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Old 25-04-2016, 01:19   #1
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Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

I bought a 2nd hand, like new AIS. I just needed to clarify a couple of things before I install it.
The unit came with its own MXG-500 GPS. It has a large black plug which will be impossible to feed through small cable holes currently drilled in my stainless steel.
-can these plugs be dismantled and reassembled once the cable has been lead through?
Or i could open the gps and unplug the small square plug in the back of the circuit board, carefully tape it up and feed it through or am i playing with fire?

My next question is about what is actually needed to run the unit. Bear bones.
If i connect power
Plug in the GPS
Attach a VHF areal
Will it work?? I am not interested in hooking it up to my computer or chart plotter at this stage.

My 3rd question is about the VHF Arial. Can i use the existing arial running on my VHF radio for this system?
If i can. Then could i get a double adapter to split the antenna cable so that it can connect to both pieces of equipment at the same time?
If so. Could i also run both bits of kit at the same time? ?
Here are some pics of what i have to work with.
Thanks


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Old 25-04-2016, 02:50   #2
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

I have one myself.
You can cut the plug of the GPS receiver and reconnect at a later stage yes. It's a cable with several leads inside but no antenna lead as the dome has it's own GPS "decoder" and only sends serial data. AFAIK you cannot dismantle the conenctor itself you simply cut the cable say 20 cm away from the connector and re-solder the cable back together when the cable is in position.

Next to what is shown on the picture you only need a standard VHF whip. Make sure you use good quality antenna and cable as the unit is very picky and will give you error messages if the SWR (Standing Wave Reflection) factor is too high.
You also need to verify if the MMSI number can still be entered. If not then it's already entered and you will need to contact a dealer to re-program it you own MMSI number.

You may want to consider to have the unit serviced to upgrade the firmware. The later firmware enables the unit to be "silent". That means receive-only. I'm not sure of the version number of the firmware though.
When used in combination with a Icom M504/505 VHF unit, the VHF unit may need a firmware fix as well to enable proper cooperation with the AIS unit.
You can use the AIS unit as GPS receiver as well for other equipment such as PCs. The unit has two NMEA outputs.
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Old 25-04-2016, 04:02   #3
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Thanks. Good idea about the cable.
Not so sure I want to run silent. Would probably be a good option to have if i was planning to sail in dodgy areas.
Any ideas on using the existing VHF antenna as it is already installed on top of the mast.


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Old 25-04-2016, 04:05   #4
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

The unit is registered to another vessel so i will have to get it changed.
Are you saying that it will need to be done by a dealer and can't simply be changed on the unit itself?

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Old 25-04-2016, 04:54   #5
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoohaa View Post
The unit is registered to another vessel so i will have to get it changed.
Are you saying that it will need to be done by a dealer and can't simply be changed on the unit itself?
There are international regulations that prevent you from changing th MMSI number yourself after initial entry. Sometimes you'll find hacks on the Internet to "reset" a unit that carries a MMSI number but ICOM uses external systems to perform this task.
So in short, yes you will need to contact a dealer. On the other hand you can also have the unit update at that point.
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Old 25-04-2016, 04:58   #6
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoohaa View Post
Any ideas on using the existing VHF antenna as it is already installed on top of the mast.
Sharing the antenna for AIS and VHF is possible but not recommended. There are electronic "switches" can can facilitate this but it does bring a new link in the total system than can fail. Having a second VHF whip has the added value of having a spare antenna in case loose the rig. Something that is hopefully not to happen, but not impossible.
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Old 25-04-2016, 10:12   #7
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Quote:
Originally Posted by aluijten View Post
Sharing the antenna for AIS and VHF is possible but not recommended. There are electronic "switches" can can facilitate this but it does bring a new link in the total system than can fail. Having a second VHF whip has the added value of having a spare antenna in case loose the rig. Something that is hopefully not to happen, but not impossible.
Just to add to this good advice. If you do chose to user a splitter to share the same VHF antenna, please note that there are two types; one for AIS receive only, another for AIS receive and transmit, which is the one you'd require.
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Old 25-04-2016, 10:16   #8
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoohaa View Post
Any ideas on using the existing VHF antenna as it is already installed on top of the mast.
Hoohaa,

Kudos for joining the ranks of AIS broadcasters. Thank you.

Many AIS installs share one antenna with a VHF radio.

We researched the best approach for our set-up a couple of years ago when replacing our older VHF radios and decided upon the splitter made by Vesper. [AIS manufacturer- so the splitter is specific to AIS/VHF sharing only. For reference, we also have a Vesper Watchmate 850 AIS.]

If you decide to go this route, you may want to contact Vesper [excellent tech support...] to confirm compatibility with your AIS transceiver before buying. [I cannot think of a reason why it wouldn't work, but they might...]

At a street price of ~US$230, sometimes it may be cheaper or more desirable [personal choice...] to install a 2nd VHF antenna on a rail for AIS and back-up for VHF. Your call.

I can tell you first-hand that the Vesper splitters work perfectly. We have never had any issues, nor have I ever read of others having any issues with a properly designed and installed system.

Best wishes with your install.

Cheers!

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Old 25-04-2016, 22:53   #9
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

I haven't noticed you say you have the Instruction Manual so:

http://www.icomcanada.com/products/m...ion_manual.pdf

From the Icom instruction manual

"MMSI code setting
The 9-digit MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity: DSC self
ID) code can be set at power ON. If the MMSI code has already
been set, the following steps are not needed. Go to
page 9.

This initial code setting can be performed only once.
After being set, it can be changed by only your dealer or
distributor."
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Old 26-04-2016, 02:26   #10
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Thanks for all the great info.
I will probably go for a splitter as I wouldn't be able to get a decent seperation between the GPS and the antenna.
Also having the antenna on top of the mast will increase the range over having it mounted on the rear framework.
Here is a pic of the rear davits. Note the current location of the existing GPS. Its from an old system that's not running properly anymore. do you think the steal braces for the wind generator would have a detrimental effect on the GPS if I installed it here?
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Old 26-04-2016, 02:29   #11
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoohaa View Post
Or i could open the gps and unplug the small square plug in the back of the circuit board, carefully tape it up and feed it through or am i playing with fire?
Any thoughts on doing this to run my cable? It would save me cutting off the plug..
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Old 26-04-2016, 02:59   #12
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoohaa View Post
Thanks for all the great info.
I will probably go for a splitter as I wouldn't be able to get a decent seperation between the GPS and the antenna.
Also having the antenna on top of the mast will increase the range over having it mounted on the rear framework.
This is my setup. It works like a charm.
The rear antenna is the AIS antenna. It has been replaces by a proper VHF-whip by now as the products from Pacific Aerials leave a lot to be desired in my opinion.

On the other side of the pole there is a Furuno mushroom Navtex antenna (hidden because of the AIS GPS antenna)

Looking at your pictures I'd say you have a great place to put a VHF for the AIS.
The increased range is actually not so beneficial. What are you going to do about a boat 30 NM from where you are? It only clogs up the screen in dense areas. I get about 15-18 NM. That is plenty. It's about 3.5 meter above the waterline
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Old 14-05-2016, 22:34   #13
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Update. Installed the system over the weekend with help from Ron.
I have ordered a splitter which I will install next weekend. But it's tested and is working well.
Cheers.


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Old 14-05-2016, 22:35   #14
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

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Old 28-09-2016, 03:21   #15
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Re: Icom MA-500TR CLASS B AIS

Just a quick question on the ICOM. Can it sound an alarm if one of our MOB1 (see below) is activated or do we need to get something else?
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