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Old 11-11-2013, 11:32   #1
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AIS Question Again

Boats are so easy to spend money on.
I was looking at the Standard Horizon Matrix VHF as a source for AIS then started to think if I wanted only to have receiving capability. I have a good VHF now and a couple of back-ups so really donít need another. I have looked at a number of possibilities and then found the Vesper Marine XB-8000. I would also need the SPL160 AIS splitter that they sell so that I could use my already installed VHF antenna with the AIS system. Now I am up to around $1,000, considerably more that the Matrix VHF.
This new configuration will let me interface with my iPAD. One of the navigation apps I use is iNavX which I think is very good and it is fully compatible.
Is anyone using this configuration with an iPAD? How do you like it? Was it fairly easy to install? Is there anything that you donít like about the system?
Is there any other system I should be looking at?
Thanks for your suggestions, s/v Aloisius, Dave
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Old 11-11-2013, 13:54   #2
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Re: AIS Question Again

A couple of points. AIS receive only is limiting the great potential of AIS!
AIS Splitters are a problematic issue. They decrease the effectiveness of BOTH your VHF and your AIS as they cause antenna losses, UNLESS they are a powered, zero loss unit. A 2nd antenna is, in my opinion, a better solution. A good AIS antenna should be a LOW gain unit, as the range is limited by power, and you want it to work at all possible angles of heel.

Next, if you want wifi for IPAD, then why not use a WIFI/NMEA server, like This, becase then you can have your wind data and any other NMEA info, including Autopilot, on the IPAD as well. You could then add a standard AIS transponder, and still be cheaper! AIS transponder like This with a screen as well so if the ipad is off, the AIS is still usefull..
What do you think?
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Old 11-11-2013, 14:18   #3
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Re: AIS Question Again

Thank you for the email. Do I understand you to say:
1.) A separate antenna for the AIS is perferable
2.) A WIFI / NMEA Adapter that will communicate with the iPAD and iNavX as suggested in the posting
3.) A standalone AIS system that communicates with the WIFI / NMEA adapter. It could be used with or w/o the iPAD turned on.

Benefits are multiple sources and uses of information, flexibility, cheaper, and still able to view on the iPAD iNavX when needed.

Thanks, Dave s/v Aloisius
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Old 11-11-2013, 14:23   #4
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Re: AIS Question Again

Yep Dave, that's it! Seems like the right way to me...
Cheers
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Old 11-11-2013, 14:33   #5
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Re: AIS Question Again

I've just taken my AMEC Camino AMEC CAMINO-101 Class B AIS transponder to sea for the first time... seems to work pretty good with a taffrail mounted VHF Ant. The free software is OK but I will be looking at other options. Picks up ships at about the same time as I see them.... 9 miles or so.
Currently hooked up to a little Dell netbook.
Price was right... sub $500
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Old 11-11-2013, 14:42   #6
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Re: AIS Question Again

Yep, that unit is fine. Similar to our one, price is the same, (with the GPS antenna) BUT ours has the ability to silence transmission standard...

9 miles is pretty normal for a rail mounted antenna. But the AIS will see the ship in the day, night, rain, hail, or snow. You wont!!

I bet you grow to really like it! I love my AIS, especially single or shorthanded!
Matt
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Old 11-11-2013, 14:55   #7
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Re: AIS Question Again

Already rather fond of it... as you say it sees in visibilty muy crappo... interesting though that about 50% of lights seen had no AIS... yep ... fishing boats inshore of the 100 fathom line.....
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Old 11-11-2013, 14:56   #8
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Re: AIS Question Again

Quote:
Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
Boats are so easy to spend money on.
I was looking at the Standard Horizon Matrix VHF as a source for AIS then started to think if I wanted only to have receiving capability. I have a good VHF now and a couple of back-ups so really donít need another. I have looked at a number of possibilities and then found the Vesper Marine XB-8000. I would also need the SPL160 AIS splitter that they sell so that I could use my already installed VHF antenna with the AIS system. Now I am up to around $1,000, considerably more that the Matrix VHF.
This new configuration will let me interface with my iPAD. One of the navigation apps I use is iNavX which I think is very good and it is fully compatible.
Is anyone using this configuration with an iPAD? How do you like it? Was it fairly easy to install? Is there anything that you donít like about the system?
Is there any other system I should be looking at?
Thanks for your suggestions, s/v Aloisius, Dave
Spent some time last year looking at various AIS set ups, most people had problems with mixing differant AIS manufactured units and especially splitters!

I went for the SH GX2100E vhf to work with a SH 300i plotter.

Very simple to install and the reception using your existing radio aerial is excellant.

The AIS display on the radio is small and a back up only, but the AIS display on the plotter is excellant with lots of user friendly features, this is also the first plotter I have had with an 'inbuilt aerial 'and find no differance in reception and quality to when I had a seperate aerial.

Also after sales back up by SH here in the UK was excellant.

Hope this helps
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Old 11-11-2013, 15:01   #9
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Re: AIS Question Again

Hi Mike, yes, the splitter is not so much of an issue on receive only units....
Pleased to hear yours works well.
Because we have seen so many issues with splitters and transponders (should have been clearer further up!) we recommend separate antennas.. That does not mean they don't work with splitters, they do. Just often with signal loss from the VHF AND the AIS, especially transmit loss...
Cheers
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Old 11-11-2013, 15:26   #10
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Re: AIS Question Again

I have the Vesper XB-8000 on my vessel and it's hooked in to a Standard Horizon GX2000 via NMEA 0183 and I use the iPad mostly because of the iNavX. It also uses MNEA 2000. The S.H. GX 2150 has it's own AIS. The system works great. But I'd go with an independent antenna.
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Old 11-11-2013, 15:37   #11
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I also believe the Vesper 8000 is a transponder while the SH VHF has just a receiver. This all explaines the price difference.

I would certainly go for the Vesper with a dedicated antenna.
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:34   #12
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Re: AIS Question Again

With a dedicated antenna, how far from the VHF antenna does it have to be mounted.

I haven't looked, but would assume the dedicated antenna and cable could end up being less expensive than a splitter.
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:37   #13
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Re: AIS Question Again

Most people just mount them on the stern rail. Ours is there, and we have had a ship call us from 56 Miles asking our intentions!!! Normal range is about 10 miles though. And it also gives you an instant spare antenna in the event of a rig loss... A basic stainless wire whip is fine, and inexpensive.

Cheers
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:43   #14
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Re: AIS Question Again

Quote:
Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
With a dedicated antenna, how far from the VHF antenna does it have to be mounted.

I haven't looked, but would assume the dedicated antenna and cable could end up being less expensive than a splitter.
They need to be at least 3 ft apart. But it's also good to have them at different levels.

I have one on each side of my arc, in which one is on an extension higher up (the AIS). Also have a third antenna at the mast head.
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Old 11-11-2013, 19:45   #15
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Re: AIS Question Again

If you go to the Communications forum there is a sticky there about antennas. And this is a good thread.

Amazing Power of Good Antennas
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