Cortex is a pioneering VHF radio from Auckland, New Zealand-based Vesper Marine.
What makes the unit special in our view is that it’s the world’s first VHF radio with wireless touchscreen handsets, an integrated Class B SOTDMA smartAIS transponder and remote vessel monitoring capabilities.
All of this combines to make the Vesper Cortex a formidable product by any measure, and especially in terms of safety.
That’s because in addition to its core radio functionality, Cortex incorporates three key safety features – collision avoidance, man overboard (MOB) and anchor watch – in a single, neatly packaged unit.
It also combines built-in sensors and NMEA2000 connectivity with a free entry-level monitoring package that allows users to keep watch on factors such as power, bilge and depth on their smartphones.
For those looking for more comprehensive insights, an upgrade to Cortex Monitor Premium unlocks real-time vessel status, alert notifications and device control for systems such as refrigerators and heaters.
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Vesper’s smartAIS technology is particularly impressive, as it not only continuously monitors and alerts boaters to potential threats from other AIS-equipped vessels around them but also allows users to make direct DSC calls by simply touching the image of a vessel on screen and pressing ‘call’.
When Cortex detects an AIS MOB activation, it immediately sounds the alarm and provides continuous updates on location, bearing and range.
The unit’s anchor watch function also demands an honourable mention as it not only provides information to crew members on board, but can also be monitored remotely via the Cortex Monitor app.
The Vesper Cortex hub can accommodate up to ten tethered or portable rechargeable handsets, five directly to the hub’s Wifi and five via a boat network for increased range.
Handsets are IPX8 and equipped with a four-inch Gorilla glass multi-touch display. Wet and glove capable, the touchscreen is optically bonded for wide-angle and sunlight viewability.
Completing the long list of features, Vesper tell us the handset’s 10W speakers are as loud as a train, but clear as a bell. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Price: £1,914.50 inc VAT.
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Read YBW’s guide to the best marine radios on the market.