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Old 20-04-2011, 09:20   #1
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New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

A U.K. company called "Radar Gadgets" has just released a single-channel receive-only AIS receiver that is packaged in a USB-dongle form factor. At the moment they only have U.K. and E.U. distribution. The price is 99 British Pounds, which comes out to around US$62!
*** EDIT *** This should be around US$162, no, $163, no, $164 *** EDIT ***

Once they can sell into the U.S.A. I'm going to get one and do some tests. This might be a nice addition to your "delivery kit". Here's the link: Radar Gadgets - ADS-B aircraft radio receiver - Virtual Radar

(I am not affiliated with Radar Gadgets in any way. I don't know if this device really works. It looks pretty cute though.)
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Old 20-04-2011, 09:30   #2
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

I have a NASA AIS engine 3 which cost slightly less, albeit a bit more bulky which I use on delivery jobs - wouldn't be without it!
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Old 20-04-2011, 09:31   #3
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

Paul, just a minor correction, 99 B/Pounds is currently about 162 USD, Cheers
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Old 20-04-2011, 09:46   #4
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

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Originally Posted by kjames View Post
Paul, just a minor correction, 99 B/Pounds is currently about 162 USD, Cheers
Oops! I got the conversion backwards. And given the current trajectory on the US$ I will soon be needing a wheelbarrow to carry the cash. Race to the bottom, anyone?
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Old 20-04-2011, 10:01   #5
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

That looks interesting. Thanks for the link.
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Old 23-06-2011, 10:10   #6
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

Sounds like a cool device! Is it mac compatible? With all the increase in Class B traffic popping up, do you think single channel monitoring will be sufficient in heavy traffic?

-Greg
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Old 23-06-2011, 12:15   #7
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

Greg,

I prefer the dual-channel receivers, but this is mainly so that I can see the "static" data sooner (ship name, callsign, etc). Even with Class-B, the critical position / course / speed data is sent often enough that you should see it within a minute or two when using a single-channel receiver.

For my own boat I would install a dual-channel receiver if possible (I actually have a Class-B transponder). This USB receiver would be a nice option for a temporary installation. Many people do have single-channel receivers and they are quite happy with them -- it's going to be a matter of preference.

I have no idea about Mac compatibility. It's a standard USB device, so I should think it will work.
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Old 23-06-2011, 12:21   #8
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

By the way, this device is now available for sale in the USA (using a PayPal link). I've just ordered one and will report back when I've given it a workout.
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Old 23-06-2011, 14:52   #9
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

Interesting Paul. Thanks for the reply. I'd definitely be interested in hearing what you think of the device. I have a Vesper 850 Class B on my boat, which aside from transmitting, like yours, receives on both AIS channels for maximum update time ... that said, I have really learned to enjoy AIS for more than just the collision avoidance benefits. It's really cool to see what's out there, who's who, where they're heading and what they're carrying, etc. I run MacENC on my laptop and would love to have a USB AIS device to play with.

-Greg
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Old 22-07-2011, 01:17   #10
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
By the way, this device is now available for sale in the USA (using a PayPal link). I've just ordered one and will report back when I've given it a workout.
Any experience with it yet? It works fine with Windows XP but only sometimes with my netbook/Linux. There mostly nothing, sometimes erroneous messages and very rarely a good connection.
dmesg reports: cdc_acm 6-1:1.0: ttyACM0: USB ACM device.

Any idea to make the connection reprocubly?

Regards,

Hein van Dam
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Old 22-07-2011, 02:06   #11
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

This is an interim report! There are some issues I am having with the USB-AIS receiver, and these may very well be resolved with some more tweaking. Please check back in a couple of weeks.

I did receive the device one day before l left for a vacation (I'm in Finland now). I plugged it in to two computers, one running XP and the other Win7. The driver installed easily and the USB-AIS now appeared in the systems as a serial port.

Running the unit, it received AIS targets but the sensitivity seemed poor. I made a passive (lossy) splitter, and connected my SR-161 receiver alongside the USB receiver, and where the SR-161 was receiving perhaps a dozen targets out to 50 miles, the USB unit received far fewer targets, with the maximum range out to about ten miles. Please note that the ranges I saw do not represent what you would get from your boat -- my antenna is at an elevation of 1000 ft, about five miles from the coast.

It also seemed that the USB receiver would disconnect or freeze after a few minutes, but I didn't have enough time to study this.

When I get back home next week I will renew my testing, and review my results with the developer of the USB-AIS. The technical documents that came with the USB-AIS mention several receiver options, some of which have greater sensitivity than other settings. I was going to hold off on my report until these issues were resolved one way or another, but since you asked...
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Old 22-07-2011, 02:18   #12
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

I have this unit as well, running on a Windows 7 laptop with Fugawi Marine ENC. It also broadcasts the AIS data over WiFi to my iPad and iPhone (both running iNavx). I have it connected to a Shakespeare emergency antenna. Works fine for seeing traffic nearby (up to 5-10 miles).
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Old 22-07-2011, 03:16   #13
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

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I have it connected to a Shakespeare emergency antenna. Works fine for seeing traffic nearby (up to 5-10 miles).
In my experience, the Shakespeare emergency antenna (the one with the suction-cup) is a pretty poor performer. I tried it on my boat, with an AIS receiver, and the range was marginal at best. When I switched to a normal stern-rail antenna the reliable range easily doubled.

I still carry the emergency antenna, for an emergency, as it's better than no antenna at all.
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Old 22-07-2011, 03:44   #14
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Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

I have the same antenna, what do you mean with 'marginal'? I've been testing the unit from an office building on the 4th floor, could easily spot ships 10 miles out (from Amsterdam city-centre).

Will be sailing Biscay and the English Channel next week, let's see how that works...
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Old 15-09-2013, 04:44   #15
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Exclamation Re: New AIS Receiver - USB Dongle Form-Factor

Hi,

I bought this unit a while ago and did not receive any unit or emails from the http://www.radargadgets.com/buyais.htm website.

In the end after not receiving any replies I escalated the issue to paypal and after their usual process, found out that the guy who builds this has passed away and that they were not selling these units at this time SEPT 2013.

There was an email saying that they might continue in the future.

But for now, you will just pay you money and receive nothing
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