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Old 12-04-2010
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Best AIS receiver for the buck

I'm about to outfit a 34 foot sailboat for offshore cruising. It would seem that being able to receive AIS data would be a nice safety feature. The receiver should probably have dual receivers and have the ability to share the VHF antenna with the VHF radio antenna. Also, it should offer NMEA 0183 output as a minimum and perhaps NMEA 2000. Any suggestions on AIS receivers that offer these capability for a reasonable price. I intend to display the output on my laptop.
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Old 12-04-2010
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Why not get a Standard Horizon GX2100 VHF, which has an integrated AIS receiver in a fairly nice DSC VHF unit, with a small display for AIS data.
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Old 12-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Why not get a Standard Horizon GX2100 VHF, which has an integrated AIS receiver in a fairly nice DSC VHF unit, with a small display for AIS data.
If a receiver only is what you want, then the Standard Horizon GX2100 will fit the bill...

However I would suggest that as long as you are going to all the trouble of installing and the expense, you may as well install an AIS Transceiver. A Transceiver will allow other vessels to see you, as well as you seeing them.

Garmin has a nice unit, IIRC ~$600
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Old 12-04-2010
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Best receiver value is the Standard Horizon GX2100-AIS. Sends data to any GPS plotter as well..

Red ship is AIS from GX2100-AIS...
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Old 12-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Why not get a Standard Horizon GX2100 VHF, which has an integrated AIS receiver in a fairly nice DSC VHF unit, with a small display for AIS data.
Thanks. I think that may be the way to go. I'm planning to purchase the Garmin gpsmap 441s. It appears that the gx2100 has 3 NMEA ports with 1 hi speed for ais output, 1 low speed input for gps, and 1 low speed output for dsc. The 441s has a Tx port 1 out, Rx port 1 in, Tx port 2 out, and Rx port 2 in. Any idea how you'd connect things so that both the gx2100 and laptop received gps data from 441s and both 441s and laptop received ais data from gx2100? Can the NMEA 0183 gps output of 441s be paralleled and sent to both gx2100 and laptop and likewise can the ais output of gx2100 be paralleled and sent to both 441s and laptop?

Edit: I do have a USB hockey puck gps which could easily provide gps input to laptop. That still leaves the question on paralleling the ais signal. For some reason, I'd like to share the gps signal from 441s (if possible) and save the hockey puck as a backup.

Last edited by prroots; 12-05-2010 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 12-04-2010
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Check out the ICOM MXA-5000 receiver. Picks up both A and B signals, uses the exisiting VHF antenna and is easy to connect. Picked one up last year (2009) after the Annapolis Show for $415 from Defender. Works well with my E120.
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Second Vote for MXA-5000

I've found the MXA-5000 to be very good unit. One really nice and often overlooked feature is that if you wire a GPS _into_ it as well, then it will repeat GPS and AIS nmea data out on a separate PC serial line. I have this wired to a bluetooth serial dongle, and so any laptop onboard can pick up the bluetooth serial connection and see realtime position and AIS data. Very handy (now if only Apple would put a non-crippled bluetooth stack on the iPhone and iPad).
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Old 12-04-2010
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Does the GX2100 just use the existing VHF antenna cable? If so it seems like a no brainer and it says that my RAM mike will connect to it too.
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There are reasons to want receive only...privacy for one! Have you seen those websites that plot ais tracks online? They have prior 30 days of data *OR MORE*!!!! I for one do not want my ais breadcrumbs to be available for all to see.

For receive only, I agree with the standard horizon matrix. But for me, this meant not only a new VHF, but also now a new ram mic and cabling...it became a $1000 project. Too much.

So I'm investigating the newest ACR dual channel nauticast from on sale for sub-$200 at defender. Getting a dedicated whip VHF antennae and mounting it to the bimini. Redundancy of antennas is a good thing anyway, and can't beat the price.
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Does the GX2100 just use the existing VHF antenna cable? If so it seems like a no brainer and it says that my RAM mike will connect to it too.

Yes all you need to do is connect the NEMA, power, VHF antenna and the RAM if you have one..
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