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View Poll Results: Want to have an AIS transponder or only see others how have?
Yes 53 86.89%
No 8 13.11%
Voters: 61. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 27-10-2011, 13:55   #1
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AIS Transponder: Yes or No

Some years ago there was a question about if you should have a GPS or not.
Today nobody ask that question.
Today is the question if you should have an AIS receiver or not.
Tomorrow there are nobody how ask that question.
My question today is if you should have an AIS transponder?
Another old question is if you should have a radar reflector. The question was raised because the yacht without a reflector gives an (god) echo on the radar. So way an extra reflector?
With the AIS transponder the question is different because without it you don’t even have a weak signal on the receiver.

I was about to buy a transponder in the US. There was not any problem with license or similar tings. The problem was that I want to use my old VHF antenna to both the AIS transponder and the VHF and I didn’t find such box in the US. In Europe I find a German, weatherdoc, (witch I bought) with a VHF antenna splitter in the unit. The Swedish True Heading has a similar but the weatherdoc has also an USB connection. Both of them have two parallel receivers, witch is required for safe receiving.
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Old 27-10-2011, 14:34   #2
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Re: AIS Transponder. Yes or No?

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Originally Posted by Lars_L View Post
Another old question is if you should have a radar reflector. The question was raised because the yacht without a reflector gives an (god) echo on the radar. So way an extra reflector?
Lars, I have to disagree with you on this one. Following the Ouzo incident in the UK of a yacht being run down in the English Channel the MIAB did some work on radar reflectors. Whilst the results for some types were disappointing they do work and it would be a mistake and a breach of the SOLAS regulations not to have one.


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Originally Posted by Lars_L View Post
I was about to buy a transponder in the US. There was not any problem with license or similar tings. The problem was that I want to use my old VHF antenna to both the AIS transponder and the VHF and I didn’t find such box in the US. In Europe I find a German, weatherdoc, (witch I bought) with a VHF antenna splitter in the unit. The Swedish True Heading has a similar but the weatherdoc has also an USB connection. Both of them have two parallel receivers, witch is required for safe receiving.
Yachts with transponders are becoming more popular in the UK, however whilst a receiver is quite cheap a transponder is 3 times the price. This may be the limiting factor for a while in a time of austerity.

Pete
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Old 27-10-2011, 15:06   #3
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Re: AIS Transponder. Yes or No?

More expensive. Yes.
But for less then 1000 euro you have the transponder installed.
So I would install one. It helps improve safety at sea.
Especially your own safety.
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Old 27-10-2011, 23:34   #4
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Re: AIS Transponder. Yes or No?

Get the transponder.

With a receiver I can see ships over 300gt. Big deal ....... I don't usually have a problem spotting things this size, do you?

But with a transponder, they can see me!! Now that's a very useful thing to have on board.
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Old 28-10-2011, 01:11   #5
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

I have a transponder. Not only does it show my position, course, speed and other info on their screens but if they want to make passing arrangements they have a name to use to call me on the VHF. It's well worth it from a safety standpoint.
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Old 28-10-2011, 01:15   #6
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

Transponder for sure.

Regarding a VHF antenna splitter: we decided to install a dedicated VHF antenna for redundancy in case our VHF radio fails (and it did fail, and we did end up using AIS VHF antenna for a bit).

Our friends installed an AIS transponder with a splitter to use with ship's radio VHF antenna. Their AIS signal was weaker and would frequently disappear for long periods of time from our screens even when we were 0.3 - 3 miles apart in the open seas. I know that the installation was done well, but I don't know about the quality of the splitter.
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Old 28-10-2011, 09:33   #7
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

A transceiver is a good idea. I am amazed by how often I have been mistaken for a fishing boat at night even though there is no masthead light showing. I sail OPBs, only one has an AIS receiver.

One concern I have is that as more folks use transceivers, a separate AIS screen will be necessary. All of those ship symbols will be covering hazards or aids to navigation on chartplotter screens.

As well, the ability to filter out some vessels will mean that you may be be visible on another vessel's AID screen.
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Old 28-10-2011, 09:38   #8
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

AIS receivers will work with a regular VHF antenna but the transceivers require a special VHF antenna designated for such use. I learned this by mistake when I installed my Furuno transceiver. The transceiver would receive but it would not transmit.

It is probably best not to use a splitter if you have the room for a designated AIS transceiver antenna. Keep them separate and I think you end up with a more reliable and better system.

http://www.shakespeare-marine.com/an...enna=396-1-AIS
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Old 28-10-2011, 18:23   #9
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

It could save your life. Here in the U.S. the transponder is 2x the price, not 3 times, although I believe you have to get the FCC license and MMSI number in any event.
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Old 28-10-2011, 18:39   #10
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

Ours works with a standard AIs antenna on the mast. The transponder is a B100 from EM-Trak, which does 0183, N2k and USB for connectivity.

Chris


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AIS receivers will work with a regular VHF antenna but the transceivers require a special VHF antenna designated for such use. I learned this by mistake when I installed my Furuno transceiver. The transceiver would receive but it would not transmit.

It is probably best not to use a splitter if you have the room for a designated AIS transceiver antenna. Keep them separate and I think you end up with a more reliable and better system.

Shakespeare Antenna Specifications: Shakespeare 396-1-AIS Broadband VHF
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Old 28-10-2011, 18:51   #11
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

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A transceiver is a good idea. I am amazed by how often I have been mistaken for a fishing boat at night even though there is no masthead light showing. I sail OPBs, only one has an AIS receiver.

One concern I have is that as more folks use transceivers, a separate AIS screen will be necessary. All of those ship symbols will be covering hazards or aids to navigation on chartplotter screens.

As well, the ability to filter out some vessels will mean that you may be be visible on another vessel's AID screen.
I think it all depends on the device and how the info is displayed. You could have every vessel displaying AIS info and it would be just fine with me. No issue reading it.

I sail in and near (busy) New York harbor with and AIS transponder (the West Marine AIS 1000) and display the AIS overlay on a netbook at the nav table running Coastal Explorer navigation software. CE displays each ship as a triangle with a projected course line and name shown in real-time on the chart, and details for each are shown by name (or MMSI in absense of a name) in a side panel listed in order of proximity to my boat. I can highlight one with the mouse and get more info, and display its track also.

It's a very orderly display and easy to read. I don't echo this to the chart plotter at the helm (I could), but if worried about converging course and I want to check CPA or call a vessel by name it would be very easy and quick to step down a few steps to the nav table or ask my crew to check it. Hundreds of boats in range would not be a problem.
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Old 28-10-2011, 19:53   #12
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

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Ours works with a standard AIs antenna on the mast. The transponder is a B100 from EM-Trak, which does 0183, N2k and USB for connectivity.

Chris
Yes, the transponder needs a special treansponder antenna. Regular VHF antennas do not work for transmitting. Why? I have no idea.
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Old 28-10-2011, 20:00   #13
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

+1 that a a ship can hail you by name in a passing situation. In crowded waters this is a huge safety factor. And if you hail them, they can see you by name too.

I've used a splitter for two years with complete success with a $500 West Marine transponder. I know the arguments that a splitter might fail but there are an awful lot of things that might fail in an AIS setup - the chartplotter, the NMEA connection, the GPS antenna, the vhf antenna, the vhf cable. The splitter is among the simpler things in the setup. I've been told that some of the early splitters had problems but it's worked reliably for me.

The great advantage of the splitter is that it gets your AIS transmission/reception at the top of the mast. I can reliably see ships at 50nm+ and have been seen at 20nm.

Carl
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Old 28-10-2011, 20:02   #14
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

Is there a $500 transponder now? Wow!
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Old 28-10-2011, 21:30   #15
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Re: AIS Transponder: Yes or No

As said before, it is a lot harder for a ship to see a yacht than the other way around (visually or with radar). The big payoff to AIS is that others see us, as long as we have a transceiver.

The concern for clutter is a non-issue for most systems; the collision alarm will attract attention, and the vessel will be highlighted (usually with a different color) - no matter if it is a ship or yacht. In any event in crowded areas it makes sense to zoom in the AIS display.

I went with a separate antenna. The AIS antenna is mounted above the radar on the transom, about 12 feet high at the base. In Portland I can watch the USCG ships at the mouth of the Columbia over 100 miles away, so I think is is adequate.
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