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Old 02-07-2012, 15:47   #1
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AIS Receiver or Transponder

Hi all

Have recently started cruising the western med and after a relatively near encounter with a fast ferry on a moonless night off the spanish mainland have decided that AIS might be a good option.

On a bit of a budget though so question is- is reciever sufficient at around $250 fitted or do most end up going the whole hog and getting the transponder (not that im expecting a fast ferry to avoid me but at least if im sending he will have to think twice right ? )

there looks to be a pretty reasonably priced option from milltech marine at around $600 (including vhf splitter)

Also any issues with just using a splitter rather than dedicated vhf arial for transponder vs reciever?

thanks
barra
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Old 02-07-2012, 16:03   #2
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

The reciever only AIS is okay if you'll keep a good watch and have a warning capability on the set. I'm more interested in the ships knowing I'm out there than the other way around so went with a transponder for something under $500 2 years ago.
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Old 02-07-2012, 16:25   #3
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

If you plan to be in regular shipping traffic, especially at night, get the transponder. I have receive only with my VHF, but ships move quickly and on a recent all night sail down the Chesapeake, I wished I had been more visible.
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Old 02-07-2012, 17:20   #4
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

Go for the transponder. The price difference is too small to go for half the real thing.

Mind you that a fast going ferry may, or may not, see you on their AIS system. The same applies to a slow going one ;-)

Keep good watch, and then get the best AIS tool you can afford. You will be safer.

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Old 02-07-2012, 17:36   #5
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

* AIS Splitter, Marine Instruments | Mailspeed Marine
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Old 02-07-2012, 17:42   #6
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

Personally I would never consider anything but a transceiver. I want to see AND BE SEEN.
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Old 02-07-2012, 18:04   #7
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barra View Post
Hi all

Have recently started cruising the western med and after a relatively near encounter with a fast ferry on a moonless night off the spanish mainland have decided that AIS might be a good option.

On a bit of a budget though so question is- is reciever sufficient at around $250 fitted or do most end up going the whole hog and getting the transponder (not that im expecting a fast ferry to avoid me but at least if im sending he will have to think twice right ? )

there looks to be a pretty reasonably priced option from milltech marine at around $600 (including vhf splitter)

Also any issues with just using a splitter rather than dedicated vhf arial for transponder vs reciever?

thanks
barra
AIS has been on my wish list for a while now. Thanks to a tip here on CF I picked up a VESPER Watchmate from West Marine for $100. It is only the display unit so I will need a separate transponder or receiver. I'm going the transponder route as I think it is better to see and be seen (transponder) rather than just see (receiver).

As far a VHF splitter or separate antenna I'm going with a separate AIS antenna. As I understand it, one can only use the antenna to transmit AIS or use the mic on the VHF. They both can't be used at the same time. I don't like having all my eggs in one basket on board and a single failure point. Especially electrical devices involving safety. That's my thinking on the issue.
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Old 02-07-2012, 18:14   #8
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

i can only tell you what works for us -- we have basically circum nav the carib - kinda - we got a acr transponder/reciever with it's own antenna and gps - we have had a lot of discussions in the open ocean with various big ships who respond when we call that "yes soulmates we see you on our ais and we will have a close pass" - they see us and we can discuss how to do a pass - with a receive only they can only see you on radar -
we have been traveling with 2 other boats on and off for over a year and they have receive only - on a crossing from grenada to trinidad the other day a big freighter was going to be really close and i was only one he could see on ais so we discussed how to miss all 3 of us and he relayed that to an freighter when they discussed how to pass each other -
i would not go without have both capabilities

as for a splitter - we have seen way to many issues with one or the other not working when it should and it is usually the radio - i would never ask my radio antenna to do two jobs at once

oh yea we love our acr unit and no i do not get a commission or anythingelse

just our opinion
chuck patty and svsoulmates
in trinidad for hurricane season
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Old 03-07-2012, 14:39   #9
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

Another chime in for a transponder... big ships are the concern, not accidentally hitting another cruising boat. And frankly the ships radars are lousy at seeing small boats. It's nice to know where they are, but them knowing where you are can be just as important or more so, because most large ships always have at least one person awake and in the wheel room....

I cat tell you how many times I have seen cruisers napping on watch, or in the middle of a night watch head downstairs to get a cup of coffee or something. Perfectly reasonable really, but a large ship can go horizon to horizon in minutes, just about enough time to go to the head, grab a snack and run you over.
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Old 03-07-2012, 14:59   #10
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
i can only tell you what works for us -- we have basically circum nav the carib - kinda - we got a acr transponder/reciever with it's own antenna and gps - we have had a lot of discussions in the open ocean with various big ships who respond when we call that "yes soulmates we see you on our ais and we will have a close pass" - they see us and we can discuss how to do a pass - with a receive only they can only see you on radar -
we have been traveling with 2 other boats on and off for over a year and they have receive only - on a crossing from grenada to trinidad the other day a big freighter was going to be really close and i was only one he could see on ais so we discussed how to miss all 3 of us and he relayed that to an freighter when they discussed how to pass each other -
i would not go without have both capabilities

as for a splitter - we have seen way to many issues with one or the other not working when it should and it is usually the radio - i would never ask my radio antenna to do two jobs at once

oh yea we love our acr unit and no i do not get a commission or anythingelse

just our opinion
chuck patty and svsoulmates
in trinidad for hurricane season
+1....
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Old 03-07-2012, 15:17   #11
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

Thanks for the quick replies guys - i will go the transponder route. Anyone come across any good deals on this front lately that i can check out? so far the best I have seen in a limited look is the AMEC here Welcome to Milltech Marine - your AIS experts for $449 plus delivery

the neatness of just splitting the current VHF still looks attractive to locating a new antenna up mast or elsewhere. has anyone actually had a problem with a splitter to AIS transponder?

thanks for the splitter link tillybobs - like the look of the failsafe default to vhf on it

cheers
barra
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Old 03-07-2012, 15:41   #12
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I recently put in a transponder on a friend's boat. His plotter is too old to get the data, but it was felt that it was more important to be seen. A very good safety device.
Once he updates his plotter we'll be able to see the others as well.
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Old 03-07-2012, 16:40   #13
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

Hi Barra,
We have been trialing a portable receiver,great to have on board. I believe that having the ships name is the best asset as while the officer on watch may not be looing at AIS he should hear you when you call him on VHF to discuss actions to be taken. Follow this link.

Regards Mike
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Old 03-07-2012, 19:37   #14
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

We had a receiver when in the North Sea, the Med and the Caribbean but have since switched to a transponder (purchased in New Zealalnd for about US$ 700). I think it is worth it.

Our first receiver had a splitter using the VHF antenna, but we had a problem with our VHF and Raymarine repaired it, but said that the problem was most likely caused by the spliter. I don't know if that was the problem, but switched to a dedicated AIS antenna and it has worked great since (3 years). Remember that when you add a transponder you need another GPS ant.
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:45   #15
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Re: AIS Receiver or Transponder

as for where to place the antenna -- you do not need to place it at the top of your mast -- our ais antenna sits on a railing that holds up our bimini - and we get great coverage -
take a look at the acr unit as it comes with antenna and gps

just our opinion
chuck patty and svsoulmates
in trinidad for hurricane season
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