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  #11  
Old 07-13-2012
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

The item you want may actually NEVER be built. AIS is to identify a particular ship and a handheld can easily be moved from place to place. Don't know if they'll go for that.

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Old 07-14-2012
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

Doesn't the MMSI in a DSC capable VHF also pertain to a specific vessel? They are available as handheld units.
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Old 07-14-2012
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

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Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria View Post
Doesn't the MMSI in a DSC capable VHF also pertain to a specific vessel? They are available as handheld units.
Sure, but you have to push the Distress button to transmit it and that wouldn't really alert an oncoming tanker in real time. It seems the OP wants commercial traffic to see them paddling along in real time and move around, if there is an unintended conflict. I think that is much easier accomplished by staying out of the deep water channel.
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  #14  
Old 07-14-2012
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

Let me take a moment and clarify my previous statements. Lets presume that a handheld unit existed (perhaps by now one does) that combines a VHF radio, a GPS, and a receive only AIS. VHF radio transmissions are line of sight. Given a height of eye of about 3 feet (you are sitting rowing) your end of the equation is a range of about 2 NM. The other end is where you get all the distance. You might be able to see a commercial ship at 10 NM away. You will not see most fishing vessels and a lot of "work boat" type vessels as they are not required to carry an AIS and most of them don't. Now lets add transmit to your AIS. Stipulating that they have solved the power problem (it has a 99th generation battery, a solar panel, a wind generator, and a towed generator) it still is putting out about 6 watts. Effective range - 3 to 5 NM. For most fast moving commercial ships (except for Carnival Cruise Lines - they turn for nobody!) 3 NM is about the range at which they need to start taking evasive action to give you a wide enough passing range. Again, assuming that someone is actually paying attention on the bridge (1) in any wave pattern they most likely can't see you against the background of the waves and (2) they have to start reacting immediately.

Will someone put it all together in a single handheld package? Sure, there will be a market. But will it make you safer? I think only on a very marginal basis.

I just transited the Atlantic from Florida to Portugal with a 25 watt radio and a masthead mounted antenna. In iffy weather (which disperses the radio waves) I would get a good fix on commercial ships at a range of 8 to 10 miles. As a safety measure I would frequently call them on the radio and ask "are you aware I am here and that I am a sailboat under sail?" Those conversations frequently took 3 to 5 minutes before I was satisfied that they had the picture in hand. Even so several of the ships considered 0.2 NM a safe passing range - something that still made me uncomfortable.

I hope this helps.
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Last edited by svzephyr44; 07-14-2012 at 10:52 AM. Reason: underlining
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Old 07-16-2012
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

Right now cost, and manufacturing volume is a limiting factor. Plus if they sell you an all in one unit, how can they convince you to buy all three.

But just wait, it will happen, (probably not a handheld AIS transmitter because the whole point of an AIS is that it is fixed to a specific point on a ship).

Read the RTD SDR thread. Some very smart guys are working on it. As soon as someone puts together a good working system, expect it to sell. Then the big guys will scramble and catch up.

Remember AIS got a very slow acceptance in the rec boating comunity.
Fears of mandatory compliance with a big expensive system designed for commercial ships, and "BIG BROTHER" heavy handed regulations, raised fears of ALL boaters being forced by LAW into buying a major expensive gadget, or face heavy fines.

Also the main purpose of this device among small fishing boats would be to steal each others favorite spots. Or give thieves, and other scofflaws your location.

The Coast Guards backing off from mandating small craft, the creation of the cheaper class B, and the perception of the usefullness, has caused AIS to grow more popular in the boating community.

Once the demand increases enough, the equipment manufacturers will take notice. Meanwhile buy the handheld VHF & GPS units, and they will compete to add more features as the popularity increases.

Standard Horizon was the first I know of to make a VHF & AIS combo unit, (I think they didn't want to compete with their Chartplotter & GPS). To combine the two requires two seperate radio receivers, (one MHZ & one GHZ). These are very seperate technologies.
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnBilll View Post
To combine the two requires two seperate radio receivers, (one MHZ & one GHZ). These are very seperate technologies.
Actually AIS transmits on the VHF marine frequency band channels 87B and 88B. That is why you can use your VHF antenna to transmit both the AIS and voice (VHF)

What is very different are the DSC and AIS decoders
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

I am curious if this device is still not in existence or on the way as far as anyone knows. If it still isn't happening I would just try to make a case for it's existence for sea kayaking.

Personally, I am a kayaker about to get a handheld VHF with GPS/DSC for safety anyway. But if that handheld had AIS in any form, that would be a big improvement for some situations I think.

I am not concerned so much about the situations that other posters seem to be, the very congested and cramped waters near harbours and such. In a kayak the easiest way is simply to go where no-one else can go or wont go as close to. Although it might sometimes be nice to see what is coming around the corner.

No, mainly I am conserned with open crossings of 5-50nm which I have been doing or are thinking about doing in the future. On those crossings in a slow moving kayak it can easily take more than 30min in a shipping lane where all traffic in and out of the baltic passes. And for that amount of time ahead, very big things can hide under the horizon or simply be too hard to see. And a kayak is damn near impossible to see and very impractical to install a radar reflector on. I would feel a lot better showing up on their AIS somehow. So having an AIS transmitter, even without the ability to see other ships would be a huge benefit.

Even if an AIS transmitter function could not be intregrated a recieve only function would be a big help. I agree, though, that it would require a bit of thinking to get a useful piece of information from a small display and a lot of data. But you can get a lot of help from simple data processing by electronics in ranking the risk individual ships pose to you. How about a list of 3-10 AIS contacts sorted by some kind of "threat level" based on points given for minimum passing distance on current course, time-to-collision assuming an immediate turn to collision course, high speed, track history of turning towards collision course. And you could give a flashing outline and audible alarm or similar for contacts that are actually on a collision course and within, say, 2-5min of collision. In a kayak in big waves you often won't be able to look at a display much without risk of capsizing, so a synthesized voice warning of high risk contacts would be a great safety feature. You could also present the same data on a graphical display with icons placed inside or outside a circle based on direction and their worst case time-to-collision and then have them marked more strongly the closer they are to actually being on a collision course...plenty of room for useful information even without any display at all, in my oppinion.

I don't know how useful the ideal kayaker's device would be to other people on the water, but it might be pretty close to what some of them need aswell.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

The product exists as a fixed mount with external antenna; VHF, DSC AIS recieve and transmit.

At some future date as with the Personal Locator Beacon evolution from a larger unit, I suspect these function will be available in a handheld.

For the AIS receive function all a small boater really would find useful is bearing and speed of the other vessel, for crossing a shipping lane now or waiting.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

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Originally Posted by FatBear View Post
I would like a handheld with AIS & DSC for my own safety: not so I can see other boats, but so they can see me. I row and sail in a busy area and want large commercial craft to know I'm there so they don't run over me.
I cant see where this would be avantagous. I can only imagine every kyaker, rowboater and swimmer starting to use the AIS feature and there being so many of them that people start ignoring them. As it is in busy harbors it can be almost annoying with boats on radar, now add kyakers and rowboats to the AIS screens it will defeat the purpose it is being used for...boating safety.

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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

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Originally Posted by Tim R. View Post
Exactly what do expect it to tell you? The best it can do is give you coordinates, name, heading, speed etc but how do you interpret that? What use would this be?

You could use the data and plot it on a paper chart manually but the speed of the updates would ecventually overwhelm you.
I have a SH 2150 with AIS, installed a remote mic (RAM3) - it has a mini display that shows the AIS hits on it.

Not quiet the same of course, but it can be done.

Of course the AIS is also patched to my chartplotter.
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