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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-15-2010
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Ais?

So the time has come to get the new VHF. I would like to know what your thoughts are on having a VHF, with this feature. Is it just a gimmick? Does it really add to your safety? What are the conn's to having one of these? We thought we going away, to be away, not to be connected. Do you think it will become mandatory eventually? I like the Standard Horizon brand, their warranty looks very good. What brand do you like? How about their usefulness offshore? What do you think?
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Old 03-15-2010
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Having been in some thick fog in the mid Atlantic, I can say I could not be happier with my decision to buy an AIS unit. I feel it greatly improves my situational awareness on the water (which is always a good thing.) I will ofcourse offer the important caveat that the picture it offers is still incomplete and should not be relied upon as the primary means of collision avoidance, but I am certainly happy to have it. When integrated with a gps chartplotter and vhf, you have a pretty powerful tool at your disposal without too hefty a drain on either your house battery bank or your wallet.

I don't see it coming into the recreational market as a mandatory piece of equipment, but I am all for expanding its use in the commercial fleet.

It bears mentioning that mine is a receive-only unit so I tend to use it more to tell me what surrounding traffic is doing. Anyway, I'm sure I've left some questions unanswered, but I wanted to throw my opinion out there.

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Old 03-15-2010
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I think it is a really good thing to have. It allows you to keep an eye on the big ships that could run you down and not even notice... and allows you to contact them by their MMSI number.
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Old 03-15-2010
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Ais

Read up on the system carefully to make sure you know what you will be getting. I was seriously considering getting one but have decided to wait a while. The class B rigs are still voluntary so all you will be assured of seeing are the really big ships that unless you are completely zoned out, you will see anyway.

My research on the subject led me to believe the best available at this time is from Vesper Marine. It's not the VHF integrated type but the screen is much larger and will provide much more detail for about the same money. Also you can still use your current VHF antenna. See vespermarine.com for the full details.

Good luck!
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Old 03-15-2010
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I'm a fan...especially if you can run the AIS to the plotter. Saving up boat bucks to get the standard horizon matrix ones. Gets a bit pricey when you have to buy the head unit as well as the ram mic extension.

On the plus side, ONLY ONE vhf antenna and no splitter to deal with.
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If the Standard Horizon VHF is connected to a GPS chartplotter that supports AIS, it will show the big ships on the chartplotter, much like the Vesper Marine unit. Also, since the OP is looking to replace the VHF, this will be the less expensive option more likely than not.

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Originally Posted by DwayneSpeer View Post
Read up on the system carefully to make sure you know what you will be getting. I was seriously considering getting one but have decided to wait a while. The class B rigs are still voluntary so all you will be assured of seeing are the really big ships that unless you are completely zoned out, you will see anyway.

My research on the subject led me to believe the best available at this time is from Vesper Marine. It's not the VHF integrated type but the screen is much larger and will provide much more detail for about the same money. Also you can still use your current VHF antenna. See vespermarine.com for the full details.

Good luck!
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Old 03-16-2010
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I will have a new e120 at the helm, and would like to receive the ais data through it. Who are the big DOGS in this market?
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Old 03-16-2010
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I put a Raymarine AIS 500 into my E120 Chartplotter, but you can use any other system that outputs NMEA to your E120 and don't need to stay with Raymarine. NASA was the other manufacturer I looked at.
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Old 03-16-2010
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Hello,

I plan on buying the Standard Horizon GX2100 AIS unit. This unit receives (and does not transmit) AIS data using the same antenna as for regular VHF communication. The VHF display will show vessels that broadcast AIS information and are within a range you specify.

Does make you safer? IMHO it will for me. I like to sail at night and it can be real challenge to determine the course of a large vessel. With AIS I should be able to determine if the large vessel I can see is on a collision course or not. I will also be able to more easily contact that vessel.

The SH unit is available for under $350, so if you plan on buying a new VHF unit anyway, the additional cost is pretty small.

Lastly, note that the latest remote mic can also display the AIS info. I will mount the radio in the cabin and the remote mic at the helm so I have AIS info there as well.

Barry
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Old 03-16-2010
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We love our little AIS receive only unit.

It sends the information to the radio (which is OK) but also plots it on the chart plotter on my lap top. Shows me the vessel, all the information as well as a line sticking out the front of the icon, either straight,m curved or whatever, indicating what said vessel is doing. Also displays things like Closest point of contact = .008 KM in 32 minutes. That I like. I like lots of warning, I do not like those kinds of surprises!

For less than $200, how can you go wrong!

Best to you.

But, remember, you have to have it turned on and pay attention to it!

Rik
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