Tag Archives: user

10% Off All Navionics Charts Until Aug 26th 2012

Starting on August 10th and running through August 26th we will be having a huge sale on all in stock Navionics charts.  We will be offering 10% off our already low prices on each chart purchase during this sale.

If you have a chart that is not updateable (Prior to Spring 2010) this is a great chance to purchase one at a reduced cost so you can take advantage of Navionics Freshest Data Program.  When you purchase your new chart it will be included with a USB card reader so you can download the latest updates from the web.  All you need to do is insert the card into the reader within 60 days of purchase and then plug the USB reader into a computer with internet connection and that’s it!  It’s literally that easy.  It will automatically begin a wizard for you to update your charts.  This is one of the easiest parts of your chartplotter system to update.  You are then entitled to 1 year of free updates for your chart.  With over 1000 updates per day you know you’ll have the most up to date information for all your boating or fishing trips.

Navionics manufactures many different charts for various application so determining which one you require is first step.   Platinum+ and Gold charts are better suited for pleasure boaters, sailors, and Great Lakes fishermen, while Hotmaps are geared towards inland lakes fishermen and cottagers.  Let’s take a look at what each chart option offers.

The Platinum+ charts are Navionics top of the line charts with just about every option imaginable.  They have full 2D charting data with NavAids, Marker Buoys, Contour Lines, Spot Soundings and Marina information.  They also include 3D charting, aerial photos of marina’s and port entrances, satellite photo overlays for land and water, and they also include the popular Fish’N’chip data which is high resolution bathymetric data which serious fishermen love.

Gold is the next charting in Navionics extensive product line and they have full 2D charting data with NavAids, Marker Buoys, Contour Line, Spot Soundings and Marina information.  These are one of our most popular charts and they cover an extensive charting region.  With just 2 charts you are able to cover all the coastal and Great Lakes waters of Canada and the USA.

For pleasure boaters and sailors the Platinum+ or Gold are the best choices as they have full navigational charting.  For fishermen on inland lakes in Canada there are two great choices.

Hotmaps Premium offers many lakes in HD format which include 1 foot contour lines for the serious fishermen.  This level of detail is what makes finding productive fishing spots a very quick process as the “spot on the spot” jumps right out at you.

Hotmaps Platinum has the same coverage area as the Premium and same detail level for the charting, plus it also offers 3D mapping for many lakes.  Also, included on the Hotmaps Platinum chart is satellite photo overlay and aerial photos for many marinas.

Whether you boat, sail, or fish Navionics is sure to have the right chart for you and at these sale prices there’s no better time to purchase one.




Navionics Community Layer Now Available on HDS

Navionics is proud to announce the next step in the Navionics Community Layer revolution.  In February 2012, the Navionics Web Store received an update that allows Community Layer (User Generated Content) to be downloaded along with Freshest Data to every eligible* chip.  UGC, user inputted data related to a specific location on a chart, is now viewable on compatible chart plotters such as Lowrance HDS Gen2 and Gen1 with more models are soon to come.

How to get it?

Whether you are a new or existing user, simply plug your Navionics chip into your PC after downloading the Navionics World Application from the web store on Navionics.com.  Follow the brief steps to ‘Get the Freshest Data’ and you will have UGC on your chip. It is that easy!

As an existing user of the Navionics World Application, you will receive an update notification upon your next Freshest Data attempt.

For new users of the Navionics World application, you will receive the updated application version. No update is necessary.

Above the image shows a Lowrance HDS Gen2 displaying Navionics Community Layer adding new Channel markers, Marina services, Boat Ramps etc.

How to view the Navionics Community Layer:

Lowrance HDS Gen2 : Menu > Chart Options > Community Layer

Lowrance HDS Gen1: download software update 4.1 here.
Menu > Chart Options > Community Layer

About Community Layer (User Generated Content):

A revolution in digital charts: not only are you empowered to edit your charts, but you also benefit from the contributions made by the entire community of Navionics users, all delivered in real time on your mobile device, and delivered daily to your Navionics chart along with Freshest Data. In 2011, Navionics received an Innovation Award at the Miami International Boat Show for demonstrating innovation in boating safety in the User Generated Content Layer within its mobile applications.

To date, over 200,000 edits have been made by the Navionics community that improve the accuracy of charting information and safety of Navigation. Navionics has seen significant contributions throughout the world where uncharted waters have been mapped overnight by the boating community of Navionics users. Users in the United States, Australia, Italy, UAE, Germany, UK, Russia and elsewhere have posted the equivalent to Notices to Mariners and fishing information at a rate that the world’s leading hydrographic offices complete in many years, if ever.

* Eligible charts for the Freshest Data program include Navionics Gold and Platinum+ as well as HotMaps Premium and HotMaps Platinum products purchased after 2010. 


Test Driving the Flex-5000A

Flex 5000A - from my iPhone

I decided to borrow the Flex-5000A from our showroom display for a day this past weekend.

My computer situation at home is a bit different from most. The PowerSDR software is for a PC only, and I am a Mac guy. I have Windows XP SP2 (not the current SP3) running under Apple’s BootCamp, so I was somewhat concerned about having enough computer for the Flex setup. What’s nice though, is my 24″ iMac has the Firewire interface built-in, so no need to add any hardware.

I set up the radio hardware, grounded, power hooked up, firewire plugged in, antennas connected, ready to go. I installed the software, booted it all up, set my preferences, hit the start button, and I got the choppy audio at startup issue !
No problem, hit the start button again and everything is fine. Whew !

Right away I realised that my Apple mighty mouse’s swipe-to-scroll feature does not work under Windows (at least I haven’t figured out how to make it work), and I had left the USB VFO knob back at Radioworld, so I was unable to tune around, other than clicking with the mouse. I quickly discovered you can use keyboard keys to tune the vfo. Although a bit awkward at first, once you get the hang of it all, it is pretty easy to do.

Tuning around the bands, there were many stations working the ARRL Sweepstakes contest, of which I had zero interest. But this makes a good test for the Flex, as there are big signals with big splatter and bad operators. Perfect.

Off to 10 metres I called a number of Europeans, netting none of them. Hmmm. I didn’t connect my amplifier, maybe the 100 watts isn’t enough. No, couldn’t be. I noticed the power meter on the radio is staying at 0 or at best a watt or two. Hmmm. I see my audio shows really nicely on the scope, what’s wrong ?
Over to 10 metre FM, an OK2 station calling on simplex with a booming signal. I give my call and ….. no answer. Then the OK2 says he sees a carrier but there is no audio. DOH ! Mic gain is down at almost nothing. Turn it up, equalize it, and the OK2 remarks on how fantastic my audio is – five different times during our QSO. YAY ! Of course the Heil PR-781 helps too – what a fantastic microphone.

After working a few guys, it happened again. No one answered my calls, even strong stations I should work easily. Why? I was baffled. Those that have seen the PowerSDR software know there are a lot of controls on that screen – a little overwhelming at first. And after looking very closely at all those settings, I noticed my split was on and I was transmitting 5 kHz away from  my listening frequency. Turn off the split and everything is good again.

Throughout the course of the day I tested the Flex on every band 160 through 6, and contacted a number of stations, avoiding the contesters. Even poking around the AM broadcast band and shortwave bands I was amazed at just how great the receiver is.

The ability to sneak in between two splattering contesters and work weak DX amazed me over and over. I saw a cluster post for T2T in Tuvulu, tuned to his frequency, and there he was around S4 working Asian stations. There were no North American stations calling him – I guess he was too weak and they couldn’t hear him through the splatter. I called one time and worked him.

“WOW”. I literally said “Wow” out loud.

Then I saw a cluster post for a station in Rarotonga. Again, weak, but surrounded by big stations, no North Americans calling because they couldn’t hear him. It’s like I have a secret weapon and they don’t. Worked him on the first call. I said it out loud again – “Wow”.
Then ZL2WX on 10 metres, really early in the day for ZL’s but there he was calling CQ with no takers. In the log, thank-you. Awesome.

Then I hear FP5BZ in St. Pierre & Miquelon working a European pileup. I thought that he will never hear me if he’s beaming Europe. Worked him on the first call.
Okay, that was easy, but now there is a pileup for D2AM in Angola, Africa. No way I’ll crack this one. Au contraire – you know where I’m going with this – worked him on the first call. Again – “Wow”.
Was this all due to conditions, my average antenna, or the FlexRadio ? Probably all three. Most of these guys are weak or surrounded by the contesters, so this is where the Flex 5000 really shines.

This went on for the rest of the day. Whether they were new countries to me or not, if they seemed weak and unworkable, I worked them all. The Flex really flexed it’s muscle. All at 100 watts and a modest triband beam at 30 feet – nothing special.

My iMac did not have any issues running the Flex setup, never showing more than 30% CPU load, even with both receivers active and all the bells and whistles on. I had web browsers open, logging software running, and antivirus software running at the same time.
After the initial plug in of the firewire cable, I never had to think about it again.

After packing it all up to return it, I must say it was a fantastic experience. I definitely was a “big radio with a VFO” guy until I gave the FlexRadio a chance. There are one or two comparable big box radios, but none at a better price or even close to it.

Flex 5000A
FlexRadio Flex-5000A

Now excuse me while I write a letter to Santa.


See the entire FlexRadio setup here: