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Old 01-04-2019, 02:48   #1
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AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

I want to instal an AIS transponder in my boat and my old GPS has died.
So I'm looking at a whole new set up and don't really want to spend unnecessary money on a chat plotter when my iPad using Navonics software works perfectly for my needs.
The Digital yacht AIT 3000 seems to fit the bill with a built in wifi server, a GPS receiver and a built in aerial splitter?
Is there any issues with going this way or is there a better set up I should consider?
Electronics are constantly changing so I realise what is the best today may not be same tomorrow.
Sorry if there is another thread for this subject but I searched and couldn't find anything recent.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:09   #2
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

Lots of ways of going with this one.

If budget is tight and you want something that can either stand alone altogether or talk NMEA2000 with existing devices, the Matsutec HP-33A is hard to beat on price.

I've got mine talking to the old Raymarine plotter on board without much difficulty, plus it has a moderately usable built in display.

FWIW, I am not a fan of aerial splitters so have bought a dedicated antenna for mine. Horses for courses, there are arguments for and against, but I like KISS.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:45   #3
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

If you want to keep is simple and cheap you can buy the Standard Horizon GX2200 VHF radio.
It has GPS and AIS receiver built in for about $350.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:32   #4
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

Thanks for the advice, I would like to transmit as well as receive and I want to use an iPad so a wireless or bluetooth connection is required, either inbuilt or as an add on unit.
I'm prepared to pay for what I need but I don't want to pay for something I won't use like a stand alone chart plotter.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:36   #5
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

I would look at the Vesper XB 8000 with either a dedicated antenna or the Vesper splitter. The combined package of the XB 8000 and splitter costs about the same as the Digital Yacht and the capabilities are similar. Vesper's customer support is phenomenal. The provide regular updates and it works well with multiple apps. I have a Watchmate Vision, which is essentially the same as the XB 8000 with an added display. Even though I bought mine used and they were aware of it, their support was great.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:37   #6
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

Lowest cost option I've seen lately is the Em-Trak Sailor Package from Milltech for $599 which includes the antenna splitter.

West Marina is also doing an insanely good price on the Class A Em-trak A100 stand alone AIS, but you'll need to add a splitter or new antenna... plus deal with the added juice the system uses.

Both of these require a way of sending data to your iPad. The Vesper XB8000 would be a better option for your use case since it is a multiplexer capable of sending the information from most N2K and N0183 devices over wifi.

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Old 01-04-2019, 05:25   #7
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

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Originally Posted by Captain Graham View Post
If you want to keep is simple and cheap you can buy the Standard Horizon GX2200 VHF radio.
It has GPS and AIS receiver built in for about $350.

The ICOM M-605 VHF radio is another option like this. Don't know AIS details, but it's an available option.

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Old 01-04-2019, 05:50   #8
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

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Originally Posted by Dragon Lady View Post
Thanks for the advice, I would like to transmit as well as receive and I want to use an iPad so a wireless or bluetooth connection is required, either inbuilt or as an add on unit.
I'm prepared to pay for what I need but I don't want to pay for something I won't use like a stand alone chart plotter.
Thanks for the added information.

The all in one VHF option has a few limitations.
1. The AIS antenna is built-in so it can not be high up on the mast giving you a larger range.
2. The are only AIS receivers and do not have a transmitter.

So I do not think the all in one VHF option will meet your needs.
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:42   #9
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Lady View Post
Thanks for the advice, I would like to transmit as well as receive and I want to use an iPad so a wireless or bluetooth connection is required, either inbuilt or as an add on unit.
I'm prepared to pay for what I need but I don't want to pay for something I won't use like a stand alone chart plotter.


I for one would not be happy if the only way I could view my AIS feed was through an iPad and the associated wireless connections.

Whatever you choose I would make sure it had an alternate way of communicating with the humans on board should the iPad die, fall overboard or go flat.
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:55   #10
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AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

I too am a fan of the Vesper XB-8000. On my personal boat it is combined with an antenna splitter.

Why?

1- It can convert NMEA 2000 (RayNG) to NMEA0183. This is handy since your new chart plotter, autopilot and depth they will all be 2000. The ability to translate the data to 0183 and send it via a non-proprietary 0183 data stream means your iPad or laptop can run third party software and use the data. As you have observed this creates a second display for your Nav station.

2-it is a low power draw anchor alarm. (Backed up by your phone app).

3- I do not like ďone device does it allĒ solutions. This results in losing several functions if one gizmo fails.

4-great customer support

5-I was an early adopter, Vesper has grown and has a large customer base. With few complaints. This make it easy to recommend!!

Finally, I recently delivered a boat with a different firms WiFi that relayed AIS receive from a VHF. The WiFi connection was not stable and kept dropping out. Fortunately, one of the crewman is an IT guy. It took him some significant fiddling to get the connection up on my iPad.
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:56   #11
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

As a very satisfied user, I'll add my recommendation for the XB-8000. It ticks all your boxes, great gear, adds functionality you didn't even think about, and comes with great vendor support. And the price is pretty good.

You can get cheaper stuff, but you'll regret it, IMHO.
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:56   #12
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

AIS class B SOTDMA = 2.5 ◊ Transmission power of standard class B.
Gets to the bridge of ships sooner so they can dial in a smaller course correction to hush up their CPA alarm.
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Old 01-04-2019, 09:38   #13
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

From some of the posts in this thread, I do not quite understand the reasons for going for an antenna splitter. In my experience, having a dedicated antenna would be worth the (manageable) additional hassle and the incremental expense. Could you please elaborate on the rationale behind the splitter? Thank you!
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Old 01-04-2019, 09:40   #14
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

Hi thr icom ic ma 500 tr is a stand alone reciever and class b transmitter looks good.
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:02   #15
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Re: AIS starting from scratch what's best way to go at the moment?

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Originally Posted by FabioC View Post
From some of the posts in this thread, I do not quite understand the reasons for going for an antenna splitter. In my experience, having a dedicated antenna would be worth the (manageable) additional hassle and the incremental expense. Could you please elaborate on the rationale behind the splitter? Thank you!

A splitter uses the highest mounted antenna on the boat. And since most mastheads are pretty tight; and the recommended 2m separation distance between AIS and VHF antenna is close to impossible to achieve, just adding another antenna up there isn't the finest idea. Most of us already have little room in the mast conduit to pull another large antenna cable (I'd rather have one large VHF cable vs two smaller AIS and VHF).

Cost is about equal for a cable/antenna to run up the mast vs a splitter, but labor to install the splitter is much less (Cost and time).

Most splitters are incredibly reliable, default to VHF if failing, and some, like the Vesper, actual add gain.

I can't see the reason to not use one.

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