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Old 10-04-2013, 00:26   #61
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

Friggin Hell. This is not an easy decision!!!!
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Old 10-04-2013, 00:30   #62
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

No its easy - Just get the vesper unit that suits you best.

Usual Disclaimer I have no involvement with these folk at all, just like their gear.
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Old 10-04-2013, 00:53   #63
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

About 12 years ago I discovered this fantastic British firm called NASA! I bought a wind scare machine ,a speed through the water machine, and a depth sounder. Great price !

Cut a long story short! Nothing worked and the Nasa people still owe me a depth sounder.
So for $350 I can buy a NASA Reciever. for 4 times that I can buy a Vesper.
As I have said before, I am trying to get offshore! The cost of stuff is staggering from acruising boat to an offshore boat.!!
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:33   #64
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

You have history with NASA.

I have not heard of any negatives with Vesper. In this age of the internet we hear if there were issues.

Besides the developer is here on this thread looking for feedback.

To me its a Vesper or something less capable/reliable/less backup.

Spend wisely.

Its easier spending someone else's money.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:43   #65
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

I would get one of the newest units, with wifi. Actually, I will get the black box version. It also comes with GPS antenna included at $799.- and I understand no import duties in Canada? Just add the $249 switch or an additional antenna (which might add up to the same amount) and you're done for $1,050.- and nothing like $600 for extra's etc.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:37   #66
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffrobbins View Post

If you want an example of an antenna that we use a lot, take a look at our website for the mast-head antenna. It is stainless so lasts a long time and has an L-bracket for mounting alongside something, hence the name. If that type of mount works for you and you can find an antenna like that then I'm sure it will work great.
Given that AIS works very much as does VHF, masthead gives you effective "over the horizon" coverage better than does a pole or spreaders mounted radome will. Line of sight is VHF's limitation, but sailboat masthead to ship's masthead is easily calculated and can include an impressive circle of early warning for any offshore yacht.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:46   #67
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

We didn't want to deal with an antennae splitter or a second VHF antennae so went with a Standard Horizon Matrix AIS radio. It has a screen on the radio and has worked great. I realize you already have a VHF so this may not be the best way to go but thought I would throw it out there.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:47   #68
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

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As I have said before, I am trying to get offshore! The cost of stuff is staggering from acruising boat to an offshore boat.!!
Yes, it is, and the options can be bewildering. If I had two people on watch 24/7, I would feel better about skipping the AIS. I also have a steel sailboat, which intrinsically gives a better radar return than a fibreglass boat.

But I still like the ability to be recognized (via MMSI/vessel name) well before I can be "seen" on RADAR or visually (I am dubious about all watch-keeping on commercial traffic that involves eyeballs these days).

So if it helps to think of it as insurance, skip the insurance (except for liability in case you flatten a kayaker), and buy a WatchMate. A fully kitted out WatchMate is cheaper than comprehensive insurance for an offshore boat, I would think.
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:27   #69
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

I don't think I saw the EM Trak B100 mentioned.

It has similar features to the vesper XB8000 -WiFi +SDcard +<$500.($300.cheaper than Vesper).

So, if you don't need the WiFi it's worth a look.

EM Trak also has a receive only version <$200.

I'm sharing your pain trying to make this decision myself.

Cheers,
JM.
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:39   #70
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

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Yes, but you also have to keep in mind the power consumption for the requisite display, MFD, plotter, computer, or whatever you choose.

For a comparison, a WatchMate 850 with the display turned on uses about 250mA @12V on average. When it is in low power mode it runs around 200mA.

Since this includes the display system, it's far less than the overall system consumption of a black box AIS.
Jeff, you are absolutely correct. I was merely giving the power consumption specs for a transponder box, not a complete AIS system.

The Watchmate units appear to be well thought-out and effective. These are nice low-power stand-alone AIS solutions, that can be connected to your other gear if you choose. I wish I had one, but the transponder unit wasn't available when I was setting up my system.

The "$150 systems" some people mention are going to be single-channel receive-only, and assume you will be connecting to a computer or chartplotter you already own. You also need an antenna, and a GPS source. The overall power consumption will be higher than a Watchmate-type solution.

Another receive-only possibility is the "Matrix" line of Standard Horizon VHF radios. These include an AIS receiver, or can interface to one, and have a bare-bones AIS display and alarm capability. I don't much like the user interface, but the power consumption is only a bit more than a basic VHF radio, and this can be a usable low-power receive-only solution. I think that some other VHF manufacturers now have similar units.

As for transponder or receiver antenna locations, I have mine on the upper spreaders and reliably get AIS range well beyond what is necessary (or even useful) for collision-avoidance. Even when the antenna was on the stern rail I had quite usable range. Putting the antenna on the mast means that you can no longer consider it a back-up antenna should the mast come down, but I carry a spare anyway so that's not a big deal for me.
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Old 10-04-2013, 13:02   #71
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

Really appreciate the time, thought and knowledge being offered here.

My crew is the reason I am looking at AIS in the first place. She can not get her head around only sleeping in 3 hour stretches. I had hoped to use my radar on a 15min timer as a guard but perhaps not such a good idea.

I have moved from why get one to, which one to get. I am seriously considering the advice here and suggestions of different models. Would I be correct in saying that Vesper are the leader in this field at the moment? Also other manufacturers now use "2000" connectiong language to other devices is this an issue with vesper?
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Old 10-04-2013, 13:58   #72
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

Just wanted to add in my satisfaction with the WM-850, no affiliation other than a happy customer. Love the unit and customer service is fantastic. Jim
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Old 10-04-2013, 15:26   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Maclas View Post
We didn't want to deal with an antennae splitter or a second VHF antennae so went with a Standard Horizon Matrix AIS radio. It has a screen on the radio and has worked great. I realize you already have a VHF so this may not be the best way to go but thought I would throw it out there.
I'm pretty sure that the Standard Horizon radios do not have an AIS transponder built in; i.e. it is receive-only.

Simrad has a very nice VHF with built in AIS receiver and NMEA2000. I would not buy anything without a NMEA2000 interface that is fully functional with 100% PGN support anymore. I was forced to do that before when not everything was available, but now it is.
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Old 10-04-2013, 17:07   #74
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

The French yachting magazine "Voiles & Voiliers" (March 2013) has an excellent comparison of AIS Class B transponders (send+receive, not receive-only). Great magazine for French readers btw.

I won't transcribe all the content, but there are the highlights:
"We were surprised by the number of AIS transponders available. We counted not less than 18! Being unable to test all, we limited our choice to the 6 most representative models, as they don't all have the same functions."

Transponder specifications (apologies if any typos):
- Advansea AIS TR-200: Simple, reliable product found under the NKE and Transas brands. Waterproof. GPS: external. Screen: none. Connections: NEMA 183 and RS232 (laptop). Power usage: 0.32A. Price: EUR 669.

- Mariner X2: Easy installation thanks to integrated GPS and USB connections (notes that the GPS antenna needs to have a clear satellite view, which can be hard to achieve at the chart table). GPS: integrated. Screen: none. Connections: NMEA 183, NMEA 2000, USB. Power usage: 0.13A. Price: EUR 670.

- Blue AIS: Large, heavy box which has the advantage of an integrated VHF antenna. GPS: integrated. Screen: none. Connections: NMEA 183. Power usage: 0.34A. Price: EUR 800.

- Raymarine AIS 650: Complete connected black-box solution, including SD card to record positions & other boats' tracks. GPS: external. Screen: none. Connections: NMEA 183, Seatalk (proprietary NMEA 2000), USB. Power consumption: 0.15A. Price: EUR 950.

- Vespermarine XB-8000 AIS: Only receiver in the test to have integrated wifi, configurable via iPhone/iPad. GPS: external. Connections: NMEA 183, NMEA 2000, USB, wifi. Power consumption: 0.30A. Price: EUR 970.

- ICOM MA-500TR: Only receiver in the test with integrated screen, can connect directly to VHF M423. GPS: external. Connections: NMEA 183 (x3). Power consumption: 0.38A. Price: EUR 998.

Not tested: EM-Trak B100 (509 Euros), Digital yacht AIT2000 (620 Euros), Advansea AIS TR-200 (669 Euros), WeatherDock EasyTRX2-IS (779 Euros), RAdio Ocean AIS 500CTRX (789 Euros), Seatracer Maxdis (829 Euros), Garmin AIS 600 (850 Euros), Simrad NAIS400 (880 Euros), ACR Nauticast B (919 euros), Vesparmarine Watchmate 850 (1099 Euros with 5'' screen), Simrad AI50 (1220 Euros with 4'' color screen), Furuno FA50 (13740 Euros), Vesparmarine Watchmate Vision (1500 Euros with 5.7'' screen).

It mentions receive-only AIS costs a lot less (less than EUR 300), but obviously don't offer the same level of safety.
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Old 10-04-2013, 18:54   #75
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Re: Want the Best, Cheapest Easiest AIS solution:-)

Now Jedi,

I did say from 400 to 600.

Now with the splitter you must have, according to jeff, an ais compatible VHF antenna. Now since starting to outfit the boat for offshore I have discovered that God does not like me, so I can categorically state that my 15 year old vhf antenna is not AIS compatible. Now that means 80ft of cable. Hows the math looking now! I also did state that cost into my hands. Us Canadians gladly pay a further 14% tax. If it has to be shipped by FED or UPS another wallop for "border" handling, even when no duty payable.

I like the whole idea of the Vesper system and I would love it if someone bought me one for Christmas. It all is a question of cost right now. What to buy what do I leave behind.
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