Standard Horizon GX6000 bad and good news, plus new HX890 and HX40

22 Aug

What the heck? An AIS transceiver with a decent antenna up reasonably high can see other AIS transceivers fairly far away, but not 3,508 nautical miles! What’s actually illustrated here was a Standard Horizon GX6000 mistranslating AIS target positions into NMEA 2000, as strongly suggested by the photo below. But as bad as that glitch was, there’s already a firmware fix and the way the update operation works has further benefits.

Here’s the GX6000 I began testing in June photographed at the same time I grabbed the Garmin 742 screen at top. Note the realistic bearings and distances for vessels like S/Y Angel and Snow Star.  This evidence that the radio was properly decoding AIS signals even while both Garmin and Raymarine MFDs showed screwy target positions strongly indicated that NMEA 2000 translation was the problem, though I did not know for sure that it wasn’t caused by some wackiness on Gizmo’s complicated N2K network when I reported the issue to Standard Horizon. They didn’t seem to know either, at least at first, but a few weeks later they sent an update for testing.

I once updated a Simrad RS35 VHF/AISrx radio over N2K using an SD card and a Simrad MFD, but marine radios are not usually upgradeable in the field, and the Standard Horizon process is easily the most sophisticated I know of. You do need to link a Windows PC to the GX6000’s USB port and download the firmware updates and the YCE08 software found under the Files tab at SH’s GX6000 web page, but then the possibilities even get fun.

Updating GX6000 with YCE08 software Updated Radio and AIS firmware on GX6000 Configuring GX6500 Soft Keys and more with YCE08 software Loading custom interface configuration into SH GX6000

So the top two images illustrate the update process, which did indeed fix the GX6000’s NMEA 2000 AIS output so that targets now display correctly on Gizmo’s Garmin and Raymarine MFDs. I don’t know what V2.00.03 Radio update did — and it would be nice if Standard Horizon was more informative about releasing new updates and what they do — but maybe I’ll notice in further testing.

And now the fun part: As shown on the lower screens, the YCE software lets you download the current settings of the radio, modify them easily using the PC’s big screen and keyboard, and then upload them back to the radio. It’s already nice, I think, that the GX6000 already allows you custom configure the Soft Keys, Channel Names, and more, but that’s all much easier with the PC software. And it could be terrific for, say, a fleet manager setting up multiple radios optimized for particular boating tasks. And similar software is available for the existing HX870 handheld and the brand new HX890.

New HX handhelds

I have not seen any publicity about them, but the HX890 Handheld VHF/GPS and the HX40 Ultra Compact Handheld are not only detailed at but in stock at various outlets for about $270 and $170 respectively. The new feature I really like is that both can be tuned to the FM broadcast band. While that means you’re no longer monitoring the VHF band, you can sweep the FM band for available stations which you can save as presets, and even the little (and long gone) SH HX471S I still have sounds pretty good, especially for news and/or talk radio when, say, you’re on a project up the mast.

This article was syndicated from Panbo


  1. Richard Michelson

    Can the GX6000 “echo” position data to the laptop during cruising?
    Are the DSC and AIS position markers exported to the chart plotter software via the MNEA 2K to appear on software such as Navionics which seems to be avoided in the marketing publications?

  2. Kristoffer

    Do you know is it possible to program the following channel as we use in Europe for the motorboat channel. Frequency 155,500 & 155,525.. through software yce08.
    when I want to order one gx6000 from usa.

  3. Mark

    I been thinking lately of replacing my current outdated nav. set up with an AIS/GPS/WiFi enabled VHF like this one and then just use tablets and PC on-board. I sound lake a cheap and flexible solution to a fixed GPS system to me. What are your thoughts? Am I missing something?

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