIBS (at least if you’re a regular Panbo reader ;-). And compliments to Northstar for using real screens in these product shots, instead of pasting in dummies as is often the case. It is a bit humorous, though, that while the photographer did manage to power up the units, he clearly did not attach a GPS, which is why the fixed unit is plaintively displaying “PLEASE INPUT POSITION!” so that it can do its DSC duties properly.
Now, Northstar’s 705’s are certainly not the first wireless mics—the Uniden Whams I once tried have that distinction—but their interpretation has a better hand feel, and I think that four way channel/squelch toggle will make for easy one-thumb comms. One 725 base station will support two 705 wireless handsets—not four, like the Wham system—but I was told they have a range of about 500 feet and can intercom each other (as long as they can link through the base).
The 725 system also has a interesting weather feature that may be an upgrade of what was available in the earlier Explorer (ex Navman) 721 model. It senses barometric pressure (which it can graph) and air temp, and contains an algorithm that uses those values (maybe also humidity and moon phase?) to predict fish bite and weather. Don’t you love an algorithm that comes up with “A BIT CLOUDY”? The 725 can also play Track-Your-Buddy with copasetic Northstar plotters, and probably with some cousin Lowrance plotters, as the same feature is included in the Lowrance LVR 880. Note that by the time I wrote the 880 up in PMY, I had gotten assurance that while plotting three friends at once is an exclusive ability, it’s based on standard NMEA DSC position messages, so these radios should provide one-boat-at-a-time plotting on most any plotter.
The remote mike looks great Ben. I can’t wait till one of the manufacturers adds in NMEA sentences to be able to repeat to the remote handsets. Imagine dialing up depth, speed or temp while trolling from anywhere on the boat. Windspeed at the masthead while you’re sitting on the dock or somewhere more salubrious. I’m sure there’s a million ways people could use it.
I just hope that it uses a frequency other than the one the Uniden uses. The Uniden will knock a wireless computer right off the internet, even if you are not actually using the wireless mic.
Ditto to what Tom said.
The Uniden mic knocks our wireless right off the air as well. It took us a while to track down the cause here at Hamilton Marine, but we now warn people that purchase them that wireless interference can be a problem. We can hope Northstar has tested for this.