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Old 02-08-2013, 21:09   #31
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Re: VHF

Question about AIS...

I see some units listed as AIS receivers. Does that mean that you can see vessels that have AIS transmitters but they can't see you? Or does the receiver somehow also report your position to others as well?

I just recently found the following site:
http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/

It gives you a map of all the AIS equipped vessels with their type, basic registry info, speed & heading. Judging by the number of blips in my area, I would have to say that only a small percentage of non-commercial vessels have the transmitting equipment on board.
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Old 02-08-2013, 22:34   #32
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Re: VHF

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Originally Posted by pbiJim View Post
Question about AIS...

I see some units listed as AIS receivers. Does that mean that you can see vessels that have AIS transmitters but they can't see you? Or does the receiver somehow also report your position to others as well?

I just recently found the following site:
Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions

It gives you a map of all the AIS equipped vessels with their type, basic registry info, speed & heading. Judging by the number of blips in my area, I would have to say that only a small percentage of non-commercial vessels have the transmitting equipment on board.
Regarding it being primarily commercial vessels, you're totally correct. It's basically >299 ton vessels (by law) lots of smaller vessels that move around a lot (tugs, vessel assist, etc).

With just a receiver unit, including the combo VHF/AIS units like the SH GX2150 you will not transmit, only receive.

It's "better" to have a transponder but all in that's another $700-$1000 and is a bit more involved.

I only had a receiver for a couple of years and it was great. I put a transponder (and splitter) on mainly because there are a lot of ferries in our neck of the woods here and we're doing the Pacific crossing in the spring.

This is me:

Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions
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Old 03-08-2013, 00:13   #33
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Re: VHF

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So? For $20 you give up a nmea2000 port and go for a unit from a previous generation? I'm not sure if that will save money...

I know, I know, it must be cheap cheap cheap
There was a review of the Simrad on Sailnet recently, and they couldn't get the radio to accept GPS co-ordinates via NMEA 2000.

Simrad RS35 review (VHF + AIS) - SailNet Community

Think I'll stick with the GX2150, at least until Navico gets the bugs out.

Honestly I'd rather deal with NMEA 2000 than 0183 any day, but only if it works.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:05   #34
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Re: VHF

We have five ICOM radios and love them. When we were fulltime cruising we saw ICOM radio shops in Mexico and Panama.

I would suggest that if you are world cruising, look at either the ICOM 504 or 604. They both have Cockpit mikes, but more importantly they each have built in fog horns.

On moonless nights we would use the fog horn sometimes when we knew there were fishermen out there... Especially in Mexico and Central America were they seldom used navigation lights and many would sleep in their boats in between net sets.

Of course we used the fog horn for fog and heavy rain too....
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:22   #35
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Be careful with any online AIS reporting system. These vessels are detected by receiving stations that are connected to the Internet. If the receiving stations go down, they report nothing. Anyone can be a receiving station. I setup my transponder to do this in Portland a couple years ago just to learn more about AIS. There are also programs out there that can simulate AIS.

Last night when we left Portland our AIS track on Marinetraffic.com showed us going so far towards our destination and then just disappearing while other traffic closer to the receiving station continued to show.

AIS is strictly a vessel to vessel communication that unitizes a VHF frequency based on line of sight. Anything else should not be trusted as the only means of vessel detection or identification.
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Old 03-08-2013, 13:30   #36
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Re: VHF

The Standard Horizon 2150 has auto fog horn and PA modes (I don't know about their other models).

One major difference between Icom and Standard Horizon is user interface. If you want to make use of the full range of DSC functionality, forget Icom altogether.

Quality also is squarely in SH's domain now - Icom has seriously dropped the ball in VHF over the past few years. In fact, I would put them almost dead last in VHF quality now.

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Old 03-08-2013, 13:57   #37
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Re: VHF

colemj is the first one to have mentioned the PA function, which for me, is very cool insofar as its use in fog signals and the anchor bell function. Fog, in an anchorage, can ruin your whole evening. Underway, it's a pain to manually activate the foghorn. With the PA, you get to focus on running the boat and maintaining a watch, and the automatic signals take care of the rest.
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Old 03-08-2013, 17:16   #38
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Re: VHF

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Quality also is squarely in SH's domain now - Icom has seriously dropped the ball in VHF over the past few years. In fact, I would put them almost dead last in VHF quality now.

Mark
This is news to me. Please elaborate. In what way(s) do you find Icom to be lacking?

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 03-08-2013, 18:27   #39
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Re: VHF

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If you get a hand held for the dingy, try to get one that floats or else get 2. Or do both. West now sells a pair of Uniden MHS050-2 handhelds on clearance for about $80/pair. They are only 2.5 watts max, but for a dingy, that's usually plenty...& they float. If you want pocket size, Cobra makes a real small handheld for about $50-60 most places. It takes regular AAA batteries, and it comes with rechargables but it doesn't float & it's only 3w max. Reception quality is better than average. I have one. I have a floating key tag attached to it.
Scratch the recommendation for the pair of Unidens from West. I just tried one. They are worthless. Even at a range of 50 feet in calm conditions, you can't hear what is being said. The cheap little pocket sized Cobra from HopCar works. The cheap Uniden is trash.
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Old 03-08-2013, 19:11   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbiJim View Post

This is news to me. Please elaborate. In what way(s) do you find Icom to be lacking?

Thanks,
Jim
I have had to throw away 3 microphones of my 602: the mike on the unit and two remotes. The reason: the cords fall apart. After calling with Icom I got so upset that I ripped the 602 unit (which had cost me $700) out and threw it in the dumpster.

Horrible quality.
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Old 03-08-2013, 21:27   #41
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Re: VHF

I have an Icom M72 handheld that I really like, and my SSB is an Icom M700 pro. They're both terrific.

What steers me away from them is the cost. Other manufacturers, especially Standard Horizon, have really beat the crap out of Icom on features, cost, and reliability. Hearing that others are having problems with Icom gear is a real shame. They were the high water mark in radio for a long time.
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Old 03-08-2013, 21:34   #42
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Re: VHF

I've got a somewhat similar question to the OP. I have a 42" flybridge cruiser with a new looking GX2150 in the lower helm; in the flybridge there is (was?) a GX2350 (no longer in production; last manual rev was year 2000) that stopped powering up recently. There is also a bulkhead connector in the main salon for a RAM3 remote mic, that is wired up to the flybridge. It looks like there are 2 VHF antennas, one on either side of the arch.

What would you all recommend to replace the GX2350 in the flybridge? I see the options as:

- handheld VHF

benefits: mobile, no installation needed, can take it in the tender, redundancy

- RAM3 down to the GX2150 in the lower helm (not sure how easy this cable run will be)

benefits: cheap, mirrors control of nice unit in the main helm

- second standalone fixed VHF (GX2000? What would be the best choice for this?)

benefits: redundancy


Handheld seems to be the most logical choice for now, maybe adding a RAM3 when time/energy allows... thoughts?
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Old 03-08-2013, 21:38   #43
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Re: VHF

Gator:

If you don't have a handheld already I'd grab one. They're great for the ditch bag, going ashore, dinghies, whatever.

But having the RAM3 up there would be pretty great as well. The cable is narrow and long but the fittings are maybe slightly bigger than 3/4" if memory serves.

So "both" is a great answer, but if you don't spend a lot of time up top and you don't currently have a handheld, I'd go with the handheld.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:36   #44
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Re: VHF

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Originally Posted by pbiJim View Post
This is news to me. Please elaborate. In what way(s) do you find Icom to be lacking?

Thanks,
Jim
As Jedi mentioned, their mic cords deteriorate within a year. Their RAM mics do the same. Their less expensive fixed radios that I have experience with over the past few years have transmission problems, knobs falling off, volume and squelch controls that stop working or have dead spots, etc.

Using their DSC functionality requires working knowledge of Sanskrit.

A friend is involved in professional sailing where HH are in constant use. He says the new Icom HH's are crap and they just spent a lot of money switching over to Standard Horizon HH's.

Icoms HF sets continue to be of high quality - mic cords excepted.

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Old 04-08-2013, 13:16   #45
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