Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 27-06-2023, 17:58   #1
JPK
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 114
Images: 1
AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

I'm considering replacing my Icom M92D with an M94D for the AIS capability. I'd love to hear from those that have the M94D how useful the AIS feature is on a small screen. Does it work well in practice?

Backstory - I don't currently have my own boat and sail on club boats on the SF bay. Invariably, the onboard chartplotter map license has expired or some other glitch comes up that prevents the boat's chartplotter from working properly. We spend 30 minutes screwing around with it and then give up and have no charts or AIS. I've been using my iPhone for charts (Navionics) and AIS (Boat Beacon app) but it's a bit cumbersome and the Boat Beacon app has a several minute delay in the data it reports since it's internet-based. I usually have my handheld VHF clipped on my PFD so If I could at least have real-time AIS with a collision warning alarm set up on that I could avoid having to dig my iPhone out of my pocket every time there's a tanker in the shipping lane. Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
JPK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-06-2023, 18:22   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: San Francisco
Boat: Morgan 382
Posts: 3,057
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

I can only compare it with the small screen on my remote mic for my VHF. For seeing ships relative position to you, it is really difficult. Almost useless. The real usefulness is for hailing ships because you see their name, select it from a list, and a DSC call is made. That is much better than trying to hail "oil tanker in the shipping lane near harding rock"

A handheld with a GPS and AIS is going to run through the battery pretty quickly. I would prefer a simple handheld with a long battery life over one with AIS. Also, there really isn't much need for AIS on a sailboat in SF bay. It's fun to play with and look at, but you really should be able to avoid everything without it. There just isn't very much shipping traffic here and it follows a well-defined channel.
__________________
-Warren
wholybee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-06-2023, 18:38   #3
JPK
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 114
Images: 1
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

Thanks. I agree that 99% of the time it's pretty easy to avoid everything without AIS. There are a few specific situations where it's handy. For instance, when sailing with friends/family, they always like to sail under the GG bridge. The fog bank is invariably just beyond the bridge. It's helpful to know if there's a large ship comin' in 'hot' that's about to peek out from the fog as we're all looking up and admiring the bridge.
JPK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 02:41   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Virginia
Boat: Wauquiez Centurion 41
Posts: 130
Send a message via Skype™ to Kijit
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

I have a M94D which I use mainly during radio inspections to verify that the vessel's systems are operating properly. One thing about the AIS, in addition to the collision avoidance function, is that you can get the actual name of a vessel or the MMSI number so that you can call them directly either via voice or DSC. It is quite an amazing radio for a handheld. It is a little bit bulky.
Kijit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 04:46   #5
Registered User
 
ranger58sb's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Maryland, USA
Boat: 58' Sedan Bridge
Posts: 5,489
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPK View Post
I've been using my iPhone for charts (Navionics) and AIS (Boat Beacon app) but it's a bit cumbersome and the Boat Beacon app has a several minute delay in the data it reports since it's internet-based.

Also, not all boats transmitting an AIS signal will show up on some of the aggregators. Depends on location of shore relay stations, etc.

We've been in areas where ~10 AIS transmitters showed up on our AIS system, some we could actually see asnd identify... but not on an aggregator's site at all... at least during that time frame.

-Chris
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, USA.
ranger58sb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 05:40   #6
Registered User
 
Mickeyrouse's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Texas
Boat: Hinckley Bermuda 40
Posts: 859
Images: 5
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

Our problem is that so frequently the MMSI number appears but no name. Trying to read that number accurately isn’t always easy in varying light, moving conditions, etc. And who remembers - even knows- their MMSI number to respond to it? I can find ours if I look for it- somewhere. I’ve been using AIS since 2010, and have yet to hear hear the first tug, ship, offshore service vessel, yacht, ferry, shrimp boat- ANYTHING- use it to identify either the calling vessel or the vessel being hailed. Of course I may be in a pocket where that’s just not done.
__________________
Why wonít the money go as far as the boat will?
Mickeyrouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 07:43   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Virginia, USA
Boat: Between Boats (sold the Tayana 37)
Posts: 1,115
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickeyrouse View Post
Our problem is that so frequently the MMSI number appears but no name. Trying to read that number accurately isn’t always easy in varying light, moving conditions, etc. And who remembers - even knows- their MMSI number to respond to it? I can find ours if I look for it- somewhere. I’ve been using AIS since 2010, and have yet to hear hear the first tug, ship, offshore service vessel, yacht, ferry, shrimp boat- ANYTHING- use it to identify either the calling vessel or the vessel being hailed. Of course I may be in a pocket where that’s just not done.
I don't think anyone was saying they identify the ship by their MMSI # verbally rather you can get a list of MMSI targets and can pick one and get details to include name and then initiate a DSC call to that vessel which requires the MMSI #.

If the AIS records are incomplete and have no vessel name well then you don't have the name. You can still initiate a DSC call though which requires someone on the vessel to do something in only to make the radio stop ringing which can be useful vs a hail on 16 which they just ignore or assume you are talking to a different vessel.

That being said handheld radios get abused not sure I would want power hungry AIS & DSC on a handheld radio that is bulky and cost $350. Maybe I am just clumsy though.
Statistical is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 09:34   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: SAnta Cruz 27
Posts: 6,838
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

I've had the M94D for almost 2 years, and have to say that Icom missed the strike zone on this one. As mentioned above, the radio often does not process the static AIS information so you don't get the ship's name, even when it is less than 5 miles away.

The other annoying thing about the radio is that the manual tells you that you can't operate it while charging it. This means that it can't be used 24/7 and Icom USA confirmed that to me. This year I said warranty be damned and left it on when I put it in the charger. It worked fine.
donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 11:43   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: San Francisco
Boat: Morgan 382
Posts: 3,057
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPK View Post
Thanks. I agree that 99% of the time it's pretty easy to avoid everything without AIS. There are a few specific situations where it's handy. For instance, when sailing with friends/family, they always like to sail under the GG bridge. The fog bank is invariably just beyond the bridge. It's helpful to know if there's a large ship comin' in 'hot' that's about to peek out from the fog as we're all looking up and admiring the bridge.
If you have poor visibility outside the gate, you can hail Traffic on channel 12, let them know you are outbound and ask if there are any inbound ships. Busier ports around the world actually require sailboats to do this, so it isn't totally abnormal.
__________________
-Warren
wholybee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 11:53   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Virginia, USA
Boat: Between Boats (sold the Tayana 37)
Posts: 1,115
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I've had the M94D for almost 2 years, and have to say that Icom missed the strike zone on this one. As mentioned above, the radio often does not process the static AIS information so you don't get the ship's name, even when it is less than 5 miles away.
Well that is a weak sauce implementation for a handheld radio they are asking $350 for. I found it hard to justify that pricetag but with this revelation I think I can safely cross it off the list for good.
Statistical is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 12:04   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Wherever the boat is located
Boat: Catalina 470 (47')
Posts: 8
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

Hi. My wife and I bought a M94D a couple of years ago. We bought it specifically for the AIS feature. It works great. It came in very handy when our AIS died on the Baja-Ha-Ha in 2021. There were over 150 boats and everyone was going from/to the same spot. We use it to verify our new AIS is working properly as well as to keep track of others. I don't find the small screen to be a problem. The unit is not as robust as our chart plotter, etc. but it is still handy. When a friend said our AIS wasn't working, we were able to verify it was and see his boat (he was about 6NM behind us.
__________________
Home is where you drop your anchor.

s/v Whimsical IV
rweeton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 13:35   #12
JPK
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 114
Images: 1
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
If you have poor visibility outside the gate, you can hail Traffic on channel 12, let them know you are outbound and ask if there are any inbound ships. Busier ports around the world actually require sailboats to do this, so it isn't totally abnormal.
Thanks, I've never thought to hail on 12 to advise we're outbound. I'm always scanning 12 and 14, in addition to 9 and 16 so I listen in on the commercial traffic that's inbound/outbound but it's always nice to have a glance at a screen from time to time to make sure I know who's around.

Thanks for all the input from everyone. For what I'm looking for, it sounds like the 94D is not the right solution. In my perfect world, someone (Garmin, are you listening?) would incorporate AIS capability in a ruggedized and portable handheld GPS chartplotter (something like the Montana 700i) where you could get charts and AIS on a handheld device.
JPK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 14:24   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: San Francisco
Boat: Morgan 382
Posts: 3,057
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

What about portable AIS receivers which would allow navionics to connect via wifi? They must exist, though I have never looked.
__________________
-Warren
wholybee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 14:34   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: San Francisco
Boat: Morgan 382
Posts: 3,057
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

It looks like the dAISy2+ with wifi option would work to give you AIS on a phone with Navionics etc.
https://wegmatt.com/
__________________
-Warren
wholybee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-06-2023, 16:10   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 1
Re: AIS feature on Icom M94D - useful?

I have one. If you already have a good handheld vhf then I wouldnít pay the money just to upgrade, but if youíre looking for a handheld that is loud, then I think itís worthwhile.

I have mine in the ditch bag. That way, Iíd have gps and AIS in an emergency situation.
TangToo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
ais, icom

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale: ICOM MXA-5000 AIS Receiver - AIS with Real-Time Vessel Traffic Information SavvySailingGrl General Classifieds (no boats) 3 23-05-2022 09:45
For Sale: Icom 700 pro ssb and icom at 130 fishpipe General Classifieds (no boats) 5 19-01-2017 06:43
Tracker: AIS Feature Requests rgleason OpenCPN 36 24-04-2014 07:47
For Sale: ICOM HAM/SSB radio, GAM antenna and ICOM AH-4 tuner. All for $899.00 Jentine Classifieds Archive 0 04-07-2013 10:00
For Sale: ICOM M802 SSB, ICOM AT-140 Tuner, Pactor PTCIIpro with III Paul L Classifieds Archive 1 25-07-2012 18:34

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:46.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.