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Old 05-07-2015, 01:33 PM   #1
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AIS Transponders

So I was poking around the old interweb, researching AIS, and I got directed to marinetraffic.com. Started poking around and saw this boat. Looks familiar....

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Also had this info on last known port. Can you turn this thing off if you don't want everyone to know where you are and where you have been?

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😳
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:45 PM   #2
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I've never come across any info on how to make marine AIS data "private". I don't know if it's possible.
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Old 05-07-2015, 01:53 PM   #3
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It has silent switch so you can TX at all but otherwise no.
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:03 PM   #4
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We can power ours down, and sometimes I remember to do that when we're at our home marina.


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Old 05-07-2015, 02:22 PM   #5
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Mine has a stop transmitting switch. It still receives just doesn't transmit.
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Old 05-07-2015, 03:58 PM   #6
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Mine, a Furuno FA150, has no "receive only" mode. If the transmitter is off, so is the receiver. I understand that newer versions of that model (mine is now 6 years old) have a transmit off button. Even so, I leave mine on. Its nice to be able to check up on the boat and verify that it is where I left it.
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Old 05-07-2015, 04:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MYTraveler View Post
Mine, a Furuno FA150, has no "receive only" mode. If the transmitter is off, so is the receiver. I understand that newer versions of that model (mine is now 6 years old) have a transmit off button. Even so, I leave mine on. Its nice to be able to check up on the boat and verify that it is where I left it.

I didn't think of that-- kind of like a "find my boat" feature like the iPhone. 😄

I was just intrigued that someone could so easily find out where I am (or where the boat is) if they know the boat name. I'm not running drugs or anything, but it just doesn't seem very private.

I suppose one could just power down the thing if there is not a "no transmit" feature.
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Old 05-07-2015, 04:43 PM   #8
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I have a Vesper. It has a Harbor mode and an Open Water mode. In fact I think it has 4 modes in total just can't recall the other two right now.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:35 PM   #9
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My Digital Yacht transceiver has a transmit off switch. But you have to install it yourself.
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:46 PM   #10
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If you broadcast your position over the VHF every minute or so, then anyone listening will know where you are. That's pretty much the definition of AIS. The side effect is.... everyone knows where you are.
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Old 05-07-2015, 08:04 PM   #11
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I did see a boat last week as I was entering Narragansett Bay. AIS on. Out of curiosity, I went on MT and looked her up. Name, History and all was there. But there was no picture. I thought I'd add one. Lo and behold the owner has somehow stopped marine traffic from posting ANY photos of the boat. But the information about voyage, history is all public knowledge once transmitted.
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Old 05-07-2015, 08:12 PM   #12
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Seems like cheating if you want to know every other vessel but you want to be unidentifiable. Using an imaginary boat name may be one ploy, but I don't know if that is legal or that you'd want that in an emergency or even in ordinary operation. Most "B" boats don't display a picture, but you'd hope they would transmit the boat's name.
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Old 05-07-2015, 10:04 PM   #13
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If you broadcast your position over the VHF every minute or so, then anyone listening will know where you are. That's pretty much the definition of AIS. The side effect is.... everyone knows where you are.
True. The intent is that boats that are close by know where you are so that they can plan accordingly. The CG and VTS can also see you thanks to their well place antennas. However, thanks to marinetraffic.com and the stations that collect AIS data and send it to them, the whole world can see where you are. That wasn't the intent of AIS - rather an exploitation of the data by a commercial website. I'm not saying it's wrong - just not the intended purpose.

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Old 05-08-2015, 07:15 AM   #14
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I think this is life in our current, highly communicative world, and highlights the need to be thoughtful about what info you put out there. Our lives and interests are sliced and diced by the likes of facebook and fed to companies marketing products. But everyone provides that info freely and willingly. I think you just need to assume that if you put any info out in the public, then anyone, anywhere can see it and know about it, and use it.

As for our boat positions, that was/is public knowledge even without AIS. If, for example, MarineTraffic hired people to walk docks and report back the names and positions of observed boats, and that was published on their web site, you would have much the same effect. The only real difference is that now the info can be electronically collected, so is economically viable where it otherwise probably wouldn't be.

Please note that I'm not necessarily defending MarineTraffic specifically, just trying to point out how communications has changed things. It used to be that only people in proximity of your boat knew it was there. Now everyone can know. It used to be that only people walking down a little street knew what it looked like. Now everyone knows.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:58 AM   #15
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All of the AIS transponders that I have worked with had the option to turn off transmitting, while still receiving. I used to actually use that switch whenever we were diving on newly discovered shipwrecks, so other divers/boats couldn't poach the position.

Another interesting thing about MarineTraffic is their coverage (based on volunteer AIS receivers) is pretty spotty. For example, if you check on Sea Eagle, you'll see the latest position is 3 months old because the boat moved out of range. Other sites have more current information.
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:30 AM   #16
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Most "B" boats don't display a picture, but you'd hope they would transmit the boat's name.
Class A's don't display any pictures either. Marine Traffic has a database from which they display pics of selected vessels.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Most "B" boats don't display a picture, but you'd hope they would transmit the boat's name.
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Originally Posted by MYTraveler View Post
Class A's don't display any pictures either. Marine Traffic has a database from which they display pics of selected vessels.

The VHF transmission includes MMSI, name, and some vessel parameters (length, beam, etc.), status (underway), speeds, and so forth. Class A transmitters -- usually large ships -- can enter some additional info, like destination. (Some of that presumes the installer filled in the appropriate blanks, typed correctly...)

Not sure if I can add that additional info or not, too.... but doing so would be way more work than I'm willing to do anyway... unless we were perhaps on a long-distance cruise.

Pics can be attached at the website level (marinetraffic, etc.). The pic of ours was apparently taken by some random photographer, and then passed to marinetraffic. Or perhaps linked on marinetraffic by that photographer. I haven't really looked into the "how" -- although it looks like I could post pics myself, if I wanted to.

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Old 05-08-2015, 01:40 PM   #18
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I just installed a Raymarine transceiver and I can either wire in a physical switch or go to my MFD and turn off the transmitter part.
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:56 AM   #19
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Another interesting thing about MarineTraffic is their coverage (based on volunteer AIS receivers) is pretty spotty. For example, if you check on Sea Eagle, you'll see the latest position is 3 months old because the boat moved out of range. Other sites have more current information.
There seem to be 3 or 4 popular AIS receiver network web sites. One of them (forget which) has a layer you can turn on that actually shows the receiver locations. I haven't been able to find similar information on the other sites.

Has anyone seen a good "coverage map" or list of receiver locations that would allow you to choose which site to use, given your intended course? I'm thinking that would be good information to provide to folks who are staying home and watching your progress. Or to test your range when first installing an AIS transceiver.
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Old 05-10-2015, 12:11 PM   #20
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I always assumed the different sites were all using the same underlying data. I'm not sure if I read that somewhere or just assumed it out of thin air.

Anyone know for sure? The site I've been using is marinetraffic.com. What other ones are there?
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