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Old 05-03-2017, 16:22   #1
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VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

Making a short sail down the West Coast from SF to Oceanside. Want to have AIS receive capability. Looks like the best way to accomplish this is with a VHF radio that will display AIS information. Have been looking at all the suspects but can't find much real world experience with these radios. Anyone have experience, druthers on the below culprits

Standard Horizon GX 2200-B
Simrad RS35
B&G V90
Ray 70
Garmin

Lealning toward the SH GX 2200 because of price and onboard GPS. Makes DSC a plug and play without having to go through an outboard GPS. Don't think they are NEMA2000, however.

Have had good experience with ICOM and they are giving a $100 rebate which gets them in the realm or reality.

Simrad and B&G appear to be twins with what looks like intuitive controls.

Ray 70 is the only other radio with built in GPS that I'm aware of but have no experience with their interface.

Garmin a bit pricey

Any comments welcome.
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Old 05-03-2017, 16:25   #2
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

The simrad and B&G are the same unit, as you figured. The unit used to have a ton of problems but that seems to be fixed as of the latest firmware version. It also has a wireless mic option - didn't see that in your list of criteria.
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Old 05-03-2017, 16:34   #3
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

The SH 2200 has served me well these past few years. Radio is great, and AIS receiver works fine. GPS picks up from inside the cabin with no external antenna needed (although sometimes it takes a few extra minutes to get a position, resulting in an alarm). With the RAM I can have the data and basic display in the cockpit, and the NMEA 183 link lets me mirror it on my Garmin chart plotter.
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Old 05-03-2017, 18:26   #4
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I have the SH without AIS, I got it last year thinking I'd soon be getting the AIS anyway. The radio has worked great, no problem with GPS reception inside cabin and, considering it's only $100 more, I wish I had gotten the 2200 now! I haven't gotten the AIS yet. Can't tell you about NMEA2000 though.
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Old 05-03-2017, 19:27   #5
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I have the B&G with a wireless remote and it's the bees knees. It has everything you want and nothing else.

But... this is for a boat that has everything on NMEA2000. I was very happy that the software problems of this unit were solved just before I had to buy one

Icom has completely failed for me. All the mike cords fell apart, for the radio unit as well as for the remote mikes. It has cost me hundreds of dollars and all other radios I got at the same point in time still have their mike cords intact.
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Old 05-03-2017, 20:05   #6
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I had the SH 2200 and loved it. I did pair it with a chartplotter just for a larger screen, and I do believe it's not n2k but 183 but I never had any issues. Had it mounted under the cabin roof, and picked up GPS pretty quick. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another (though I would buy the extension mic for out at the helm next go round).
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Old 05-03-2017, 21:14   #7
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I have the SH2000 connected to an external AIS. Yes it operates on NMEA 0183, but its own lazy version, which makes communicating with other instruments a little quirky. There are multiplexers that can make things easier.

The external RAM mic is surprisingly useful in the cockpit - you really can see approaching traffic on its little quarter-sized AIS display. Also includes an intercom feature between the main unit and the RAM, but on my little boat, they aren't far enough apart to make that useful.

The unit also includes a horn and foghorn, if you install a hailer speaker. You just have to navigate through three sub-menus to activate the horn... by which time the collision has already occurred.

Oh, and ditto on the weird problem with ICOM mic cords. I just installed a new one this weekend on the SSB. They just disintegrate for no obvious reason. It's been going on for long enough, you'd think they would fix it.
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:10   #8
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddster8 View Post
I have the SH2000 connected to an external AIS. Yes it operates on NMEA 0183, but its own lazy version, which makes communicating with other instruments a little quirky.
I don't understand what parameter of the NMEA-0183 interface on the GX-2000 is implemented in a "lazy" manner. Can you elaborate?

Standard-Horizon radios generally have very good NMEA-0183 interfaces. They tend to always have balanced signals. I have not had any problems in interfacing to other devices with their NMEA-0183.

Re NMEA-2000: no existing Standard-Horizon radios have NMEA-2000. There are new models awaiting approval, the GX6000 and GX6500, and they will have a NMEA-2000. interface.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:04   #9
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I have been planning on getting the Standard Horizon VHF with AIS receive for a while but for various reasons I have not yet. Reasons like a different cutout and thoughts of moving the radio to the flybridge, etc., not performance related issues.


There was a thread on here a while back about AIS receive only being useless and selfish. I don't agree. Knowing where commercial ships are and if they are on a course to hit you seems like a good idea to me even if you are not transmitting your location.


I remember on the SH website they had diagrams of how to connect their radios to the most popular GPS/MFD units. You can certainly call them with questions, they have excellent customer service.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:14   #10
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I have the SH VHS radio with AIS receive only, works great no complaints. I have it wired to my Garmin 3205 GPSMAP chartplotter with NMEA183, again no problems, targets show up on chartplotter. Also have a remote mic in the cockpit 'RAM' mike, again no problem.
The RAM mike is a large part of the reason I installed the Standard Horizon, I wanted to use the big radio to talk to bridges in particular.
Standard Horizon just announced a new VHF with a full AIS transponder, that's the one I would buy now.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:14   #11
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I have the Simrad RS35 with wireless handset and as Jedi says it is great.
I strongly recommend installing even a very simple N2K network to connect the VHF to a chart plotter. Seeing the AIS triangles on a larger screen is a big asset.
External GPS antenna is not essential. Of course the simplest way to see AIS traffic is on your iPad or cell phone. Need cell phone cover, of course. Fair winds and let us know how it goes.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:17   #12
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I have had a SH w/AIS for several years now and love it. Saved our butt 100nm South of Charleston at 0200 when we encounter a tug with an unlighted tow(a US Navy ship in a 1000 yd. cable).

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Old 06-03-2017, 08:25   #13
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

Quote:
Originally Posted by continuouswave View Post
I don't understand what parameter of the NMEA-0183 interface on the GX-2000 is implemented in a "lazy" manner. Can you elaborate?
I too am curious about this one. I have our wired to our Garmin 741 chartplotter. Works fine, and was pretty easy to do. Im not all that experienced with boat networking though. What am I missing?
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:33   #14
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

Installed the SH 2200 last year and have been very happy with it. Yes only NMEA 183 but still wired it to USB plug for plug and play with my laptop based chartplotter software, works flawlessly. I could have even used it as the GPS input for my laptop but chose to stick with the USB puck for a little redundancy.

As others have mentioned installed it in the cabin (under my electrical panel of all places) and haven't had much trouble at all with getting good GPS signal, so truly plug and play.

The RAM mic is very useful, you can actually see AIS targets on it reasonably well, and since I have no instruments in my cockpit (pilothouse, main instruments are below right now) it gives me GPS speed source as well without having to fire up the handheld GPS. Some of the menus are a little convoluted to scroll through on the RAM mic (as noted in previous posts) but I believe there's a way to reprogram some of the buttons on the remote for the features you use the most (like turning scan on and off), I just haven't gotten to it yet.

When we started looking I liked the idea of a wireless mic in the cockpit but the reviews seemed to indicate they didn't live up to their billing as far as connectivity / battery power... plus with the wired mic I can't drop it overboard.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:39   #15
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Re: VHF with AIS, any recommendations??

I have the Standard Horizon with the remote mic / display at the helm. Works great.

Since then I added the Vesper AIS so I now also transmit AIS.

I prefer having both. See and be seen.
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