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Old 06-02-2012, 11:20   #1
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Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

Anyone out here using one of these Si-Tex units?

I was leaning towards the Digital Yacht AIT 2000 until I found out that the company has discontinued the AIT 1000 and has not yet manufactured the 2000 model. Then when looking a little more I found this new Si Tex model that was NMEA 2k and had an internal GPS antenna. I would prefer not to have to wire and mount a GPS antenna if I donthave to and this model sounds like the external antenna is an option that may not be required.

Im curious to know if anyone is using this device and if they know if it will work with Open CPN? Below is a link to the product data sheet.

http://www.defender.com/ftp/259096.pdf
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:34   #2
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

This looks like one to keep an eye on. We'll have to wait for some review tests to see if it's working correctly and if it is and the price is right, it looks like a winner of the black-box class.

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Old 06-02-2012, 11:42   #3
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
This looks like one to keep an eye on. We'll have to wait for some review tests to see if it's working correctly and if it is and the price is right, it looks like a winner of the black-box class.

ciao!
Nick.
Thats what I thought. Im in the market for an AIS transponder and this one was priced well and seemed to provide all the bells I was looking for. I have never owned any Si-Tex gear and a quick search did not turn up much info on this device on their own website... I guess Im going to contact them and see what they can provide.

Si-Tex Marine Electronics
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:18   #4
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

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Originally Posted by SV Demeter View Post
Anyone out here using one of these Si-Tex units?

I was leaning towards the Digital Yacht AIT 2000 until I found out that the company has discontinued the AIT 1000 and has not yet manufactured the 2000 model. Then when looking a little more I found this new Si Tex model that was NMEA 2k and had an internal GPS antenna. I would prefer not to have to wire and mount a GPS antenna if I donthave to and this model sounds like the external antenna is an option that may not be required.

Im curious to know if anyone is using this device and if they know if it will work with Open CPN? Below is a link to the product data sheet.

http://www.defender.com/ftp/259096.pdf
This looks like it's an OEM from SRT.

http://www.panbo.com/SRT_Marine_Comm..._June_2011.pdf

I purchased the Em-Trak B100 from West Marine (similar price) which Panbo believes is a SRT derivative also. The Em-Trak works, but it's only a couple months old, so the jury is still out.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog: New AIS brands: Em-Trak, Digital Deep Sea, & Watcheye
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:33   #5
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

If that is so... I was involved with the software development of the first Smart Radio AIS transponder which was much like a thrown together bunch of modules and supported both class-A and class-B operation. When we were done with all the field testing and bug tracing, correcting and repeat testings, it worked 100% but as a unit did not meet regulations of course. One of my toughest tests was checking stacks and heap memory allocations and returns to the pool. I did not cease failing the software until the developers in China fixed every last memory leak. At that time all the logic and timing was already straightened out.

I still have that pre-production units and it still works 100%.

I recon that the current versions are all build upon the software developed years ago, which would make it likely that these units are solid performers.

ciao!
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:50   #6
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
This looks like it's an OEM from SRT.

http://www.panbo.com/SRT_Marine_Comm..._June_2011.pdf

I purchased the Em-Trak B100 from West Marine (similar price) which Panbo believes is a SRT derivative also. The Em-Trak works, but it's only a couple months old, so the jury is still out.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog: New AIS brands: Em-Trak, Digital Deep Sea, & Watcheye

The Em-Trak looks very interesting. I emailed Si-tex yesterday with some questions will have to see if they respond. Im curious about the Si-tex unit because it apparently has an internal GPS antenna that might allow me to avoid having to install and external GPS antenna. It would be great if the unit could be mounted in my nav station and not need an external antenna to pick up GPS. I see the Em Trak requires an external antenna.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:01   #7
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

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Originally Posted by SV Demeter View Post
The Em-Trak looks very interesting. I emailed Si-tex yesterday with some questions will have to see if they respond. Im curious about the Si-tex unit because it apparently has an internal GPS antenna that might allow me to avoid having to install and external GPS antenna. It would be great if the unit could be mounted in my nav station and not need an external antenna to pick up GPS. I see the Em Trak requires an external antenna.
Agree! Running more wire is a pain! But I did it! I put the Em-Trak on it's own VHF antenna also, although it's mounted on the dinghy davits (not sure how important long-range AIS reception is in a 7kt boat, hence didn't worry about putting it at the top of the mast). Of course money plays into the picture, a VHF antenna (Shakespeare 5250) is ~$40 whereas a good antenna splitter is >$200. Since I was running the GPS antenna wire anyway.........(I work cheap when I work for myself )

BTW, if you have access to a Port Supply card, you can take ~$100-125 off the WM price of the Em-Trak, or price match it for ~$480. One feature of the Em-Trak (the Si-Tex may have it also) is the SD card slot for dead reckoning/target tracking and firmware updates. I thought it was a good feature (along with (1) N2K port, (1) 0183, (1) HS0183, (1) USB port and external leads for silent mode).
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:23   #8
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

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Agree! Running more wire is a pain! But I did it! I put the Em-Trak on it's own VHF antenna also, although it's mounted on the dinghy davits (not sure how important long-range AIS reception is in a 7kt boat, hence didn't worry about putting it at the top of the mast). Of course money plays into the picture, a VHF antenna (Shakespeare 5250) is ~$40 whereas a good antenna splitter is >$200. Since I was running the GPS antenna wire anyway.........(I work cheap when I work for myself )

BTW, if you have access to a Port Supply card, you can take ~$100-125 off the WM price of the Em-Trak, or price match it for ~$480. One feature of the Em-Trak (the Si-Tex may have it also) is the SD card slot for dead reckoning/target tracking and firmware updates. I thought it was a good feature (along with (1) N2K port, (1) 0183, (1) HS0183, (1) USB port and external leads for silent mode).
Yes I looked it up with my Port Supply and its only $425. Now Im navigating the FCC for a MMSI number. Reading fine print on the Boat US free MMSI number page and it says not to use their forms if you intend to operate your vessle outside of the US. So I filed for a license with the FCC and paid my $160....

edit: Turns out I also need a Restricted Radio Telephone Operators license in addition to the Ships License I applied for since I intend to operate and comminicate over vhf in international waters, another $60.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:12   #9
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

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Yes I looked it up with my Port Supply and its only $425. Now Im navigating the FCC for a MMSI number. Reading fine print on the Boat US free MMSI number page and it says not to use their forms if you intend to operate your vessle outside of the US. So I filed for a license with the FCC and paid my $160....

edit: Turns out I also need a Restricted Radio Telephone Operators license in addition to the Ships License I applied for since I intend to operate and comminicate over vhf in international waters, another $60.
Yeah, you should have 'your own' MMSI number if you are going to operate an AIS transceiver.
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Old 08-02-2012, 15:20   #10
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

Customer service chap emailed me today with a link to a PDF of the owners manual for the Si-tex unit. Looks pretty impressive so far. Im especially enamored with the idea of not needing an external GPS antenna. I really like the idea of one less piece of wire to run and kit to mount. Heres the link:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40286895/SI-..._%20manual.pdf
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Old 08-02-2012, 15:34   #11
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

Comparing the Si-Tex and Em-Trak user manuals I find interesting similarities. Wiring color codes match and so do LED displays. Interesting - bolsters the idea that these units are OEM from SRT.

The Si-Tex internal GPS antenna is a good feature differentiation if you don't want to/can't run wire.
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Old 08-02-2012, 19:16   #12
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

I find this thing about not having to wire GPS antenna a bit weird. There is no magic involved, the box just has a $5.- active GPS antenna inside. The alternative with a box without that is to just put a $5.- active GPS antenna right next to it... with duct tape on top of it if you wish to, and it will work just as well or better than the internal antenna on this unit.

If this does not work for some reason, the internal antenna won't work either and you have to pull a cable for either solution. In other words: the internal antenna is not a big thing. I have a $5.- active GPS antenna a couple yards away from my unit in the ceiling above the nav station. It improved the reception considerable and only cost me minutes extra to install. I don't see how an internal antenna changes things. If this would have been a box with a display, everything changes because it might go at the steering position etc.

ciao!
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Old 08-02-2012, 21:10   #13
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

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I find this thing about not having to wire GPS antenna a bit weird. There is no magic involved, the box just has a $5.- active GPS antenna inside. The alternative with a box without that is to just put a $5.- active GPS antenna right next to it... with duct tape on top of it if you wish to, and it will work just as well or better than the internal antenna on this unit.

If this does not work for some reason, the internal antenna won't work either and you have to pull a cable for either solution. In other words: the internal antenna is not a big thing. I have a $5.- active GPS antenna a couple yards away from my unit in the ceiling above the nav station. It improved the reception considerable and only cost me minutes extra to install. I don't see how an internal antenna changes things. If this would have been a box with a display, everything changes because it might go at the steering position etc.

ciao!
Nick.
Why didn't I think of that!

Actually, running wire in my boat isn't too bad. Besides I wanted a second VHF antenna (just in case a bridge takes the one off the mast ).

This makes me wonder if the GPS' are straight antennas or do they heterodyne? If they have a heterodyne circuit in them they *could* cause noise in anything close by.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:08   #14
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Why didn't I think of that!
The force Luke..... use the Force!


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Old 09-02-2012, 05:37   #15
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Re: Si - Tex Metadata Class B AIS Transceiver

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The force Luke..... use the Force!


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