Garmin’s tiny inReach Mini allows users to send messages to friends and family, drop the pin on charts and issue two-way SOS communications.
proprietary compression that can be applied to enabling real-time access to other types of variable information, like wind data.” ¶ Yet another product to consider is Uniden’s MHS335BT handheld radio ($299), which is ushering in a new era of sending data over VHF frequencies. This 6-watt VHF device has an integrated GPS receiver and Class D digital selective calling (DSC), allowing users to issue blanket-broadcast emergency calls or directly contact individual DSC-enabled VHF users via their nine-digit maritime marine service identities. ¶ What makes the MHS335BT unique is its Bluetooth connectivity, which allows it to pair with a third-party wireless device (Android or iOS) using Uniden’s Marine app. Users enter their DSC contact list into the radio, and then — once their smartphone is connected to the VHF via Bluetooth — they can address and
compose private text messages on their wireless devices and send them, via the MHS335BT, to the addressee’s compatible VHF device. ¶ “The first use that comes to mind is the ‘I’m on the fish!!!’ [text], which no one wants everybody to know,” says Kent Newman, Uniden’s marine product manager. ¶ Unlike the aforementioned devices, the MHS335BT uses a point-to-point communications strategy (satellites and cell towers not included). Because of this, the radio’s antenna and transmit power dictate the range of a user’s SMS communications. ¶ “As we know, use of a smartphone is essential to everyday life,” Newman says. “Uniden recognizes the current and future need for this feature and plans to expand and support this going forward.” ¶ Additionally, the MHS335BT is buoyant, carries an IPX8 weatherproof rating, and has a water-activated man-overboard alarm that issues a DSC distress call and lights up a water-activated strobe when submerged. The handheld also has noise-canceling technology and supports waypoint navigation. ¶ At-sea communication has come a long way from cans and slingshots.