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Communications Gear Page 2

Knowing is believingNobody likes the idea of breaking out the EPIRB, but if calamity strikes and you need the cavalry, wouldn’t you want to know that it’s working correctly? While most EPIRBs have a simple on/off button, ACR’s new Gobalfix iPro 406 GPS EPIRB (both Cat I or Cat II units are available) features a small digital screen that not only displays the unit’s GPS

Solar charged

If you want to keep your laptop charged up on board without tapping your boat’s batteries, check out Voltaic Systems’s new Voltaic Generator, the first solar-panel-endowed carry bag powerful enough to charge a laptop, as well as many other electronic devices. The bag has high-efficiency solar cells that generate up to 15 watts of power, and comes fitted with a battery pack to efficiently store and convert the energy that the panels collect. The unit comes with a variety of adaptors and has plenty of internal pockets to keep you organized, even if you’ve been out cruising for weeks. $499. Voltaic Systems, 877-304-6861.

Wireless, of course

As computers become ever more ubiquitous, chances are good that multiple crewmembers will bring laptops aboard for cruises. If you’re near the coast, or if you have a powerful Wi-Fi antenna, it’s very possible multiple sailors will want to surf the web at once. For this, you need a wireless router like the MBR 1000 Failsafe Broadband N Router from CradlePoint Technology. The 802.11N router features 3G failover capability for small environments (like your boat’s saloon) and boasts always-available connectivity. The unit comes with forward-thinking security features such as multiple and current VPN pass-through sessions, WEP encryption, WPA/WPA2/Enterprise, and a firewall. Windows and Mac compatible. $249.99. CradlePoint Technology, Inc., 208-424-5054.

Infinite eyes

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to monitor your boat, its environment, and other vitals while you’re not aboard? Say hello to Flormonix Technologies’s new FT1-M1. The unit reports your boat’s position, its battery voltage, its pitch and roll angles, and its ambient internal temperature. Additionally, there are two auxiliary digital inputs, so the system can also monitor things like the bilge float or the status of the companionway door. The system “wakes up” every hour, records the pertinent data, analyzes it, and then uploads it to Flormonix Technologies’s tracking server. A user can then view this information via the company’s tracking portal, 24 hours a day, globally. $995. Flormonix Technologies, Inc., 919-341-3816.

Can you hear me now?

Cell phones work great on land, but often get finicky on boats. Cobra’s new BT200 heavy-duty handset is designed to address this problem and also reduces background noise and has improved waterproofing. The unit, which is both waterproof and dust/UV resistant, features Bluetooth, a noise-canceling microphone, a 50-number phonebook, a 50-number call log, and can be paired with up to eight different mobile phones (but can only be used by one mobile at a time). $189.95. Cobra Electronics Corporation, 773-889-8870.

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