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Old 01-08-2018, 19:46   #1
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Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

Hi all,

I really need to sort out my thinking on AIS, so many options, so much reading... so confused.

So, I'm giving up and asking for help for my particular setup.

Currently I have an older Raymarine C80 chart plotter on board, two VHF radios (one DSC equipped) and I am running the older SeaTalk protocol to keep the plotter and various instruments talking to each other. (I also have a DSC equipped HF as a stand alone unit at the nav station.)

The plotter has a spare NMEA port available on the back.

Where I travel, marine traffic is VERY light, so the processing power of the C80 should cope with any traffic I encounter and feed to it for display.

What I am TRYING to figure out is a way of adding an AIS transciever to the mix so that I can a) receive an alarm when something is close by and b) hail the nearby boat by name to see if they can see me.

It would be NICE to see AIS data on the plotter, but not essential, and I don't want to limit my options based on the C80 plotter because it is old enough now that it could go phht tomorrow.

So, with that mix in mind, and also noting that I am in Australia and trying to keep things "locally compatible", if such a concept is relevant, what can people recommend?

Oh yeah, and budget is... er... tight.

Matt
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Old 01-08-2018, 20:34   #2
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

If I was you, which I am not, I would go for a free standing AIS setup.... something like this... https://www2.vespermarine.com/transp...hmate-tx?_s=au

What I have ... I have an AMEC Camino AIS from milltech https://www.milltechmarine.com ... mine is 5 yo old ( equivalent to this one https://www.milltechmarine.com/AMEC-...der_p_268.html) so things have moved on a little since then. It feeds data to a 'dumb' Vesper display ( discontinued ) and also to the ship's PC ... both of which can be turned off if I so desire while the AIS is still happily transmitting.... so v low power requirement.

I really couldn't be bothered with a dedicated plotter... mainly cos of the $$$$$ involved.

I have an ACER VERITON L670G PC that I picked up off Ebay for about A$120 and an LG screen.
This setup handles charts ( Open CPN ) ,AIS, Wefax, Sailmail....... it came with W7.

However....

Computer and screen are both 18V.... ooops...

Easily sorted with one of these... which can also provide 18V for charging your laptop.. DCDC-USB-200, Intelligent DC-DC converter with USB interface

I simply use a standard VHF ant mounted on the taffrail.
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Old 01-08-2018, 21:56   #3
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

I have the vesper XB8000. Very happy with it.

It has no display, but you can output to the app on a smart phone or opencpn via USB.

I think it also outputs NMEA.

Had all the alarm functions you could want.
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Old 01-08-2018, 21:58   #4
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

Another vote for the vesper , simple and elegant. (a bit like myself )
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Old 01-08-2018, 22:26   #5
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post

What I am TRYING to figure out is a way of adding an AIS transciever to the mix so that I can a) receive an alarm when something is close by and b) hail the nearby boat by name to see if they can see me.

It would be NICE to see AIS data on the plotter, but not essential, and I don't want to limit my options based on the C80 plotter because it is old enough now that it could go phht tomorrow.
You don't need a transceiver to do this. Any receiver will show targets on your screen, give you alarms when close. (Plotter alarms in plotter). And provide the boats name so you can hail them in vhf.

If you want to pay more for a transceiver. Then other boats will see you as well.

Don't bother having ais that is not hooked to your plotter. Most will have a nmea 183 output and wirk in the c80. It may need to be software updated.
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Old 01-08-2018, 23:13   #6
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

I have an AMEC AIS receiver (only) with built-in VHF antenna splitter. You insert it between the VHF radio and the VHF antenna on the antenna cable, connect it to 12V or USB for power, and connect its NMEA 183 output to the input on the plotter.

I don’t remember if it has buit-in GPS or if I had to connect it to an external one. But this is all straightforward too.

If you want an AIS transceiver rather than just a receiver then the setup is identical except for the fact that I am not aware of models with built-in antenna splitters. You need to get an external one or work with an additional, dedicated VHF antenna. You should leave some distance between VHF antennas. Other people here ought to be able to tell you how much exactly if you describe your intended setup.
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Old 01-08-2018, 23:13   #7
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post

Oh yeah, and budget is... er... tight.
Being of scottish descent;
GME class B transceiver (no display)
GME VHF splitter
Raspberry pi running Open CPN as nav computer.

The GME transceiver has a USB out that I used to display AIS info on an old laptop running OpenCPN. Be wary of this though as there is something odd with the earthing and I blew up a raspberry pi that was wired to ship power. After that I used it successfully into a laptop running on battery power.

ideally you'd use the NMEA feed from the transceiver into the GPIO ports on the raspberry pi. But as per normal I ran out of time and energy and just went ahead with the first solution that worked. You could also use a NMEA 2K to USB converter - but they are more money.

There are also cheaper open source AIS receivers available for about $50. But I think you need to know what you are doing way more than I do to use them.

Mike
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Old 01-08-2018, 23:56   #8
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

+1 for the Vesper products, they are quite nice.

One note, most of the AIS units will only output AIS data on NMEA 0183 networks at 38,400 baud rather than the standard 4,800. The C80 port (according to the manual) can handle this, but I'd confirm before counting on it. You can confirm on the C80 by checking the menu options:

MENU->SYSTEM SETUP->SYSTEM INTEGRATION->NMEA PORT SETTING:

NMEA 4800
AIS 38400
NAVTEX 4800
NAVTEX 9600

As long as you see the "AIS 38400" option you should be good to go with pretty much any AIS unit that supports NMEA 0183.
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Old 02-08-2018, 00:14   #9
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

I had a similar setup to yours - older Seatalk 60 series instruments and 7001 autopilot (but perfectly good), and old-school raymarine chartplotter. For me, installing a vesper xb8000 has been fabulous. It properly integrates the old and newer (nmea 2000 / Sea
Talk ng) kit, and throws the whole lot out over wifi. That means that I can now run opencpn, and SEAiq on both iPad and IPhone as backup. All data from all systems gets shared out. I use the iPad Pro as primary navigation (with ais of course) but still have the old chartplotter as emergency backup in case of xb8000 or iPad failure, and IPad or iPhone in case of total power failure (using a backup battery to recharge these). This fulfils the nz cat1 requirement to have three independent gps systems, except that in my case they’re all capable chartplotters.

The only thing the xb8000 can’t do that the Vesper WatchMate can do is call up ships on vhf directly from the screen. At least I don’t think it can... I might be wrong about that.

As a way of future-proofing all my existing electronics and getting into the 21st century properly without shelling out thousands for one of the latest large-screen MFDs it’s unbeatable.
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Old 02-08-2018, 00:25   #10
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

Buy GME splitter and AIS (cheap) connect to C80 but be aware when you change C 80 to 38400 baud rate you will lose Dsc position on the radios if using raymarine gps input to the plotter for this. I did this for a number of years and toggled Dsc or Ais depending on whether I wanted information or was scared.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:03   #11
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

Another Vesper user. Plus with the Vesper WiFi, it slings the NMEA 2000/Ray NG data to my iPad. This gives a cheap display below
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:53   #12
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

Wow, Vesper seems to be the popular choice.

For the record, yes, definitely want a transceiver, I do want the buggers to see me as well.

Hmmm... I was hoping for some cheaper alternatives, the vesper looks to be around AU$1300, which is not exactly giving it away. But, it does come with positive reviews, which is not to be sneezed at.

Anyone else using something at little more suited to a student budget?

Matt
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:57   #13
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLOI View Post
Being of scottish descent;
GME class B transceiver (no display)
GME VHF splitter
Raspberry pi running Open CPN as nav computer.

The GME transceiver has a USB out that I used to display AIS info on an old laptop running OpenCPN. Be wary of this though as there is something odd with the earthing and I blew up a raspberry pi that was wired to ship power. After that I used it successfully into a laptop running on battery power.

ideally you'd use the NMEA feed from the transceiver into the GPIO ports on the raspberry pi. But as per normal I ran out of time and energy and just went ahead with the first solution that worked. You could also use a NMEA 2K to USB converter - but they are more money.

There are also cheaper open source AIS receivers available for about $50. But I think you need to know what you are doing way more than I do to use them.

Mike
Mike, there are a few GME's out there, do you happen to know which model you are using?
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:58   #14
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
+1 for the Vesper products, they are quite nice.

One note, most of the AIS units will only output AIS data on NMEA 0183 networks at 38,400 baud rather than the standard 4,800. The C80 port (according to the manual) can handle this, but I'd confirm before counting on it. You can confirm on the C80 by checking the menu options:

MENU->SYSTEM SETUP->SYSTEM INTEGRATION->NMEA PORT SETTING:

NMEA 4800
AIS 38400
NAVTEX 4800
NAVTEX 9600

As long as you see the "AIS 38400" option you should be good to go with pretty much any AIS unit that supports NMEA 0183.
Thank you for the heads up. Regardless of what I choose I suspect this will be valuable information.
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:59   #15
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Re: Recommendations for AIS setup, Australian boat

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Originally Posted by xbillaroo View Post
Buy GME splitter and AIS (cheap) connect to C80 but be aware when you change C 80 to 38400 baud rate you will lose Dsc position on the radios if using raymarine gps input to the plotter for this. I did this for a number of years and toggled Dsc or Ais depending on whether I wanted information or was scared.
But... usually when I am scared I want information....
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