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  #1  
Old 01-18-2010
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VHF Radio w. AIS receiver

Hello everyone

Quick question to you electronic types. there is a new generation of VHF radios coming onto the market that has an AIS receiver built in (eg. Standard Horizon GX2100)

Does anyone know whether these are capable of being connected to a laptop in order to have the AIS data displayed within my charting program? All my research has not come up with an answer yet.

The other option would be to get an AIS receiver (I.e. Miltech SR161) and an antenna splitter (or standalone antenna) which clearly is capable of outputting to a PC.

Many thank in advance.

Matt
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Old 01-18-2010
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Matt—

Try going to the Standard Horizon site and downloading the manual...as it probably says in the manual whether that is a possibility.
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Old 01-18-2010
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AIS is a VHF Digital receiver. You will need to connect it to an “active antenna switch” if you want to share the antenna with your VHF. If you merely use an antenna splitter, you will melt your AIR receiver the second you key the microphone. As the full radiated power of your VHF is pumped directly into the AIS. The “active antenna switch” senses the transmission power from the VHF and “opens”, saving the AIS. The downside of using a single antenna is your AIS will loose track of it’s contacts when you transmit (it will reacquire them once you stop transmitting).
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George

You are absolutely correct, bad wording on my part. My apologies.

Thanks for the reply.

Matt
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Old 01-18-2010
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No prob. Haven’t seen the Standard Horizons radio that you mentioned, but I’m assuming it outputs to your NEMA bus where it is available to your chart plotter or computer. I have a DSC radio and it plot a friend’s position when he transmits if you have inputted his DSC number into your own radio. Pretty cool, these (new) digital radios.
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Old 01-18-2010
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The GX2100 incorporates an active switch. You only need ONE antenna...the normal VHF antenna.

The Standard Horizon GX2100 has a "38400 AIS VDM sentence output to a compatible GPS chart plotter". Should be adaptable to a laptop.

It apparently also has the facility to call a ship using its DSC directly.

Lotta stuff crammed into that little box :-)

Bill
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Old 01-19-2010
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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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Old 03-22-2010
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So, how do you connect the GX2100 AIS output to a laptop using USB port?
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Old 03-22-2010
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According to the Standard Horizon User's Manual; "the Matrix AIS GX2100 with internal dual channel receiver has the capability to output received class A & B targets using VDM sentence at a baud rate of 34800... If you have further inquiries, please feel free to contact Product Support..."

Uh, ya, me thinks that something is lost in translation...

Bottom line is that this can output NEMA 0183HS sentences. NEMA 0183HS is a serial bus. Also realize that this unit is an AIS RECEIVER ONLY. (Which means that you can see them, but they can't see you.)

ActiSense has a serial bus to USB gateway that you can learn about here. It will enable you to connect this radio to your laptop chartplotter.

I have no affiliation with either ActiSense or Standard Horizon... but I know that ActiSense Tech Support does venture into these forums.

I would be very interested if, and when, a manufacturer comes out with a similar radio that transmits and receives AIS data, and even more interested if it used NEMA 2000.
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Old 03-22-2010
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...And because you'll ask;
Standard Horizon's Tech Support can be reached at: 800-767-2450 or marinetech(at)vxstdusa(dot)com

Last edited by eherlihy; 03-22-2010 at 11:47 AM. Reason: Protection from SPAM
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