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post #21 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

I have radar and ais receive and travel the us east coast, sometimes overnight.
Radar is much more useful. Almost ZERO fishing trawlers are transmitting ais. Guess which boats you will encounter the most? Second most frequent encounter is bouys with no ais. Third most likely encounter is large ships and they are lit up like christmas.
I love having the receiver to call ships by name, it gets a response when other options fail. But it is second to radar, especially a good one, well tuned.
Simply put, radar will see almost every target, ais will display about 20%.
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post #22 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

Two tools for different jobs. Here in Maine I am glad I have both and have used both for safe passage at night and in the fog. If I could only have one, give me the radar.

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post #23 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

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Originally Posted by xort View Post
I have radar and ais receive and travel the us east coast, sometimes overnight.
Radar is much more useful. Almost ZERO fishing trawlers are transmitting ais. Guess which boats you will encounter the most? Second most frequent encounter is bouys with no ais. Third most likely encounter is large ships and they are lit up like christmas.
I love having the receiver to call ships by name, it gets a response when other options fail. But it is second to radar, especially a good one, well tuned.
Simply put, radar will see almost every target, ais will display about 20%.
I have the same setup. I think they have very different benefits. At $250 I would buy an AIS receiver in a heartbeat (especially since you can run it on your same VHF antenna and coax). If you buy a transceiver (which I'd love to have) you have to figure on a higher installation cost. Why do you say they should ban receiver only MSoL?

Radar has been very useful for weather -- especially dodging the worst of storms (BBR is said to perform a bit worse in this regard -- not sure how much). Running active radar, at least conventional radars (I have Garmn HD which is not the same as BBR), will light up everyone else radar screen. Radar is also good for picking up details in the coastline or determining how far off a target is (when you see lights but can't tell how far away they are). I don't have a MARPA quality fluxgate compass so when underway, the radar is not a great tool for determining a targets speed and heading, CPA etc.

AIS does all of that (target ID and monitoring) and provides you the vessel's name so that you can contact them easily. I found AIS to be invaluable on a couple of occasions (it doesn't take many . . . ). Most notable was entering Charleston at 2-3AM with all sorts of heavy traffic moving and moored. AIS will tell you what targets are active and which are inactive (perhaps a MARPA quality radar would accomplish the same task but without that ability Radar alone would have left me trying to assign a swath of lights to a screen full of unidentified targets). Monitoring one or two vessels visually is kinda fun. Monitoring ten or more, at night, in close quarters is, IMO, no fun at all. AIS -- with its alarms and ability to pinpoint closest point of approach -- is an exceptional tool for that purpose.

Get one of each if you can swing it . . .

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Last edited by blowinstink; 02-07-2014 at 10:03 AM.
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post #24 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

Given a choice between the two I'd pick radar over AIS. It is so much more flexible and provides navigational as well as collision avoidance capabilities. If I could find a way to do both I would.

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post #25 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

I have AIS receive only (GX2150), no radar. It suits my daysailing needs for now, for the rest I look up.

Someone claimed it only sees 20% of the targets because of all the trawlers out there. This is a good example of how your needs can vary based on location. Where I sail there are no trawlers. The vessels I really need to "see" are all big vessels over 300 tons (required to transmit AIS). Most are anchored on the horizon 2-3 nm away, but some are moving and I often can't tell from that distance. The AIS receiver tells me immediately whether they're moving or not, and I have plenty of warning to stay out of their way. It would be nice to transmit to them, but they're not gonna move for me anyway, so the AIS receive is a huge benefit.

I can see how some of you absolutely need AIS transmission capability, so a full class B transponder is the way to go. One of the benefits of the GX2150 is that by integrating the AIS, I can make a DSC call to a ship by simply selecting it on the display. No need to manually type out the MMSI number, which is a MAJOR PAIN without a numeric keypad. I mention this only to point out that the GX2000 radio does not have AIS built-in, but it is AIS aware, so you could connect your AIS transponder to it and get the benefit of placing DSC calls without entering MMSI, just like on the GX2150. If you need to upgrade your VHF, the GX2000 might be worth considering for those of you who already have a transponder.


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post #26 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

Up here in Maine radar is critical. AIS is not so much. We have very little big ship traffic and 98% of the lobstermen as of last summer were not using AIS.

Heck it wasn't until last summer that the ferries added AIS yet often it is not even TXing.

One thing I never hear mentioned is the often very slow update speeds of Class B which can be gawd awfully slow. In the fog this can be very, very dangerous if you don't also have radar to make confirmation of "actual" current location.



This was a split second jump and was about a 1 minute delay in update.... In the fog this can be a death sentence if you 100% trust your AIS to give you "accurate" location..... Only radar can give you the "actual" location without delays....


A few year ago Tim R. and I were in the thick Maine pea-soup when I saw an AIS target on our plotter. I also noted my radar giving an odd return that looked almost as echos being repeated after the ship. Good targets just oddly spread... I knew my radar was well tuned, and not lying, so I picked up the VHF and hailed the AIS target. Sure enough it was a tug towing two barges with 900 feet between each barge. We were in a crossing situation!

If going by only AIS alone we could have EASILY split between the tug and barges in tow because the barges in tow were not displaying AIS signals and the screen only identified the tug by name, speed etc....... AIS only could have been a death sentence or dismasting....

Radar alerted us to the ACTUAL positions of all three, AIS allowed us to hail the tug easily and confirm what the radar was showing.

BOTH tools can work together but if you must have only one device I much prefer getting radar first..

Watch the screen update on this AIS target. If this was a typical Maine fog this could be a very dangerous scenario to blindly trust your AIS.... When I turn around with the camera the target is the sailboat in the distance....
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post #27 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

This has been most educational. Thanks all.

Can someone enlighten me further ..... or at least confirm ..... to use broadband radar one would need both a new display AND a new antenna ?

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post #28 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

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This has been most educational. Thanks all.

Can someone enlighten me further ..... or at least confirm ..... to use broadband radar one would need both a new display AND a new antenna ?
That depends..
You need a MFD (Multi Function Display) that is compatible with the radar unit.
Some have MFD's of the right make & model and some don't.

Broadband radar have been developed by Navico who owns the following brands
Simrad, B&G and Lowrance. All these have models that can display data from the broadband radar.

Garmin, Furuno and Raymarine does not have broadband radars. These companies have what is called HD (High Definition) radars. A different technology but also good radars.

Last edited by knuterikt; 02-07-2014 at 05:34 PM.
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post #29 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

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Originally Posted by knuterikt View Post
That depends..
You need a MFD (Multi Function Display) that is compatible with the radar unit.
Some have MFD's of the right make & model and some don't.

Broadband radar have been developed by Navico who owns the following brands
Simrad, B&G and Lowrance. All these have models that can display data from the broadband radar.

Garmin, Furuno and Raymarine does not have broadband radars. These companies have what is called HD (High Definition) radars. A different technology but also good radars.
Interesting. Raymarine btw do call their latest radar units "broadband" but not 3 or 4G.

I presume that a Raymarine antenna would not be compatible with other makes displays but can you link other makes into a Raymarine network ?

Pardon my ignorance.

We have an old Pathfinder (Raymarine) multi display which is due for upgrade at some time in the future.

Generally speaking because we have bugger all fog it does not loom large in our thinking whereas we do have to contend with a fair amount of coastal shipping. One night sailing up the NSW coast we observed, as in eyeballed in excess of 60 ships, mainly bulk carriers off the port of Newcastle.

Andrew B (Malö 39 Classic)

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post #30 of 42 Old 02-07-2014
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Re: 3G Radar V/S AIS, or get both...

I've had radar on 2 sport fishing boats & couldn't imagine living without it.
If you get good at dialing it in, you'll actually get returns from lobster buoy's.
Toss in watching storms coming your way & it sure beats AIS, IMHO.

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