Vesper Marine Releases Hailer and Fog Horn Functionality for All Existing Cortex Hubs

Vesper Marine, a leading manufacturer of innovative marine electronics, announced today the activation of Hailer and Fog-Horn capability on all existing Cortex M1 hubs when upgraded to software version 1.7. The free update also includes enhancements to VHF control and sensor flexibility.

The key new feature of the software update is the addition of a Loudspeaker Mode, which enables Horn and Hailer control of a 30W loudspeaker connected to the Cortex Hub. It makes use of hardware that was included in all Cortex Hubs from the first day of manufacturing. Horn and Hailer can be operated from the new Loudspeaker menu option on Cortex Handsets and the Cortex Onboard app on smartphones. In an emergency, a boater can alert surrounding vessels without necessarily being at the helm by either using their smartphone or the portable H1P Cortex Handset. 

“From day one, we intended to add Horn and Hailer capability, so we ensured the relevant hardware was built into every Cortex Hub,” said Brady Cox, CEO, Vesper Marine. “We appreciate the patience and trust our initial customers placed in us and are delighted to deliver on our promise to provide this powerful functionality.”

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“Loudspeaker Mode isn’t the only new hardware-related feature we will be unlocking in Cortex,” said Carl Omundsen, Chief Technical Officer, Vesper Marine. “We intend to make it easier to connect other devices to Cortex in the future. Our focus now moves to delivering Channel Scanning and Intercom capabilities. Cortex is a software defined system which allows us to add features in a way simply not possible on a traditional VHF. For example, instead of continually cycling through each channel looking for breaks in squelch, Cortex will monitor all channels simultaneously in the background. For features like Intercom, we plan to make these accessible via the Cortex Onboard app as well as between handsets, making it more usable for boaters. Next year we will start to release updates that do truly remarkable things, unheard of in VHF because they simply aren’t possible on legacy hardware platforms.” 

Consistent with Vesper Marine’s desire to make VHF features easy to use, Hailer and Horn are tightly integrated into the Cortex experience with the horn directly available from the collision avoidance screen. Where multiple handsets are installed, one handset can remain on the VHF screen, while another uses the Hailer or Horn. The Horn function conveniently shows the lengths of sounds that each message entails helping boaters interpret horns from other vessels. After tapping the horn message, Cortex will visually show progress through the active signal, relevant messages will repeat until stopped and a distress SOS horn sound can also be activated.

The Hailer function can be activated by either holding down the microphone button on the Cortex Onboard App display, or by holding down the Cortex Handset’s PTT or click-wheel button.

The Cortex Hub has always included an audio output port and a second 30W power amp channel (the first 10W power amp channel is used by the Hub’s dedicated VHF and alert speaker). To use Loudspeaker Mode, Cortex owners simply need to connect a 30W capable, 4 Ohm loudspeaker to the Hub’s audio port and update their Cortex to software version 1.7. As with all Cortex updates, the process is easily done using the Cortex Onboard app.

VHF Enhancements include Channel Lock and Mute. Channel Lock prevents the click-wheel and touchscreen from changing the VHF channel, eliminating accidental changes while handling or in rough seas. Muting the VHF now also silences non-urgent DSC calls, enabling boaters to sleep at night knowing their alarms and DSC calls are active, but without VHF chatter.

Sensor Enhancements provide greater flexibility for use. Users can select the preferred external instrument for monitoring when there is more than one connected via NMEA 2000 or NMEA 0183. The Hub’s internal barometer and heading sensors are now available via NMEA 2000 and WiFi, making them accessible to third-party apps and MFDs. Fine-tuning of the internal battery and barometer sensors enable boaters to adjust for long cable runs or the location of their Hub (which may affect air pressure). These can both now be viewed on the Handset Instruments page.

Vesper Marine redefined the VHF experience with Cortex, the world’s first radio with wireless touchscreen handsets, built-in Class B SOTDMA smartAIS transponder and remote vessel monitoring. Cortex includes Vesper Marine’s award-winning smartAIS technology with smart alarm logic to proactively alert boaters of potentially hazardous situations. It combines navigation and sensor data with intelligent alarms to prioritize voice alerts on handsets or a speaker connected to the 10W output. Users can have multiple tethered H1 or portable rechargeable H1P handsets to see crossing situations, navigation light sectors or make trial maneuvers while talking on the radio. Respond to a collision alert by touching the vessel and pressing “call” to quickly initiate a DSC call. Press the MOB button to activate track back mode on handsets and mark man overboard waypoints on NMEA 2000 connected multifunction display units. The IPX7 handsets provide up to 85 dBA of audio and feature dual-watch, favorite channels and one-handed operation via the click-wheel. The Cortex wet and glove-touch capable touchscreens have optically bonded Gorilla®Glass for durability and wide angle viewing even in sunlight.

Cortex and a selection of installation accessories are available from authorized Vesper Marine resellers worldwide. For more information on Cortex, visit cortex.com/updates. For more information on Vesper Marine or its entire product line, visit vespermarine.com.

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