Hello to everyone on this forum and thanks to Dan of Razorbill RIB Charter & Marine Services for suggesting I visit.
As an introduction:
I am a UK Distributor for Onwa Marine Electronic; although I can sell the whole product range I choose to specialise in their chart plotters. Onwa has bases in Hong Kong and the Philippines and they produce some really great products. They have manufactured mostly for the professional shipping and fishing industries in the past but recently their decision to expand into the leisure and small boat markets has given us all a chance to get our hands on really functional kit at a sensible price. I first come across Onwa in 2012 when, as an impoverished small yacht sailor, I bought a budget 8299 plotter on the internet and I have been a devotee ever since!
Just to clarify a few points: Onwa charts are free apart from a fiver for the SD card (let me have the card back and it's completely free) the charge suggested by my dealer in Ramsgate was the result of a misunderstanding and is incorrect. At the moment it is the policy of Onwa that charts are offered as a free incentive to buy their product. Chart updates are also free.
Firmware updates are free (usually every 6 months) and incorporate changes suggested by dealers and users. Firmware update is an easy user function that you can do yourself. - just copy the new software onto a blank SD card, pop it into the SD card slot of the plotter and the plotter does the rest. If you don't have a card copier I can send you the update on an SD card for the cost of the card and post.
Chart detail depends very much upon the set up menus - leave something turned off and the detail just isn't there. The charts are also subject to constant improvement so any suggestions - please let me have your opinion for future additions. The chart details are not quite up to C-Map but not far off either and please bear in mind that they were only released In November last year so are going through a period of revisions to improve them (latest addition released just this month).
AIS set-up - This isn't a user function so doesn't show on the menus which I suspect is what Daniel meant by having to Google the information. Normally I will input the customer's MMSI etc into the plotter before delivery unless the customer wants to do this himself. However, in Daniels's case when he bought his 1299A from my dealer in Ramsgate, he took delivery at a time when I wasn't available so this information wasn't passed to him - apologies Daniel. However, I have learnt from this and all my plotters with an AIS transceiver built in will now be dispatched with information on the AIS set-up method. Oh, and a bit of good extra news - MMSI details can be edited by the owner if he accesses the AIS set up page so the plotter isn't tied to one boat once it has been set up and you don't have to return the plotter to an agent to have this done.
Any comments or questions are welcomed.
AVES Marine Ltd
UK Distributor for Onwa Marine Electronics.