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Old 04-08-2017, 00:00   #16
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Re: AIS on VHF displays- Usability?

Hi Marty. AIS however you look at it is helpful. In your case 2 wires out of VHF NMEA OUT to your C80 NMEA IN is gonna put it on your C80 screen. Download the C80 manual if you don't have it. Easy configuration to set up alarms. I did lots of miles without AIS. Got it now and I really wonder why I didn't do it before. Ho hum actually I didn't because I was sick of spending money on the boat at the time, in hindsight wish I'd spent a bit on AIS for a bit more peace of mind. Cheers Simon
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:57   #17
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Re: AIS on VHF displays- Usability?

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
I was exactly where you are.

Then I connected the AIS to the plotter--- much better display and aided in situational awareness. Then I sprung for the Vesper transponder with WiFi. Now ships could SEE ME and I used the wifi to feed all my data to an iPad running iNavX. This gave me a second nav station at the chart table.

My radio still receives AIS, but does not share it. The extra money I spent on the AIS/VHF radio was a waste. Should have gone straight to the transponder.
Very similar to my experience. I have AIS turned off on the VHF (see below.)

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Originally Posted by Chuck Hawley View Post
I have a B&G fixed mount VHF with the remote. I love the fact that it feeds AIS data to the network, but I don't think the AIS display on the radio is useful in the least. I would opt to look at the chartplotter (nice B&G Zeus) 99 times out of 100.
Opposite from my experience. I have a B&G fixed mount VHF and hate it. I had to disable AIS because it always thought we were about to collide with ourselves. It was receiving our own AIS signal, and even though it had the exact same MMSI number, didn't recognize it as "own ship."

It also doesn't have a proper scan function, only a confusing and difficult-to-configure 2-way or 3-way scan option. It randomly shifts to the weather band, although the display remains on whatever VHF channel you were using. There's a fix for that, but you need a B&G (or any other Navico) chartplotter to perform the update. Either that or rip it out and bring it to a shop. If I have to rip it out, it's not going back in.

I will say the tiny PPI (radar-like) screen for AIS is functional in that it lets you know what's nearby. It's the main reason I bought the B&G, and if that's all I had I'd probably use it. But I wouldn't buy it again.
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Old 04-08-2017, 14:50   #18
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Re: AIS on VHF displays- Usability?

Happens I also just sailed on Lake Superior (last June) using a Standard Horizon GX2200 with a RAM3 mic. I also have a B&G Vulcan plotter and an actisense converter thingy that was supposed to give me AIS data on the plotter but did not. One of the problems of living someplace with no AIS targets is you only know things like this don’t work when you have an AIS target on the radio but not the plotter…

Regardless, I generally agree that the RAM display up at the helm did the trick just fine. As Mike correctly mentioned, the shipping lanes are well marked and everyone seems to color within the lines up there so you “should not” get surprised much.

A few notes worth mentioning:

None of the Isle Royale Ferries broadcast AIS which was a bummer for me since that was my one moment of somewhat downtime to diagnose my VHF-plotter issue. Minor nuisance to me, could be a much bigger nuisance if you manage to time your transit through one of the narrower passages when they happen to be coming through in poor vis.

I had AIS, my buddy boat did not. When we were crossing over from Grand Marais down to the Apostles in pea soup fog we transited the Silver Bay to Soo down bound lane listening to the sounds of a large laker engine. One of us knew exactly where we were, exactly what the CPA and TCPA were, the other did not. Guess which boat was having more fun? (I plotted everything out on paper and radioed that they were OK but I am not as fast as an installed AIS system)

Also found that the GX-2200 tended to receive better than the other radios in our merry band of boats all of which had the same shakespeare antennas on the mast heads. Not a huge deal but in some places up on the north end of the lake it can be tough to get WX broadcasts and everyone tended to end up on my boat since I could often get broadcasts others could not.



Fog the morning we crossed from Grand Marais to the Apostles. AIS saved me many grey hairs on this crossing. TOTALLY worth the money.



MV Indiana Harbor down bound from Silver Bay on my return crossing to Taconite Harbor. They are fun to see when you know you are crossing at a safe distance.

If you are cruising the Apostles or Isle Royale and want any relatively current info feel free to PM me.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:38   #19
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Re: AIS on VHF displays- Usability?

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Originally Posted by carlo de leo View Post
Hi, how did you plugged to your PC? Did you had to splice those tinny cables behind the unit to a PC port?
BTW, I like very much of my SH and RAM3 unit, CPA and TCPA is the trick.

Cheers all
Yup. I've got the SH GX2100, so I needed to solder 2 DB9 connectors to the back of the radio - one to get GPS info from OpenCPN and one to feed back the AIS. Not too fiddly of a job. Then use usb->serial converters to talk to it from the computer.

(Dunno who designed this stuff... with fixed baud rates, etc..oh well)

If I was buying a new radio, I'd definitely go for the SH GX2200 with the integrated GPS.
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Old 07-08-2017, 15:15   #20
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Re: AIS on VHF displays- Usability?

Thanks all for the input. Debated this one over and over (as with everything boat releated!) ended up just ordering a SH GX2200. Primary reason, at least in today's thinking, is just balancing cost with usage profile. Seasonal usage in a light AIS usage zone (Lake Superior) and with all likelihood this is not my 'final' boat (it's my first big sailboat) seemed to all line up for GX2200. $350 and easy install vs $1100 at least for the Veaspar transceiver and splitter/registration. Hope I don't regret this on a year.

I might do the RAM mic, part of me wants less stuff in the cockpit and I have handhelds if needed.

Next question is how to plumb it to the C80, really I just need to know if I need a plug in for the NMEA or if I'll need a multiplexer. Unsure if the instruments (wind etc) are on a NMEA network or not. I don't think they are. I'll pop the Navipod apart and have a look see.
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Old 12-08-2017, 05:27   #21
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Big Screen AIS on a budget

Mostly I'm not near shipping lanes but some trips generate exposure. My old eyes find a 7" plotter screen too small to easily read AIS plots and the window on the VHF is a non starter. I considered upgrading to a VHF/AIS combo unit but the tinyscreen size means I would basically be reliant on warning sounds. The low cost solution for an infrequent AIS user like me was to combine my 15" laptop using OpenCPN, a VHF powered antenna splitter and a dAISy 2 channel receiver for under $200 and could have reduced it mote by not using a powered splitter. The computer needs to have a GPS dongle or built in receiver and I use a 15' USB cable to keep the computer mostly in the cabin.
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