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Old 13-08-2017, 11:43   #1
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Vesper AIS "Transponder"

I have been wrestling with equipment choices for our new yacht.

Class A AIS has a lot of of appeal, but the Vesper Class B units have many more features. The killer application is a decent anchor alarm. Modern chart plotters have terrible anchor alarms and as we anchor 99% of the time, the anchor alarm is important. In addition, the software filtering of targets of concern seems significantly better on the Vesper unit. This is just the information that is needed for short handed sailing.

So if we decide to go Class B the Vesper units would appear a good choice. There is a decision between XB-8000 or the Vision with a small, relatively low resolution 5.5" - 6" display.

How useful is the display?

For better equipment it is worth paying more? The extra €400 liberated by not choosing the display unit could purchase a couple of AIS SCART units, or an upgrade in the chart plotter from Zeus 2 to Zeus 3 or maybe 1/2 another chart plotter, or ....

So is the display of the Vision unit worth the cost? Or do you tend to view AIS data on the chart plotter/PC/tablet with its associated maps and radar overlay?
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Old 13-08-2017, 12:47   #2
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

If money was not a deciding factor, I'd get the Class A, and maybe get a standalone GPS with a decent anchor alarm feature.
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Old 13-08-2017, 12:52   #3
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

We have the Vesper Watchmate Vision, and like the monitor. Just wish the Vesper Wifi signal was a little stronger for viewing on the iPads. We haven't used the built in anchor alarm, still use the INavx alarm at bedside.
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Old 13-08-2017, 12:52   #4
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

I don't understand. Class A is for commercial craft.
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Old 13-08-2017, 13:51   #5
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

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I don't understand. Class A is for commercial craft.
Any vessel can use Class A. The advantage is power transmission (12w vs 2w), increasing range, and frequency of reporting is higher (every few seconds versus every 30 seconds for class B). Plus more information in class A.

There has been some suggestion that large ships filter out Class B transmissions in busy waterways. I suspect this doesn't happen, at least often, but at the same time I am sure larger ships pay more attention to class A transmissions in busy waterways.

The least expensive A Class A AIS unit is only a little more expensive than a top of line Vesper class B unit. The advantage of Vesper is that you have more intelligent filtering of dangerous targets, a seperate display, a better anchor alarm, and better connectivity, which enables AIS display on tablets etc.
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Old 13-08-2017, 14:15   #6
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
[...] In addition, the software filtering of targets of concern seems significantly better on the Vesper unit. This is just the information that is needed for short handed sailing.

So if we decide to go Class B the Vesper units would appear a good choice. There is a decision between XB-8000 or the Vision with a small, relatively low resolution 5.5" - 6" display.

How useful is the display?

For better equipment it is worth paying more? The extra €400 liberated by not choosing the display unit could purchase a couple of AIS SCART units, or an upgrade in the chart plotter from Zeus 2 to Zeus 3 or maybe 1/2 another chart plotter, or ....

So is the display of the Vision unit worth the cost? Or do you tend to view AIS data on the chart plotter/PC/tablet with its associated maps and radar overlay?
I believe that to get the full filtering functionality you need the Vision unit. (You may need to confirm this with Vesper Marine.)
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Old 13-08-2017, 14:24   #7
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

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I believe that to get the full filtering functionality you need the Vision unit. (You may need to confirm this with Vesper Marine.)
Thanks Ziggy. My understanding is a software update gave the Vision and the XB-8000 units the exact same filtering functionality, but it would be nice to get confirmation of this.
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Old 13-08-2017, 14:34   #8
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

Nolex, we elected to buy the Vision, and have found the display to be pretty useful. We do not have a dedicated chart plotter in the cockpit, so find being able to see the location of targets in relation to land features quite important, especially in areas with lots of traffic and complicated geography. If you have (and I suspect that you will have) a cockpit plotter that does good job of displaying AIS, then perhaps it isn't so important.

The anchor alarm display is great, with the ability to reset the apparent position of the anchor after the fact... something we use nearly every time we anchor. I dunno if that feature is accessible in the 850.

On the whole, i think the Vesper filters and ease of operation are the class of the league and well worth the price. As to the Vision vs 850, only you can decide that!

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Old 13-08-2017, 14:53   #9
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

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Nolex, we elected to buy the Vision, and have found the display to be pretty useful. We do not have a dedicated chart plotter in the cockpit, so find being able to see the location of targets in relation to land features quite important, especially in areas with lots of traffic and complicated geography. If you have (and I suspect that you will have) a cockpit plotter that does good job of displaying AIS, then perhaps it isn't so important.

The anchor alarm display is great, with the ability to reset the apparent position of the anchor after the fact... something we use nearly every time we anchor. I dunno if that feature is accessible in the 850.

On the whole, i think the Vesper filters and ease of operation are the class of the league and well worth the price. As to the Vision vs 850, only you can decide that!

Jim
Thanks for the input Jim. Your practical experience is appreciated. My understanding is the XB-8000 has the same features and performance as the Vision (without the display) but it would be nice if this was confirmed.

The Vesper's intellegent filtration of AIS targets, and anchor watch seem great features, but I have never used any of these units so user feedback is helpful.
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Old 13-08-2017, 14:57   #10
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

I bought the watchmate regular, just a monotone monitor and no wifi, but with limited solar and batteries it makes perfect sense; one wire 0183 output to my garmin gps gives me a great display. The anchor alarm is outstanding. At night, at anchor, the display goes dark unless in alarm mode. It uses almost no power and is really good value for the money. If I'm not tied to a dock my ais is on, and not too often I'm tied to a dock. The only downside I could see in your case, is the magnitude of greatness your new boat has over mine, might require more impressive expenditure. :^)
I wouldn't even have a gps monitor in the cockpit, but I had to fill in a hole where I'd pulled the old knot meter display out.
Yeah, that's how I roll.

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Old 13-08-2017, 14:59   #11
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Vesper AIS "Transponder"

At anchor I use the display of the vision a lot, it's by the chart table and if I'm wondering if we have moved etc I look over there. At anchor my chart plotter is off. The anchor alarm is excellent, much better than any other one I have found. I have used them on my phone, but strangely once in a blue moon the phone loses its fix enough to set off a false alarm, then regains it making you wonder what happened.
When underway I primarily use the plotter for AIS data and rarely if ever use the screen.
If you anchor a lot, and you apparently do, I'd say you want the screen, other wise how do you see the plotter if it's in the cockpit?
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Old 13-08-2017, 15:01   #12
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

If you don't require the unit now, I'd wait for the 5w Class B units that are just arriving
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. But especially note the B400's 5 Watts of transmission power -- 2.5 times the power of standard Class B -- and the fact that the relatively new SOTDMA Class B standard transmits a fast boat's position much more frequently than CSTDMA's maximum 30 second rate.
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Old 13-08-2017, 15:11   #13
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Thanks for the input Jim. Your practical experience is appreciated. My understanding is the XB-8000 has the same features and performance as the Vision (without the display) but it would be nice if this was confirmed.
I suggest you Email Vesper. I had a question and my email was answered very quickly.
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Old 13-08-2017, 15:20   #14
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

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I suggest you Email Vesper. I had a question and my email was answered very quickly.
Ahaa! I forgot that aspect in my post to Nolex: the customer service from Vesper is outstanding. Jeff Robbins, their honcho, is an active member of CF and often posts here, and has been very responsive to all of my questions and suggestions, some of which have been incorporated in their (free) software updates. As complete a contrast to Ray Marine as could be imagined!

The update process is very well organized and pretty painless if you have an internet connection... all accomplished by wifi between your computer and the Vesper. Really well done.

And on our boat, somewhat smaller than Kenomac's, the wifi signal is adequately strong... no problems at all. Dunno how Nolex's alloy hull and deck would affect that.

Jim
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Old 13-08-2017, 15:30   #15
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Re: Vesper AIS "Transponder"

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The anchor alarm is excellent, much better than any other one I have found.
That is good to know. Chartplotters seem to have dumbed down the anchor alarm, which is a pity. I think it is an important feature.

I have not used any of the Vesper units so it would be interesting to get some feedback from users.

If the XB-8000 unit is installed I would envision using this unit as the primary anchor alarm.

The alarm would presumably function independently of other devices, but the anchor position could be monitored in parts of the boat where the chart plotter was not visible (such as the main bedroom) via a tablet.

Is this practical ?
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