October 2007

Product Reviews

So, What’s New?

Submitted By Margie Anderson

Improvements To Guest Battery Switches

Guest, a leader in battery charging and marine power management products, has made several important enhancements to its popular 2100 Universal Mount Series and Guest Heavy Duty Series battery switches to 2007.  Both of these battery switch lines now feature new ergonomically styled turn knobs that look great and provide easy on/off switching regardless of switch location, sea conditions, or the size of your hands. 

These new switches also feature an updated color scheme and graphics that make it easier than ever to determine the battery switch status at a glance and look great when used in visible installations.  Both of these switches use the same installation footprint and hole patterns, making these new switches an easy upgrade for vessels with the previous form of Guest switches.
The Guest 2100 Universal Mount Series and Guest Heavy Duty Series switches also feature longer stud lengths for improved assembly and easier cable routing.  For more information, contact Guest at 2655 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 226-9600, or visit www.marinco.com.

Lowrance Naviontics Platinum Compatibility

Lowrance, a world-leading brand in marine electronics since 1957 and GPS navigational systems since 1992, has announced the addition of future compatibility with Navionics Platinum multi-dimensional electronic charting on its full range of 2007 chartplotter- equipped choices.

Lowrance Navionics Platinum options will include both Platinum for global blue-water navigation and HotMaps Platinum for U.S. inland water boaters. Lowrance operating firmware upgrades to run Navionics Platinum will be available as a free download from the Lowrance Website in January 2008.

Lowrance compatibility with Navionics Platinum options, available on plug-and-play Secure Digital (SD) memory cards, represents the most extensive array of compatible product choices of any marine electronics brand. This includes all 2007 Lowrance LCX, LMS and GlobalMap® color models, with 5-, 7-, 8.4- and 10.4-inch displays.

Navionics Platinum combines huge XL-3-size coverage areas, including satellite and high-aerial photo overlays, 3-dimensional bathymetric views, plus satellite overlay on 2-D and 3-D charts. Platinum HotMaps feature 3-D overlays for over 300 top U.S. tournament lakes and high detail charting for over 10,000 North American lakes, including Canadian waters.

In 2002, Lowrance was the first to integrate with Navionics to provide high-detail charting options via the convenience of the Lowrance innovation of plug-and-play MMC/SD memory card slots on marine electronics.

For more information, please visit www.lowrance.com or call (800) 324-1356 in the U.S.A. or (800) 661-3983 in Canada.

Lowrance Expands Marine Radio Lineup

Lowrance, the world-leading brand in innovative marine electronics since 1957, has an all-new line of marine VHF radios. Debuted at ICAST 2007 in Las Vegas, Nev., the Lowrance fixed mount LVR-880 and LVR-250, and the handheld LHR-22 and LHR-20 are perfect for the price- and performance-hungry consumer, seeking the newest in innovation and functionality.

The new Lowrance LVR-880 is the first powerful, fixed-mount, DSC-equipped 25/1-watt radio to offer dual VHF and FM radio capabilities. The VHF also integrates NMEA 2000 with DSC-101 for distress and buddy-tracking features when connected to a compatible Lowrance GPS chartplotter.

An exclusive “Track Your Buddy” feature connects DSC position polling to Lowrance LCX, LMS and GlobalMapTM units via the NMEA 2000 network for GPS location display of up to three boating friends. The LVR-880 includes intercom/hailer-horn, an extra-large 64 x 128 FSTN segmented display with backlighting, and a 6-key speaker microphone for left- or right-handed use.

The LVR-880 is compatible with all U.S.A., Canadian, international and 10-weather marine channels with channel naming, and is JIS 7 waterproof/submersible.

The new LVR-250 DSC25/1-watt, fixed-mount VHF radio with DSC touts high quality and features without a high price. Also delivering all U.S.A., Canadian and international marine channels, the LVR-250 features DSC-101 connectivity for distress calling, local/distant feature to eliminate unwanted interference, 6-key speaker microphone for left- or right-hand use and 10 weather channels with 1050-hz alert tone detect.

The Lowrance marine VHF lineup also includes innovation for the handheld market segment, with the new LHR-20 and LHR-22 with 5/1-watt transmit power. Both include advanced Li-Ion battery pack/charger technology for best-in-class battery life, while the LHR-22 sports the newest RealTree® pattern, Advantage Max-4 HD®.

Also built tough to exacting JIS 7 waterproof/submersible standards, both offer extra features like bright LED TX indicator, power saver circuitry, larger LCD display for user visibility, RSSI to meter strength of incoming/ outgoing signals and Weather Alert.

All new Lowrance VHF marine radios come with a full one-year warranty. For more information, please visit www.lowrance.com, or call (800) 324-1356 in the U.S.A. or (800) 661-3983 in Canada.

Magma’s Deck Mounts Give Boaters More Versatility

Magma has always known that one of the keys to a great boat barbecue is having it securely mounted in a convenient location. This is why Magma Products offers more mounting options than any other grill maker, including their newest Rotating Flush Deck Socket Mount and Rotating Surface Deck Socket Mounts.

       Both the Flush Deck Socket Mount and the Surface Deck Socket Mount are made of 18-8 stainless steel and feature a stainless detent pin, which lets the grill rotate and lock in eight different positions.  Both models can be moved inboard or outboard.  The rod portion of the mounts quickly disconnects for compact storage.  A rain cap is included with the Flush Deck Socket Mount.

            Magma’s grills recently swept all classes as the “Best Choice” in both Practical Sailor and Power Boat Reports magazines.  Retail price for both the Rotating Flush Deck and the Rotating Surface Deck Socket Mount is $56.95.  For more information or the name of the nearest Magma dealer, contact Magma Products 3940 Pixie Ave., Lakewood, CA 90712; Telephone: (562) 627-0500; e-mail: Mail@MagmaProducts.com; or visit www.MagmaProducts.com.

Navionics Hot Maps Explorer DVD

Navionics, the leader in electronic charting and navigation data, in partnership with Fugawi Software, jointly announced a powerful new planning tool designed for the fresh water angler, HotMaps® Explorer™. Packed with more than 10,000 top-ranked U.S. fishing lakes, HotMaps Explorer’s comprehensive DVD database is an unparalleled fresh water fishing, planning and exploration tool with groundbreaking features.

With the new Navionics HotMaps Explorer DVD, green water anglers can maximize their time on the water by unlocking a lake’s secrets prior to leaving for their trip.

HotMaps Explorer is the ultimate fishing trip planner that allows boaters to plan, save, download and transfer waypoint and route information between a personal computer and leading GPS plotters. As an added benefit, chartplotter compatibility with HotMaps Explorer is not required to take advantage of the powerful new tool — anglers can simply print paper maps complete with lake information, and go.

Derived from the best survey sources available today, these lakes are available in extremely accurate maps allowing boaters to explore bottom contours, structure, drop-offs, vegetation, boat ramps and marinas, to name a few, from the comfort of their home or office.

The lake maps have been combined with software from industry leader Fugawi to produce a very intuitive PC application for viewing maps in 2D or 3D, printing, planning and more.

Navionics has made their exclusive, high-definition surveyed lakes available for download, providing Explorer users access to the highest level of detail on the hottest fishing lakes across the country. Navionics’ team of hydro-cartographers has also surveyed over 300 of the top tournament lakes down to one-foot contour levels. Combined with its renowned accuracy, Navionics high-definition lakes are unrivaled in the market.

An ideal reference tool for every angler, HotMaps Explorer is compatible with PC-based computers and requires the Microsoft® Windows® Vista or XP operating system, 10 GB space available on the hard drive and a DVD drive. Navionics has geo-referenced all lake source data to provide the ultimate in positional precision, making its HotMaps line the most accurate charts on the market.

Navionics HotMaps Explorer DVD is powered by Fugawi and is available for purchase at authorized Navionics and Fugawi retailers throughout the United States and Canada, and directly from Fugawi.com for $19.99. Additional downloads of exclusive High Definition lake surveys are also available at Fugawi.com for $19.99.

For more information on HotMaps Explorer, HotMaps freshwater charts, lake coverage or to learn more about Navionics and its entire product line, contact (800) 848-5896 (toll-free) or visit www.navionics.com.

Ono’s Titanium Sunglasses With Readers

Farsighted outdoorsmen, rejoice!  Ono’s Trading Company has introduced two titanium-model polarized sunglasses with bifocal readers.  This will make reading charts and tying knots so much easier.
The latitude has grey lenses and the Schooner has amber lenses. Both have ultra-light titanium frames with hingeless temples so they conform to you face without having to be manipulated.  Non-slip adjustable silicone nose pads make for a comfortable fit.

The sunglasses feature 1.50, 2.00, or 2.50 power below eye level and have thin, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses.  Both sides of the lenses are treated to resist fogging and repel rain, sunscreen and other oils, dirt, and sweat.  They are sold through stores, catalogs and Web sites.  Visit www.onostradingcompany.com for more information.

LEDs: A Bright Right Spot On Boat Trailers

Shake. Rattle. Dunk. Over and over again.

That's the life of a boat trailer. And, while it is arguably the most important piece of equipment for the mobile angler, it is also usually the least respected and maintained.

Fortunately, trailer construction quality has never been a real issue from reputable boat builders, and wheel bearings and tires are the best they've ever been. What continues to haunt many boaters though are their trailer lights.

It's a surprise they ever work at all with the continuous abuse they take from road vibration, being constantly showered with road grit and grime, and, of course, always going in and out of the water.

Some boaters just accept the fact their trailer lights aren't going to work. Others at least go through the motions of jiggling wires and thumping lens covers to try to get them to illuminate before accepting whatever the outcome and hitting the road anyway. But, bottom line is, trailer lights are required by law to work.

Nobody likes getting a ticket for non-working trailer lights, but no one can question the logic behind the safety concerns of compliance. Trailers must be visible from all directions and stop/turn/tail lights must properly function. The good news is, replacing and keeping trailer lights working is easier now than it has ever been.

Trailer light replacement kits, offering the latest in LED technology, are readily available through marine dealers, automotive supply stores and specialty catalogs. But, according to one lighting specialist, all LED light kits are not created equal, and there are certain characteristics to look for when it's time to make a selection.

"For boat trailers, LEDs must be potted to seal out water regardless of lens cover construction," said Kenneth Smith, engineering manager for Optronics, a leading supplier of lights for trailer manufacturers and aftermarket sales.

"Not everyone 'pots' because it does cost more, but skimping compromises quality and performance, meaning if you go the lesser product route you'll likely be making another replacement soon."

The Optronics official further explained that while both incandescent and LED aftermarket replacement kits are available for tail lights, clearance lights and ID light bars, the LED versions get most of the attention these days because of their advantages.

"LEDs illuminate faster, burn brighter and last longer, plain and simple," said Smith. "Vehicular lighting is our specialty, so we have kits to interchange with just about every make and model of trailer light out there. As a result, we're seeing our LED replacement kits making some really old boat trailers look just as shiny and bright at night as the newest rigs on the market."

Optronics also understands the difficulty that do-it-yourselfers often have in determining the right replacement lights for their trailers, or even determining what trailer lighting is currently required by law in the first place. Therefore, both topics are covered with charts and descriptions on the company's Web site, www.OptronicsInc.com.

Also included is a step-by-step review of replacing a boat trailer's lights and some troubleshooting tips for trailer lighting problems.

All automotive lighting, signaling and reflective devices in the United States fall under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard FMVSS 108, administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While Optronics products are tested for FMVSS 108 compliance at the factory, the company performs secondary photometric, reflectivity, moisture and vibration testing at its Oklahoma world headquarters as additional confirmation. With all of its testing and safety processes, and a formal system of documentation and tracking, Optronics is at the top among the world’s most responsible lighting manufacturers.

Don't let malfunctioning boat trailer lights discourage plans for an outing or be the reason for cutting a day trip short. Instead, become safe, legal and bright again by fixing, updating or upgrading trailer lights with one of the easy-to-install light replacement kits from Optronics.

Editor’s Note: New products are presented for reader interest only, and presenting them does not necessarily constitute endorsement by AZBW. Prices given were those in effect at press time and may have changed.