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Old 24-12-2009, 09:21   #1
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AIS ?

I am wanting to equip with AIS. I almost got one last year for my summer cruise. Because this technology is sort of in it's infantcy, I keep thinking that I should wait and there will be something really new and innovative comming on the market.
I am surprised that a VHF or GPS manufacurer has not released an all-in-one unit.
At this time it seems like to do this you need an AIS receiver, VHF antenea splitter or seperate antenea, and then hook it up to a compatable GPS with a screen large enough not to be cluttered or a seperate AIS readout like the watchman.

Should I wait or should I just get what is available now?
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Old 24-12-2009, 09:36   #2
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It depends on what you want. If you want an AIS receiver, all you need to do is to buy a relatively small box. If you want an AIS transceiver, you have to buy a relatively large box, much larger than your typical VHF. You would not want to have to squeeze an AIS transceiver into the same area where your VHF would go. The AIS transceiver is one of those things that you want to bury out of site...they are ugly and don't need to be in plain view. The AIS transceiver controller is roughly the size of a VHF and is one of those things you need to have mounted where you can see it.

The technology is a few years old now and I have my doubts about the hardware evolving significantly more than it has.

If you have the room for it, I would keep the AIS antenna separate from the VHF antenna in case the splitter switch ever fails. In a sense, your VHF is lifesaving/emergency equipment which is something you do not want to compromise.
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Old 24-12-2009, 09:46   #3
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The only real change you'll see is prices coming down. From a general technology standpoint, there's very little that can change since the specifications and protocols are what they are and have to be compatible.

You'll start to see more interface options, like n2k - but that's not enough of a reason to wait unless all your existing electronics are on a n2k network, or you plan on replacing all your electronics.
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Old 24-12-2009, 09:49   #4
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There's some very affordable units (NASA UK for receivers and Westmarine for Transceivers). The technology is all standardised black box beasts, so no further movements to be expected there.
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Old 24-12-2009, 09:50   #5
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Check Out the Simrad AI50. I got one 2 years ago, very shortly after they were first approved for sale in Canada.

It is a class 'B' transceiver so you not only get to see boats, but they see you as well. Has it's own veiwing screen, built-in GPS and draws about half an amp.

You will have to mount external GPS antenna (supplied with unit) and it works best with a dedicated VHF antenna. (not supplied)

This is a small completly integrated and well thought-out unit. all brains, GPS, and screen take up about the the same space as a VHF radio.

After 3 previous vancouver/ hawaii return trips and a solo circiumnavigation, I used it for yet another Vancouver/Hawaii return in '08 and cannot say enough good things about this technology, in general ......and the AI50 in particular!!

I have only ever sailled offshore singlehanded and having a AIS transceiver on board removes much (not all, but a lot) of the lingering paranoia of getting run down.

Jim/Haulback
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Old 24-12-2009, 09:53   #6
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I'm happy with justa reciever for now; I'll wait for the prices to drp before I get a tranciever. I bought a unit from SeaTech with a ssplitter and have not seen any degradation on my VHF ( ICOM IC-M504). AIS has been of great use particularly at night when close to shipping channels on the Chesapeake Bay or close off-shore. I think when everyone has a class B tranciever we will suffer from too muchinformation.
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Old 24-12-2009, 09:58   #7
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Forgot to mention..... with the Simrad AI50 you can shut off the transmit fuction easily if you wish to go into stealth mode.

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Old 24-12-2009, 10:04   #8
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Until you make a decision, if you have a cell phone (and are within range) that is data capable/modem and have a laptop...you can pick up some land based AIS websites, I've used them in my local waters and on the chesapeake bay and you can see all the traffic (that is transmitting)

www.marinetraffic.com is the site that I use... while I'm sorting through other options.
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Old 24-12-2009, 10:27   #9
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AIS? AU contraire, mes amis!

whoa! AIS is alive and the market is blossoming! Recent product announcements are pretty exciting, from a Class B transponder the size of a pack of cards, to completely invisible units, buried in VHF radios (where they belong!) and so easy to install even an Irishman can do it!

For example, Standard Horizon has introduced 2 new radios with AIS built in, with separate receiver circuits for AIS and DSC. Garmin has too, with N2K connectivity. Garmin's latest chartplotters all have N2K.

Do you need a backup antenna? It's up to you, and you can add an emergency antenna anywhere. any time, but both Garmin and Standard Horizon seem to have the previous antenna issues covered.

Price an issue? While I'm leary of NASA stuff, there are other manufacturers to consider, at less than $200 US for a satisfactory solution.

Worried about frequency saturation? Forget it. AIS B is 2 watts. Your handheld is 5. You would have to squeeze a couple thousand transmitters into a 13 mile radius to approach saturating the system, and AIS B has a "Mo' Betta" protocol to prevent data overrides. Leave it to your chartplotter to tell you who is a threat instead of playing dodge ball on radar! Besides, if you are ever in a situation that crowded, you damn well WANT to be seen!

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself at www.panbo.com ! Hint: scroll all the way down the page before you give up on a look up. To avoid the very real risk of spending days exploring everything there, just click on AIS for the whole story.
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Old 24-12-2009, 10:31   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam Wald View Post
I am surprised that a VHF or GPS manufacurer has not released an all-in-one unit.
Garmin just released a VHF with built-in AIS.
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Old 26-12-2009, 20:27   #11
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Your existing system may predicate what you purchase

With the AIS increasing in popularity, and a slight reduction in pricing (particularly in the USA), the decision of which type (of Class B) to get, at least in my case, was what would integrate simply into my existing system.

As I have Raymarine equipment (both plotters are C series) and an Icom M502 VHF, I chose the Raymarine AIS500. The AIS500 is not quite the size of a deck of cards, but it interfaced to the plotters and to the VHF without any dramas, and without having to upgrade/purchase any additional equipment, cutting different templates into the nav station for new equipment.

I am not trying to get into a "mine is better than yours" dissertation, but rather a simplistic rationale of what I purchased - they all produce the same data for Class B; just prices, packaging and product promotion are different.

Recommend you get the transceiver - you want to be "seen" as much as to be able to "see".
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Old 19-01-2010, 04:23   #12
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AIS Systems

Not one for electronic knowhow, so any advice greatly appreciated. Had a delay in moving boat from NZ to OZ, as a result crew are now unavailable. Am looking for an easy to install, cost effective system to alert (wake me up) if a vessel comes within 16NM. Do I need radar, or will vhf ais receiver do the job? Will probably end up single handing back so any proactive advice on available systems appreciated.
Thanks, Blu
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Old 19-01-2010, 05:07   #13
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AIS will only pick up vessels which are transmitting an AIS signal, so it won't pick up other boats like yours, for example. You'll need radar.

Unless you're really committed and prepared to set up for offshore single handing, I bet your cheapest and easiest option would still be another person on board.

There will be a few boats with crew coming across to New Plymouth from Oz over the next few weeks, ready for the trans-tasman solo race back to Mooloolaba in April. The crews will be looking to get home again while their skippers are sailing solo in the race, so you might be able to find someone who is looking for a passage back to Oz if you look there. The website (look up solo-tasman.co.nz) has a list of the boats who are entered.
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Old 19-01-2010, 05:31   #14
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Thanks paradix, will certainly have a look.
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