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mestrezat 22-10-2007 15:53

Best AIS?
We've been looking at AIS systems for our sailboat. Nobeltec, SI-TEX, Raymarine,etc. We have an Acer laptop loaded with Nobeltec VNS with a GPS attached. Have purchased charts from Nobeltec for the Pacific coast as that is where we will be starting our journey.
I've looked into SI-TEC, Raymarine, Nobeltec as well as others and am not sure what system will work best. Each has its pluses and minuses. All but the Raymarine require a separate VHF antenna. Raymarine has a built in splitter so the mike can be keyed without disrupting the system.
I'd appreciate any information from members that have an AIS system and their thoughts on it. Good, Bad and otherwise.

boris 27-10-2007 23:34

the only dealings i have had is with a NAVMAN unit after 3 month countless phone calls it is still not going! Mind you the neither is the radar, chatplotter, fuel sensersors and water speed all installed by "professionals'' I was going to do it my self but AIS is quite paticular with distance from radar and vhf arials

Sandero 28-10-2007 04:54

I got a NASA black box, used an old VHF antenna on the rail and hooked it into a Raymarine C80. It seems to work, but not many targets. It was cheap, like $160. At that price it was well worth it. Advances are on the way.

beetle 28-10-2007 10:25

I'm using the SR 162 dual channel AIS receiver, purchased from milltech marine, it talks to the Coastal Explorer software running on the dell laptop down below. The system has worked very well for the past year.
Products from Milltech Marine

Downsides: to use the AIS means the computer needs to be up, therefore theAIS data is not available should the computer fail, the alarm sounding from the computer is not loud.

Upsides: very useful for determining heading/speed of shipping, which I find quite helpful when operating offshoure along the California coast.

An alternative that many of the folks in the Singlehanded Sailing Society have used is the NASA stand-alone AIS receiver/display. With its own display is doesn't require the laptop, and the alarm is quite loud relative to the laptop.
allGadgets: Product: 'NASA Clipper AIS 'Radar''

- beetle

svanr 28-10-2007 11:27

I'm very fond of my nasa stand-alone. It works great. Gives me another independant gps. The alarm is loud. It sure helps me keep way away from being in the way of ships.

I like independant nav-aids. If one goes down, you still have others. My laptop fried with everything running through it, and boy was I screwed.

bruadair 13-11-2007 15:03

I have the Si-tex AIS Engine hooked up to my Northstar M84 radar/chartplotter. Works great. I'm using a vhf antenna on my stern rail, I suspect my range would be greater if I could raise antenna.

I just finished installing a Seacas two channel AIS receiver on my friends Northstar M121 radar/chartplotter. It was much easier to install and also works great. This unit comes with a nmea connector and a USB connector for laptop use (can only use one at a time).

I understand AIS transponders will be out very soon.

The Adventures of s/v Bruadair

CSY Man 13-11-2007 21:06

Got an SR 161 hooked up to a CP-180i Standard Horizon and a VHF antenna on the stern rail. Very happy withe combo and the low cost.

Have seen ships 26 NM away and that is plenty. No need for mast mounted antenna or splitter.
Don't carry a lap top on the boat and the CP 180i was half the price of a lap top anyway.

The above combo is highly recommended.

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