...And Avidyne Steps Up

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Speaking of XM Radio, Avidyne announced that it would offer an XM-based datalink option for buyers of its EX500 multifunction display. Avidyne's first datalink effort was based on Orbcomm technology similar to that used by Garmin -- it was met with mixed reviews. The XM variant--which will co-exist with the Orbcomm receiver--promises faster, more reliable weather downloads. Retail price for the XMD-076 receiver is $3750 but EX500 owners will get a special discount price of $1575 if they buy by September 30th, 2004. The welcome news for all companies using XM came in the form lower prices that promise to break the datalink market open with lower monthly charges. XM said this week that datalink monthly charges will drop to $29 from $49 a month, for a slightly reduced package of products that still includes real-time NEXRAD imagery, METARS, TAFs and TFRs. (See www.wxworx.com for more.)