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post #21 of 59 Old 01-23-2013
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

While it would be nice for tankers to detour around kayaks, on a practical basis isn't that like asking semi rigs to detour around gnats on the highway, instead of splattering them on the grill? There's only do much dancing the big fellows can do.

Since the FCC issues licenses to "Portable" stations, with the expectation that they will move to different vessels, under adult supervision by the licensee, why not portable AIS transmitters, with the same expectation that the operator WILL reprogram them as appropriate?

I understand that the default icon for a vessel identified as "Portable" comes up on AIS displays as a dolphin carrying a suitcase. Can't see how that could confuse anyone.
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post #22 of 59 Old 01-23-2013
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

I don't think anyone is asking tankers to detour around kayaks.

As a kayaker I try to stay out of the shipping lanes, but just like any other boat I do need to cross them from time to time (for instance getting from Anacortes, WA to the San Juan Islands requires crossing Rosario Strait, a major shipping lane). I pick the shortest possible crossing point, monitor VTS, and wait for the lane to be visibly clear before I cross.

Checking AIS would just be one more thing to check. It's probably not as good as monitoring VTS for an hour before the crossing, but it might help for large boats that aren't updating VTS. VTS monitoring is most helpful in Puget Sound for areas with regular ferry traffic (since they check in with VTS on every crossing, which is about every 30 minutes at most ferry terminals), but isn't as helpful when you are away from the ferries.

I don't think most kayakers intentionally paddle up and down the middle of shipping lanes. It is way less interesting than going along the shore.

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post #23 of 59 Old 01-23-2013
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

I also have the SH GX2150 fixed mount radio. First thing I did was add the RAM3 mic, since in an emergency situation you want to be able to transmit from the cockpit. Having the radio display in the cockpit is also very beneficial.

Here's what I've gleaned from the manual and other online sources, although I have not fully tested out the capability to be 100% sure that it really works:

One really nice feature of the AIS receiver is that you can select a vessel that shows up on your AIS list and place a DSC call to that vessel without having to manually enter the 9-digit MMSI number. Since most radios do not have numeric keypads, entering a 9-digit number would have to be done with an up/down button or knob, one digit at a time - a major pain, and virtually impossible in an emergency situation. So being able to select a vessel from the AIS screen and just tap "call" is a BIG DEAL.

So here's the real benefit: If both you and the vessel that you are calling have your DSC radios set up properly, he will receive your GPS coordinates when you place the call to him. So you don't actually need an AIS transmitter to let another vessel know your position - just place a DSC call to him. (Likewise, if you receive a DSC call from another vessel, you get his GPS coordinates.) If you press the Distress button, your GPS coordinates go out to all vessels. Placing a DSC call does the same thing, just one vessel at a time. On my radio, there is also an "all ships" call that you can place that will send your GPS coordinates out with lower urgency than the "Distress" button.

If you're in a kayak, I can see that letting another vessel know your location by simply placing a DSC call to him could be a huge safety benefit.

This same feature is available on portable DSC radios, but you have to know a vessel's MMSI number to place a DSC call to one ship, and that's not easy to get without AIS. (I think you could still do the "all ships" and "distress" calls with a normal DSC radio.) But having AIS integrated in your radio not only gives you the MMSI number, but it also allows you to place the call without entering the number by just selecting the vessel.

The benefit of having AIS integrated in your radio to facilitate getting MMSI numbers and placing calls is so great that I have to think that someone will eventually come out with a portable version with DSC/GPS and AIS receive capabilities.

Meanwhile, you should go to Standard Horizon's website and download the manuals for the GX2150 fixed mount radio to get familiar with the AIS features, and also download the manual for their HX851 portable radio with GPS/DSC. You'll learn a lot about these radio's capabilities, including features that many owners don't even realize that they have.


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post #24 of 59 Old 03-13-2015
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
I also have the SH GX2150 fixed mount radio. First thing I did was add the RAM3 mic, since in an emergency situation you want to be able to transmit from the cockpit. Having the radio display in the cockpit is also very beneficial.

Here's what I've gleaned from the manual and other online sources, although I have not fully tested out the capability to be 100% sure that it really works:

One really nice feature of the AIS receiver is that you can select a vessel that shows up on your AIS list and place a DSC call to that vessel without having to manually enter the 9-digit MMSI number. Since most radios do not have numeric keypads, entering a 9-digit number would have to be done with an up/down button or knob, one digit at a time - a major pain, and virtually impossible in an emergency situation. So being able to select a vessel from the AIS screen and just tap "call" is a BIG DEAL.

So here's the real benefit: If both you and the vessel that you are calling have your DSC radios set up properly, he will receive your GPS coordinates when you place the call to him. So you don't actually need an AIS transmitter to let another vessel know your position - just place a DSC call to him. (Likewise, if you receive a DSC call from another vessel, you get his GPS coordinates.) If you press the Distress button, your GPS coordinates go out to all vessels. Placing a DSC call does the same thing, just one vessel at a time. On my radio, there is also an "all ships" call that you can place that will send your GPS coordinates out with lower urgency than the "Distress" button.

If you're in a kayak, I can see that letting another vessel know your location by simply placing a DSC call to him could be a huge safety benefit.

This same feature is available on portable DSC radios, but you have to know a vessel's MMSI number to place a DSC call to one ship, and that's not easy to get without AIS. (I think you could still do the "all ships" and "distress" calls with a normal DSC radio.) But having AIS integrated in your radio not only gives you the MMSI number, but it also allows you to place the call without entering the number by just selecting the vessel.

The benefit of having AIS integrated in your radio to facilitate getting MMSI numbers and placing calls is so great that I have to think that someone will eventually come out with a portable version with DSC/GPS and AIS receive capabilities.

Meanwhile, you should go to Standard Horizon's website and download the manuals for the GX2150 fixed mount radio to get familiar with the AIS features, and also download the manual for their HX851 portable radio with GPS/DSC. You'll learn a lot about these radio's capabilities, including features that many owners don't even realize that they have.
Did a search and found this thread which I'm reviving. Nice summary btw.

My ideal situation is a bit different. When running sailboat races, I would like to see the position of the mark boats (up to three) on my plotter to help them place turning marks using their range and bearing. So I'm looking for a non-emergency way of locating their position. Like the OP I thought of handheld VHFs with AIS. SH's most fully featured handheld appears to still lack a AIS capability so I'm guessing such a handheld is not generally available. But as pointed out above, I can make a DSC call to a specific handheld (I'll know the MMSI number of each unit). So my questions are: Can you make multiple simultaneous DSC calls resulting in the positions of up to three other boats displaying to the plotter? And is this the way to accomplish what I want or is there some other non-emergency type of locator that could be used? Thanks!
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post #25 of 59 Old 03-13-2015
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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.
An AIS transponder is transmitting ID signals at 10 watts you will run out of battery pretty quickly with a handheld at that level. Making your safety concerns a moot issue pretty quickly. An AIS receive only unit might be the best you can do. But, you will have to make the call to the ship but, at least you will have a ships name or and/or MMSI number.

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Last edited by mbianka; 03-13-2015 at 09:42 AM.
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post #26 of 59 Old 03-13-2015
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

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AIS is transmitting ID signals at 10 watts you will run out of battery pretty quickly with a handheld at that level. Making your safety concerns null and void pretty quickly.
Class B AIS generally runs at 2W.

Class A AIS devices run at 12.5W; some have a 2W low power mode.

There is a Class B variant at 5W but I've never seen one.
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post #27 of 59 Old 03-13-2015
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Class B AIS generally runs at 2W.
Doesn't sound like much, but an AIS transmitter would be 2W of continuous tranmission. It would drain the handheld's battery pretty fast.

I think jnye is confusing AIS receivers with AIS transponders. It's unlikely that a handheld would ever have an AIS transponder built in (but "never say never"). It would be nice if someone came out with a handheld VHF/DSC with AIS receive capabilities - especially nice if it could transmit DSC/AIS by Bluetooth, so a laptop, tablet, or phone could pick up the sentences for display in chartplotter software.

If jnye wants to "be seen," his only options right now are a radar reflector and a fixed-mount AIS transponder.


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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

Positioning mark boats & marks shouldn't need AIS and interactive screen plotting at all.

You decide where you want the marks, run a pencil line on an old fashioned paper chart to the margins, and give each mark crew the co-ordinates of that location. Then you hand 'em a smartphone or a dedicated GPS and you say "Go to this position and drop the mark."

No further communication or tracking of the mark boat is needed. Just a fourth-grader on the boat who can READ their position and match it up to the required one.

Of course in the old days we needed twenty more slaves to row the mark boat, plus the drummer to call out a beat and keep them all stroking together, plus a taskmaster to keep 'em all whipped into submission. Boy you kids got it easy now!
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post #29 of 59 Old 03-13-2015
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

Transmit power is only for a few miliseconds every 30 second. Not much power at all.

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post #30 of 59 Old 03-13-2015
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Re: VHF DSC Handheld with AIS?

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Doesn't sound like much, but an AIS transmitter would be 2W of continuous tranmission. It would drain the handheld's battery pretty fast.
26.6 milliseconds (ms) every 30 seconds when underway. Most likely in the scenario noted it will be 26.6 ms every 3 minutes. That is hardly anything in the scheme of a handheld VHF battery.

I agree with the note above about using specific locations and a GPS. With tactical windshifts you best approach is to set the pin and committee boat first and then direct using voice commands from the committee boat using a compass and binoculars. You'll want a wind pennant on the mark boat. In the end that will be faster, easier, and more accurate than using AIS or radar and doing all the calculations - by the time you are done the wind will have changed.

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