Manufacturer unveils first marine VHF Radio with touchscreen handsets, integrated SOTDMA smartAIS Transponder and Remote Vessel Monitoring

Marine electronics manufacturer Vesper Marine, claims to have redefined the VHF experience with its latest launch, Cortex - a radio with wireless touchscreen handsets, built-in Class B SOTDMA smartAIS transponder and remote vessel monitoring.

Lifestyle 1 - Anchor Watch at the beach

Anchor Watch at the beach

Cortex has been designed to take the stress out of onboard system monitoring and VHF usage

“Innovation in AIS technology, touchscreen devices and vessel monitoring has skyrocketed in recent years, but marine VHF hasn’t kept pace and remains an anachronism,” said Jeff Robbins, CEO, Vesper Marine. “Cortex fundamentally changes how you interact with safety communication systems.”

Cortex’s touchscreen handset has been designed to be intuitive, making typically complicated functions easy to use. For example, touching a vessel onscreen and pressing “call” makes a direct DSC call. Cortex continuously shows crossing situations, navigation light sectors and even allows trial maneuvers while a boater talks on the VHF radio. Up to 10 handsets, either wired or wireless, provide up to 85 dBA of crystal-clear audio. A 10W speaker output enables louder audio and alerting even while handsets are turned off. Cortex includes dual-watch, favorite channels and one-handed operation via the click-wheel. Pressing the dedicated man overboard (MOB) button activates a track back mode on all handsets and marks the MOB waypoint on NMEA 2000®connected multi-function displays (MFDs).

Carl Omundsen, Vesper Marine’s Chief Technical Officer said, “Cortex unleashes the full potential of VHF, AIS and DSC by combining them in a way that is both intuitive and super easy to use.”

Cortex includes Vesper Marine’s smartAIS technology – an active system with smart alarm logic, smartAIS proactively alerts boaters of potentially hazardous situations. It combines navigation sensor data such as wind speed, GPS and AIS information with intelligent alarm management that prioritizes alerts for the most urgent response. Cortex continuously calculates crossing situations and generates collision alarms for critical action, alerts the crew of anchor dragging, and activates MOB alarms for immediate retrieval. Instead of ambiguous bells or tones, Cortex sounds the alarm with voiced alerts that escalate until acknowledged.

Plug-and-Play functionality

Cortex combines built in sensors and NMEA 2000 connectivity with free basic monitoring. Using cellular connectivity, boaters can view twice-daily updates of power, location, wind, depth, bilge, temperature and more on their smartphones. The Cortex Monitor Premium subscription unlocks real-time vessel status, alerts and device control for boat systems like refrigerators, icemakers, lights or heaters.

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Engineered for marine

Engineered for marineEngineered for marine durability with a submersible IPX7 rating, the wired H1 and wireless rechargeable H1P handsets feature a generous 4-inch Gorilla Glass multi-touch display. Wet and glove capable, the touchscreen is optically bonded for wide-angle and sunlight viewability, even in the harshest midday sun. The Cortex M1 is enclosed in thermally conductive plastic and is also sealed for an IPX7 rating. It includes an integrated no-loss splitter so a single VHF antenna can be used for Cortex and another VHF radio. All ports are galvanically isolated to protect from corrosion, electrical surges and ground loops.

Cortex Anchor Watch 

Whether sleeping onboard at night or away from the boat, Cortex gives owners the confidence that their boat is safely anchored. Onboard alarms are available on Cortex handsets and WiFi connected smartphones. While ashore, Cortex sends alerts to a smartphone via the Cortex Monitor app. As well as anchor drag, Cortex can alert on changes to wind speed, wind direction and water depth.

Remote upgrades via App

Vesper says Cortex will only get smarter; new features and capabilities can be downloaded automatically to the Cortex Onboard App for updates via WiFi whenever convenient.

Cortex Onboard and Cortex Monitor Apps will be available for download for both iOS and Android. Cortex Onboard provides onboard monitoring and alert functionality on mobile devices, sending safety data and alerts directly to smartphone or tablet via WiFi. When away from the boat, Cortex Monitor provides position, sensor and anchor watch monitoring and alerts.

Networkable via NMEA 2000, Cortex integrates with leading marine MFDs, sharing AIS positioning information and boat sensors. A five-channel input offers control and monitoring of sensors connected directly to the device for a cost-effective vessel monitoring solution.

The Cortex M1 is also available separately and is a full-function Class B SOTDMA AIS that offers remote monitoring and control and is VHF-ready. Simply add Cortex handsets to access full VHF communication functionality or purchase the Cortex V1 package which includes the M1 and H1 handset.