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Old 07-11-2017, 02:57   #1
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Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

https://www.humminbird.com/Products/RX-AIS/

I currently have a Standard Horizon 2200 and a B&G Vulcan connected via an Actisense converter that has, as of this time, never actually given me any AIS data onto the plotter. As cheap as this is, it seems like a decent option to get a NMEA 2000 device and get me out of the 4 way finger pointing contest trying to figure out why everything is hooked up right but what I have does not work.
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Old 08-11-2017, 21:24   #2
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

Re your experience that data from an AIS receiver integrated into a VHF Marine Band radio that outputs via NMEA-0183, is then converted to NMEA-2000 datagrams via an Actisense convertor, is not displayed on a B&G chartplotter:

The Actisense NMEA-0183 to NMEA-2000 converter does not provide conversion of AIS data unless you have installed a specific firmware.

Actisense is about to release a new version of the NMEA-0183 to NMEA-2000 gateway product that will be able to convert AIS data and regular data simultaneously.
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Old 08-11-2017, 22:05   #3
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

Thanks for the reply Continuous Wave, I have been reading your trip reports for years and always enjoy them.


I have the specific AIS firmware version.

My gx 2200 has the following NMEA 183 outputs

Blue - NMEA GPS input +
Green NMEA GPS input -
Grey NMEA DSC output +
Brown NMEA DSC output -
Yellow NMEA-HS AIS output +
White NMEA-HS AIS output -

I tried connecting:

Radio yellow - Ngw red
Radio white - Ngw black

My plotter sees the ngw on the network and I have the GX 2200 set to 38400 baud to match what the Actisesnse should be looking for.

The biggest problem from a testing perspective is that there are no AIS targets anywhere near where I keep my boat so the only time I have AIS targets I am otherwise engaged and not at liberty to screw around with wires down in the cabin. I have toyed with the idea of getting an AIS only MOB device for testing as it would otherwise be a handy thing to have on ones life jacket anyhow.

Has anyone got AIS over from the GX-2200 over to a NMEA 2000 network?
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:53   #4
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

You can make a reasonable test of the output of the AIS receiver by monitoring the NMEA-0183 data lines using a standard serial port interface and terminal software. For the Standard-Horizon GX2200 the AIS data is being sent:

TALKER A = Yellow
TALKER B = White

If you have an RS-422 serial interface on a computer, you should be able to interface the computer to the radio. Then open a terminal application and read the data from the radio. You should see output from the radio when there are AIS targets in range. The mini chartplotter in the radio will let you know when you have a target in range. You will see data containing sentences beginning with VDM. A typical message will look something like this:

!AIVDM,1,1,,A,15O86n001TJ3KutH8ar@<h;l06Hh,0*5D

Even if there are no actual vessels in range, if you are near a USCG RESCUE 21 site, and that site is also hosting a N-AIS transponder, the site will be sending an AIS BASE STATION Message all the time, giving you a test signal to use. Also, if there are any AIS Aid-to-Navigation signals in your area, they are also transmitted all the time. I am in SE Michigan, and there are dozens of AIS AtoN signals being sent continually, so even if there are no vessels, the AIS channel has a lot of traffic on it. And these signals are transmitted from sites with 20 to 40 mile radio horizons, so you can hear them a long way away.

Once you verify that you are seeing NMEA-0183 output from the radio on the YELLOW/WHITE pair, you can move on to testing the Actisense Gateway device.

There is no simple way to test the functionality of the Actisense NMEA gateway device, unless you happen to have some fancy NMEA-2000 test gear at your disposal. But you can rudimentarily test it by assuming it works and looking for some sign on the downstream chartplotter that it is plotting targets. However, that is another problem: does your chartplotter know about AIS and does it plot targets.

I have no familiarity with the particular B&G chartplotter you have, and I would not say that to assume it can show AIS targets is a sure bet. However, I think B&G is part of Navico, and Navico chartplotters have surprisingly good outcomes with plotting AIS targets. For example, I was astounded to find that my rather old Lowrance HDS first-generation chartplotter, whose firmware has not been updated in several years, was able to plot AIS Aid-to-Navigation (AtoN) signals, which are just coming into use. But it does not plot AIS base stations. (So you can't use the AIS Base Station signal as a test and be completely confident the plotter will show it.) But on that basis, your B&G chartplotter is probably cable of plotting AIS targets.

Well, sorry to ramble here, and not give you much real help--but if you verify the radio is putting out VDM sentences, then at the least you have eliminated the radio as the culprit in your lack of success.

For a bit more detail about the radio and AIS sentences, you might find this article useful:

Standard-Horizon: GX2200 AIS - Moderated Discussion Areas
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:13   #5
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

Oh--wait a minute. I just had a thought.

You CAN test the Actisense convertor, and it will be simple. Here is what you can do:

--use your computer, its terminal application, and its serial port to simulate an AIS receiver;

--feed the computer serial port to the Actisense Gateway

--open the terminal application, and send a valid VDM message from the terminal application.

Here is a valid VDM message

!AIVDM,1,1,,A,15O86n001TJ3KutH8ar@<h;l06Hh,0*5D

This message will plot a vessel position. Use the on-line decoder to see the actual message payload. Enter the message at

AIS VDM & VDO Message Decoder - Maritec Trust

and it will decode it. Then check your chart plotter to see if the plotter got the data via NMEA-2000.

You should see a vessel with this data:

MMSI: 368183000
Latitude: 42.1793750
Longitude: 83.1352567
SOG: 10.0
COG: 05.1
True heading: 5
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:55   #6
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

To get back to the topic in the thread TITLE, that Humminbird AIS receiver looks quite interesting. Because it has a NMEA-2000 output as just a receiver, I think it has a somewhat unique product niche. Most AIS receiver-only devices seem to be NMEA-0183 oriented. I think the only other AIS receiver with NMEA-2000 is perhaps the GARMIN AIS 300 BLACK BOX receiver.

Also, with the Actisense gateway, as I recall their standard firmware was not supporting the DSC and DSE messages from the radio. That is a major problem in using the Actisense convertor with a VHF DSC radio. Based on some press-releases from Actisense recently sent out, I think they are also correcting that problem with their newest version of the gateway product. Whether or not an existing gateway can be updated with their newer firmware to permit DSC and DSE to be translated and have AIS (VDM) sentences, too, is not clear to me.

You might want to consider an alternative approach with your gear. I think you could get the outcome you want if you:

--used the GX2200 radio AIS or high-speed NMEA-0183 output to connect to the chartplotter NMEA-0183 input;

--the GX2200 can combine its AIS and DSC NMEA TALKER data into a single stream for interconnection of chart plotters

In this way you will get both the AIS messages and the DSC/DSE messages onto your chart plotter. As it stands now with using the Actisense gateway, I don't think you can accomplish that due to the either/or firmware in the gateway and the lack of support for DSC and DSE messages in the gateway.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:08   #7
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

I doubt you are also getting GPS to the radio. making it less usefull.

instead of buying a 2nd AIS receiver. and also needing a 2nd vhf antenna. or a splitter. (more $)

I would buy a new n2k radio. deal with less cables. get gps pos on your radio. and selling the current radio and converter would probably pay for it.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:10   #8
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by continuouswave View Post
--used the GX2200 radio AIS or high-speed NMEA-0183 output to connect to the chartplotter NMEA-0183 input;
B&G Vulcan is not nmea 183. if it was. he wouldn't be screwing with adapters..
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Old 09-11-2017, 17:44   #9
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
B&G Vulcan is not [NMEA] 183...if it [were] he wouldn't be screwing with adapters.
Oh, thanks for pointing out that fundamental problem.

I have noticed that some of the recent chart plotters at the lower-tier price points seem to be omitting NMEA-0183 interfaces. As we see here, it creates a big problem in some instances. NMEA-0183 may be an older standard, but it is not going away, and omitting it from a chart plotter is a big mistake.

Selling off the GX2200 is also going to be a nuisance; it probably has already been tagged with an MMSI for the owner's boat. Resetting the radio to accept a new MMSI will be tedious and require shipping it back to California.

Maybe the answer is a different chart plotter.
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Old 09-11-2017, 18:34   #10
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Re: Has anyone tried the Humminbird RX AIS receiver?

Thanks for all the helpful replies.

As I mentioned, there are NO AIS targets near me so using the serial port to generate one sounds like an ingenious plan. I'll dig around in the closet and resurrect one of my old Panasonic Toughbooks, I seem to recall most of them had ports on them. Either way, being able to diagnose where the break down in comms happens will get me to the bottom of this.

If I get all of that cooked up and talking, I will put up a picture post to help anyone else trying the same thing in the future.



A few other comments

Re No GPS to radio: The radio has it's own GPS

Re No DSC to plotter, not that worried about that right now. If I can fix that with a firmware update I will, if not no worries.

Re changing radios I have looked at this option as there are now several radios that do the same thing and have NMEA2000 interfaces but all of them I have seen look kind of chintzy compared to the Standard Horizon radios. I have been very happy with this set, if they make an updated model that's NMEA 2000, I will be the first to order it but I am not going to risk my comms to any of the other radios I have yet seen.

Re changing chart plotters. I chose the Vulcan for a reason, it fits well with the amount of space I have to work with and incorporates **most** all of the features I need in a single display which is important to me since I have a smaller boat and don't have limitless space for doo dads.

Near term, if I can get AIS to the display with the current kit than I think that's the ideal. If not, I will likely bin the Actisense and add in a separate AIS receiver perhaps giving this Humminbird thingy a try, I don't mind putting together a separate AIS antenna, I am enough radio guy that I have toyed with the idea of a backup VHF antenna anyhow.
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