I am interested in AIS, but the cheapest way possible.
(AIS is Automatic identification system. For those of you who are not aware of this yet; It is an ANTI COLLISION SYSTEM FOR COMMERCIAL SHIPPING USED WORLDWIDE.)
We don't need a transponder, just a receiver that outputs to a laptop so I can find ships' GPS positions, heading and speed, who enter my security circle, which is set on a 20NM radius.
Yep, you guessed right, I am the navigator on our boat.
AIS data is transmitted on Ch 87 & 88 VHF and seeing we have 2 VHF radios and 3 laptops o/b; I thought that there must be a way to utilize our equipment, without buying more electronic boxes.
I've been looking around for months, on the internet for something.
When we were on the hard in New Zealand and talking to some locals, who put us in contact with a company here in Tauranga.
These guys put an audio filter in the radio.
The filter distinguishes between AIS data and interference.
It ouputs to the laptop and presto, we've got a pretty cheap AIS receiver. I'm not sure how it actually works, but it does.
We had this installed a month ago.
Included came heaps of usefull software on a dvd
They even installed the software on all our laptops. We paid $130US.
And best of all, the software overlays on our MaxSea v10 charts and puts ships superimposed on the screen on the charts.
It beats radar hands down as it can 'look' around corners (islands) and without the usual radar 'clutter'.
This guy Adrian says that they send these filters, connector cable and software and all over the world for self installation.
Their website is Cheapest AIS SYSTEM for Yachts
I am sorry if this sounds like a commercial, but we are so happy with it, I just thought I share our experience. Marigrace