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foamy 10-21-2013 09:06 PM

VHF AIS radios
Looking to up grade to a VHF radio with AIS. Partial to ICOM, but they do not have one hear in the US. Does anyone know if they will be selling these here any time soon? Thank you for any replies.

Waltthesalt 10-21-2013 09:28 PM

Re: VHF AIS radios
The September 2013 Practical Sailor had a review of two class B AIS, ICOM and Vesper

rikhall 10-21-2013 09:31 PM

Re: VHF AIS radios
Just my personal feelings and experience:
  • We always have a laptop on board with moving map software that is AIS compliant when we are cruising.
  • We have a separate AIS receiver (about $200.00)
  • The receiver is tied into our laptop as well as our chart plotter at the helm.
  • We like the AIS because there are some pretty good size freighters and ferrys where we sail and I like to be able to talk to the bridge and call them by name if necessary.
  • We sail in an area where fog will occur.
  • Make sure whatever display that you will be looking at the AIS data is large enough so it makes sense.
  • AIS is another tool to help you stay safe, IMHO it does not replace anything, but it really does add to the package.

We would not be without it.


Alex W 10-21-2013 09:36 PM

Re: VHF AIS radios
Don't get the Simrad RS35 or Lowrance Link-8. They might one day be nice radios, but right now they are flaky pieces of sh**. You can search for threads from me with my experiences, or read similar experiences on the Panbo blog.

Last time I looked around there were rumors of Standard Horizon coming out with a NMEA2000 compatible AIS receiver/VHF radio. I'd wait for that one. People love the GX2150, I just wanted to avoid NMEA 0183 networking. Instead I got major headaches with the RS35.

JonEisberg 10-21-2013 09:54 PM

Re: VHF AIS radios
I'm very happy with the Standard Horizon GX 2150, a terrific radio even without the AIS... I'd choose it over an Icom anyday, largely due to the fact that the Icom connectors for a cockpit remote mic are absolute pieces of crap, guaranteed to fail over time...

I have no interest whatsoever in "networking" my systems, so the 'old-fashioned' NMEA 0183 doesn't bother me at all...

TakeFive 10-22-2013 08:11 AM

Re: VHF AIS radios
I'm very happy with the SH GX2150. I connected the radio's AIS output to an industrial Bluetooth transmitter, so I can pick it up with laptops and tablets anywhere on the boat. (GPS coordinates go out through a second Bluetooth channel.) I routinely keep a Netbook mounted at the binnacle for monitoring AIS on my busy river. You can search the keyword GX2150 for posts by me on the topic. Here's one that gives a lot of detail.

I don't need full networking, so the NMEA 0183 works perfectly fine with old fashioned serial connections. YMMV.

I also recommend their RAM3 cockpit mic, which gives full control of the radio from the location where you need it most. You don't want to have to go down into the cabin if there's an emergency need.

chucklesR 10-22-2013 08:14 AM

Re: VHF AIS radios
I use the 2150gx, patched to my Raymarine e7d with no problems whatsoever.

Because the 37d is networked I also get AIS on my i70.

blowinstink 10-22-2013 08:50 AM

Re: VHF AIS radios
Ditto on the SH 2150GX. Integrates smoothly with my Garmin 4208. Simple to hook up. Both Garmin and SH suppoprt can walk you through it if you have questions.

JonEisberg 10-22-2013 09:08 AM

Re: VHF AIS radios

Originally Posted by blowinstink (Post 1108880)
Ditto on the SH 2150GX. Integrates smoothly with my Garmin 4208. Simple to hook up. Both Garmin and SH suppoprt can walk you through it if you have questions.

Customer support from Standard Horizon is great, other manufacturers should take a cue from them...

When I was hooking up my 2150, I wasn't sure about the wiring from an older Simrad GPS. So, I called the 800 number, prepared to go thru the usual Menu Drill prior to waiting on hold for awhile, before possibly speaking to an actual human being...

2nd ring, some guy picks up, turns out he's the very tech support guy you want to talk to... Extremely friendly, helpful service, all too rare these days...

I've also had similar from Simrad... Raymarine could really learn something from their competitors, you always want to make sure you have a full mug of coffee and some reading material handy, before dialing their tech support number...

smurphny 10-22-2013 09:44 AM

Re: VHF AIS radios
I'd seriously consider replacing my ICOM 604 VHF with a VHF/AIS combo. The 604 is a nice unit but integrated AIS is a great feature, especially if the AIS data can be output to the plotter. Having to install a separate antenna or some sort of antenna switching unit for a standalone AIS receiver seems way too complicated if the same thing can be obtained from a VHF.

I hesitate when considering a Standard Horizon only because my old Standard Horizon handheld suddenly crapped out this year. It was never abused and very lightly used but some internal component just quit. Of course this occurred when I was in the Ditch and it was really needed for bridge communications. So I'm a little wary of SH products. In 40+ years of dealing with marine electronics, which seem to be pretty rugged, I have never had a unit burn out like this. Think I'll wait for ICOM to come out with a unit.

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