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Old 05-11-2019, 10:59   #1
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VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

I am going to have to purchase every single piece of electronics that is going to go on my boat. I purchased it at auction, and it was fairly well stripped out. Even the electrical is hacked up autozone grade stuff that will have to be replaced.

There was a functional but old basic VHF radio, a shakespear antenna that has the antenna cord cut right at the base of the antenna, and that's about it.

I can do the electrical wiring, I've got loads of experience there. I can source the correct wiring for the tasks, and the right kinds of connectors and shrink tubing. I have all of the requisite tools for this work.

I am looking at the Standard Horizon GX2200 Matrix AIS with GPS VHF radio, in white. I think from what I've read that's a great place to start.

From the VHF, I would like to connect it to a chart plotter, one that integrates with radar as well. I have looked and looked for chart plotters, and everything I find seems to be a fish finder. Whats the deal? Am I searching wrong, or is this just something that is a feature that gets heavy marketing ? I'd love any and all suggestions, higher end quality, but under the 2k mark if possible. it's a small boat, I dont need 20" or even 12" screens, I'm happy with 7-9" screens.

There is an (unknown condition but at one point waterlogged) Furuno radar dome on the boat, it is not mounted and merely laying in the cockpit. If it's dead I'd like to replace it, and have whatever I get integrate into the chart plotter as well if thats possible.

So, now that you know what I am seeking to accomplish, tell me what I am doing wrong, what you would do,, what you would suggest, etc. I'm all ears (err, eyes?)!

P.S. sorry if this is the wrong forum section!
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:07   #2
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

VHF should be able to integrate with GPS using NMEA 0183. There are some decent offerings in the Classified section.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:13   #3
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

You could get a Garmin 740s, Garmin GMR 18 radar dome used on ebay or another site for cheap and connect via 0183. The best price on the GX2200 is going to be on GPS Store. I just bought one.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:25   #4
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

Highly recommend the SH radios. Been using them for 40 years and have never had one fail. Also seem to have a little better fidelity so easier to understand in a noisy environment than some others I've used.


Plotter, I have a love/hate relationship with Garmin. Love their GPS plotters, very intuitive, reliable, etc BUT they tend to change models fairly often and drop support on the old models rather soon. Forget getting new map chips for my 6 year old Garmin hand held GPS. Also Garmins only work with their map cards unlike some other plotters that are more flexible in the chart sourcing.



So for now I still have Garmin GPS but not sure if I would buy Garmin again.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:29   #5
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

First, we have had the GX2200 with AIS on our last two boats and love it. Good choice for what you're describing.

It integrates nicely with our Garmin chartplotter via NMEA 2000, is radar compatible, and shares the AIS information on the chartplotter's screen. One of the nifty features in the more recent Garmin chartplotter models is that they can integrate with your smartphone. Your smartphone can detect software upgrades and wirelessly download and install the updates. There are several Garmin GPSMAP models available for well under $1000, especially if you don't mind used from eBay.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:42   #6
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

We also went with the GX2200, but we added the comar Wifi to send the AIS to the plotter and Inavx on the ipad, to watch for the ferries on deck and below.



You can get good boat show discounts and good setup support from several vendors in town. That is how we got our setup.


You might also look over Opencpn until you find the plotter you want.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:42   #7
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

For VHFs, I've got a pair of Standard Horizon GX1850s. Mine are the internal GPS version so they'll still have location for DSC even if none of the other electronics are powered up. They've also got NMEA 2000 in addition to 0183. If you only need 0183, the GX1800 is a few bucks cheaper. And both come with or without internal GPS. I've been very happy with them so far.

No internal AIS on my VHFs, but adding a separate AIS transceiver is on the to-do list, so I didn't feel having receive-only built into the VHFs was worthwhile.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:53   #8
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

+1 for the SH GX2200 works greats. Besides adding AIS to our chartplotter it also adds an automatic secondary backup as a gps source

If you are setting up from nothing, look into Opencpn/Openplotter w/a Raspberry Pi as you nav. computer/chart plotter. We have a write up on how we did ours here.
Eventually you may want an autopilot. Pypilot is an AP program already embedded in Openplotter and works well. It can work with a tiller, wheel or below deck system. Another write up on how we set up our hydraulic AP system here.
IMO hard to justify paying excessive $$ for a "name brand" system, when there are other sources that are as good or better than them and cost much less.


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Old 05-11-2019, 13:50   #9
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
If you are setting up from nothing, look into Opencpn/Openplotter w/a Raspberry Pi as you nav. computer/chart plotter. We have a write up on how we did ours here.
Eventually you may want an autopilot. Pypilot is an AP program already embedded in Openplotter and works well. It can work with a tiller, wheel or below deck system. Another write up on how we set up our hydraulic AP system here.
IMO hard to justify paying excessive $$ for a "name brand" system, when there are other sources that are as good or better than them and cost much less.


Bill O.
I've considered this, but I have zero interest in coding, compiling, programming, maintaining, etc any computer equipment. To me, it is worth the extra $1k to get something backed by a warranty, with manufacturer support, that is ready out of the box. Now, if you were selling a ruggedized tablet that happened to have this already installed, and ran on the tablet natively, and connected to all the things, then i'd totally be down. but... alas, I am not that smart, nor am I that eager. If I bought the bits, I'd just sit there watching them languish until they went into the trash.

Additionally, I'd be constantly worried about it getting ruined by salty sea air humidity.

That said, Your write-up is fantastic. And I have a rpi languishing in a drawer where it's been since the day I got it. Maybe I should take it out and try this? I dunno. i hate computers, I have had to make a living fixing and working on them for the past 30+ years off and on.
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Old 05-11-2019, 14:06   #10
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgali View Post
I've considered this, but I have zero interest in coding, compiling, programming, maintaining, etc any computer equipment. To me, it is worth the extra $1k to get something backed by a warranty, with manufacturer support, that is ready out of the box. Now, if you were selling a ruggedized tablet that happened to have this already installed, and ran on the tablet natively, and connected to all the things, then i'd totally be down. but... alas, I am not that smart, nor am I that eager. If I bought the bits, I'd just sit there watching them languish until they went into the trash.

Additionally, I'd be constantly worried about it getting ruined by salty sea air humidity.

Well I doubt I'm a computer genius by any stretch of the imagination and will say it wasn't that hard. If you don't want to do a RaspberryPi then a windows based computer is cheap alternative (keep it down below) and the download of openplotter is as easy it gets to down load a program.
Don't think I'd spend the extra $$ for a waterproof, shockproof computer for the cockpit when it will be outdated a few weeks after you buy it. Can use a waterproof smartphone for that purpose.

Ok, if you aren't interested, but think you'll be spending well more than $1k for something else when its all said and done.


Good luck.
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Old 05-11-2019, 14:20   #11
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

NMEA 2000 backbone
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Old 05-11-2019, 14:29   #12
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

Lots of info here... obviously partial to Garmin: https://youtu.be/5VhkSI5f-18

In one video he says you should buy products from companies that specialize in that product and not with companies that do a little of everything. ICOM or standard horizon for VHF.
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Old 05-11-2019, 14:44   #13
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

Starting from scratch? - go NMEA2000/SeatalkNG. NMEA0183 is last years technology.

Save you money IMHO AIS receive only is a waste- look at the cost difference of VHF-AIS receive vs basic VHF and Vesper 8000 with Wi-Fi. The Vesper package is a tad more, but well worth the money.


That said I have 0183 and 2000/SeaTalkNG and SeaTalk-1 on my boat. My Vesper is responsible for AIS, 0183 to 2000 translation and WiFi.
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Old 05-11-2019, 16:30   #14
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

You need to think this through, starting with the most critical piece of gear which is the autopilot. Everything follows from there. Next is the sensors (expensive) and the radar. Your $2,000 will not be enough.

Minimum system:
1. Second hand Raymarine autopilot, ~$600 on eBay, $300 for Garmin 44dv or later, also gives you a sonar that you can use for depth and temperature, no need to drill a hole in the hull, $250 for Lowrance Link-8 VHF/AIS receive, NASA marine wind sensor for about $200. You will need to run the wire in the mast for both the VHF and the wind sensor. All of this will be interconnected via NMEA 0183, it is simple to work with, you may need a multiplexer for $50. This system will do everything but radar and will be relatively easy to install. The problem is that it is end of life.

Medium system
New Raymarine autopilot, Axiom chartplotter, Quantum Radar, you will be lucky to get all of this for $3,500. Raymarine wind sensor and display, $1,000. Depth sensor plus install, may need a haul out, $500, NMEA 2000 backbone, wires and connectors, $300. Any VHF will do and it is a small expense.

Starting from scratch is painful mostly because of the sensors and wiring. Once you get past that it gets much easier.

Good luck.
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Old 05-11-2019, 16:44   #15
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Re: VHF Radios? Chart Plotters? I'm starting from scratch!

Personally I'd go for one of the new B&G vhf units with an AIS transponder built in. NOT just receive, like the others.
Dont waste your time with NMEA0183, NMEA 2000 is much easier and more robust. Check out the B&G vulcan range if you want low cost plotters etc.
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