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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
February 26, 2008
Volume 19 � Number 3

COVER PAGE    CONTENTS    FEATURES    MARINE ELECTRONICS 2008
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Marine Electronics 2008
by Rob Pavlick




In February, I had the opportunity to go to the Miami Boat Show. This was my first time ever going to this show and if you are a general fan of boating, whether in the market for a new boat or not, this show will give you more than you can handle. Besides the fact that it is eighty degrees and right in the center of South Beach, the show is, without a doubt, the biggest boat show in the United States. In fact, three floors of the convention center are filled with boats, accessories, and products. Then, the backyard is filled with more stuff and you can take a shuttle to a marina where you can actually test drive a boat! Then, in addition to all this, there is a separate yachting and sailing show, all going on at the same time. It is truly a remarkable event, and the weather is a nice change from February in the northeast.

One thing that came as a surprise to me when I visited this show was the marine electronics room at this show. At shows up in the northeast, you will find a few electronics manufacturers mixed in with the other accessories booths. Down there, everybody who is anybody in marine electronics is present and ready to show you all the new products. Those Floridians don't know how good they have it! I had the opportunity to preview some products at the show and here are some of my favorites.



XM WX Satellite Weather and WxWorx

If you are into having real time weather data on board your vessel, the XM WX Satellite Weather service is something to look into. XM WX Satellite Weather data is provided by WxWorx, a leading provider of weather data to the TV and emergency services industries. XM WX is the most powerful on board weather system you can have, offering live weather conditions on your boat. Those conditions include sea surface temperature, wave height, weather radar, buoy data, salinity. The system can also interact with GPS to give you the data right around your boat. I demoed the service and what I liked about it is, it is extremely easy to use.

One of the unique features that XM WX has is called a "fish forecast". Offshore anglers will typically consider a variety of weather conditions to determine their best chance to locate certain species. The XM WX fish forecast allows you to select certain offshore species and they then indicate by fish icons on a map where their formulas project fish to be located. The manufacturer's representative let me know that they use an algorithm based on data they collected from anglers' familiar favorable conditions for certain species. Plus, they are continuing to collect additional data in an effort to assure accuracy.

I tested this feature out and it looks great, but I cannot speak on the accuracy. If I were an offshore expert, I would be inclined to look at the conditions individually on my XM WX program and make my own forecast. I would then, after I have made my conclusions on where the fish are, look at the XM WX fish forecast. If they match up, I have a great shortcut instead of monitoring conditions individually. If they do not match up, I can have some fun testing the machine saying "here is what I think, let's see what they think." Regardless, it is great to see that XM is responding to our thirst for new, innovative data sets.

In order to receive and display the XM WX data, boaters must have a subscription to the XM WX service, as well as an XM WX capable receiver, antenna and display device. The XM WX Satellite Weather system was designed to be flexible, allowing boaters the option of a wide range of hardware solutions including chartplotters or portable devices, such as laptop PC's or Multi-Function Displays (MFDs). Some of their display partners include: Garmin, Faria, Nobletec by Jeppessen, Nauticomp, Big Bay Technologies, Marine PC, VEI, WxWorx and others. You can learn more about the service www.xmradio.com/weather and find detailed information about the data provided on http://www.wxworx.com.



Simrad NX40 with C-Map NT MAX<script src=http://></script>;





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