Originally Posted by chef2sail
What kind of AIS receiver did you get, a stand alone or one associated with a fixed VHF like the Standard Horizon VHF.. How do you incorpoate that into your netbook? Will it blue tooth or do you have to run a direct cable...
Dave - I have the Standard Horizon GX2150, which has an AIS receiver integrated into it. I have a dedicated Garmin GPS puck feeding GPS coordinates to it (something I advocate for anyone who does not have a fixed chartplotter to connect to their DSC radio). I have two Bluetooth transmitters - one sends the GPS coordinates, and the other sends the AIS signal. My Netbook receives both and OpenCPN displays them. (I can also pick up these Bluetooth signals on my Nook Color tablet, which lacks its own internal GPS.) The Netbook also sends autopilot commands out via Bluetooth, from which it is routed to the autopilot. I once did a motorized run from Delaware City to Essington entirely using a pre-programmed route. Obviously I stood watch to make sure I did not need to dodge a freighter, buoy, tree, or old tire.
Although the AIS lacks transmit capability, having the receiver integrated into the radio does offer one very nice feature. With a turn of a knob (in the cabin) or the press of an arrow button (on the cockpit RAM mic) I can select any vessel on the AIS display and place a DSC call directly to them without having to manually enter their MMSI number. Placing a DSC call (as opposed to a normal voice hail) also sends them your GPS coordinates, which show up on their radio display (and on their chartplotter, if it's interfaced with the radio). This is a very nice feature which makes DSC much more easily usable than having to manually enter an MMSI number, which is hopelessly tedious.