Saturday, December 20, 2014

Vexilar SonarPhone now on Navionics

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, >iOS 4.3 and Android 2.0
Function: Marine Depth, Fishfinder, Sonar
Rating: *****
Cost: App is free, T-Box $149/$199

Along comes a company called Vexilar to shake up the sonar and fish finder world. They are a Midwestern company located in Minneapolis Minnesota. It is fitting they would be located in a state famous for great fishing and known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  They are probably more well known for their line of fish finders and underwater cameras for fishing and ice fishing applications.

They recently set the fishing world on fire with their SonarPhone application for smartphones and tablets along with the T-Pod and T-Box products.

Vexilar has their own free app called SonarPhone which comes in an iOS version or Android version found in iTunes and the Google Play store.

So, why am I so excited about this fish finder sonar?  Well, Navionics has recently released an update to their Boating and Charting apps that also incorporates the SonarPhone capabilities into their Marine apps.

If you purchase any of the T-Box product they can be easily connected to the Navionics app to provide sonar data and a depth display.  To get started, power the T-Box sonar unit up. On your mobile device enter Settings/WiFi and select the T-Box WiFi network.  Go back and open the Navionics app and the Sonar data should automatically be displayed on your chart display. See this YouTube video for easy setup instructions.

You can access the demo through the app in Menu/Charts and Upgrades. Select SonarPhone under Features.

Navionics app T-Box demo under Charts and Upgrades

Navionics App Note Sonar icon in bottom left on iPad

Navionics App Sonar chart split screen view on iPad

Vexilar App Features:
  • WiFi Connectivity to T-Pod, SP-200 and SP-300
  • Multiple user access via WiFi
  • Automatic Ranging
  • Transmit Range: 90 yards
  • Water Temperature, Depth Indicator
  • Audible Alarms for Fish/ Shallow/Low Battery
  • Gain settings
  • Depth Range
  • Depth alarm
  • Color Options
  • Fish Icon
  • Zoom Bottom Track
  • Noise Rejection
  • Chart speed
  • Keel Offset
  • Fish Alarm
  • Surface Clarity
  • Battery Indicator and alarm
  • Screen controls: Touch screen, split screen display with touch screen zoom control.
Vexilar SonarPhone App display features

Vexilar SonarPhone app iPhone
Vexilar SonarPhone app settings

Specifications - SP200 & SP300 Wi-Fi Boat Sonar
  • Permanent boat installation: (#SP200 only)
  • Portable boat installation w/suction cup transducer bracket: ( #SP300 only)
  • Transducer: High-speed skimmer-style transducer with keel offset and 6 meters of cable.
  • Max depth range: 240 Feet
  • Sonar frequency: 200/83 kHz
  • Dual Beam: 20º/40º
  • Power source: 12V DC power
  • Power output: 800 Watts Peak-to-Peak
  • Transmit speed: 100 Mbps
  • One year warranty
  • Included 12V, 4.5 amp-hour battery and charger. (#SP300 only)
  • Carry case with 12 volt battery and charger: (#SP300 only)

Vexilar offers several sonar units. The first is the T-Pod which is an rechargeable unit that can be towed or set in the water near your boat.  The onboard battery lasts about 4 hours. It has a water activated transmitter that will automatically start when it hits the water. It transmits through WiFi the same high quality sonar information to your smartphone or tablet.
If you fish from your boat or from shore this is a cost effective way to get sonar and fish finding information on your iOS or Android device. I found it for $115.00 on

Vexilar also offers the T-BOX (SP200).  This is a unit that can be more permanently mounted on your boat.  This is the unit that I am most excited about. If you own a small boat or sailboat and don't want to invest is a chart plotter costing thousands you can have a fully functioning sonar system for only $149.00. Vexilar has made it that cost effective to add depth and sonar to your boat.

The T-BOX (SP300) is similar unit but is a mobile version that can be temporarily mounted on your boat or used for ice fishing. It has its own battery and retails for $199.00.
The SP-200 system can be easily wired into your boats 12 volt power supply. The sensor can be transom mounted and will provide depth, sonar data and water temperature in that configuration.
You can also mount the transducer inside your boat on solid fiberglass hulls. The transducer will work right through your hull if it is not a cored hull. You will lose water temperature in this configuration.  
The SonarPhone uses WiFi technology to create a WiFi hotspot.  It turns your smart phone or tablet into a fully functional sonar system. There is no limit on the number of users, so everyone on board can have access to the sonar data. You simply open Settings on your iPhones or Tablets and select the TBox WiFi network source, enter the network password and your connected. This system is not dependent on cell coverage so it will work anywhere.
The SonarPhone app offers their app in 17 languages for world wide use. 
There is no easier way to get high quality water depth, temperature and sonar onboard your boat at a great price. Vexilar and Navionics have made it seamless and super easy to put powerful sonar data in the palm of your hand.  
This would be a great stocking stuffer for Christmas. Hint, Hint!
*****Happy Holidays Everyone*****
~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus - Awesome Marine App Display

I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a worthy post this week.  I have been hunting high and low for a new app that would both amaze and impress you my loyal readers.  I have been somewhat distracted by getting ready for Christmas.  Christmas is just around the corner so I have been busy with preparations for that season.  The house is decorated, the tree is set up and all the lights are working.  I hope you are getting in the Christmas spirit too!

I recently upgraded my phone to the new Apple iPhone 6 Plus.  I used to have an iPhone 4s. It served me very well for the 3 years I had it. I skipped the iPhone 5 upgrade because I was not impressed with the added features and improvements made my Apple at that time.  I was getting a little big screen envy of the large phones Samsung was developing.  I had even toyed with the idea of buying an Android phone.

I ordered my phone directly from Apple and it took over 3 weeks to arrive.  I was able to back up my old phone to the iCloud so I was able to download all my apps, messages and contacts to my new phone. I sold my old phone back to Apple. They gave me $105 in Apple store credit for it which was about $30 more than some of the other third party sites.

I am totally blown away how great my marine apps are looking on the larger iPhone screen.  The 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch screen and the iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch screen.

The shot below shows the size compared to a 7 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablet.  Notice the narrower sides bars with allows the screen to fill up more of the display.

Here are a few of the stats compared to the iPhone 5.

iPhone 6 Plus Stats                                                    iPhone 5 Stats

5.5-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen Multi‑Touch display with IPS technology  4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen Multi‑Touch display with IPS technology
1920-by-1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi  1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
1300:1 contrast ratio (typical)  800:1 contrast ratio (typical)
500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)  500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)
Full sRGB standard  Full sRGB standard
Dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles   
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front  Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front
Display Zoom   
The iPhone 6 has a new and improved 8 megapixel camera and a 1080P video camera. Video now includes slow motion and 120 or 240 frames per second. You can even take photos while recording video. The camera alone is reason enough to upgrade.

Here are a few of my favorite apps shown on the bigger iPhone 6 Plus screen. I am loving it! I am finding that I don't even use my iPad as much because the apps looks so great on the iPhone 6 Plus. They are easier to read even with my over 55 year old eyes.

Marine Information Display

NMEA Remote


Navionics US


Sea Nav

iRegatta Pro

I think the iPhone 6 Plus would be a great Christmas present for anyone, especially a sailor or boater. Be extra good this year so you end up on the "NICE List" and hopefully Santa will bring you one.  If you don't get one, there is no harm in buying one for yourself.  This could be considered required essential gear for any boating vessel. You can always argue that it is for safety reasons and you just had to have it to use all those great Marine Charting, Marine Data and Marine AIS apps.

*****Have a Super Holiday Season****

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)