Marine Electronics 1985, please show me your old stuff

Old Electronics

I’m thinking of writing my year-end Power & Motoryacht column about the state of marine electronics when the magazine first published in 1985. That also seems to be the birth year of the chart plotter. I think it will be fun to look at the generally boxy and complicated—not to mention low performance and high priced—machines we struggled with back then. I hope anyone with pictures, manuals, or just memories will share them with me, particularly the electronics companies that were in business back then and have piles of gear like the above (bigger here) gathering dust somewhere (hello Raymarine/Raytheon/AutoHelm/Apelco etc.).

I have a copy of that first February 1985 PMY, and am especially interested in the stories behind those first electronics advertisements: the  Raytheon 1200 Pathfinder radar, Trimble 200 Loran, Tracor Global Navigation System (“worldwide navigation for under $7,500”!), Alden Weather Fax, ITT Jabsco night vision, Standard Horizon VHFs, Cybernet marine stereo, Cetec Benmar autopilots, Sea-Tex everything (“radars, chart recorders, Loran C receivers, autopilots, track plotters, color sounders, ADF’s, the works.”), and, finally, RDI radar watch, sat nav, and sat com…yes, they claimed “Telephone, Telex, Computer Data, and Slow Scan TV” (whatever that is). Did this stuff work and what happened to the companies involved? Were you using marine electronics in 1985?

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

5 Responses

  1. Eli says:

    I have got to get you a picture of the inside of Seatronics in Gloucester, MA. Maybe you can call them and get one…who knows, but the inside of that place is the most incredible graveyard for old marine electronics, some of it actually for sale. Many of the fishermen around have been using the same electronics for years, so they have to be able to handle all of this stuff in addition to the new products.

  2. gary wood says:

    Hi Ben,
    Do you want a picture of the Sailor R108 radio and RDF/hand bearing compass? The advetisements of the day showed an elephant standing on it. The radio was on my Wauquiez Hood 38 when I bought it new in 1981. I still have the boat, but the radio has been moved to the garage.
    Gary Wood

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is pretty specialised marine electronics, but here is the link:
    All this equipment was for a hydrographic survey for a telephone cable between New Zealand & Australia. Vessel was the Rapuhia
    I had the pleasure of being the navigation engineer for the full trip, and had to get & keep the whole lot working for about 4 months.

  4. John Lustig says:

    I’m looking for a owners manual for Cybernet Marine stereo model CMS3000, can you help?

  5. Rudolph says:

    I am looking for an older HF radio, prefer something that can do both 500 KHz as well as 2 to 30 MHz, for Amateur radio use.
    Anybody have any ideas?
    Thank you.

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