I would like to thank everybody who helped me through this process. It has not been easy. The dAISy https://www.tindie.com/products/astu...-ais-receiver/
by Adrian Studer was the answer for me, along with a very few basic facts. This receiver is quite small, almost the same size as the BNC adapter which you do need.
1. I connected it to about 20' of coax with the end modified as an AIS antenna
as the Muck showed above. I did eventually solder a coax connector on the end for better signal, but the base coil and stripped end is quite simple to make and it does work. Mine was pretty rough and not at all fancy, but the measurements were right. Everything was held together with duct tape and I used a thin garden stick to keep it straight. Thanks the Muck!!
2. dAISy does not require any calibration and the driver creates a Com port which you can see in Device Manager - Com Ports
shows as " dAISy AIS Reciever (Com8)" for example.
3. Installing the driver into Win 8.1 is a challenge and at first it seems difficult, but just persevere and follow the instructions, it will work. It just takes an effort the one time to get it installed. I had to do the process 3x's as I learned how to do it. Eventually I made it all the way through. Just follow the instructions to look up your Bitlocker Release Code. The installation
of WinXP and 7 is very easy. Windows 10 drivers will install automatically.
4. For this test the antennas are about 200' above Mystic CT but fairly near the village but will no line of sight. The results show a number of boats AIS about 1 mile out. I am hoping that things will improve on the water
and as I get this second antenna
located on the boat's backstay.
5. After installing the drivers and getting the Com Port number from Device Manager > Com ports
go ahead and configure the Opencpn
v4.0 Options > Connections > Add Serial
Port for the AIS Com Port using 38400 baud. Try the show NMEA
Debug window and look for the AIS com port.
v4.1.718 does not work. AIS is not working. Don't bother trying it.
7. OpenCPN v4.0 does work. Make sure AIS icon is not crossed out.
8. If you are looking for a trouble free installation
at a somewhat greater cost, I suggest you get the dAISy, it is dedicated to only AIS signals.
9. I am going to be modifying this for sending a Bluetooth signal and will report that setup.
10. I hope the range gets better with a better antenna and I will report on my experience with that too.
11. Adrian has been very helpful and prompt in responding and the mail delivery
of the dAISy occurred precisely as he predicted. With the BNC connector, the proper cable was included and there was an alternative cover with a tab for mounting the device on a wall. The device is quite small.