Originally Posted by Davidhoy
Slightly off the topic of setup software, but rather about the AIS-600 itself. For those of you who have been using one for a while, would you recommend it? I have an all new Garmin electronics
package with N2K network on my boat (had to replace the older Furuno gear
due to a lightning
strike) and am considering the AIS-600. Is is a good unit? What are its good points, and what are the bad?
Quick answer from me is yes it's a good unit, but you also have other choices. After all the AIS-600 (and other AIS transmit/receive boxes) are mostly a black box that takes care of the AIS send/receive part and sends out the processed data out to your other electronics via N2K, so you don't have to limit yourself to the Garmin brand for your purposes...
Pros of AIS-600:
- It does the basics well: it sends/receives AIS signals, no problems
- Internal splitter is a nice feature, so you can combine AIS and VHF
signals on one antenna
in our case). Saves on install costs.
- Has silent mode feature that allows you to switch to receive-only mode (pretty standard but good to have for racing
, or pirate regions should you go there)
Note however you will see a fair amount of debate online about whether using one antenna is "good enough" (an ideal setup would have two antennas to avoid conflicts between the VHF
and AIS), but in practice you are not using the VHF in transmit mode much, so a splitter seems to work fine in my experience.
Cons of AIS-600:
- Fairly expensive: not out of this world, but certainly not the cheapest AIS transmitter/receive money
- No dedicated screen
(which can be useful when you want to turn off your energy hungry plotters offshore
for power savings). We worked around this by connecting the AIS-600 output to a Standard Horizon AIS-enabled fixed VHF (which just plots AIS data from the AIS-600), so we can in theory turn off our Garmin plotters and still have AIS proximity alarms on offshore
- One minor quirk on ours: AIS transmit only turns on when we flip our electric
switchboard switch on-off twice (just turning it on once is not sufficient). This is a minor bug, probably with our installation
more than with the receiver.
I give it an A generally, but you may want to consider other AIS boxes depending on whether you want other features (e.g. dedicated screen) or a lower price