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Welcome to next generation navigation from Digital Yacht

Please remember our main website is at www.digitalyachtamerica.com so please visit there  for further product information.

This site is a daily news feed – packed with useful hints and tips on marine electronics in general, useful installation guides, white papers and links to other sites too. Feel free to subscribe by joining our list. Follow us also on Twitter and Facebook.

Superyacht Sonar Server – Build Your Own Bathy Charting

Running aground while trying to edge into a shallow water anchorage must be high up the list of “DON’T DOs” for any Superyacht Captain.  With owners and guests increasingly wanting that really special anchorage or close to beach location, relying on traditional (and maybe out of date) chart depth data and a sounder could spell disaster and embarrassment.


Digital Yacht’s Sonar Server working with Navionic’s Sonar Charts Live app for iPad and Android devices is a great solution to this problem.

Chances are the yacht tender is equipped with a small fishfinder, depth sounder or multi function plotter-sounder.  Sonar Server ($129.95) connects to the NMEA output from this device and creates a wireless feed to an iPad or Android tablet on board the tender.

It interfaces direct with Navionic’s low cost boating app which is popular among millions of users with detailed charts and global coverage.  Sonar Server feeds live depth data to the application which then redraws the bathymetry in real time allowing you to effectively build your own depth charts like in the picture below.  As you travel, the chart gets redrawn with new depth data/

sonar server screen shot


The tender can then return to the main yacht with a detailed local chart and the tablet used for real time navigation on the mother ship.  While no internet connection is required for the system to function, the next time the tablet has a connection, the collected data will be uploaded anonymously to Navionics who then validate the data and include on their next chart updates – so data gets better and better thanks to community data sourcing.  You can also build your own database too with local “depth tracks” stored on your device.

Find out more at http://www.sonarserver.com

PS For those that say it never happens, here’s proof or have a read here about an incident only this week in Miami – http://www.boatinternational.com/yachts/news/58m-superyacht-unbridled-runs-aground-off-of-miami–25993

superyacht agroind


Summer’s Here and the AquaWear WLN20 Gateway Gets Your Navigation On Deck

Summer is arriving and the last place you want to be stuck, figuring out your charts and navigation, is down below at the chart table or lower helm.  Here’s how the WLN20 NMEA-WiFi navigation server can enable next generation navigation and start to integrate your smart phone, tablet, PC or MAC into your boat’s navigation system.

aquawear dame


The WLN20 connects to your existing boat instruments, plotter and even an AIS thanks to its dual NMEA inputs.  It then creates a wireless hotspot on your boat so anybody with a smart phone or tablet can connect and gather real-time boat nav data to be displayed on a variety of low cost charting, instrument, AIS and boating apps.

Installation is simple – just connect using a simple 2 wire NMEA connection to existing products and you’ll upgrade your boat to next generation wireless navigation.  Multiple devices can also connect so your on board data can be shared with all your crew.


You can watch the video here to find out more

As a bonus, the WLN20 ships with a stylish wrist case allowing you to literally wear your smart phone on your sleeve – it’s amazingly practical – think of anchoring at the bow and being able to glance at the depth or trim sails while looking at VMG.  That’s why we call it AquaWear.  Of course, it’s not just limited to navigation data – there’s a mass of great charting apps that will turn your smart device into a sophisticated touch screen plotter including our own NavLink charting app for iOS.

For more information, check out our main website HERE

PS – If you’re away chartering on a boat with limited or unknown navigation gear this summer CHECK OUT our new portable navigation solution – SmarterTrack Express for a PC.  You can also download a demo of the software from HERE


New Mac OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) drivers now available for WL60


We are pleased to confirm that we have now released a new set of drivers for our popular WL60 long range Wi-Fi adaptor.

With the release of Mac OSX 10.10, Apple made a few small changes to the way drivers are installed and registered and it was necessary to create a new installer for our WL60 drivers.

For anyone with a brand new Mac that wants to have a simple long range Wi-Fi solution for use on their boat or in their caravan, the WL60 is one of the few solutions that are Yosemite compatible.

To download the latest drivers please click here.

Note – these drivers can also be used with our older WL410 products.

Illuminated Silent Switch for AIS Transponder

AIT2000 Power + Silent LED

With more and more AIS Transponders being installed on pleasure boats, fitting and using a “Silent Switch” is definitely recommended and we should all do our bit to reduce chart plotter clutter by following the etiquette of only transmitting your position when crossing shipping lanes or in bad weather.

When an AIS transponder is in “Silent Mode” it continues to receive position/target reports from other vessels, but it no longer transmits its own position.

All Digital Yacht AIS transponders have the option of fitting a remote silence switch and we are often asked by customers if they can fit an illuminated Silent switch so that it is easy to tell if the transponder is in Silent or normal mode. The simple answer to this is “NO” you cannot fit an illuminated switch directly to our transponders as they are just sense lines and will not either turn on an illuminated switch or appreciate having the boat’s 12v supply connected to them through the illuminated switch.

There is a way to in-directly connect an illuminated switch to our AIS transponders though, by connecting it via an automotive relay. The image below shows how to wire the relay and illuminated switch to the White and Blue wires of our transponders that control the Silent mode.

AIT1000-3000 Silence Switch Relay

In this configuration, when the switch is illuminated the transponder is in Silent Mode and when the switch is off the transponder goes back to normal mode transmitting your position.


Free Webinar on Navionics Sonar Charts™

Webinar Image

Digital Yacht’s CEO Nicholas Heyes will be one of the speakers at a free Webinar that Navionics are organising on their latest Sonar Charts™ Technology.

The live Webinar will take place on Tuesday 12th May at 19.00 hours Central Europe Time (13.00 EST and 10.00 PST) and registration is free for anyone that wants to attend. Register now by clicking here.

The Webinar will show you how to map, in real time, the sea bottom using the new Sonar Charts™ “Live” feature of the Navionics Apps, available for both Apple and Android devices, in conjunction with your existing GPS/Fish Finder.

A preview of the “Sonarcharts LIVE” video can be seen by clicking here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar, which will last for about 30 minutes.

Digital Yacht’s SmarterTrack Express offers laptop navigation with Navionic’s charting and DualNav positioning

Digital Yacht's SmarterTrack Express offers laptop navigation with Navionic's charting and DualNav positioning

SmarterTrack Express is a new navigation package designed to turn a Windows notebook into a full function electronic charting system for marine navigation.  It ships with a high performance DualNav (GPS & GLONASS) positioning sensor which is self powered from the PC’s USB port.  Install the software and the notebook is transformed into an easy to use yet very powerful chart plotter.

DualNav positioning technology uses both GPS and the Russian GLONASS system for ultra precise (typically sub 1m) accuracy as well as fast 10Hz updates allowing much smoother track and heading information to be displayed.  You’ll also benefit from redundancy with positioning from two independent satellite systems.  The sensor can also be permanently mounted on board the vessel if required.

All the normal navigation functions are available from the SmarterTrack application including waypoints, routes and tracks.  It supports weather and sophisticated AIS target overlays and alarms with a connection to an AIS.  The user interface has been designed for either touch screen operation or more traditional mouse/trackpad control.  It works on PCs using any version of Windows from XP forward to the latest Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 systems.

SmarterTrack can utilise Navionic’s charts for worldwide, detailed charting.  Charts can be copied from their normal SD format onto the PC hard drive and then also used in compatible chart plotters from brands like Raymarine, Lowrance, B&G, Humminbird and Simrad allowing for a combination package of plotter and PC to be installed on-board.

As the system is completely portable, it’s ideal for use by charter skippers who can effectively turn their laptop into a large screen format plotter at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated device.  It’s also popular with commercial users, superyacht captains and delivery crew as well as boaters looking for a good value, big screen navigation solution.

SmarterTrack Express is priced at £275 ex vat (US$440/€395).  Further details from www.digitalyachtamerica.com or call +1179 55 44 74 (US 978 277 1234)


Wi-Fi Congestion


The range of 2.4GHz frequencies reserved for Wi-Fi is fairly limited and with so many Wi-Fi devices and networks these days, it is not unusual for wireless networks in the same location to share the same frequencies and this results in lower connection speeds and even connection drop outs in extreme situations.

The good news is that the wireless network(s) on your boat, once out at sea, will not be affected by the wireless networks on land or on other boats. That said, these days it is not unusual for larger yachts and powerboats to have two or more wireless networks and so it is really important to ensure that your own wireless networks are working at peak performance and not sharing the same frequencies.

The good news is that most Wireless Routers and Access Points can be configured to work on a specific frequency and so you should be able to ensure that each network is using its own frequency band without any overlaps.

There are affectively 13 frequencies in the 2.4GHz range and each wireless router will use five adjoining frequencies to setup its network. Looking at the diagram above, where each coloured curve is a separate wireless router/network, you can see that in general three frequencies are used; 1, 6 and 11. which allows three routers to work side by side with no overlapping/sharing of frequencies.

So how do you optimise the frequencies used by your wireless networks ? Well first you need to “see” what is going on by carrying out a wireless survey of your boat. This can be done using a number of free programs and apps. Unfortunately Apple do not allow iPhones and iPads to provide this level of Wi-Fi Information so you will need to use a Windows PC or Android device to do your wireless survey.

If you have an Android phone or tablet, then you are in luck as the free App “Wi-Fi Analyzer” is one of the best tools available and created the image above. For Windows PC users then “NetSurveyor” is very good or “WiFiInfoView” which is not so graphical but is only a few hundred Kilobytes in size and needs no installation, so can run straight from your memory stick.

Whichever tool you use, once you have conducted your wireless survey, you will be able to see what frequencies your wireless networks are operating on and decide if you need to change them. All Digital Yacht wireless products can be changed to use a different frequency and should you need to do this, please contact us for instructions.