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  #1  
Old 07-05-2010
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AIS / VHF combo

Does anyone use the Standard Horizon VHF/AIS combo unit. It seems like a great deal at $350 when the stand alone AIS receiver is $700. What is the catch? Does it interface with a chart plotter? How about one that has an Ethernet port?
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Old 07-05-2010
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What you need is a VHF-AIS SPLITTER on your VHF antenna.

Here's an example: Smart Radio VHF Antenna Splitter
Your AIS device manufacturer should also be recommending a proper splitter to 'match' their AIS receiver.
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Old 07-05-2010
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I'm a big fan of the SH Matrix GX2100 AIS/VHF

but then again I sell them.

This lady is also a fan;

Upgrading Electronics Aboard Daphne

Matrix GX2100
38400 AIS VDM sentence output to compatible GPS Chart Plotter.

The ability to see a vessel and its CPA (assuming its AIS equipped), and call it up by name is very nice. No antenna splitter needed.
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Old 07-05-2010
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Milltech sells a reciever with a VHF antenna splitter for less tha 400 dollars. I've been using this unit without problem with MaxSea.
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Old 07-05-2010
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I have this radio/AIS combo and I love it. It has a NMEA 0183 interface and it does hook up to other compatible devices. I have it hooked up to my Garmin 541s chartplotter and it works just fine bidirectionally.

Some advice with the unit:

1) The SH instructions are little murky on the NMEA connections. For systems like the Garmin, you need to use both serial ports. You color match per the SH manual for the first serial port. This interfaces the VHF/AIS with the GPS and allows it to receive position data. Set this to standard speed on port 1 of the plotter. For the plotter to receive AIS data, in the case of the Garmin, you need to hook the SH high-speed brown wire (port 2 TX) to the violet wire on the plotter (port 2 RX). Set the speed on serial port 2 on the plotter to high speed. Voila! Bidirectional communication. Your VHF will now have GPS data for DSC calls and your plotter will display AIS targets and provide an "Other Vessels" listing. Works perfectly.

2) The VHF/AIS NMEA wires are thin and very short. You will need to have the power and data connections on your plotter hooked up near the VHF. Since both my VHF and plotter were installed at the same time, I mounted a terminal strip nearby for common power connections and ensure the NMEA wires could be hooked up. Fortunately, the Garmin data/power cable is long enough to allow this.

3) The VHF/AIS needs a connection to negative ground. My Garmin plotter internally uses its negative power cable so you need to route a dedicated ground wire from your power connection to the NMEA green wire on the VHF/AIS. You MUST do this! Otherwise the system won't work. I ran a short length of 18AWG wire from the negative side of my terminal strip and splice it to the SH NMEA green wire.

Once you've done this, it works without a hitch. Configure the VHF/AIS and plotter to suit. Not as easy as NMEA 2000 but easy if you've ever played with PCs and serial ports (same basic technology).

Can't recommend the VHF/AIS highly enough. At $350 and if you have a compatible plotter that supports AIS data streams, it is the best buy going to add AIS capability to your boat. Since I bought the boat with an old VHF I fully intended to replace, the VHF/AIS was the number one item on my new stuff list when I got to the electronics.

Disclaimer: I have no interest in SH and don't work in the marine industry. Just a satisfied owner.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. If you're interested in my setup, I can take photos and provide them to interested parties.

Matt
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Old 07-05-2010
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I am NOT a fan of this unit. It is hard to beat the price though.

My issues are that it is an AIS receiver ONLY, not a transceiver. Also, it supports NEMA 0813, and not NEMA 2000.
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Old 07-06-2010
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I'm a fan of AIS, whether it's as a receiver or transceiver. The problem with the transceivers is not only cost but power requirements.

There are 2 classes: A and B. The Class B is nearly identical to the Class A, except the Class B (according to the USCG):

* Has a reporting rate less than a Class A (e.g. every 30 sec. when under 14 knots, as opposed to every 10 sec. for Class A)
* Does not transmit the vesselís IMO number
* Does not transmit ETA or destination
* Does not transmit navigational status
* Is only required to receive, not transmit, text safety messages
* Is only required to receive, not transmit, application identifiers (binary messages)
* Does not transmit rate of turn information
* Does not transmit maximum present static draught


With the prices coming down, I'd consider a transceiver over the receiver despite the added power and equipment requirements. However, for small, kiss/basic sailors with limited funds and space, a receiving AIS is better than nothing.

And while a receiver only AIS would cost a few hundred dollars, the Class B models (with display) can run in the thousands. Some AIS transceivers require connection to a chart plotter or navcomp to show the received data as well as transmitted info, others can be connected to a dedicated display. Since the display is what you look at after the alarm goes off, having one that's accessible is a good thing.

So, while I'd prefer a Class B AIS transceiver, if I could get a receiver only AIS with a good quality VHF in one package, and I knew that AIS was a valued safety feature, and my pockets weren't that deep nor the work list that short, I'd probably go with that.
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Old 07-06-2010
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BTW - There is another thread on this radio HERE

Last edited by eherlihy; 07-06-2010 at 08:10 AM. Reason: Autolink is REALLY becoming a PAIN!
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Old 07-06-2010
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I have the SH Matrix 2100 VHF/AIS connected to a Garmin 546 and am very pleased with this setup. The plotter displays a good deal more information than the radio. Note in this photo the green triangles on the display - they are all AIS targets. Note also that the Garmiin's SD card door is taped closed. That is because I removed the internal magnet from the unit to enable installation on the binnacle.
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AIS / VHF combo-ais-sh-vhf.jpg  
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Old 07-06-2010
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Hello,

I also bought and installed the radio and remote mic this spring. The radio gets GPS data from my Lowrance plotter. My plotter is too old (2007!!) to display AIS data. I did easily connect the radio AIS output info to a laptop running SeaClear and that gets and displays the AIS data (and a lot more clear than the radio too).

I also have the remote mic for the radio (radio down below at the nav station, remote mic at the helm). The remote mic can also display the AIS info, but the screen is very small.

I haven't used the radio all that much. I can see a few AIS targets so I know it works. I have tried to call a few targets with the DSC function, but no one has answered me yet.

All in all, for under $500 (with remote mic) it is a real bargain.

Barry
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