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Old 25-10-2011, 18:27   #16
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Originally Posted by jeffrobbins View Post
FYI: I'm from Vesper Marine....

(...) unfortunately the VHF radio manufacturers don't appear to implement the NMEA standard protocol for doing this. We're working on it...
Good on ya, mate! But SH does. I would also suspect Garmin radios to do the trick.

It real sucks when some, like e.g. Simrad, will claim their AIS toy will play only with their own ...

Any chance we will see a screen update on your units? I think you have great product there but hear many sailors complain about the screen looking like the cheapo NASA AIS radar ... (yes I know it is NOT, but this is the common perception).

All the best to you and to the company. Thank you for building things that make sailing safer.

barnakiel
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Old 26-10-2011, 07:23   #17
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Any chance we will see a screen update on your units? I think you have great product there but hear many sailors complain about the screen looking like the cheapo NASA AIS radar ... (yes I know it is NOT, but this is the common perception).
B, I actually quite like the screen - it was in fact one of the reasons I bought it - very readable while also being very low power, which means I can leave the thing on (AIS underway and anchor alarm at anchor) and and not worry about amps.
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Old 26-10-2011, 15:23   #18
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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B, I actually quite like the screen - it was in fact one of the reasons I bought it - very readable while also being very low power, which means I can leave the thing on (AIS underway and anchor alarm at anchor) and and not worry about amps.
No doubt - as you read in my post the criticism comes from others.

To be exact, I think some people complained the screen was not sunlight readable while others complained that the contrast is either too low or too high and then the screen is hard to read (so, I assume, the contrast is adjustable).

Unfortunately, Vesper is not sold here and I only ever see their units on boats sailing by.

No doubt personally it is a good product and their 'previsualization' of the crossing situation, I think, is unique.

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Old 26-10-2011, 18:30   #19
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
To be exact, I think some people complained the screen was not sunlight readable while others complained that the contrast is either too low or too high and then the screen is hard to read (so, I assume, the contrast is adjustable).
Perhaps. We have the screen inside, in the nav station, so sunlight readable is not important for us.

The autopilot is almost always steering, so having electronics at the helm don't make much sense for us.
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Old 26-10-2011, 19:44   #20
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

A very interesting bit of feedback because we spent a lot of time evaluating LCD's under direct sun and found the monochrome transflective displays have excellent sunlight readability. As a result, I personally think the sunlight viewability of the WatchMate's is even better than when its LED backlights are the only source of illumination.

We chose the display for this property as well as use with polarized sunglasses and of course the very low power required, especially in direct sun when other display types must crank up the lighting.

The older WatchMate 650 model didn't have as wide a range of adjustable contrast and brightness as all the newer models, so that may be a factor.

In any case, I'd been very interested to hear from any other owners with their thoughts on sunlight viewing.
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Old 27-10-2011, 06:33   #21
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

Yep. It all evolves. It all depends on use and preferences.

I, for one, would love to see some transfer from the mobile market where the OLED screens seem to be gaining ground. Played around with a screen of this kind at a very early stage of their availability and it was great - beating any LED, LCD, color or mono hands down in direct light. Interestingly the i70 seem to be employing something less advanced (LED perhaps). I like the availability of AIS screen on i70 but it will probably take some time before I can test this.

Having a touch screen would be nice too - the screen could be bigger then as the hard buttons could be moved to a soft screen menu that hides when not used.

Interesting, playing with all the toys, probably making them twice as much.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 27-10-2011, 07:05   #22
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

I bought the Vesper Watchmate 850 Transponder at the Annapolis Sail Boat Show. I went more interested in the ICOM unit but two things changed my mind. First, the person at the ICOM booth didn't know anything about their product and the Vesper person was terrific and very knowledgeable. The other thing was the GPS antenna for the ICOM. It was gigantic! It's about four times as big as other GPS antennas. It's probably 8 inches tall and 6 inches in diameter. Why would they use something like that? I havenít installed the Vesper yet so I can't speak for it's performance but I think it was the right choice.

-Bill
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Old 27-10-2011, 09:11   #23
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffrobbins View Post
FYI: I'm from Vesper Marine....

Thanks for your positive evaluation. The WatchMate-850 doesn't currently have the ability to initiate a DSC call. It's something we'd like to do, but unfortunately the VHF radio manufacturers don't appear to implement the NMEA standard protocol for doing this. We're working on it...

Evans.... would you email me the specifics of the menu structure that you are finding confusing? I know there are a few places where we purposely switched the ENTER button around, but I thought we did that only where someone automatically pressing the ENTER button by accident wouldn't be a good thing (for example, the "are you sure" when you are sending a MAYDAY - we wanted the default action to be "NO").

BTW: When we do firmware updates we make them downloadable for free, of course, and they are easy to do with the USB connection.
All I've read of the Vesper Watchmate 850 is pretty positive, and I think a strong case can be made for those who sail beyond coastal distances and durations for stand-alone RADAR and AIS that can feed to a plotter, but do not have to. For reasons of redundancy and power usage, I like the idea of a low-draw AIS unit at sea, just as I like a 12 mile "guard ring" alarm on a RADAR. Pasting the info over a plotter, whether a MFD or a PC screen, is "nice to have" but not actually essential if one is practised in chart reading and lat/lon.

I will look forward to further iterations of the Vesper line. It's pricey, but it's also a GPS and can work even if your VHF antenna or mast is damaged, and the simple "USB out" is great for those trying to see the pin-outs on an antiquated serial cable.
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Old 27-10-2011, 09:23   #24
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Originally Posted by Bill Shuman View Post
(...) The other thing was the GPS antenna for the ICOM. It was gigantic! It's about four times as big as other GPS antennas. It's probably 8 inches tall and 6 inches in diameter. Why would they use something like that?(...)

-Bill
Exactly. Perhaps it is a receiver then?

One ca also place a bigger logo on the bigger one ...;-)

b.
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Old 27-10-2011, 09:32   #25
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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(...) Pasting the info over a plotter, whether a MFD or a PC screen, is "nice to have" but not actually essential (...)

(...) the simple "USB out" is great for those trying to see the pin-outs on an antiquated serial cable.
+1, hence our option VHF/AIS combo (no need for any cables if you want to DSC an AIS target!), if in doubt we turn on the netbook and voila we have the AIS visualised on a big screen and, if we wish, against a chart too.

+1, you can have the USB AIS from almost any maker now, including a USB AIS dongle available that looks just like a WiFi dongle, neat way to have AIS on the PC.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 27-10-2011, 10:50   #26
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffrobbins View Post
A very interesting bit of feedback because we spent a lot of time evaluating LCD's under direct sun and found the monochrome transflective displays have excellent sunlight readability. As a result, I personally think the sunlight viewability of the WatchMate's is even better than when its LED backlights are the only source of illumination.

We chose the display for this property as well as use with polarized sunglasses and of course the very low power required, especially in direct sun when other display types must crank up the lighting.

The older WatchMate 650 model didn't have as wide a range of adjustable contrast and brightness as all the newer models, so that may be a factor.

In any case, I'd been very interested to hear from any other owners with their thoughts on sunlight viewing.
Jeff
I have ordered a 850 model and I will certainly tell you about it when it's installed and functioning.
The REAL test will be when the Admiral will start "working" on it.. if she found it easy and friendly then you will have passed the test !!
The three interesting thing that help me make my choice: the anchor alarm, the internal GPS antenna, and the USB connection...
Alec
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Old 27-10-2011, 11:29   #27
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

Confirmed. Here admiral looked at an AIS screen on a friend's boat then said she wants one. I too prefer looking at neat ship icons than at pretty incomprehensible radar blotches.

b.
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Old 27-10-2011, 15:29   #28
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Jeff
I have ordered a 850 model and I will certainly tell you about it when it's installed and functioning.
The REAL test will be when the Admiral will start "working" on it.. if she found it easy and friendly then you will have passed the test !!
The three interesting thing that help me make my choice: the anchor alarm, the internal GPS antenna, and the USB connection...
Alec
As with most safety upgrades, my partner was behind the AIS purchase, but it has really changed life aboard. Profoundly alters the relationship at sea when you can call a ship by name and know where it's from.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:09   #29
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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As with most safety upgrades, my partner was behind the AIS purchase, but it has really changed life aboard. Profoundly alters the relationship at sea when you can call a ship by name and know where it's from.
I hope so!!
I just received the Watchmate 850.
Nice device , very easy to read
I play with it with the USB before installation (nice trick) and have made the set ups and familiarized myself with the simulation mode
Easy and friendly

We'll see later when installed how the admiral will like it
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:23   #30
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Confirmed. Here admiral looked at an AIS screen on a friend's boat then said she wants one. I too prefer looking at neat ship icons than at pretty incomprehensible radar blotches.

b.
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"Just in case. OK, I like the boat".
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