Just installed a Vesper AIS
Watchmate 850 transponder which looks to be a great piece of equipment
from what I can see so far. The Vesper is connected to my radios via a NEMA 0183 port running at 4,800 bps and it correctly delivers position data to the radios so I know the NEMA connection is working.
The Vesper, like ICOM's own MA500TR AIS
, has the interesting DSC
call feature: identify target on AIS, press a button or two, and the AIS sends a DSC
NEMA sentence to the radio
which initiates a DSC call to the target vessel without the hassle of typing in its MMSI number. My seven year old M504 VHF
doesn't respond to the DSC sentence however even though ICOM
says it is compatible with (ICOM's own) AIS and Vesper believes that it should work with theirs.
I think my M504 may be too old to "plug and play" but I did see a reference to a firmware update on ICOM's website that might be needed. Has anyone else experienced this issue and/or had success with a firmware update?