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Old 17-02-2013, 18:02   #1
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Do I need AIS?

I have to replace my VHF. I think it is original to my 25 year old boat. I will be doing coastal cruising on the East Coast - Chesapeake Bay and North, but I single-hand. Practical Sailor reviewed both high-end and mid range radios and the Standard Horizons come out rated well. Does this sound like a situation where I should pay the extra $125 to have AIS on top of the DSC?
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:22   #2
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Re: Do I need AIS?

There are several AIS threads on CF. Lots of good advice.

We installed a Watchmate class B two years ago. The best instrument on the boat. In addition to collision avoidance, it is a great anchor watch. It runs independantly from everyting else at only 3 watts. It is totally intuitive and can be operated easily by an idiot without ever reading the book. I will never be without one.
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:25   #3
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Thanks...I'll do a search. Seemed like the built in GPS in the AIS model might be worth the extra dough.
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Old 17-02-2013, 18:36   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kache Walk View Post
Thanks...I'll do a search. Seemed like the built in GPS in the AIS model might be worth the extra dough.
Maybe not. What are being sold now are VHF radios that can display AIS info. That's not like having a built-in transceiver. If you end up getting a transceiver, and most of us probably will, you'll have wasted the $125.00.
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Old 17-02-2013, 19:52   #5
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Re: Do I need AIS?

IMHO. YES, tx and Rx.

Don't cheap out, single handing makes it a no brainer.

I have an icom unit, running into Halifax with a huge cargo ship under 100 yards to port and I can't see it. Not a bit. Pea soup. Yeah, AIS is wonderful.

Just once makes it worthwhile.
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Old 17-02-2013, 19:59   #6
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Re: Do I need AIS?

Just one thing Kache Walk. The other posters are recommending transceivers which cost around $800. You seem to be thinking of one of the cheaper units.
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Old 17-02-2013, 20:18   #7
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Right. The unit I was looking at - the Standard Horizon 2150 - receives AIS but I don't think it sends. It has GPS and I can hook it into my Raymarine A60 chartplotter but maybe without the ability to send it might not be worth it? I gotta say, its confusing to consider all the options and the way in which they can interlink.
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Old 17-02-2013, 20:23   #8
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I'm confused. OP is replacing a VHF. If the VHF has ais capability he needs display data somewhere with the data coming up on electronic charter yes This is excellent as we now can call commercial vessels by name and converse. But is useless if the radio is not display data anywhere. I love the ais data on chart plotter especially on Chesapeake.
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Old 17-02-2013, 20:24   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kache Walk View Post
Right. The unit I was looking at - the Standard Horizon 2150 - receives AIS but I don't think it sends. It has GPS and I can hook it into my Raymarine A60 chartplotter but maybe without the ability to send it might not be worth it? I gotta say, its confusing to consider all the options and the way in which they can interlink.
The way you asked the question is a bit ambiguous. Whether you will need AIS is a different question than whether the VHF you propose to buy will provide what you need.

With the VHF unit, you'll be able to see me but I won't be able to see you.

Is that good enough?

Let's put it another way: With the VHF unity, you'll be able to see ships but they won't be able to see you.

Good enough now?
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Old 17-02-2013, 20:24   #10
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That explained it. Probably will work fine receiving commercial data is fine
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Old 17-02-2013, 20:26   #11
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Re: Do I need AIS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kache Walk View Post
Right. The unit I was looking at - the Standard Horizon 2150 - receives AIS but I don't think it sends. It has GPS and I can hook it into my Raymarine A60 chartplotter but maybe without the ability to send it might not be worth it? I gotta say, its confusing to consider all the options and the way in which they can interlink.
The 2150 does NOT have GPS. It's a nice radio and is better than no AIS, with it makes it a little easier to contact other ships directly via their AIS info. But IMO I'd rather have an AIS transmitter.
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Old 17-02-2013, 20:28   #12
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Re: Do I need AIS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kache Walk View Post
Right. The unit I was looking at - the Standard Horizon 2150 - receives AIS but I don't think it sends. It has GPS and I can hook it into my Raymarine A60 chartplotter but maybe without the ability to send it might not be worth it? I gotta say, its confusing to consider all the options and the way in which they can interlink.
Expect to pay $300 - $400 for a receive only unit.
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Old 17-02-2013, 21:05   #13
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Re: Do I need AIS?

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Originally Posted by sabray View Post
I'm confused. OP is replacing a VHF. If the VHF has ais capability he needs display data somewhere with the data coming up on electronic charter yes This is excellent as we now can call commercial vessels by name and converse. But is useless if the radio is not display data anywhere. I love the ais data on chart plotter especially on Chesapeake.
The Standard Horizon "Matrix" series VHF/AIS receivers include a rudimentary AIS display on the faceplate, and on the remote mic. This display is usable, but is quite restricted in size, resolution, and user interface. These radios need an input from an external GPS.

These are receive-only. Perhaps not as good as a full transceiver, but way better than nothing at all.
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Old 17-02-2013, 21:23   #14
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Re: Do I need AIS?

Kache Walk,

The others make a good point about the advantages of an AIS transceiver, and I might do that someday soon. Meanwhile, we were in the same situation as you, replacing the VHF, so I got a SH 2150. The AIS information is adequate on the radio display alone, and it's even nicer when displayed on the chart plotter. There are a few threads on CF about integrating the radio with other equipment.

We used to sail a Nonsuch 30. Great boat!
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Old 18-02-2013, 00:32   #15
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Re: Do I need AIS?

Mate, I put in the matrix SH unit, has no gps, but is interfaced with my raymarine A50 chart plotter and it is super good!!! Buy it!!!!! Easy to connect to the nmea inputs/outputs on the raymarine chartplotter and is a real life saver at night in heavy commercial traffic.

Best bit of equipment I fitted in 2012!!!

Cheers from Keith.
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