Like all electronics, marine satellite compasses have come a long way in what they deliver. In this case, they’ve always provided accurate positioning and heading information for onboard equipment such as multifunction displays, chartplotters, autopilots, etc. Now they offer that data to boats operating at faster speeds and can calculate heave, pitch and roll. Below are five of the best satellite compasses on the market. We’ll look at more next week.
Rolling out these products is an exercise Marine Electronics Journal does every year as part of our Buyers’ Guide. It works like this: We ask the top manufacturers to identify the one model they produce in a particular category (17 in all) that they consider to be their Best & Brightest—not necessarily the most technically advanced or newest but rather the one they rate highest in the product line for one reason or another. Could be the functions and features it offers, or maybe it breaks new ground in maximizing effectiveness or utility, or maybe it’s the most popular as measured by sales to boaters. Over the past few weeks we rolled out wireless products that make operating boats more efficient, safer and fun.
The NMEA 2000
SCX20 Satellite Compass has raised the bar for multipath mitigation, accuracy, and reliability, thanks to what Furuno calls Baseline Target Architecture. The four-antenna array of the SCX20 is configured in a manner that creates six unique baselines from which to calculate accurate heading information, even in severe environments. The compact size, flexible mounting capabilities, and unique quad-antenna design of the SCX20 make the unit capable of calculating precise heading, pitch, roll, and heave information, even when line of sight is limited to only a single satellite. Having multiple baselines makes the SCX20 the right heading solution for even the most challenging of vessel installations. It is an ideal match for your NavNet TZtouch2 or TZtouch3. Also available is the NMEA 0183
version, the SCX21.
The Simrad GS25 GPS antenna is the ideal GPS for any navigator that requires extremely accurate and rapid vessel position and speed updates. Unlike other position-only antennas, the GS25 provides magnetic heading for accurate boat direction at any speed and for radar/chart overlay. The GS25 easily connects to any Simrad NS Series multifunction display or any NMEA 2000 network. It is fully waterproof and can be pole or surface mounted on any vessel. Please note this product is not suitable for use with MARPA (Mini-Automatic Radar Plotting Aid) or autopilot systems, which require a rate compass such as the RC42.
Garmin MSC 10
Know exactly where you’re headed with the Garmin MSC 10 marine satellite compass. Easily install this GPS-based heading sensor with a fully integrated attitude and heading reference system for better GPS heading at high speeds. The multi-band GNSS
(L1 and L5 GPS) receiver enables position accuracy to within 1 meter. Plus, the GPS-based compass won’t be impacted by magnetic interference. It can even deliver boat heave information to your chartplotter via the NMEA 2000 network. You can also use the MSC 10 as the primary sensor for autopilots and all your onboard systems that need accurate heading information.
The G3 GNSS system is type approved and comes with a G2 compass antenna and color display. Fully compatible with NMEA 2000, the G3 provides accurate and stable headings for autopilot, radar, AIS (Automatic Identification System), ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System), chartplotters and more. Differential GPS supports SBAS (Satellite-Based Augmentation System) and ground beacon correction service for precise position data. Field upgradeable using included ComNav Desktop Utility software.
Koden’s KGC-300 is an IMO (International Maritime Organization)-approved THD (Transmitting Heading Device) that provides highly accurate (0.5°) heading, position and speed data, along with stable and fast tracking capabilities for use in the most challenging conditions and operating environments. The KGC-300 is Satellite Based Augmentation System (WAAS/EGNOS)-enabled for superior positioning accuracy when professional mariners need it most. It features a built-in backup sensor and three heading data output ports (expandable to five ports) for integration with a range of bridge systems. Data is presented on an easy-to-read 4.3-inch color LCD that offers a variety of screens, including Heading Graph display, Rate of Turn display and Nav Data display. This advanced GPS compass is designed to provide professional navigators with the utmost in accuracy and safety.