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Old 19-07-2021, 13:30   #1
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Vesper Cortex

Anyone? Experience?

Just ran into this article


https://seabits.com/vesper-cortex-first-impressions/
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Old 19-07-2021, 16:12   #2
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Re: Vesper Cortex

I installed the system and have an additional cordless handset at the helm. I'm not really prepared to fully review it, but at this point would say "caution". Maybe in 6 months I can give a better review of it after it's fully functional with the monitor app. Here is some stuff that's just off the top of my head.

I bought it because my 20 year old Icom had stopped working AND I wanted a high power VHF at the helm. Before this I just used a handheld. The second reason was my Vesper 850 had stopped working. I loved it and therefore really only looked at Vesper for an AIS solution. I was going to buy a Vision system until talking to a rep for Vesper. He added in the remote monitoring feature which I hadn't considered. As we are going to leave the boat at a marina in Greece for two months unattended that was a bonus (big).

Again, can't say yet whether this was a mistake but to get what I wanted it would have taken a new VHF with remote mic, a new AIS, and some type of monitor box. Pricing put all that at about the same as the Cortex. Installation was very easy. I installed the corded handset at the nav station and the cordless outside by the helm. Right away we started to get quite a few alarms for MOB. The alarm would say we were 0 feet away from the MOB. Reset and it would go away but several times we were away from the boat when the alarm went off and the marina staff had to go onboard to reset the alarm. The AIS alarm profiles are not nearly as simple and clear as my old 850. I don't think I'll actually end up using the hand sets for AIS at all so that could have been a black box unit. My Raymarine picked up the Cortex on my Seatalk system automatically and populated the targets onto the chart. That was pretty cool. We only tried to use the anchor alarm twice before I had to leave the boat but was not impressed. The old 850 was way better on a visual basis. Maybe as I get used to it my opinion of this function will change.

I can easily pick up targets 75 miles away. Lots of targets. The antenna is on top of my mast and it really picks up ship signals. Some over 100 miles away. The radio is nice. I couldn't get DSC to work ship to ship at all. No one ever answered my call so either I'm doing it wrong or they are not interested in this feature. DSC is very confusing on the screen. Ships are sending out test messages all the time and that sets off an alarm. PITA.

The monitor app appears to be working pretty well. My daughter is sailing around Greece now with the boat and I'm able to follow her and get all the instrument readings here in the States. Very cheap on an annual contract also. In two months I'll have time to set up the exterior alarms for high water, shore power, and maybe even a motion detector / door switch.

So, I had a problem with the cordless unit right away. It wouldn't charge on the base cradle. I called tech support and this is a known problem that temporarily can be fixed by pulling out the little charge tabs with needle nose pliers. It's a pretty crappy solution and I'll wait until I get a replacement cradle. But this has made me rethink the handset locations and now I'm going to switch them so the corded is at the helm and cordless is at the nav station. We had to go through the Straights of Gibraltar in the middle of the night with a dead handset at the helm. That honestly really pissed me off the most.

I really want the system to work because I simply need it. It would also be nice to validate my purchase and efforts to install.
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Old 19-07-2021, 18:05   #3
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Re: Vesper Cortex

thank you for sharing
new products may have rocky beginnings, the positive is Vesper, and they are superb providing support.
Have the Vision and am very satisfied, however this unit seems to provide and cover many needs in one single handheld gizmo, and many times we use them to complement each other such as calling another vessel while responding to an AIS target.
Impressed with the range you get by having the antenna placed on the mast.
take care
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Old 19-07-2021, 23:47   #4
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Re: Vesper Cortex

I have installed a few and no way I would have it as my only vhf. maybe as a 2nd one.

to me it's a fancy piece of bling. and not a piece of emergency equipment I would trust. which is what a vhf should be. I can drop a vhf mic and still use it...
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Old 20-07-2021, 05:24   #5
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Re: Vesper Cortex

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
I have installed a few and no way I would have it as my only vhf. maybe as a 2nd one.

to me it's a fancy piece of bling. and not a piece of emergency equipment I would trust. which is what a vhf should be. I can drop a vhf mic and still use it...
I read the review that was attached in the original post now. I'm wondering if you installed the Vesper AIS/VHF antenna? I did and don't have a problem with the VHF radio. And dropping the handset really isn't a concern either as it's pretty tough.
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Old 31-10-2021, 11:38   #6
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Re: Vesper Cortex

Anyone have more experience with this new system?

Or do we go with the tried and true still?
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Old 31-10-2021, 15:30   #7
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Re: Vesper Cortex

I have more now than with my last post. I guess it's moving up to "Pretty Good" from "Hold" for me. We used the anchor alarm more and it's easier to understand with more experience. The charging cradle does work if you set it precisely. I don't use a VHF much so for my needs it meets them. I can say that I hear broadcasts from very far away. Vesper is also updating the firmwear to allow a fog horn / hailer feature - that's very slick that it is going to be available even though it wasn't a feature when purchased.

They increased the price of the monitoring from what it was quoted when I bought the Cortex. It's still not a deal breaker but for $180/year I don't need it right now. I'd really like the monitor to provide humidity or temperature readings. It seems they should be able to do that as you can get sea temps via Raymarine instruments.
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