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Old 06-12-2016, 12:39   #1
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VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Hello,

I've got a new boat and I'm in the process of installing a new B&G Zeus2 + 3G Radar combo. I also decided it would be a good time to incorporate AIS into my system, although I have no prior experience with it. The Simrad RS35 VHF is an obvious choice since I know it is compatible with the Zeus and since it would not require a separate VHF antenna, I could just swap the existing VHF for it. The boat already has a NMEA2000 backbone.

BUT I now realize the RS35 is a receiver only. Is there a VHF on the market that has an AIS transceiver? If not, can you recommend an approach (preferably specific units) that I can incorporate into this system for the most straightforward and cost effective "complete" AIS experience?

And does anyone know of an article or book that explains the basics of AIS systems so I can be a little more informed about what I'm going to be installing and using?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Jack
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Old 06-12-2016, 12:46   #2
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Standard Horizon have just announced a VHF with an AIS transceiver/transponder. I think I read somewhere that it's available in Europe now but awaiting approval in the USA, but that bit might be a bad memory....
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Old 06-12-2016, 12:54   #3
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

There is ONE AIS transceiver/VHF that is coming in a few months to market - standard horizon I think is making it. You could wait for that, but I'm not sure on the release date.

I have the RS35 and an NSS8 and I use a digital yachts AIT2000 AIS transponder. I got the RS35 for the NMEA2000 and wireless mic, I actually turn off the AIS receive on the radio.

I'd advise getting that, or any other NMEA2000 AIS separate unit (I think Vector makes a few), they will all hook up to your Zeus nicely as long as they are NMEA2000 and you'll see the targets on your chartplotter. Probably which ever one is on offer.

You'll have a choice of a splitter or two antennas (one VHF one for AIS transmit), I'd go with the two antennas for redundancy. It's about the same cost as the splitter.
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Old 06-12-2016, 13:16   #4
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
I'd advise getting that, or any other NMEA2000 AIS separate unit .
This is very helpful, thanks. The main advantage I saw in the RS35 was not needing a separate antenna or a splitter, but I guess if I want transponder capabilities I will need one regardless. My main concern is not the adding of an antenna so much as routing another coaxial cable through the mast. My mast is up and I don't plan on dropping it this season. I'm anticipating a bit of a struggle as it is replacing the old radar cable.

If I got a separate transponder I wouldn't have much reason to replace my VHF with the RS35, but I'm curious what else you would need to interface the VHF with via NMEA2000 if not the AIS?
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Old 06-12-2016, 13:29   #5
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

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Originally Posted by alctel View Post
(I think Vector makes a few),
I think that's Vesper Marine, I have one of their AIS transponders and I'm very pleased with it. I'm not associated with the company in any way by the way.
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Old 06-12-2016, 13:47   #6
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

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Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
This is very helpful, thanks. The main advantage I saw in the RS35 was not needing a separate antenna or a splitter, but I guess if I want transponder capabilities I will need one regardless. My main concern is not the adding of an antenna so much as routing another coaxial cable through the mast. My mast is up and I don't plan on dropping it this season. I'm anticipating a bit of a struggle as it is replacing the old radar cable.

If I got a separate transponder I wouldn't have much reason to replace my VHF with the RS35, but I'm curious what else you would need to interface the VHF with via NMEA2000 if not the AIS?
Some people mount the AIS antenna on their solar arch/back rail - slightly less range but if you lose your mast you still have a VHF antenna.

My RS35 grabs GPS positions from the network via NMEA2000. On some newer chartplotters you can also make DSC calls right from the chartplotter as well, just select the AIS target and press call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AedanC View Post
I think that's Vesper Marine, I have one of their AIS transponders and I'm very pleased with it. I'm not associated with the company in any way by the way.
Ah yes, I can't edit my original post now unfortunately. I've heard good things about their units.
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Old 06-12-2016, 14:16   #7
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

The new Standard Horizon o e was hoping for the Green Light 17th December.

Hope so.
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Old 06-12-2016, 14:20   #8
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Jack,
Two or three parts to your questions....as well as the large question of why some desire (or do you do desire?) to incorporate these devices into one unit??

Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
Is there a VHF on the market that has an AIS transceiver? If not, can you recommend an approach (preferably specific units) that I can incorporate into this system for the most straightforward and cost effective "complete" AIS experience?

And does anyone know of an article or book that explains the basics of AIS systems so I can be a little more informed about what I'm going to be installing and using?
1) There is currently no VHF marine radio with built-in AIS transponder, on the market....BUT..

But, Standard Horizon has debuted their GX6500, and is awaiting type-certifications and approvals (from US, EU, IMO, etc.) before this will be sold.
Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Standard Horizon GX6500: a loaded VHF radio also integrated with Class B AIS

And, the rumor mill says that Icom is also working on one as well...



BUT....


But, be advised that no matter what you choose (even if you wait for the GX6500 or another "integrated" unit), you will still need TWO VHF antennas (or an external splitter/relay)!!!
That's just a fact of life!!
Also, understand that you cannot mount these two VHF antennas next to each other, as damage could occur, as well as certain interference making one or both units inoperable....these antennas must be separated by at least 6'....hardly do-able at the masthead....(if you desire the details, I will gladly explain....but, for now, just understand that most will mount their AIS transponder antenna on the stern pushpit, bimini top, arch, spreader, etc...or choose to spend the $$ on a good splitter/relay, such as the Vesper SP-160)



2) The one word answer for the best in AIS (for Class B transponders and previously for AIS receive-only units), for most cruisers is:
Vesper!!
https://www2.vespermarine.com/

And, your choice might depend on: your planned cruising areas, your budget, your electrical system capability, your space at nav station / cockpit, etc...

Whether you want an extremely reliable and low-power consumption, stand alone Class B transponder, like the WatchMate 850....
https://www2.vespermarine.com/ais-watchmate-tx.html

Or desire the best in "black box" AIS Class B transponders, like the XB-8000...or XB-6000
https://www2.vespermarine.com/xb8000...nsponder.html/
https://www2.vespermarine.com/transp...nsponder.html/

Or, are looking for the best of the crop of full-color, hi-res, stand-alone, AIS transponders...
https://www2.vespermarine.com/transp...e-vision.html/

Vesper has you covered, no matter what your budget or application is...

(and the make one of the only reliable and low-loss "splitters/relays" for allowing use of the main masthead antenna for both AIS and primary VHF.... https://www2.vespermarine.com/antenn...er-sp160.html/
Vesper AIS SP-160 "relay/splitter" test results, lab/real world )



3) In addition to the info on the Vesper site, have you looked at the USCG site and their AIS info???
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=aismain
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AISFAQ

These are some of the most informative pages about AIS, how it works, etc...

If you require more info, or have specific questions, please ask and we can help...


I do hope this helps!

Fair winds...

John
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Old 06-12-2016, 14:21   #9
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Pretty sure the new Standard Horizon does not have an internal VHF splitter.... At least I think I saw that on Panbo

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Old 07-12-2016, 09:53   #10
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Jack,
---------------------------------///////snip---------------

BUT....


But, be advised that no matter what you choose (even if you wait for the GX6500 or another "integrated" unit), you will still need TWO VHF antennas (or an external splitter/relay)!!!
That's just a fact of life!!
Also, understand that you cannot mount these two VHF antennas next to each other, as damage could occur, as well as certain interference making one or both units inoperable....these antennas must be separated by at least 6'....hardly do-able at the masthead....(if you desire the details, I will gladly explain....but, for now, just understand that most will mount their AIS transponder antenna on the stern pushpit, bimini top, arch, spreader, etc...or choose to spend the $$ on a good splitter/relay, such as the Vesper SP-160)



2) The one word answer for the best in AIS (for Class B transponders and previously for AIS receive-only units), for most cruisers is:
Vesper!!
https://www2.vespermarine.com/

And, your choice might depend on: your planned cruising areas, your budget, your electrical system capability, your space at nav station / cockpit, etc...

Whether you want an extremely reliable and low-power consumption, stand alone Class B transponder, like the WatchMate 850....
https://www2.vespermarine.com/ais-watchmate-tx.html

Or desire the best in "black box" AIS Class B transponders, like the XB-8000...or XB-6000
https://www2.vespermarine.com/xb8000...nsponder.html/
https://www2.vespermarine.com/transp...nsponder.html/

Or, are looking for the best of the crop of full-color, hi-res, stand-alone, AIS transponders...
https://www2.vespermarine.com/transp...e-vision.html/

Vesper has you covered, no matter what your budget or application is...

(and the make one of the only reliable and low-loss "splitters/relays" for allowing use of the main masthead antenna for both AIS and primary VHF.... https://www2.vespermarine.com/antenn...er-sp160.html/
Vesper AIS SP-160 "relay/splitter" test results, lab/real world )



3) In addition to the info on the Vesper site, have you looked at the USCG site and their AIS info???
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=aismain
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AISFAQ

These are some of the most informative pages about AIS, how it works, etc...

If you require more info, or have specific questions, please ask and we can help...


I do hope this helps!

Fair winds...

John
This thread is located at:
AIS Unit for Raymarine Chartplotter System - Page 5 - SailNet Community

Here is the message that has just been posted:
***************
I recently upgraded my VHF to the Horizon GX2200... which includes AIS, DSC, GPS which is output to a C80. The AIS works fine... and target show on the C80. I didn't use a splitter... but when the mast was down last Spring I put a new VHF antenna (Vesper) and new RG213 coax. BIG difference!
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:34   #11
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AedanC View Post
I think that's Vesper Marine, I have one of their AIS transponders and I'm very pleased with it. I'm not associated with the company in any way by the way.
Yes, Digital and Vesper are the two "reputational leaders" in Class B AIS transceivers. I would suggest you not get hung over on the possibility of a second antenna, and I would suggest that before you buy either stand-alone or the bells-and-whistles upcoming SH product, that you see AIS in action on someone else's boat (give them a bottle of rum for a trip through Foggy Harbour) and see what advantages both seeing and being seen suggest to you.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:42   #12
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

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Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Jack,
Two or three parts to your questions....as well as the large question of why some desire (or do you do desire?) to incorporate these devices into one unit??
Very good points. I have in the winter, on the hard, an "emergency" SignalMate back of the VHF antenna. They aren't made anymore, yet I can still see AIS targets 10 NM away as well as transmit better than a handheld (25W is still five times the maximum power, after all). So a second antenna isn't such a big deal. Were it me, with a transponder, I would favour the AIS antenna at the mast-top, and the VHF antenna on a pole or a spreader or...elsewhere. It's simply not that important that I get maximum range for voice comms over VHF, where having a 24-knot container ship see me from over the horizon as an AIS target (and vice-versa) clearly is using this tech maximally.

The "eggs in one basket" approach is also worthy of consideration. I have an AIS receive only unit in my current SH VHF (the GX-2200 model). I will be getting a stand-alone Vesper unit (they are also wireless routers, interestingly) to output to a PC based plotter. That's a belt-and-suspenders approach suitable for passagemaking.

Lastly, if you disable the AIS transmit and really need to make, say, a DSC MAYDAY from 30 NM off a coast, you can use the mast top AIS antenna via an antenna switcher to make that call. The AIS frequencies sit right in the VHF band and it will work at reasonable effectiveness as far as I understand it.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:59   #13
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Lee,
I gave up trying to help over on Sailnet many years ago...

But, here I can tell you that the GX2200 (and other VHF radios with built-in AIS receivers) is a Marine VHF-DSC-FM radio with an AIS receiver built-in, not an AIS transponder....

And, this discussion here on Cruiser's Forum, is about VHF-DSC-FM radios with AIS Transponders built-in....of which there are currently none on the market.... (but the Standard Horizon GX6500 is possibly due out next spring??? and possibly one from Icom as well...)


Lee, I'm not sure exactly if you are asking if the other discussion (from sailnet) is parallel to this one....but, if this is what you are asking, the answer is, no....
This discussion here is about yet to be released radios with AIS transponders built-in...

And, you will need separate AIS and VHF radio antennas, or a splitter/relay, for the GX6500, etc....



Now, as for installing a new antenna and new coax....well, that's always a good idea!! And usually it's the new coax, particularly the new connectors, that makes the biggest improvement....not the antenna, but they're cheap and you might as well replace it every 10 - 15 years....
{there's plenty of info here about, regarding coax and antennas....some of even from me....


I hope this clarifies...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:19   #14
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Are you aware that B&G makes both VHF and AIS units (with antenna splitter) that integrate very nicely with their chartplotters?

AIS

VHF


Yes, it's two separate items, but the AIS unit hides completely out of sight so you won't know it's there.

The AIS vessels show up properly on on the Chartplotter (and on the VHF unit), and with the WiFi Gofree unit, they also show up over wireless on OpenCpn on the PC.

Indeed, even the DSC integrates with the chartplotter, allowing you to tap a vessel on the chartplotter and call him directly (by pushing "Call" on the screen) on the VHF DSC channel. Hardly anyone uses it, unfortunately, so when I call someone using DSC they always seem surprised.
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:53   #15
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Re: VHF With AIS Transceiver, not just receiver?

Very good info here, everybody. Thanks for sharing. It's going to take me some time to process but I will no doubt have more questions eventually. Getting out on the water to see and AIS in action is a great idea, too. Hopefully I can make that happen.
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