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Old 25-10-2011, 06:59   #1
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AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

Anybody can help me make my choice?
advantages and disadvantages of each one?
Bad experiences or good ones...
Both are in my budget and I really don't know which one to get...
Alec
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Old 25-10-2011, 07:30   #2
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alecadi View Post
Anybody can help me make my choice?
advantages and disadvantages of each one?
Bad experiences or good ones...
Both are in my budget and I really don't know which one to get...
Alec
I got a vesper last winter and its a nice piece of gear. Well built and well designed. There's one part of the menu design I don't like but that's a niggle.

I don't have any experience with the ICOM. It was announced but not actually available last winter (they seemed to have some regulatory glitch with it). The pro over the vesper is IF you have it cabled to the matching vhf you can make dsc calls to AIS targets without having to punch in the dcs number. I don't know how important that is, as I have not had much luck in getting other vessels to respond to dsc calls. The con is that the screen (and I am told the user interface, but that's second hand) is not as friendly as the vesper, and draw more power.

I would not struggle to much on the decision. Either would probably do the job just fine. flip a coin
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Old 25-10-2011, 07:50   #3
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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I got a vesper last winter and its a nice piece of gear. Well built and well designed. There's one part of the menu design I don't like but that's a niggle.



I would not struggle to much on the decision. Either would probably do the job just fine. flip a coin
Thanks for your input, much appreciated.
What is the part you don't like in the Vesper menu? Can you elaborate?
Alec
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Old 25-10-2011, 08:11   #4
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Originally Posted by Alecadi View Post
Thanks for your input, much appreciated.
What is the part you don't like in the Vesper menu? Can you elaborate?
Alec
There is an inconsistency in the menu structure. As you start down the menu you push one button to go to the highlighted menu item (sort of an 'enter' button), but then about half way down the menu tree the 'enter' function moves to another button and the prior 'enter' button becomes a 'home' button. SO I will be working down the menu, highlight items with one finger and pushing enter with the other and then all of a sudden I find myself back at home because I forget the button changed.

There is probably a reason for it, as the rest of the system is well thought out. But this one thing trips me up quite frequently and I then just have to go back down the menu tree and remember to move my finger to another button at the right time.
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Old 25-10-2011, 08:21   #5
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
There is an inconsistency in the menu structure. As you start down the menu you push one button to go to the highlighted menu item (sort of an 'enter' button), but then about half way down the menu tree the 'enter' function moves to another button and the prior 'enter' button becomes a 'home' button. SO I will be working down the menu, highlight items with one finger and pushing enter with the other and then all of a sudden I find myself back at home because I forget the button changed.

There is probably a reason for it, as the rest of the system is well thought out. But this one thing trips me up quite frequently and I then just have to go back down the menu tree and remember to move my finger to another button at the right time.
Thanks...
That would be one more reason for swearing when at the helm....
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Old 25-10-2011, 08:44   #6
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

There is a group test in a recent PBO.

They liked the Vesper for its collision situation visualization mode. They liked the Icom for screen readability. They did not say if Vesper can DSC a ship by the VHF (which I would like to have). I think it does not. None supports charts, both support NMEA out to plotter but only Vesper has USB out.

I have used the Simrad, it was good.

I would not buy either without walking into a showroom and fooling with each one for one hour.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 25-10-2011, 08:47   #7
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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There is a group test in a recent PBO.

b.
Sorry what is a PBO?
where can I get a look at the test?
Thank you
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Old 25-10-2011, 08:49   #8
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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They did not say if Vesper can DSC a ship by the VHF .
It does not.
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Old 25-10-2011, 09:14   #9
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

FWIW, we don't have either (& we've had AIS for 4 years). We just use AIS linked to OpenCPN, as we want to see chart data with our AIS. We don't leave the computer on unless we're motoring, but if we see a light that's not changing bearing, firing up the 'pute takes only seconds. Since we use the computer for other things as well, our incremental cost to see our AIS data is zero.
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Old 25-10-2011, 10:29   #10
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Sorry what is a PBO?
where can I get a look at the test?
Thank you
Practical Boat Owner, Issue No 540, October 2011.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 25-10-2011, 11:30   #11
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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Practical Boat Owner, Issue No 540, October 2011.

Cheers,
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How stupid of me
Sure !!
Thanks
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Old 25-10-2011, 11:33   #12
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

We have had a Watchmate receiver for a couple years and like it a lot, though we have no experience with other brands and will upgrade soon to a transponder. We chose it at the time because it and the NASA were about the only standalones we could afford and the Watchmate seemed to have a good reputation online.

The attraction of a standalone, of course, is that your netbook does not have to be on 24/7. I recently sailed alone across the North Pacific and the Watchmate was on continuously for 74 days. It was nice not having to turn on a computer.

I have no connection with Vesper, but they went out of their way when we had some difficulties with our unit in South Korea, so I am a bit of a fan.
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Old 25-10-2011, 11:55   #13
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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We have had a Watchmate receiver for a couple years and like it a lot, though we have no experience with other brands and will upgrade soon to a transponder. We chose it at the time because it and the NASA were about the only standalones we could afford and the Watchmate seemed to have a good reputation online.

The attraction of a standalone, of course, is that your netbook does not have to be on 24/7. I recently sailed alone across the North Pacific and the Watchmate was on continuously for 74 days. It was nice not having to turn on a computer.

I have no connection with Vesper, but they went out of their way when we had some difficulties with our unit in South Korea, so I am a bit of a fan.
Thanks for the input
Reading all the answer I'll be inclined to go for the Vesper: it looks simpler than Icom
and I don't need the connection to a VHF
I need something simple ,meanly because the Admiral will not use it if it's to complicated...
And it has an anchor alarm that I don't have in my GPS and would like to have that feature
Alec
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Old 25-10-2011, 14:35   #14
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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.
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Old 25-10-2011, 15:26   #15
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Re: AIS: Icom MA 530 TR or Watchmate 850 from Vesper

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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").
.
Would you please remind me in two weeks or so. I am off tomorrow to get a boat ready to do a delivery to the BVI, and I will need to sit on Hawk with the 850 in my hands to tell you exactly.
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