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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter #1
Even though I'm a bit of a minimalist with the electronics, I really like the idea of AIS. I definitely want one before I go offshore, but I may want to purchase one in the immediate term. It seems like a handy thing to have if I end up purchasing a boat in the SFO bay area and delivering it up to the PNW.

I haven't kept up with what is out there, but what I would be after is a unit that is easy to drop in, can function as a stand alone unit, and has the ability to output its information to a computer, ipad, or chartplotter to integrate if desired.

Does such a thing exist?

Medsailor
 

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None have bluetooth yet. And the bluetooth attachment is expensive from what I understand.

Westmarine has a transponder for $500 but I dint think it has a direct USB PLUG OUT.

My raymarine 650 does, but its $850. Expensive, but it means it plugs straight into the laptop or other computer type boxes.

The are not cheap, but its far, far better to bite the $ bullet than to just get a receiver.

:)
 

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You could start out with mAIS and the MarineTraffic apps on a phone. It's not true AIS because it doesn't transmit your position on VHF frequencies, but it does allow you to see the big ships as long as you have a cell signal.

Another entry level receive only option is a VHF radio with AIS built in. Google it up and you will see some options. I don't think they have any output to another device.
 

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The Standard GX2150 VHF with AIS does output both DSC and AIS in NMEA0183. Icom also has a VHF/AIS combo which outputs AIS.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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If you want absolute cheap, entry level AIS, and have a computer, check this out.Amazon.com: RTL-SDR, FM+DAB, DVB-T USB Stick Set with RTL2832U & R820T. Great SDR for SDR#, HDSDR, and Other Popular SDR Software Packages!: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51ZTPo2HNIL It's a software defined radio that can be configured with free software to decode AIS.

All you need is the dongle, VHF antenna, & free software. Lots of other uses listed too. Enjoy. I think the links are working now.
 

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I have used a AIS receiver to a serial port with a serial to USB adapter to a laptop running OpenCPN.

No problem.

Sorry I do not know which AIS receiver (sailing school boat)
 

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I have used a AIS receiver to a serial port with a serial to USB adapter to a laptop running OpenCPN.

No problem.

Sorry I do not know which AIS receiver (sailing school boat)
Do you need a GPS input plus the AIS input or does the AIS input include the location data?

Which USB adapter do you use?
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Vesper Marine has a drop in unit that has WiFi and sells for~$850

Sent from my VS930 4G using Forum Fiend v1.1.3.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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IIRC the Vesper unit interfaces to NMEA0183 and N2K. it also has a display.

Sent from my VS930 4G using Forum Fiend v1.1.3.
 

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AIS is the best thing since GPS. The big ships now know where I am because I show up on their screen and an alarm sounds if they are going to run me down. That lets them call me by name on the VHF. Very very useful for places like the approaches to Chesapeake Bay where there are many fast moving huge ships that you dont want to get tangled up with. Also, the Viriginia Pilots who serve as traffic directors can include you in the plan. I cant imagine going back to pre-AIS.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Here is the unit that I was thinking of - it does NOT have a display;
XB-8000 AIS transponder with built-in WiFi and NMEA 2000 Gateway

Here are the features;
Free iPhone and iPad app provides a "radar" style plotter screen of all nearby vessels. The app also includes configuration, status monitoring and interactive remote control over the XB-8000's operation.
NMEA 2000 & 0183, WiFi and USB
Translates and routes NMEA 2000 instrument data over WiFi, USB and NMEA 0183
Makes all your NMEA 0183 data available over WiFi and USB. Use your tablet or computer to view instrument data whether it is coming from NMEA 2000 or NMEA 0183
Internal high-performance parallel two channel AIS transponder
You can switch this transponder into Silent Mode (receive-only) from your iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac or with a hard-wired switch
Includes 50 channel GPS receiver with external antenna and 10m (33') cable
WiFi configuration options: Access Point creates a network or Client of an existing router
WiFi security with configurable WPA/WPA2 protection
View AIS and navigate from your computer, smart phone or tablet from anywhere on your boat over wireless connections for up to five devices
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Which USB adapter do you use?
Keyspan makes the gold standard of USB-serial adapters. The hardware is first rate and the company stays on top of operating system updates, making updates to the drivers available very quickly. Good stuff. Keyspan products have solved many problems on customer boats for GPS, AIS, and Pactor integration.
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thanks guys, this is exactly the primer I needed.

I must say I'm really impressed with the integrated VHF AIS devices. AIS uses VHF so it makes a lot of sense to me to have both in one unit. It seems like it would save the hassle of a splitter and such. The Standard Horizon offering has AIS, VHF, DSC and GPS all in the same unit. Since there is a lot of cross over between these systems, it's nice to not have a bunch of external connections to make it all work. I also really like the "select your AIS target, and push one button to call them on the VHF" as shown in the video. That's just really quick and slick.



It looks like all VHF/AIS units are receivers only yes? Would there be a conflict of any kind by buying a transmitter only and installing that separately? If you put a splitter in the line with the VHF/AIS-receiver would it all go haywire? I'm not averse at all to a 2 antenna solution (after all, the good boats have 2 masts ;) ) for redundancy.

The setup I am imagining is the standard horizon VHF/AIS-receiver attached to the mainmast VHF antenna and either a transmitter only, or a transceiver separately on the mizzen mast antenna. Would the mizzen antenna transmitting cause confusion for the main mast antenna receiver?

MedSailor
 

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Medsailor,

I understand you want an entry level machine but the receiver only in the VHF doesnt send the AIS information to the chartplotter. All you get, as I understand it, is the tiny VHF screen.

I really wonder at getting a receive only unit if theres now WIFI Transponders, like the one eherly has posted.

If you cant navigate with it on a plotter what use is it? If its just to see how a non-plotting receiver works the use Marinetraffic.com for free. Then once you confirm the value get the real deal.

Anyway, you know what it is you are after better than me :)


Mark
 
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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter #18
Anyway, you know what it is you are after better than me :)


Mark
Actually, I'm so behind on all this electronic navigation stuff that I'm not sure that's true. I don't even know enough of what's out there to even know what I want.

I consider depth and a compass necessities, (though I have gone without electronic depth before) and I find gps position by numbers on a handheld, SOW and SOG to be luxuries, and wind speed is more fun to watch than TV. That's about all I've used so far. :)

This primer is really helping though. Much appreciated.

MedSailor
 

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If you sail at night or in congested areas it is really good to have a transponder. You will be amazed at how much more relaxed you can be when you actually know what those lights out there are and which way they are heading before you even see them. I was skeptical at first after years of just eyeballing and using radar but now I am totally convinced that it is way safer to have a decent AIS
 

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Old soul
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Great thread for me as well. I'm in the same boat as MedSailor :). I'm at the very start of this. I am looking to install an AIS receiver (not a transceiver) system on our boat. I'd like something easy, and relatively inexpensive.

As I understand it, I can use my existing VHF antennae, either by T-ing off the coax or perhaps by getting a whole new combo-radio like the Standard Horizon MedSailor posted. But the issue of display that Mark points seems important to me.

Is anyone using a wifi solution to display AIS. I've got iNavX on my iPad. Is anyone using this approach?
 
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