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Old 26-11-2021, 10:00   #1
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Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

I have been cruising with an AIS receiver since 2011. After this last season on the Maine Coast - nearly got run down by a 48 ft. catamaran in the fog going 12 knots that was only using AIS to look for boats, I realized that transmitting is getting to be required from a safety perspective. I have an older Raymarine system (two E80's) that I am very happy with for navigation and my receiver is a Standard Horizon VHF/AIS radio. I have been looking up transmitters and transceivers and have found a few under $800, but would love some input as to what other cruisers are using as transmitters on their boats. Would like to spend in the $500 range if possible (Si-Tex Metadata Class B, Vesper XB-6000, Em-Trak A100 are examples).
Thanks for your help
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Old 26-11-2021, 11:24   #2
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Weíve got an em-trak b350. Itís an sotdma b transponder. Less expensive than others, and works just fine. More than the transponder your antenna makes the difference. Ours is a dedicated antenna on the mizzen masthead
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Old 26-11-2021, 11:38   #3
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

I went with the Vesper Cortex M1. It adds another VHF radio, does the job of GPS, AIS, and does anchor watch with notifications. Really good support, too. It is pricey, but it does a lot of cool things that I wanted to be able to do.

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Old 26-11-2021, 11:46   #4
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

I have a Amec Widelink B600W...SOTDMA (5W) transponder with builtin wifi. It also has a SD card for logging which is a nice to have. but the basic transponder without wifi is just over $500 and it has both NMEA2k and NMEA 0183
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Old 26-11-2021, 13:02   #5
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Get the Vesper Xb WITH Wi-Fi. Offshore you can turn of the MFD and get all ships data on a tablet or phone, saving electric. Also has anchor alarm and can be update using a cellphone.

I have one, on my recommendation many of my customers have gotten them and most complaints are user errors.
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Old 26-11-2021, 13:24   #6
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Recently a member here had a complete Vesper
system up for sale for 600 with an antenna splitter
Jump on it if still available
Cheers
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Old 27-11-2021, 04:32   #7
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Iím on my second XB-8000 and have loved using each. As an FAA Private Pilot I realized my original setup with VHF/AIS in was missing the equation of see and be seen.
Service from Vespar is outstanding.
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Old 27-11-2021, 05:21   #8
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

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Originally Posted by PuttingDoctor View Post
Iím on my second XB-8000 and have loved using each. As an FAA Private Pilot I realized my original setup with VHF/AIS in was missing the equation of see and be seen.
Service from Vespar is outstanding.
a second vesper? what happened to first?
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Old 27-11-2021, 07:04   #9
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

I am also thinking of adding to my vessel this next year, I am in Raymarine so I am wondering if it is worth the savings of going off brand. I agree that it is becoming a necessity off shore, I have crewed several boats up and down the east coast of the USA this year and itís alarming when you sea a vessel with no AIS, it is the exception in local day sailing waters like the Long Island sound but I can see that changing.
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Old 27-11-2021, 07:06   #10
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Thank you all for your replies. It looks like only the Vesper comes with a VHF antenna splitter. So either you have to put up a second antenna or you have to pay a high price for the splitter. Additionally I wonder if I can keep my Standard Horizon receiver VHF radio or do I have or will the signal from the VHF AIS receiver interfere with the Transceiver?
Again thanks to all, reading the installation instructions from the three I mentioned (Vesper, SiTex and Em-Trak ) they all say it just plug and play. I have never found any electronic installation on a boat to be "just plug and play".
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Old 27-11-2021, 08:01   #11
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Quote:
Originally Posted by epoxyman View Post
Thank you all for your replies. It looks like only the Vesper comes with a VHF antenna splitter. So either you have to put up a second antenna or you have to pay a high price for the splitter. Additionally I wonder if I can keep my Standard Horizon receiver VHF radio or do I have or will the signal from the VHF AIS receiver interfere with the Transceiver?

Again thanks to all, reading the installation instructions from the three I mentioned (Vesper, SiTex and Em-Trak ) they all say it just plug and play. I have never found any electronic installation on a boat to be "just plug and play".


It is as plug and play as it gets. Your existing radio will be fine and vesper works great with Raymarine (Iím sure other systems as well). Having an AIS with Wi-Fi allows the NEMA sentences to be received by tablets and laptops enabling full chart plotter capability. The anchor alarm on the vesper is an added bonus.
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Old 27-11-2021, 08:02   #12
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Vesper is the way to go. The XB-8000 solves all kinds of interconnect problems between 183 and 2000, and has wi-if to boot. You can connect to the Raymarine via 183 and other stuff via 2000. The c-80s will display AIS targets directly, as will a laptop or tablet running CPN or other charting software. Since the AIS has its own GPS, you get another source of location also - no need to have built in to the laptop or tablet.
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Old 27-11-2021, 08:58   #13
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Vesper 8000=plug and play for me.
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Old 27-11-2021, 09:04   #14
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

I installed an em-Trak 953 last season and agree AIS is an invaluable safety tool. It allows me to see traffic 20+ miles away. Last season I radio'd a ship several miles away. She told me she saw me awhile ago, had already altered course to give us more room and was monitoring our course.

Another advantage is you're visible on MarineTraffic and other ship tracking apps/web sites. Friends and family can see where I am (might be a big disadvantage to some!). This only works when in range of the service's terrestrial receivers. See images for examples.

As someone else said, the AIS is also a second GPS device on my NMEA 2000 network. I also connected mine to the nav station chartplotter via NMEA 0183 for redundancy in case something happens to the NMEA 2000 network.

I went with the integrated antenna splitter and is the newer SOTDMA technology which brought the price closer to $670. I opted for an external GPS antenna ($40) for faster GPS lock because of my mounting location sideways under a wood shelf. It is still inside the cabin and would not be needed if I mounted the unit in a different location.

I purchased mine from Milltech Marine (https://www.milltechmarine.com/) and found their service outstanding and prices very competitive.

Regarding plug and play, mine truly was plug and play to get AIS information! I did have to change a config setting (very easy) to make GPS data available via NMEA.
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Old 27-11-2021, 09:14   #15
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Re: Looking for Advice on AIS Transmitters

Like you, we also started with the Standard Horizon VHF/AIS receiver. We have since added the Vesper XB-8000 and realized we just should have gone that route to begin with. An excellent upgrade for us, and there has been zero interference between the Vesper and the Standard Horizon.
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