Ok thanks to everyone who contributed to this question. This is what we decided to do and it has worked out really well, so for those sailors who still have Raymarine Pathfinder (around 2003) tridata systems on board, here is a solution to how you can run AIS. We have been using it for 2 months now and find it a fantastic addition to our on board systems.
After lots of research
we purchased a Digital Yacht AIS100pro which was within our budget
. We also purchased an AIS aerial through Digital Yacht UK. This AIS unit comes with a USB lead and is also a multiplexer. We had it wired directly into the junction box of the Raymarine Tridata system so that it could pick up the NMEA information from same and multiplex/feed it to our Samsung Notebook.
On the notebook we have two ways of receiving the AIS and Tridata information. 1) Through the software which came with the AIS from Digital Yacht. We found it worked okay but did not overlay on to our existing charts. so... 2) We are running Open CPN
charts and have picked up the AIS and all Tridata information on the Open CPN
. This is working out very well for us. We can close the lid of the notebook when not using it to save battery
and quickly get it up and running when we need to check AIS info. We can also see our position compared to the course we have plotted.
The Raymarine chartplotter is still an important part of the picture though because it does not get cluttered with AIS information when we are going into a port. We are happy to have the AIS on a separate screen
Thanks again everyone.