I took the time to read through the PDF version of the manual for my 540s Garmin chartplotter
. This document is more comprehensive than the paper copy I keep on board the boat. By searching the term "AIS", I was able to find several references
that seemed to clear up how to enable the AIS feature, but I found that once I was on the boat again, I could not find the settings I was looking for in the actual configuration settings of the unit.
Since I was bringing a laptop
with me anyway to configure the AIS, I put a copy of the PDF on it before leaving for the boat. I read through this again and came to the not-so-obvious conclusion that the only way to get to the AIS configuration settings is to reset the unit to its factory default settings and restart it. Upon restarting a whole new set of configuration settings appear, including the sought after AIS settings. This is actually in the form of how you want to use the communications
ports, but as soon as I set Com-1 to DSC
and Com-2 to AIS, the AIS proximity alarm
starting beeping as there were several boats transmitting nearby. AIS was working!
It looks like I had the cross wiring
right all along and the signaling for the AIS is set for NMEA
high speed (38,400). I still need to learn the details of using AIS and DSC together, but getting the instruments working properly is a good first step. Thank you everyone for your comments. They did help guide me to the ultimate answers I needed.