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Old 15-04-2015, 23:48   #1
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AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Hello!

Looking to add AIS to my boat and I'm looking for a quicker and easier solution, if that's possible.

I'm looking at two options:

Standard Horizon GX2200 VHF, AIS, GPS combo radio which is all in one and easy to use but might be hard to see on the small radio screen...

Or, using my notebook computer which will be running opencpn as a back up at my NAV station. I like the computer for its easier to read screen and possibly integrating more systems later.

I have a Hummingbird chart plotter/fish finder in the cockpit and I'll be using an iPad and nav program as a back up in the cockpit. And the computer will be below and will hopefully be connected to receive weather info and run opencpn as a back up to all the other stuff...

I was looking at plugging the following into the USB ports on the laptop:

USB GPS Amazon.com: GlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS Receiver: GPS & Navigation

USB AIS Antenna Amazon.com : Digital Yacht uAIS Smart AIS Antenna w/USB Power/Data : Boating Antennas : Electronics

And then using the last USB slot to switch between the printer and radio to receive weather info...

I was hoping to hear from people running one or the other to see what they like of if there are any other options I should know...

I did see this NooElec - NooElec NESDR Mini SDR & DVB-T USB Stick (RTL2832 + R820T) w/ Antenna and Remote Control - SDR Receivers - Software Defined Radio and I wonder if it works as well or better as the USB antenna.

Thanks for your help!


Happy Sailing!
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Old 16-04-2015, 00:27   #2
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

We have the Standard Hoizon GX2150 installed aboard our boat. It lacks the integrated GPS, but has the AIS receiver built in. Wiring the AIS into our Garmin chartplotter took a few minutes at most. Having that data displayed on the plotter is a far better set up than relying on the 2150's much smaller screen.

I'm not sure if the AIS data can be plugged into a Hummingbird. Call Standard Horizon technical support, and if it is possible, they will walk you through the process.
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Old 16-04-2015, 02:27   #3
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Thanks!

Sorry, I should have mentioned I have the 788c and not the 788ci so, no chance of displaying any AIS or anything on the Hummingbird...

No plans to upgrade the chart plotter for now...so it's only between the radio and the comp.
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Old 16-04-2015, 07:12   #4
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Be aware that all of these solutions are AIS receive-only. If you want others to see you, you will need a transponder.

If you need a VHF anyway, go with the SH radio. Its output can be easily connected to your computer/OCPN, so you will also have that to use/view.

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Old 16-04-2015, 07:41   #5
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

I have the Standard Horizon GX2200. I think it makes sense as a radio because it just isn't much more than the price of a good VHF radio, and it has AIS receiver in addition to being a good radio.

I do not have mine hooked up to a chartplotter, because I don't have a chartplotter. The Radio is actually my primary electronic aid- it's my radio, AIS receiver and primary GPS.

I dont mind the small screen on the AIS, for a long time at work I used Saab AIS's with a small text only display, no graphical representation at all. The SH is definitely a step up from that.

If graphical displays are important to you, you can hook it up to your plotter. I think the GX2200 is a great compromise if you're operating on a tight budget, and don't want to get run over by ships.

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Old 16-04-2015, 07:50   #6
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
I have the Standard Horizon GX2200. I think it makes sense as a radio because it just isn't much more than the price of a good VHF radio, and it has AIS receiver in addition to being a good radio.
And a GPS. The value offered by this radio is tremendous considering that it only costs slightly more than one without AIS and GPS.

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Old 16-04-2015, 08:07   #7
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Mr Big,
In all honesty, the answer is an easy, one word answer:
Vesper...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Big View Post
Looking to add AIS to my boat and I'm looking for a quicker and easier solution, if that's possible.
Whether you actually want an AIS receive-only system, and choose the Vesper Watchmate 750 AIS Receiver....or decide you want an AIS Class B transponder, and choose the Vesper Watchmate 850, or XB-8000, or Vision, Class B transponders....
The answer to a "quick and easy" AIS, as well as low-power consumption AIS, and especially easy and effective AIS displays....the answer is Vesper!

WatchMate 750 AIS Receiver | Vesper Marine

WatchMate 850 AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

WatchMate Vision AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

XB-8000 AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

Antenna Splitter for Class B AIS Transponders



As Mark pointed out the "options" you mention are all receive only, and I've never heard of anyone who ever installed an AIS receive-only system and then didn't almost immediately wish they had an AIS transponder!!
Just wanted you to be aware of this...



Now, if you need a new VHF radio anyway....such as if you do NOT have a VHF-DSC radio (a Class D VHF-DSC radio), then replacing your existing VHF Radio with one that also receives AIS is a nice idea for some...
And, while I prefer Icom (Icom M-506 w/ AIS receive), the Standard Horizon 2150 and 2200 have many satisfied customers as well...

IC-M506 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

IC-M604 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America




FYI, you will NOT like the seriously limited range of the digital yacht uAIS, nor the complications (and probable limited range) of the NooElec device!!
Please do NOT waste your money on these gimmicky products....




I hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 16-04-2015, 08:25   #8
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Mr Big,
In all honesty, the answer is an easy, one word answer:
Vesper...
Whether you actually want an AIS receive-only system, and choose the Vesper Watchmate 750 AIS Receiver....or decide you want an AIS Class B transponder, and choose the Vesper Watchmate 850, or XB-8000, or Vision, Class B transponders....
The answer to a "quick and easy" AIS, as well as low-power consumption AIS, and especially easy and effective AIS displays....the answer is Vesper!

WatchMate 750 AIS Receiver | Vesper Marine

WatchMate 850 AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

WatchMate Vision AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

XB-8000 AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

Antenna Splitter for Class B AIS Transponders



As Mark pointed out the "options" you mention are all receive only, and I've never heard of anyone who ever installed an AIS receive-only system and then didn't almost immediately wish they had an AIS transponder!!
Just wanted you to be aware of this...



Now, if you need a new VHF radio anyway....such as if you do NOT have a VHF-DSC radio (a Class D VHF-DSC radio), then replacing your existing VHF Radio with one that also receives AIS is a nice idea for some...
And, while I prefer Icom (Icom M-506 w/ AIS receive), the Standard Horizon 2150 and 2200 have many satisfied customers as well...

IC-M506 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

IC-M604 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America




FYI, you will NOT like the seriously limited range of the digital yacht uAIS, nor the complications (and probable limited range) of the NooElec device!!
Please do NOT waste your money on these gimmicky products....




I hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John
I'm happy with my receive only system. I don't generally trust people not to run over me, so I'm mostly concerned with where they are so I can take an active approach to collision avoidance.



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Old 16-04-2015, 08:27   #9
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

An awesome feature of the VHF radios with built in AIS, is that the antenna splitter is built in. No need to spend two hundred for an additional spliter/antenna like you do with other AIS options.

Matt
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Old 16-04-2015, 08:27   #10
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

If you sail where there's lots of traffic you will find that the VHF solution , which I have one of, won't cut it for you because of its size. If it's not so busy then it may suffice. If you do need to go with a standalone AIS system, from all my research I feel the Vesper system is by far the best. Not cheap but for 799 you can get a black box that will display on any wireless device you have abroad.


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Old 16-04-2015, 08:42   #11
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Happy GX2200 user here. Screen is functional for AIS needs. I have the cockpit RAM which is even smaller than the base screen, and it's the one we consult continually when underway. I used it extensively coming down the Great Lakes, through the seaway, which is a pretty busy area. Keeping things de-cluttered is the key, so vary the range depending on traffic and what you're most interested/concerned about. Like anything, it takes some time to get used to, but works well.

Vesper looks great. If I wanted a transponder (which I don't), I'd go with it.
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Old 16-04-2015, 08:52   #12
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Mr Big,
In all honesty, the answer is an easy, one word answer:
Vesper...
Whether you actually want an AIS receive-only system, and choose the Vesper Watchmate 750 AIS Receiver....or decide you want an AIS Class B transponder, and choose the Vesper Watchmate 850, or XB-8000, or Vision, Class B transponders....
The answer to a "quick and easy" AIS, as well as low-power consumption AIS, and especially easy and effective AIS displays....the answer is Vesper!

WatchMate 750 AIS Receiver | Vesper Marine

WatchMate 850 AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

WatchMate Vision AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

XB-8000 AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

Antenna Splitter for Class B AIS Transponders



As Mark pointed out the "options" you mention are all receive only, and I've never heard of anyone who ever installed an AIS receive-only system and then didn't almost immediately wish they had an AIS transponder!!
Just wanted you to be aware of this...



Now, if you need a new VHF radio anyway....such as if you do NOT have a VHF-DSC radio (a Class D VHF-DSC radio), then replacing your existing VHF Radio with one that also receives AIS is a nice idea for some...
And, while I prefer Icom (Icom M-506 w/ AIS receive), the Standard Horizon 2150 and 2200 have many satisfied customers as well...

IC-M506 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

IC-M604 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America




FYI, you will NOT like the seriously limited range of the digital yacht uAIS, nor the complications (and probable limited range) of the NooElec device!!
Please do NOT waste your money on these gimmicky products....




I hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John

Although I have yet to get the Vesper transponder (probably just the below-decks "black box" XB-8000, which is, I believe, also conveniently capable of wireless routing, I do have an SH 2200 and I really enjoy "mere" AIS receive. There is very likely going to be AIS-equipped buoyage in the future (it's a logical evolution), and it's a perfect complement to radar, and I don't mind having an AIS function to my VHF as well as a separate AIS for purely navigational/ship ID purposes. I've seen how hard it is to "paint" a sailboat at a distance with radar, so there's an advantage to being able to get an oncoming ship's attention should you wish to ensure they will be aware of your position.
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Old 16-04-2015, 08:56   #13
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
....
Now, if you need a new VHF radio anyway....such as if you do NOT have a VHF-DSC radio (a Class D VHF-DSC radio), then replacing your existing VHF Radio with one that also receives AIS is a nice idea for some...
And, while I prefer Icom (Icom M-506 w/ AIS receive), the Standard Horizon 2150 and 2200 have many satisfied customers as well...
.....
Do you have an Icom M-506 ?

I am looking at the specifications, but I don't see the standby current for this radio. 1.5A full volume receive, but what about squelched, AIS receiver and NMEA 2000 active ?

Cheers,
JM.
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Old 16-04-2015, 09:00   #14
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
Originally Posted by cortezsailor View Post
If you sail where there's lots of traffic you will find that the VHF solution , which I have one of, won't cut it for you because of its size. If it's not so busy then it may suffice. If you do need to go with a standalone AIS system, from all my research I feel the Vesper system is by far the best. Not cheap but for 799 you can get a black box that will display on any wireless device you have abroad.


Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum
Idk, my slip is 3 miles from the Welland Canal, 20 miles from the steel plants in Hamilton, 26 miles from the Port of Toronto. I'm not sure what you would consider busy traffic area, obviously the approaches to the Panama Canal, Suez Canal, English Channel, Hong Kong, Singapore are busier, but I consider my navigating area to be a high traffic area and I didn't even have AIS until recently, the little receiver screen works fine for me.

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Old 16-04-2015, 09:01   #15
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Re: AIS...all in one radio or computer/opencpn

Quote:
There is very likely going to be AIS-equipped buoyage in the future (it's a logical evolution), and it's a perfect complement to radar, and I don't mind having an AIS function to my VHF as well as a separate AIS for purely
AIS Buoys have been here for quite some time and the number is increasing every year.
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