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Old 06-06-2016, 18:49   #1
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What else do I need?

Hi.
I'm interested in converting over to OpenCPN, 150%
I've got a laptop, a few various USB-GPS units for it, and a SW radio for weather (via audio cable).

What I'd like to do, is get a radar, and have the radar overlay on screen with my current location in OpenCPN.

I'm fairly new to this kind of gear, but not electronic devices.

I'm looking for setup advice,
and anything else I'm missing... that is besides cables, and any needed antenna,etc. Is there anything else I might need that I'm forgetting (I can hear the choruses now, "Enthusiasm!" "a Fifth of Jack!" "Don't forget power to the gear!" "...a mouse!" -and from the back "...and a boat helps, but isn't necessary... we'll still like you!")


Advice?
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Old 06-06-2016, 19:35   #2
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Re: What else do I need?

B&G 3G or 4G Radar, or Garmin, Look in opencpn.org User Documentation, External Plugins.

Get AIS receiver with dAISy, look in opencpn.org Supplimental Hardware, AIS

Use a good USB Hub, to make all connections, mark the devices and always plugin to same location, or even better
get into using wifi. See suplimentary hardware page there too, several including Vesper XT-8000
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Old 06-06-2016, 21:21   #3
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Re: What else do I need?

Thanks for the fast reply and advice.

I like the dAISy AIS device. However, does not the new TV tuner dongles (like the NooElec ones) RTL-SDR DVB-T dongles do the same thing???
RTL-SDR Tutorial: Cheap AIS Ship Tracking - rtl-sdr.com

My understanding --and I'm totally new to this--is that the TV dongles with a computer apparently also can do more, like SW tuning for weather and open up higher frequencies for more options with radio (with something like the NooElec “HamItUp”), so one less device to take up space on have problems...???
NooElectric on Amazon


I can’t find any info on the "Vesper XT-8000" (except there's a mountain bike with that name; I DO want to go light geared as possible, and I might be able to rig it to a gen to top off the batteries, but how do I plug it in to the laptop and OpenCPN?)
...I take it you mean the "Vesper XB-8000"?
It's a bit out of budget for our setup but looks worthy if we go with wifi.

From what I'm learning it appears that OpenCPN, with a few plugins and the right gear, can replace multiple systems on a boat, saving a LOT of space and and for a LOT less money. That is ideal for small cruisers with limited budgets.


... I'm still reading up and learning, but it would seem to me that a decent dongle tuner with GPS and AIS reception/tuning for weather readouts could be the center of a nav station in a small cruising system using OpenCPN, leaving only Antenna issues (we have a Icom M700pro, AT-130 and a 21.5' antenna), and getting a nice Radar.

RADAR: I’ve been looking at the 3G/4G (and CHIRP) radar systems, especially for the wifi ability. However, budget is VERY limited right now so I might have to wait until one comes up used and settle for an older 18" 2-4K/24 miles system. As such, any advice on used 18" Radar for ease of working with OpenCPN--or is it more based on output format from the radar really?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-06-2016, 05:23   #4
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Re: What else do I need?

I had great trouble with the rtlsdr. Perhaps I got the wrong one, and got a repplacement too, but thay never worked for me. Turned out to be a waste of time. dAISy is very easy and reliable. With someone else testing and advising I might try one again, but expect driver issues etc.
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Old 07-06-2016, 18:28   #5
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Re: What else do I need?

dAISy is priced at 500 dollars on taobao.com. No kidding.
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Old 07-06-2016, 18:53   #6
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Re: What else do I need?

rick,

to make rtlsdr work, you must have

1) correct antenna and connections
2) area with sufficient ais traffic
3) ppm error correction to +- 5

And even then sometimes ships drop out from 5 miles away, but my antenna was probably bad. At least that antenna is gone for good see Somtimes it's Better not to Rescue a Boat (page 2)

Sometimes I did pick up ships from 10-12 miles. But the most important thing is, around south africa, it really did pick up in 3 cases, ships that were within 2 miles and on a direct collision course which I avoided by changing my course.

I will try to build a better antenna.
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Old 07-06-2016, 22:03   #7
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Re: What else do I need?

Google AISRecWinFull. Visit marinetraffic station 315 to check the coverage of the rtlsdr dongle. Airspy is another alternative choice.
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Old 08-06-2016, 05:51   #8
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Re: What else do I need?

AIS Receiver USB dongle | Official OpenCPN Homepage
https://www.tindie.com/products/astu...-ais-receiver/
$59

--$500 is ridiculous
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Old 08-06-2016, 05:56   #9
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Re: What else do I need?

I have user the Daisy for a long time. works stable and reliable with no hazzle. Also, there is a option for RS422 output if you want to connect directly to rs422 nmea.
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:01   #10
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Re: What else do I need?

Sean, at the time I purchased, I got a no name rtlsdr with what I thought were the right specs, then proceeded to waste all kinds of time trying to make sure I had the correct drivers and downloading and testing with various SDR programs because it did not work properly. It's no reflection on your rtlsdr_pi, it is just that you need to be very sure you get the proper device, and have good drivers and instructions to use it. I built an antenna that works very well with dAISy but not my rtlsdr usb, so the problem was not the antenna.

I ended up happy with the dAISy because the drivers were provided, and Win10 does not require drivers, and there are good instructions. There is a human available, the author/programmer/electrical engineer, Adrian Studer, who is very helpful and knowledgeable. He is precise and thorough.

I think if I were to purchase an rtlsdr, I'd be sure to get the best nooland version available. Forget cheap...its not worth it.
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Old 08-06-2016, 16:38   #11
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Re: What else do I need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
...at the time I purchased, I got a no name rtlsdr with what I thought were the right specs, then proceeded to waste all kinds of time trying to make sure I had the correct drivers and downloading and testing with various SDR programs because it did not work properly....
This is really good help for me, because while I can do some tech stuff, writing drivers is out of my experience, and I was going to go that route too... NOT to say a rltsdr isn't cool and of use on a boat, but it seems to me that it's still a bit immature for depending on it for something critical.

I wish the implementation of OpenCPN in Linux was more mature -Linux distros are (especially LinuxMint and Ubuntu), rock solid- I'd much prefer that over the bloated stuff MS makes, which takes 2-3x the same amp draw to run on a laptop as anything linux based!

I'm hoping to have just my laptop, a hub, and the GPS/AIS plugged in and my SW radio for weather -I think there's a way to get it to receive enough offshore to download weather info and faxes to the PC. That's for another thread though, eh?

Note:
I've seen the dAISy for about $60 in the USA as well.
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