Cigar Aficionado

Uniden Mystic VHF/GPS Radio

The GPS satellites have located your boat's position. You're bearing 43 degrees north at 56.87 seconds and at a speed of two knots, and according to the log record stored in your Uniden Mystic VHF/GPS marine radio, you've arrived at your fishing spot. You cut the motor, drop anchor and radio your coordinates to a friend's craft. He soon arrives and your day of fishing begins.

Safe to say, the Uniden Mystic is a two-in-one unit that has everything a boater needs: an international GPS navigational system to keep you on course and a two-way VHF radio to keep you in touch.

The importance of the radio is obvious. Not only does it allow you to communicate with and send coordinates to other craft, it also keeps you in contact with the Coast Guard. Should an emergency arise, you're only a quick distress signal away from help. The radio also has 10 weather channels, which broadcast up-to-the-minute reports on everything from nearby storms to local tides and wind patterns.

The coolest function of the Mystic is, of course, the Magellan international GPS navigational system. It pinpoints location down to three meters, as well as mapping destinations, displaying direction, bearing, and speed, plus calculating the distance left to travel to your objective. It can find marinas, lighthouses and buoys, and log your favorite fishing areas or other locations.

While the Mystic is marketed as a marine radio, it's also useful if you're a landlubber. Hikers can determine locations and map routes with the GPS, and receive information such as elevation, sunrise and sunset. Drivers will find the Mystic helpful, too. Along with the ability to locate major highways and roads, a MapSend CD-ROM, which is included, provides detailed street maps and points of interest that can be downloaded to the Mystic.

With all its various options, the Mystic will take time getting used to. But once you understand the unit and can navigate its many menus and features, even the most directionally challenged person will be able to steer himself back on course. The Uniden Mystic retails for $699.99 and comes with a charger, belt clip and adapters.