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Old 15-01-2017, 21:45   #1
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Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

All--

I'm gutting my electronic stack that came with my 40+ year old C&C 35 MKII. Calling it an 'stack' it was a strong term, an old Standard Horizon monochrome chart platter with 5 min GPS acquisition time (when it worked) and a west marine cheap VHF radio.

I had an appointment mid April to pull the mast (likely the first time) and start upgrading the wiring. Current wiring is lamp cord stuff from the hardware store in the early 80

I want to get an AIS class B transponder and I'm leaning towards the Vesper XB-8000. But I'm trying to pick a radio to take advantage of that AIS info. I can pick cheap NMEA-0183 radio and get some of the info, but I would like the radio to "know" what to do with AIS info and allow me to select AIS targets for a chat.

Since I'm buying a Vesper, I don't need VHF radio with a receiver. However, I would like radio that could display AIS info and allow me to select and call a target. I could buy a radio with an AIS receiver and them disable it and use the data stream from the Vesper.

However, I was digging through sites and found a Standard Horizon GX2000 that has AIS display but no receiver. Would that be a good call or should I look at the SH GX2200 that has all the AIS stuff, and then just turn if off and use the Vesper?

Also, the only issue I have with the Standard Horizon stuff is that *none* of it is NMEA-2000 compatible. I know I can use the NMEA-0183 in 38.4K mode for high speed, but 38K baud seems like old school dial-up. ;^)'

Any recommendations for other radios that display the Vesper data stream well? Minor note, I also need radio with remote capability for the binnacle. No wireless option please, that is just another thing to lose over the side during maneuvers.
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Old 16-01-2017, 06:03   #2
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

Icom ais receiving radio is reasonably priced and connects to nmea 2000
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Old 16-01-2017, 10:31   #3
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

The problem with some (many?) AIS-capable radios is that they have their own receiver. The receive your AIS transmission and determine that a collision is imminent. Even if it's got the same MMSI # embedded in it.

The other issue is the capabilities of your MFD. Ideally, I'd like to see one that can pick up the data from my N2K AIS (Vesper XB-8000), and then send the appropriate signal to my VHF radio to place a call to a vessel that I tap on the MFD.

Haven't been able to pull that off with my Garmin.
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Old 16-01-2017, 12:44   #4
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

I did a similar electronics upgrade two years ago. Upgraded the chartplotter to a B&G Zeus2, installed a Vesper XB8000 AIS, and an Icom M506 VHF radio. (I also installed the Vesper VHF/AIS antenna and the Vesper splitter.) These three instruments were networked together on a NMEA 2000 network. I can see the AIS targets on the small screen on the VHF, and with buttons select them there, and put in a DSC call to them. To be honest, I have tried direct DSC calling ships two times like that, and neither time did they answer.

OTOH, the AIS targets all show up on my Zeus2 9 inch chartplotter. I can touch the target symbol on the screen, and all of their data and collision projections pop up. And their name is listed at the top. I hail that ship name on the working channel, and my experience is that 100% of the time they respond. Note they also know who I am as the XB8000 is a transponder (transceiver) that is also making my data known to them as well.

Not sure if the M506 has remote microphone. Also, the Zeus2 AIS pop-up included a button on the screen to make a direct DSC call to the target on the screen. That call button only works if you have a B&G VHF radio on the NMEA2K network. (I was assured before buying all of this that a NMEA2K Icom would work as well, but it doesn't.) That said, there are several B&G system owners that have reported this call button doesn't work for them either, even though they have a B&G VHF and Zeus networked together.
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Old 16-01-2017, 12:51   #5
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

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Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
The other issue is the capabilities of your MFD. Ideally, I'd like to see one that can pick up the data from my N2K AIS (Vesper XB-8000), and then send the appropriate signal to my VHF radio to place a call to a vessel that I tap on the MFD.

Haven't been able to pull that off with my Garmin.
It won't work on my B&G Zeus 2, Icom VHF and Vesper XB8000 either. After lots of phone calls and emails, what B&G says is that the language they use to tell the VHF to make a DSC call triggered by the Zeus2 is proprietary, and non-standard. It SUPPOSEDLY only works with a B&G VHF radio in the network, although others with that setup say it didn't work for them. B&G however originally marketed Zeus2 capable of doing this with any NMEA2K compatable VHF. After I purchased the Zeus2 and the Icom, we found out different. Not even an apology.
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Old 16-01-2017, 12:53   #6
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

I think I've read some things about the Vesper XB8000 software development, possibly being able to trigger a VHF DSC call to an AIS target. Can anyone confirm? I'm not sure how that would happen since the XB has no screen for which to select a target.
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Old 16-01-2017, 16:46   #7
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

Great info and thank-you all. My MFDs are Raymarine (C97 and A68) for the nav station and binnacle respectively.

I poked around on the the GPS store and WM and extracted the below info.

Brand Radio Network AIS type Price / Remote Price
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Simrad RS35 N2K AIS receiver $320 / HS35 $140
Std H GX-2000 N-0183 AIS Display $200 / CMP31+ $120
Std H GX-2200 N-183 AIS receiver $320 / CMP31+ $120 ($40 rebate on radio, if it pays out)
Raymarine Ray70 N2K AIS receiver $600 / Raymic 2nd station $150
ICOM M506 N2K AIS receiver $550 / HM-195 $165

I know I can bridge to NMEA-0183 network for the Standard Horizon so that may be the way to go. The Simrad has a cool wireless mic that use the same wireless tech as DECT use on multistation home phone (Panasonic, etc).

I wonder if the raymarine stuff would work better with my MFDs?
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Old 17-01-2017, 03:42   #8
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

I guess I am at a lose on why you want AIS data on your radio? I am a bit of a old guy and just do not understand.
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Old 17-01-2017, 04:20   #9
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

I believe you are misunderstanding things.

AIS data should flow to your plotter for display at the helm. The radio can be the cheapest one with the features you want. Assuming everything is NMEA2000/RayNG, it all goes on the same backbone and VIOLA! It works.

The only thing the radio may need is a GPS fix for DSC calls. If the radio is 2000, no issues. If the radio is 0183- I know that can come from the plotter (assuming it also speaks 0183) and 99% sure the Vesper communication speed can meet that need also.
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Old 17-01-2017, 04:27   #10
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

We've been using the Standard Horizon VHF radio with AIS receiver for five years without an issue and added the Vesper Watchmate Vision last season which displays nicely on our INavx being used on the iPads. The advantage of having these two systems, is that when our Vesper unit broke down, we still had the Standard Horizon to use.

The Standard Horizon is good, cheap AIS insurance.
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Old 17-01-2017, 05:15   #11
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

I wouldn't do nmea0183. If you out everything on a nmea2000 network, they can all share data.
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Old 17-01-2017, 06:27   #12
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

Hello Ronstory. I have the same desire to have my VHF read AIS data so that the DSC feature can be used without having to enter a MMSI number (how's that for acronym proficiency?). Consider any Icom radio, and this Vesper link: https://support.vespermarine.com/hc/...-VHF-DSC-radio-


I am part way through an installation of the Vesper XB8000, and already have an Icom 424G. My intention is ordinarily display AIS/Chart data on OpenCPN, but then use Vesper Watchmate software to point/click an AIS target for DSC. In a few weeks it will all be installed and hopefully operating as desired.


It would be nice if OpenCPN or other non-proprietary charting software (such as INAVX) could send AIS data to a VHF for DSC, but I don't know of any that can now do that.


Also, I'm not worried about NMEA 183 vs. NMEA 2000. The XB8000 mixes and outputs both.
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Old 17-01-2017, 08:13   #13
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

I've just fitted a bunch of ICOM kit to give the functionality you describe. MA500TR AIS + M506 VHF with AIS receiver + cockpit mic. This enables a DSC call to be made to an AIS target simply by clicking on the target (no need to enter its MMSI). This can even be done from the cockpit mic.

Not the cheapest solution but pretty neat (and all good ICOM kit).

All installed, being wired up and commissioned tomorrow so I may have further updates once I've used this in anger.
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Old 17-01-2017, 08:32   #14
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
We've been using the Standard Horizon VHF radio with AIS receiver for five years without an issue and added the Vesper Watchmate Vision last season which displays nicely on our INavx being used on the iPads. The advantage of having these two systems, is that when our Vesper unit broke down, we still had the Standard Horizon to use.

The Standard Horizon is good, cheap AIS insurance.
I'm looking at adding an ICOM AIS Class B or the Vesper Watchmate and wondered if a transponder unit would set off our Standard Horizon Matrix AIS receiver alarm or if they would need to be tied together. Our Matrix VHF is linked to our plotter to display the targets as well as the little graphic on the radio. From what I understand of your set up, it works to have two systems (one receive and one with transponder). Do you operate both at the same time?

The AIS sure has been helpful at night in addition to radar to have an idea of the course of other vessels. The radar takes a lot of guessing.
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Old 17-01-2017, 08:38   #15
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Re: Buying an AIS transponder, which VHF radio to buy to effectively use it?

One more option I found out when I talked with WM guy, but it may be vaporware for now. Evidently Standard Horizon has a new radio that they announced last year, the GX-6500. It has a build-in AIS class-B transponder which simplify install and both NMEA-0183 & 2000. Yea!

However, if the radio fails, you lose both VHF and AIS transmit and receive. The story is that they are waiting on FCC cert, so who knows when we might see it. Here is review from Panbo.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Standard Horizon GX6500: a loaded VHF radio also integrated with Class B AIS

The nice thing about the GX-6500 is it has support for both wired and wireless handsets... a bunch of them. And the display on the unit is big, for those of us with aging eyes.

So it seems like I have a few options.

The Raymarine Ray70 and ICOM are a bit too expensive.

1. Stick with the Vesper XB-8000 for wifi and get SH GX-2200 and then turn off the AIS receive on the SH. I will need to bridge the GX-2200 NMEA-0183 to Raymarine C97 to push the data between N2K and 0183 buses.

2. Stick with the Vesper XB-8000 for wifi and get Simrad RS-35 and just link everything with NMEA-2000. Easy, assuming the compatibility works with the Raymarine MFDs and Simrad doesn't a bunch of proprietary PGNs.

3. Wait for the vaporware of the GX-6500 to disperse, and then add some sort of wifi access device to the NMEA-2000 network. And hope the Standard Horizon's FW quality is good for 1.0 product... and their first NMEA-2000 device. Yikes.

Anything I'm missing?
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