Join Date: Jun 2006
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I saw this at the boat show last week (I bought an HX850 handheld with the integral GPS!). It outputs to a plotter or a PC although you might have to tailor the connectors depending on USB or serial, etc. Everything Bill says is correct (as usual in the world of comms), but check with the dealer for your particular situation.
The AIS display on the radio is basic, but serviceable and gives the usual bearings, distance, speed, lat/lon and so on of the AIS transmitting vessel. I wouldn't bother outputting to a plotter in a recreational setting, but I would bother were I entering a major commercial harbour and/or at night, because I find one of the best features of AIS is the (usually) red, yellow, or green alerts that convey whether Ship X is at anchor, stopped or moving.
On the basis of avoiding "all eggs in one basket", I would consider wiring a second antenna to the rail with the PL-259 connector near to radio. That way, if the mast-top antenna fails in some manner, you haven't lost both VHF and AIS in one stroke. But that's just my belt and suspenders mentality at work.
I really like these units, and I suspect when I am ready to buy a VHF for the pilothouse in two years, it will be this or a similar model.
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