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.

Yachting - - INSIGHTS -

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.

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