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Old 19-07-2014, 11:53   #46
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
I'm stating that an AIS receiver is a toy. He needs an AIS transceiver. Since you own both, you have admitted to the value of a transceiver compared to a receive-only. You are proposing the VHF w/AIS receiver as a tool that allows DSC calling sans the tedious task of entering MMSI numbers. IMO, that value proposition is very small compared to the OP's stated goal. If you have a real AIS transceiver, the need to communicate via voice with another AIS equipped vessel is very small.
He needs a new radio. It's a Tartan 30 with probably two Group 27s and a 35 amp alternator. AIS receive-only takes him from "nothing" to "able to see AIS-transceiver-equipped (both Class A and B) ship traffic...along with their CPA, TCPA, COG/SOG data...That to me is far more than a toy. It's a Good Start.

Sure, he can still plow into a 16 foot aluminum runabout doing fishing. Sure, he can hit that rock. But he has more live navigation data than before. Seeing the value of that might in fact convince him to go for the full pop of RADAR, AIS transceiver and a nice fat chartplotter. I am one of those guys who will have all three, but AIS receiver on the VHF "gets my feet wet". We aren't leaving the dock for 18 months and I would be foolish to buy too soon, particular at the pace of decent change in this field of electronic nav aids.

I mean, we could argue about broadband RADAR for short range and pulse for seeing squall lines and tankers 20 miles out: I've heard the "two radars are better offshore" argument, too, but the reality is still that the OP is sailing a Tartan 30 and probably cruising the aisles of his local West Marine: the likelihood is that if he got ALL the "right gear for foggy harbours", his boat would have a degraded AVS.
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Old 19-07-2014, 12:13   #47
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

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Did your VHF tell you the container ship was there, perhaps she could have directed the same comment at that,

The purpose of AIS is that YOU transmit your ID, The receive only is an abomination.


dave
Well.... I see that we agree once again. The OP has only expressed an interest in the receive only VHF AIS.

My wife's comment was directed at how useless AIS is when a large ship has failed to transmit.
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Old 19-07-2014, 12:16   #48
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

I guess I'm just not that passionate about the AIS receive only thing. Frankly, I prefer someone out there who can see me and knows what I am doing, even though I can't see them, over someone out there who cannot.

Right now, the minimal cost of entry for a transceiver is ~$600-800. I know this is a break point for many and they simply will not have one. Particularly for those in small boats doing weekend stuff, or for minimalist cruisers with little money. For an extra $80 though, they can have the ability to see others.

When we got our first receive-only AIS for $189, the lowest cost transceiver available was over $2,000. However, after a couple of years with the receive-only unit, we saw the utility of having a transceiver. It is likely that if we never had that receiver, we would have never known what we were missing and not have been interested in getting AIS in any form.

We meet many people out here with no AIS, who do not understand what they are missing and see no need for it. Some of these people (two friends of ours) got AIS receive through new radios, exclaimed how game-changing it was for them, and are now looking into getting transceivers.

Now, prices are coming down quickly for transceivers, so this whole receive-only thing will be pushed down into only those very small or strict budget boats who are unlikely to have much electronics of any type. In just the past couple of years, the price ratios have gone from 10:1 to 2:1. It is likely receive-only will go away altogether, or be a normal part of most VHF radios like DSC is now.

While I agree it is best if everyone had transceivers, I don't agree that it is best that people be given the stark choice of receiving AIS only through a transceiver, or not receiving it at all in any form.

I think things are safer with receive-only than with no receive at all.

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Old 19-07-2014, 18:58   #49
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

It's amazing how we have such an incredible inability to put ourselves in the other guy's shoes.

What if his VHF had failed.

Op - "Dear CF. My VHF failed. Should I spend and extra $100 and get AIS receiving. for $400?

OP - "Dear poster. You are a hazard to navigation. Please go buy $5,000 radar, $1,000 AIS transceiver and a $4,000 plotter before you even think about taking your boat out again. You're welcome."

OP - "I'm on it! Do you think I should still get a VHF radio?"

This place cracks me up sometimes...
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Old 19-07-2014, 21:19   #50
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

Wow, I didn't mean to start arguments here! You guys are pretty passionate about AIS/Radar/etc.

OK, I'm a pretty bright guy and a reasonably experienced skipper. Trust me, I'm not going to set my AIS alarm to 500 meters, go full throttle on autopilot, then go downstairs and take a nap, secure in the knowledge that a collision is now impossible.

And one of our fellow CF members contacted me about an old radar system he has that he'll sell for a screaming good deal. We'll see.

But ... regardless of any of this, I'm definitely getting that SH 2200 unit. I've heard enough glowing recommendations about it.

By the way, I've got an AIS app on my Android phone that displays all the AIS traffic in the vicinity. I've played around with it and found that ALL commercial traffic and most large private boats transmit. Most smaller boats do not. But definitely enough coverage to justify it. Of course, that app only works when I'm in cell phone range, which doesn't work so hot in the San Juans and Gulfs.

Thanks again for all the great input. And... lets play nice with each other, OK?
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Old 19-07-2014, 23:09   #51
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
It's amazing how we have such an incredible inability to put ourselves in the other guy's shoes.

What if his VHF had failed.

Op - "Dear CF. My VHF failed. Should I spend and extra $100 and get AIS receiving. for $400?

OP - "Dear poster. You are a hazard to navigation. Please go buy $5,000 radar, $1,000 AIS transceiver and a $4,000 plotter before you even think about taking your boat out again. You're welcome."

OP - "I'm on it! Do you think I should still get a VHF radio?"

This place cracks me up sometimes...
+10
Yep, people with relatively big, recently found budgets, quickly forget how they started out.
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Old 20-07-2014, 01:24   #52
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

Geez, to think that at one time I used to go sailing with only VHF, depth/speed/log, and paper charts! Sounds like the forum consensus is stay on the dock until you have installed a big-screen GPS, broadband radar, AIS transceiver, lane departure warning system, and automatic stability control.
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Old 20-07-2014, 01:52   #53
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

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Originally Posted by ColinR View Post
Geez, to think that at one time I used to go sailing with only VHF, depth/speed/log, and paper charts! Sounds like the forum consensus is stay on the dock until you have installed a big-screen GPS, broadband radar, AIS transceiver, lane departure warning system, and automatic stability control.
Yes, +1

Disclaimer: over the years I have upped my fancy electronics to include a second hand mid 90's GPS, a HF and an EPIRB

Of course, local cruising grounds are mainly big boat free
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Old 20-07-2014, 04:46   #54
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

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Geez, to think that at one time I used to go sailing with only VHF, depth/speed/log, and paper charts!
I went sailing in a J24 once - it didn't even have a battery. I almost died!

We've never had fog here but Singapore is still pretty busy.

I only turn my vhf on if I am crossing the straits to Indonesia or approaching a Marina in Malaysia.

I suppose I should go read up and see if it is even required to be on or installed for that matter. I am guessing not because the J24 and our club Plateaus don't have radio.

Neither do the 50 or so dinghys that go out every weekend.

I can't understand why there aren't more sinkings and collisions around here.

Please excuse my sarcasm - I get that OP is in Seattle where fog is a real issue and I understand AIS receive is not a solution to collision avoidance as OP has already posted.

I am looking forward to AIS transceiving for me and at $800 bucks I am very close.

I'd pay $1,000 for a fully integrated VHF box if someone would only make one.
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Old 20-07-2014, 06:18   #55
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

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I am looking forward to AIS transceiving for me and at $800 bucks I am very close.

I'd pay $1,000 for a fully integrated VHF box if someone would only make one.
-9...Turncoat.

Maybe in Singapore, as long as everyone thinks the same.
Kinda like getting your kids inoculated.
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Old 20-07-2014, 11:12   #56
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

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I'd pay $1,000 for a fully integrated VHF box if someone would only make one.
Point taken, I would hope.

Interestingly, I would not buy such a comprehensive VHF/AIS transceiver, because I favour discrete gear for differing functions, and wouldn't want all those aids to communication and navigation in the same case. On a racer, sure...think of the weight savings!

I favour "functional overlap": I have the 2200 for general AIS traffic and VHF, an old but decent plotter for lat/lon., and a nice Ritchie Globemaster with its amusingly named compensator balls.

I'm going to put in a laptop for Open CPN, a Vesper transceiver I can switch off in the Red Sea and a nice RADAR for things to not go bump in the night and to dodge, when possible, thunderheads at sea. And, naturally, the Portland Plotter, dividers and a paper chart, because I like the flavour of analog in my digital dish.

But mainly I'll keep my eyes and ears open, and probably will keep my Plastimo hand-bearing compass around my neck to see if the angles to that oncoming ship suggest a collision. Mainly because none of that great gear cares as much about denting the hull as I do.
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Old 25-07-2014, 07:00   #57
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

Can AIS data be displayed in OpenCPN? If so, how?


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Old 25-07-2014, 07:18   #58
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

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Can AIS data be displayed in OpenCPN? If so, how?


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There's an AIS plugin. I haven't used it but in general you'll have to d/l it to your OpenCPN plugins directory, hook up an NMEA feed to bring the AIS info into the computer and then enable the plugin. Maybe someone who has actually done it will chime in. If not there's an excellent O support forum here on CF.

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Old 25-07-2014, 07:29   #59
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

In our copy of OpenCPN I think it is right in the software and not a plug in. Maybe the plug in is to get the radar view then. Open CPN is great at showing AIS objects and what theya re up too.

Go into settings and define the input. I think most AIS toys are 38k bauds and otherwise they connect just like you do with the gps input.

Then switch the mobiles button on.

It is all there in the manual, dig into yours.

Level: easy.

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Old 25-07-2014, 08:09   #60
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Re: Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

Connect your vhf/a is to your chart plotter and a serial cable to your opencpn device and setup the connection and you're done.



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