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Old 17-04-2015, 07:50   #46
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Isn't that a chicken-egg problem? What do you receive when no one is transmitting?

Mark
Theoretically, you are absolutely right.

But practically, you are 10000x more concerned with receiving AIS data from vessels of the class where AIS transponders are compulsory . . . .

I can certainly live without getting AIS data from small leisure vessels. They do not present the same collision avoidance issues at all.
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Old 17-04-2015, 08:18   #47
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

sobraon, Kenomac, et al,
I understand that the choice of AIS receive-only vs. AIS transponder hinges on more things than just cost / complexity....and especially involves WHERE you sail...
Quote:
Originally Posted by sobraon View Post
Every one will have their own opinion with regards to receive only. I will share my thoughts.

We find that cruising in SE Asia I would prefer that not everyone knows that I am a 15m Pleasure yacht.
And, while Mr Big did not mention where was at, nor where he was planning on sailing....he just bought a boat recently, and commented that it already had charts for the US PNW, etc...so I figured this was probably where he was sailing (or at least in US / Canadian waters, or close-by)....
So, I gave the answer that would best fit that situation...


Yes, others have different applications and needs....but excluding those, I stand by my words that once someone uses AIS in receive mode, it is rare if they don't desire an AIS transponder as well...
In addition to the many postings here and on other sailing/boating sites, there is the large percentage of those buying the Standard Horizon 2150 and 2200 that believe they're buying an AIS transponder, all of which provide some data to the mix as well...



Again, I DO accept the various opinions on this subject....and understand this is not an absolute...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 17-04-2015, 08:44   #48
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Don, I've been thinking about doing this. What do you use as your hub? How do you connect and then wifi transmit. I use iNavx (as a backup). Is that what you're using?
Over the years I've done a couple of things. We have a SeaTalk NMEA interface converter. This produces NMEA 0183 serial data at 4800 baud (usually connected to a laptop). I connected the output of that to a serial to wifi device I bought on eBay. Configuration was a bit of a challenge as all the instructions were in Chinese. This involved making a serial DB9 cable and configuration the wireless network. Once configured, it worked well. Although this finally worked perfectly, dealing with serial cables, setting up an ad-hoc network, setting IP addresses, was tricky. Unless you are technically inclined and have a lot of patience, I wouldn't recommend this approach.

After I added the GX2200 with AIS, I had a decision - stream the boat's NMEA data at 4800 baud or the radio's AIS data at 38400 baud, but not both. The problem is the two data streams are different speeds and require a device to combine and output a single stream. I decided to stream the AIS. It was really cool to show the AIS targets on the iPad, but I was disappointed that I couldn't get both.

I looked around for a multiplexer so I could continue to use the serial to wifi device. I finally decided to purchase the vyacht multiplexer and wireless router and replace the serial to wifi device. This little box is amazing - essentially a small linux computer with either 2 NMEA 0183 inputs or 1 NMEA 0183 and 1 SeaTalk inputs. The iPad finds the network and connects. Configuration is super easy via a webpage. Multiple devices can connect to the router (think wireless router). I haven't finished the installation yet - there's some sort of hardware problem and I'm waiting for a replacement board. And at 1/2 the price of other typical units, this is a good deal. vyacht is a cross between a DIY project and a commercial offering. Definitely worth a look.

As far as software on the iPad - iNavX and SEAiq both do a good job of displaying AIS targets. iSailor also can display the NMEA data, but you have purchase the respective wireless modules ($5-$10 each). I prefer SEAiq over iNavX, but that's personal preference. If you are sailing outside the US, iNavX might be a better choice with more chart support. I also like iRegatta Pro for displaying the boat's performance data. That's why I wanted both streams. If you are fooling around with this, you also could use NMEALogger to test/diagnose the wifi NMEA data stream.

Once I get vyacht working, I'll be really happy with having both NMEA boat data and AIS data on the iPad. To me,this is ultimately what I was aiming for. A final note - I do not believe the iPad should be used as a primary navigation tool or replaces a dedicated chartplotter. For me, the iPad supports the primary navigation system and is an amazing reference tool. It definitely has a place onboard, but I won't be replacing my marine quality electronics with an iPad in a waterproof case.

I hope this helps,
Don
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Old 17-04-2015, 11:13   #49
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Don View Post
Over the years I've done a couple of things. We have a SeaTalk NMEA interface converter. This produces NMEA 0183 serial data at 4800 baud (usually connected to a laptop). I connected the output of that to a serial to wifi device I bought on eBay. Configuration was a bit of a challenge as all the instructions were in Chinese. This involved making a serial DB9 cable and configuration the wireless network. Once configured, it worked well. Although this finally worked perfectly, dealing with serial cables, setting up an ad-hoc network, setting IP addresses, was tricky. Unless you are technically inclined and have a lot of patience, I wouldn't recommend this approach.

After I added the GX2200 with AIS, I had a decision - stream the boat's NMEA data at 4800 baud or the radio's AIS data at 38400 baud, but not both. The problem is the two data streams are different speeds and require a device to combine and output a single stream. I decided to stream the AIS. It was really cool to show the AIS targets on the iPad, but I was disappointed that I couldn't get both.

I looked around for a multiplexer so I could continue to use the serial to wifi device. I finally decided to purchase the vyacht multiplexer and wireless router and replace the serial to wifi device. This little box is amazing - essentially a small linux computer with either 2 NMEA 0183 inputs or 1 NMEA 0183 and 1 SeaTalk inputs. The iPad finds the network and connects. Configuration is super easy via a webpage. Multiple devices can connect to the router (think wireless router). I haven't finished the installation yet - there's some sort of hardware problem and I'm waiting for a replacement board. And at 1/2 the price of other typical units, this is a good deal. vyacht is a cross between a DIY project and a commercial offering. Definitely worth a look.

As far as software on the iPad - iNavX and SEAiq both do a good job of displaying AIS targets. iSailor also can display the NMEA data, but you have purchase the respective wireless modules ($5-$10 each). I prefer SEAiq over iNavX, but that's personal preference. If you are sailing outside the US, iNavX might be a better choice with more chart support. I also like iRegatta Pro for displaying the boat's performance data. That's why I wanted both streams. If you are fooling around with this, you also could use NMEALogger to test/diagnose the wifi NMEA data stream.

Once I get vyacht working, I'll be really happy with having both NMEA boat data and AIS data on the iPad. To me,this is ultimately what I was aiming for. A final note - I do not believe the iPad should be used as a primary navigation tool or replaces a dedicated chartplotter. For me, the iPad supports the primary navigation system and is an amazing reference tool. It definitely has a place onboard, but I won't be replacing my marine quality electronics with an iPad in a waterproof case.

I hope this helps,
Don
I certainly agree that using cheap, non-waterproof, fragile, non-daylight viewable consumer electronics for primary navigation is not smart. There's really no excuse for it now that you can buy a purpose designed and built, waterproof chart plotter with daylight viewable screen for well under $1000.

That said, I also agree that the IPlod is great backup/auxiliary screen. I've used one with INavX for this purpose for years.

Concerning AIS --

INavX does a decent job with AIS, but no comparison with OpenCPN, which has the best AIS display I have ever seen (admittedly I've never used the much-vaunted Vesper system). OpenCPN has now been ported to Android (kudos to the developers!!!), so as soon as the initial bugs are worked out, this should turn out to be the totally superior tablet charting solution, IMHO, able to use almost any electronic charts including both raster and vector, so not tied to any particular commercial vector solution as INavX is (with Navionics).

I get my network data onto Wifi with the Navico GoFree system, which I use for GoFree (full control of my regular B&G navigation system, including full control and display of the radar, excluding only the pilot control).

GoFree also puts network data onto an IPlod which is plug and play with INavX. If you have a Navico plotter, the GoFree module is a no-brainer -- only costs $200, requires no adapters, waterproof, marinized, and plug and play -- much easier than any kind of multiplexer.

So once I get OpenCPN working on my Sony waterproof 10" Android tablet, I'll be able to both control the main nav system, and use completely independent OpenCPN system, from the same waterproof (so semi-marinized) device.

You can put a micro SD card in Android tablets for chart storage (and storage of other data, like photos and movies), which is another huge advantage over IPads.
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Old 17-04-2015, 11:48   #50
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Dockhead,
You are correct here regarding receiving AIS signals, but when it comes to having others know I'm there (i.e. me transmitting AIS), then it is those very AIS compulsory vessels that I'd like to see me!!
As well as dunderheads that are too busy playing games on their smart phones to "keep watch"!!
And, I think that is what many of us desire an AIS transponder for....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Theoretically, you are absolutely right.

But practically, you are 10000x more concerned with receiving AIS data from vessels of the class where AIS transponders are compulsory . . . .

I can certainly live without getting AIS data from small leisure vessels. They do not present the same collision avoidance issues at all.
But, just last December, I wish another boater here in S. Florida had at least an AIS receiver, or even better an AIS transponder!

Please note that what I'm going to relate here is a bit embarrassing....but just like running aground, there are two types of sailors, those that have had a close call or two, and those that lie about never having a close call....


I was out on a coastal sail, down the SE coast of FL....and on my way back a couple days later, just 15 miles from home, I was sailing on a nice broad reach, starboard tack, with ~12 kts of wind, and a 1' - 2' sea, with a perfectly clear sunny morning...
I was hand steering (had the autopilot on, but on stand-by)....actually I was steering with my bare feet for a while!

I had my AIS transponder sending out my position, and had my VHF on ch 16 (with a dual-watch on ch 13)....
I was looking around and alert as usual...and I even looked behind every couple minutes, right into the low December morning sun! (wouldn't 'ya know it, this is where he came from...)
I had some music playing on the stereo, and all was well with the world....until...
Until I heard a roar from astern....

It was a big sport-fisher, on autopilot, heading back towards the Jupiter Inlet....he was heading right for my stern, but I was hoping he'd pass astern of me...
I swung the helm over and yelled at my sister to trim in the genny hard....we came up close-hauled, and I laid on the horn....and he passed astern of me by about 75'!!! And he was at speed of about 25kts+!!!
He never saw me, never slowed down, never altered course at all....(and I've got two big white sails, with a bright red sail cover on the leech and foot of the genny...and lots of nice shinny stainless, etc. and the sun was behind him, clearly illuminating me!)
As he passed astern, I was still laying out 5 blasts on the horn, and then grabbed the VHF mic and called him....NO response at all....
About 30 seconds later, he throttled back to idle / neutral, turned about 90 degrees and he move out onto the deck waving at me casually...
He was a few hundred yards away, and I was sailing away from him, so he couldn't hear my expletives!!!
But, I again called him on ch. 16, swearing a bit....and got no response from him....but did get a response from USCG, who asked if I needed any assistance or wished to file a report (my answers were no, but I did say that I'd call them on the phone the next day to give details...)

Now, I have no idea if an idiot like that would know what to do if he had a "dangerous" AIS target on his screen, heck he didn't even seem to have a VHF radio turned on!!!

But, I do know that if he'd had an AIS transponder, I'd have noticed him sooner....(or if I had been using radar/MARPA, or if I had done a better job looking aft over my starboard quarter into the sun, etc....etc...etc...)




I hope all of the above helps explain my thinking a bit....

Fair winds...

John
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Old 17-04-2015, 12:07   #51
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
But practically, you are 10000x more concerned with receiving AIS data from vessels of the class where AIS transponders are compulsory . . . .
Actually, I find the commercial shipping to be the easiest to avoid without AIS. The buggers for me are the non-AIS fishing boats making odd turns and changes of speed, the sportfishers and other recreational yahoo powerboats who come out of nowhere, and the recreational vessels around breakwalls, channel bends, etc.

I don't think jetskis should have AIS because I think they shouldn't even be allowed on the water.

Mark
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Old 17-04-2015, 12:31   #52
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Yes, others have different applications and needs....but excluding those, I stand by my words that once someone uses AIS in receive mode, it is rare if they don't desire an AIS transponder as well...
In addition to the many postings here and on other sailing/boating sites, there is the large percentage of those buying the Standard Horizon 2150 and 2200 that believe they're buying an AIS transponder, all of which provide some data to the mix as well...


[/QUOTE]

I fall into the minority. That have used AIS in both modes and don't really mind not having it.

In fact, I agree with the gentleman who sails in SE Asia, advertising my position just isn't my cup of tea. I prefer to maintain whatever small measure of privacy I can when I'm recreating.

Although I'm a fully law abiding citizen the idea of US department of homeland security, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP and my employer tracking and recording my every move hustle isn't that appealing to me.

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Old 18-04-2015, 00:02   #53
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

WOW! Thanks for al the great replies!

Truth is. I bought the GX2200 a week ago from the Thegpsstore and, like usual I was second guessing myself before I installed it. I figured out I could save a couple hundred by just using the computer and USB devices to display AIS and I wanted to see if there were other options I was missing and if I should maybe return the radio... My current VHF is an old model, so I needed to upgrade the radio anyway, and from most of the posts in this thread, the GX2200 seems like a great unit.

I learned in this thread that I could display the GX2200 info on my computer screen taking away one of my big objections. I'm kind of a sailing Luddite when it comes to all this new interconnected everything we see in boats now days...

The Watchmate looks great but price kills it for me and as far as a receiver only, i think that will work with the way I sail...like a lot of people here I find the idea of broadcasting my position at all times for everyone and anyone to follow me around kind of strange. I know it enhances safety but with AIS, radar and good watch keeping, I think I'll have it covered.

I really appreciate all the help and info!


Happy Sailing!
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Old 18-04-2015, 08:03   #54
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Actually, I find the commercial shipping to be the easiest to avoid without AIS. The buggers for me are the non-AIS fishing boats making odd turns and changes of speed, the sportfishers and other recreational yahoo powerboats who come out of nowhere, and the recreational vessels around breakwalls, channel bends, etc.

I don't think jetskis should have AIS because I think they shouldn't even be allowed on the water.

Mark
Naturally, in an ideal world, everything floating would be broadcasting AIS. Life would certainly be easier.

If we're talking about detection, one of the uses of AIS, then of course you need all the help you can get with erratic fishing boats, power boats, etc., and it would be nice to receive AIS from such vessels. But for this, radar guard zones are just about as good. AIS adds to detection a precise crossing solution, but this is invalidated every 5 seconds in the case of an erratically maneuvering vessel like what you're talking about, however, so I don't really find AIS adds all that much what radar does for that case.

It's exactly for commercial shipping where that precise crossing solution, achievable only with AIS (or a big-ass open array radar set with ARPA, which none of us has), can save your life.
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Old 18-04-2015, 08:09   #55
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Dockhead,
You are correct here regarding receiving AIS signals, but when it comes to having others know I'm there (i.e. me transmitting AIS), then it is those very AIS compulsory vessels that I'd like to see me!!
As well as dunderheads that are too busy playing games on their smart phones to "keep watch"!!
And, I think that is what many of us desire an AIS transponder for....

But, just last December, I wish another boater here in S. Florida had at least an AIS receiver, or even better an AIS transponder!

Please note that what I'm going to relate here is a bit embarrassing....but just like running aground, there are two types of sailors, those that have had a close call or two, and those that lie about never having a close call....


I was out on a coastal sail, down the SE coast of FL....and on my way back a couple days later, just 15 miles from home, I was sailing on a nice broad reach, starboard tack, with ~12 kts of wind, and a 1' - 2' sea, with a perfectly clear sunny morning...
I was hand steering (had the autopilot on, but on stand-by)....actually I was steering with my bare feet for a while!

I had my AIS transponder sending out my position, and had my VHF on ch 16 (with a dual-watch on ch 13)....
I was looking around and alert as usual...and I even looked behind every couple minutes, right into the low December morning sun! (wouldn't 'ya know it, this is where he came from...)
I had some music playing on the stereo, and all was well with the world....until...
Until I heard a roar from astern....

It was a big sport-fisher, on autopilot, heading back towards the Jupiter Inlet....he was heading right for my stern, but I was hoping he'd pass astern of me...
I swung the helm over and yelled at my sister to trim in the genny hard....we came up close-hauled, and I laid on the horn....and he passed astern of me by about 75'!!! And he was at speed of about 25kts+!!!
He never saw me, never slowed down, never altered course at all....(and I've got two big white sails, with a bright red sail cover on the leech and foot of the genny...and lots of nice shinny stainless, etc. and the sun was behind him, clearly illuminating me!)
As he passed astern, I was still laying out 5 blasts on the horn, and then grabbed the VHF mic and called him....NO response at all....
About 30 seconds later, he throttled back to idle / neutral, turned about 90 degrees and he move out onto the deck waving at me casually...
He was a few hundred yards away, and I was sailing away from him, so he couldn't hear my expletives!!!
But, I again called him on ch. 16, swearing a bit....and got no response from him....but did get a response from USCG, who asked if I needed any assistance or wished to file a report (my answers were no, but I did say that I'd call them on the phone the next day to give details...)

Now, I have no idea if an idiot like that would know what to do if he had a "dangerous" AIS target on his screen, heck he didn't even seem to have a VHF radio turned on!!!

But, I do know that if he'd had an AIS transponder, I'd have noticed him sooner....(or if I had been using radar/MARPA, or if I had done a better job looking aft over my starboard quarter into the sun, etc....etc...etc...)




I hope all of the above helps explain my thinking a bit....

Fair winds...

John
An awful case! I might have actually reported that to the CG. He could have killed someone, and it's surely not the only time he was navigating like that.

In open water, I always keep a radar guard zone going. That would have saved you in that case, and you're not dependent on the other guy broadcasting anything. I set a circular, all around one at a closer range (maybe a mile in open water with little traffic), and a sector-shaped one ahead at a longer range. It will wake you up in such a case.

I would never count on the effectiveness of any visual watch astern -- it's just against human nature to look out behind. And yet there are cases like yours.
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Old 18-04-2015, 08:14   #56
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
. . .
In fact, I agree with the gentleman who sails in SE Asia, advertising my position just isn't my cup of tea. I prefer to maintain whatever small measure of privacy I can when I'm recreating.

Although I'm a fully law abiding citizen the idea of US department of homeland security, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP and my employer tracking and recording my every move hustle isn't that appealing to me. . . .
Not just them, but also the general public through shipfinder.com, etc.

I don't use Facebook and all the rest of these social networks at all, for the same reason.

If you like, you can switch off the broadcast function on AIS. Fishing boats typically do that, and if they're keeping a decent watch, will switch it on if someone gets close.
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Old 18-04-2015, 08:16   #57
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Aside from obvious safety benefits of AIS transponders, one extra thing I like about them I can look up our receiver and see where fellow cruisers are.

I think price differences are marginal with a VHF/AIS combo at about 400 units and AIS transponders picking up at 600 units. Simply get what one needs most, or get both if your situation asks for both, or else if you are a gadgets sort of kid.

"Being seen by everybody" fears on this thread not well founded: there is a toss switch you know, to toss it off.

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Old 18-04-2015, 08:58   #58
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
If you like, you can switch off the broadcast function on AIS. Fishing boats typically do that, and if they're keeping a decent watch, will switch it on if someone gets close.
Two of the competitors on the last Vendee Globe had incidents with fishing boats that had switched off their AIS transmit and were not keeping a close watch. They probably had switched off the whole unit (my assumption).
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Old 18-04-2015, 09:17   #59
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

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Not just them, but also the general public through shipfinder.com, etc.

I don't use Facebook and all the rest of these social networks at all, for the same reason.

If you like, you can switch off the broadcast function on AIS. Fishing boats typically do that, and if they're keeping a decent watch, will switch it on if someone gets close.
No need to switch it off. I made the other choice and bought a GX2200 with receive only and spent $1000 less in the process

Really if I was to invest in another piece of technology for my boat it wouldn't be an AIS, it would be a low wattage RADAR like a Simrad 4G.

Currently the navigational situations I find myself in aren't complicated enough to warrant it. There is a fairly significant shipping route directly off shore from my yacht club about 1 mile (Welland canal to Hamilton) and another 3.5' to the East (Welland canal to St Lawrence Seaway and Toronto), but I know where the shipping lanes are I know the speed and habits of ships in the area, and I am able to track them on my GX2200. I really don't worry too much about collisions with recreational boats, I live in a very high traffic recreational boating area, but people seem to find a way to not run into each other most of the time.



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Old 18-04-2015, 09:48   #60
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Vendee Globe competitors were not keeping watch in the first place. A fishing boat may be doing its work when a sailing boat pops up and hits it.

Not an AIS issue at all.

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