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Old 04-04-2012, 13:24   #1
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"Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

Well, after about 6 years with my standalone AIS receiver, I've decided to upgrade to an AIS Transponder, an Em Trak B212 Class B Transponder (w/ 12 watt output option vs. the "standard" 2 watt Class B output), and I'll be using a Vesper Marine WatchMate Display....

But, I have a couple of odd questions specifically for those of you that have an AIS transponder on-board and/or have experience on merchant ships' bridges...

First, the "background"....
Over the years, I've seen many ships show-up on my display...
Some have their "name" as Arctic Dawn, or Kamokazie Tokyo, etc...and some have their "name" as M/V Arctic Dawn, or F/V Kamokazie Tokyo, etc....

Since my AIS transponder antenna will be mounted only about 10' off the water (as oppossed to my current mast-mounted AIS receive antenna), and since the "static data" (such as vessel name, vessel type, etc.) is only transmitted every 360 seconds (6 minutes)....
a) I was thinking that maybe showing my "vessel name" with an S/V would allow some ships' bridge officers to see that I'm a sailing vessel easily, rather than them having to scroll thru a list/menu of items to see what vessel type I am....

b) But, I further began to wonder if maybe the S/V would somehow be "confusing" to some less seasoned watch standers / third mates / etc. (possibly those with limited English ability), and I should simply program my vessel name without any S/V prefix....


So, here are the big questions.....
1) What have others done in regard to their "vessel name" programmed into their AIS Transponder???

and...

2) Understanding the above "background info", what would you do???
Should I program my AIS Transponder with S/V Annie Laurie or simply Annie Laurie???



Thanks to all....
Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 04-04-2012, 13:54   #2
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

It is not legal to install that transponder on a U.S. registered vessel (not FCC approved). However, if this is of no concern, one of the parameters that gets programmed into the transponder is vessel type. You would enter that you are a sailing vessel and this would automatically show up on other ships receivers.

Eric
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Old 04-04-2012, 15:07   #3
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

Eric,
Yes, I am aware of "vessel type" being included in the static data (I believe a "sailing vessel" is type #36), transmitted in message 24B, for an AIS Class B transponder....

But, my understanding is, that info (vessel type) is not normally displayed (on most ship's bridges) unless that target is "selected" or "cursored-over" by a human.....meaning someone actually needs to do something to see that data....
If the "s/v" is included in the vessel name, then it is obvious to a watchstander that the target is a sailing vessel, even by just glancing at the display....
This of course, assumes that my static data (transmitted every 6 minutes) has been received by the ship....



As for FCC Type Approval, I believe the exact same transponder without the 12 watt option (B200) is approved, so as long as the hi-power mode is not engaged, I feel confident that all will be well....
(I just couldn't wait for a "reasonable priced" Class A unit....as the cheapest I've found are still about $2400 US....2.5 times the cost of the B212, and the Furuno FA-150 is still about $3400 and change...)


John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 04-04-2012, 15:40   #4
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

Yes, I see your point, however many commercial ships use ECDIS and the shape/color of AIS targets on their display will indicate vessel type to them without user intervention.

Yes, the B200 is FCC approved. So you want a class A unit but don't want to pay for it so your going for one of these strange high power class B units apparently with the intent of using high power mode.

The Weatherdock company, manufacturer of AIS products, has put out a letter to it's customers warning them about these high power units. They say that the manufacturer's of these units put wording in their manuals stating that the 12W transmitters must be licensed and certified of the respective national authorities (or something along those lines) and that it is the customers responsibility to be certain of having the authority to use high power mode. Weatherdock says that to their knowledge, worldwide, no authority will approve this. This is why the FCC will not approve the B212.

I wouldn't want to get caught using a transceiver that is not FCC approved! Have you seen the fines they hand out for that? Simply telling them that you don't operate on high power isn't going to cut it.

Eric
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Old 04-04-2012, 15:53   #5
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
..........................
a) I was thinking that maybe showing my "vessel name" with an S/V would allow some ships' bridge officers to see that I'm a sailing vessel easily, rather than them having to scroll thru a list/menu of items to see what vessel type I am....

b) But, I further began to wonder if maybe the S/V would somehow be "confusing" to some less seasoned watch standers / third mates / etc. (possibly those with limited English ability), and I should simply program my vessel name without any S/V prefix....


So, here are the big questions.....
1) What have others done in regard to their "vessel name" programmed into their AIS Transponder???

and...

2) Understanding the above "background info", what would you do???
Should I program my AIS Transponder with S/V Annie Laurie or simply Annie Laurie???
I can't help you with Q1 but for Q2 I would suggest S/V Annie Laurie based on the following logic. It would be a help to those who understand S/V while those who might be confused, well they are always going to be a "hinderance" one way or another. The S/V shouldn't make the situation any worse. This might even prompt them to go to the trouble of scrolling through the menus to find out more about you.
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Old 04-04-2012, 16:09   #6
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

G'Day John,

FWIW, even with our AIS antenna being only about 3 m above the water, we routinely see class B targets at 5+ miles. I doubt if the extra 10 watts of xmit power will have much practical effect on large vessels' ability to see you at useful ranges.

I won't comment about the legality of your proposed installation, but wonder just who is enforcing such regs on small vessels? Seems a victimless crime to me, but whadda I know!

As to the s/v label: don't see how it can hurt, and it might help... or you could even spell it all the way out, as in "sail vessel Annie L..."

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 04-04-2012, 16:23   #7
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

My vote would be to enter it as S/V. From past experience most watch-standers that even know how to operate the electronics know what S/V is.
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Old 04-04-2012, 17:54   #8
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

1) First off, let me say a big thank you to Eric.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
Yes, I see your point, however many commercial ships use ECDIS and the shape/color of AIS targets on their display will indicate vessel type to them without user intervention.
This is exactly the type of info I was looking for.....



2) Secondly, please allow me to apologize to all that I have offended.....and be asured that after majoring in physics, and ~ 40 years experience in RF communications (and ~ 30 years in the electronics / RF industry), I have NO intention of producing anything but a clean wake, RF wise!!!
I will NEVER use the 12 watt power option in near shore waters, nor in any "crowded areas"...NEVER.....and I was only looking at this option for use when well offshore / in the open ocean / in rolling seas....
(although, I cannot go back and remove the info about this transponder from my origianl post, I wish I could.....as this seems to be causing a controversy that is unnecessary....)




3) This next paragraph I'm hesitant to even post, as I do NOT wish to get into an arguemant.....but here is what was presented to me....

I'm not trying to discount the IMO and ITU standards setting up the AIS specs (both Class A and Class B), but there ARE other countries that DO allow the B212 and B213.....
They are not "pirate boxes", they are not "strange" at all....nor are they some sort of "modified" units...but rather are professionally manufactured to meet specific standards set by some other countries....they just have not yet gotten FCC approval....similar to the "limbo" units such as the SIMRAD AI-50 and other Class B AIS units were in a few years ago, when EU and Asian vessels could buy/install Class B AIS units a year or two before US-flagged vessels could, while we were awaiting the FCC Approval of each model submitted for sale in the US....
Perhaps EmTrak is awaiting FCC approval for the B212, or perhaps they have not yet submitted it for testing (to a certified independent testing lab) and/or have no intention of doing so.....but they DO meet the standards of other countries, such as the EU....
Although doubtful, I may have been given inaccurate info, but according
to my supplier the EmTrak B212 meets the EU/CE standards for Class B AIS, and the B213 (12 watt Class B transponder w/ added control/display) meeting the specialized AIS Class B specs for Turkish vessels (talk about an "oddball" unit!!)....
And, many B212's have been installed in Europe over the past year....
Further, again according to my supplier, there have been many B212's installed here in the US (I suspect mostly onto non-US-Flagged vessels)..


Regardless of what the official status is of "approval" is, you can all rest assured that I have NO intention of selecting the hi-power mode (which is impossible to do "by accident"), unless well offshore in the open sea....and even then I may never do it....(sort of like having my 72-hp Yanmar turbo diesel which only gets to 3800 rpm once-in-a-blue-moon, if even that often!!!




4) THANK YOU Wotname!!!
This was my original thought as well....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
..for Q2 I would suggest S/V Annie Laurie based on the following logic. It would be a help to those who understand S/V while those who might be confused, well they are always going to be a "hinderance" one way or another. The S/V shouldn't make the situation any worse. This might even prompt them to go to the trouble of scrolling through the menus to find out more about you.
And, this is probably what I will do.....



5)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
As to the s/v label: don't see how it can hurt, and it might help... or you could even spell it all the way out, as in "sail vessel Annie L..."
Jim, I think spelling it out would be confusing (and maybe even "against the rules").....besides I'm limited to 20 characters (and I believe that includes spaces)....
So, S/V Annie Laurie is 16 characters....

And, then there are the wide variations of "displays" on ship's bridges....
Those that are only using the built-in MKD's will probably diminish further in the coming years.....but there are still variations in their ECDIS displays which I am not privy to.....
So, I can surmise that since my current simple AIS receiver (the SiTex / Nasa Marine AIS Radar), does display up to 20 characters for vessel name,
that many (most?) ship's bridge displays / Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) will do the same....


6) Sailmonkey, thanks for your input.....



7) I've got actual "work" (shore-side) to do over the next 2 weeks...so, I've plenty of time 'til I get back on-board to install and program the unit....


Thank you, and Fair winds, to all that responded!!!

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 04-04-2012, 18:00   #9
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

Whether SV or MV you're still a target with a speed and heading that needs to be avoided. You either show up or not.
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Old 04-04-2012, 18:12   #10
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

The idea, to use the vessel type in the name, is not uncommon, even the USCG is doing it:

Out of 87 targets in my current AIS list, I see four with a ship type in the name:

  • CGC VALIANT
  • M/Y MYLIN IV
  • M/Y TURQUOISE
  • TUG AMANDA-K
I would even leave out the slash "/". And maybe use SY over SV, identifying the more recreational type of boat.


Dirk
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Old 04-04-2012, 20:26   #11
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

That just reminded me during a discussion over on the SSCA forum a couple years ago a user name of SY Gemini was posting and I noticed his boat on my AIS monitoring station. He was in Spa Creek near Annapolis using the vessel name of SY Gemini. I posted this screenshot there.

While the B212 is approved in the EU, I wonder what the ruling there is regarding using high power? The idea for restricting class B to 2w was to prevent overloading of available bandwidth.

Eric

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Old 04-04-2012, 23:36   #12
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

This is an interesting discussion re the vessel name convention. To add more confusion, let me relate this experience: we recently spent a week aboard a 600-foot cruise ship (the WINDSURF) with both motor propulsion and sails, fore-and-aft rigged. The master said that the formal identification was "motor sailing yacht." The ship was not "a sailing vessel" because it was not square-rigged. I believe the identifier used was "msy WINDSURF."
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Old 05-04-2012, 00:10   #13
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I too had thought that SV was often used improperly as it was meant for sail-only vessels. I thought we cruisers were typically SA or SY for sailing-auxiliary or sailing-yacht. But I actually have no expertise in such matters.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:38   #14
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

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I have NO intention of selecting the hi-power mode (which is impossible to do "by accident"),
The selection of power is done through a user installed external switch. This switch must be well protected/hidden to prevent accidental operation. It also seems that it would be easy to forget that you have selected high power when you come into congested area's. I see there is an indicator lamp on the unit to remind you but how often will you be checking that? This might be irrelevant in your case since you would prefer to have class A and would be xmitting at high power all the time anyway but I agree with the Weatherdock company about these new class b units. I can see more and more people wanting the high power units and then just leaving them in high power mode regardless of the rules. This circumvents the reason for low power for class b in the first place and is nothing but a marketing ploy similar to 6 watt versus 5 watt handheld VHF's. That extra watt provides absolutely no benefit to communications to the end user, but they don't know that. The manufacturer's of these 12w class b units casually mention in the operator manual that operating at high power may be subject to authorization. It will be interesting to learn more about this. Saw your post on SSCA btw.

Eric
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:53   #15
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Re: "Vessel Name" programming into AIS Transponder

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Originally Posted by fairbank56 View Post
This might be irrelevant in your case since you would prefer to have class A and would be xmitting at high power all the time anyway...
GEEZ! He already said, a couple of times, that he has no intention of transmitting at the high power setting all the time. Okay, so you don't believe him. We get it. Let it go.
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