I just got an afternoon free to work on all of this and have it all up and running. Here's the skinny:
I bought the Standard Horizon Matrix 2100 from ebay NEW for $218 w/ free shipping
. Less than the price
of a separate AIS receiver and splitter and far less work... plus got a fancier new VHF than I had previously.
When I got back to the boat, I installed the new SH radio (my old VHF antenna
and power cables
plugged right in) and began using it as a VHF, but didn't have time to hook up the GPS straight away... so upon reading an earlier post about the alarm
, I DIDN'T input the MMSI number (we're an Australian boat anyway so we don't have FCC/USCG MMSI numbers).
This meant that we got a single
reminder upon first turning on the radio that DSC
won't work until I enter an MMSI number but it went away after keying the OK button and was FAR less annoying than the earsplitting alarm
mentioned earlier if the number was entered but the GPS not wired up.
After a while I got time to play with wiring
up the GPS. I used an old black and white hand-held that I inherited with the boat, but could have used a puck
style for $25 on ebay. I used a simple 4 pin cable that plugged into the back of the GPS (was already with the unit) and connected the bitter end wires to power (so I didn't have to keep replacing batteries) and used the NMEA output wires to connect to the Matrix 2100. It worked instantly.
After another week I got around to hooking up the AIS signal to my laptop
running OpenCPN. I had bought a NEW serial
to USB adapter on ebay for $3.5 with free shipping
(how do they do that?!) and then found and old serial cable that I had laying around and cut the end off so I had bare wires. I used only 2 wires which I found using an ohm meter and a diagram I found using google
, they were the common ground and positive-receive pins.
I then plugged in the serial cable into my netbook (which I bought on ebay for $100 for this very purpose), installed the serial->USB driver, rebooted, started OpenCPN, chose the correct COM port using the AIS tab in the OpenCPN tool pane and bingo... it all worked perfectly.
Note: I am also using a puck
style GPS with OpenCPN for my own ships position, so technically I am running 2 GPSs.
Total cost for fully functioning chart plotter/GPS with AIS overlay... which as a netbook also has a 500GB hard drive which is filled with movies and music
and of course can connect to any WiFi
signal for email and internet
access along the way of our journey:
Standard Horizon Matrix 2100: $218
Puck USB GPS: $25
Serial->USB adapter: $3.50
(all other cables
or components were outdated, free and laying around)
TOTAL: $346.50 (and I got a new VFH radio thrown in).