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Old 07-02-2018, 10:00 AM   #1
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Do I need a new VHF if I add an AIS Transponder?

Hey All,
I'm upgrading some electronics on (formerly) New Moon and want to add AIS.

DISCLAIMER: I hope these are 'educated' questions, but I am learning fast.......

I currently have an ICOM M127 without DSC or AIS. I also have NMEA2000 Network and Lowrance GEN3 HDS MFD's networked to N2K and through Eathernet.

It seems that the "best" AIS Transponder setup would be the Vesper XB-6000 or 8000.

The Question: If I want to be able to make DSC Calls, could I do it through the MFD and XB-6000 (with an antenna slitter or additional AIS antenna) or will I need to upgrade the VHF Radio as well.

I would go with the ICOM M506 if I upgrade the Radio.

So the second question: Provided that I put the Vesper System on the boat, would I need the ICOM M506 WITH AIS or WITHOUT AIS (since I will have the Standalone AIS Transceiver)?

I feel that if I ad AIS I want to get a Transceiver rather than just a RX only through the M506.

I know MOST of this has been beat to death, but sometimes sorting through long winding threads only gets me so far.....

Thanx in advance,

Mark-
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:15 AM   #2
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I am not familiar with the specific products you have listed, but I can tell you what I did and why. I have a Standard Horizon VHF with AIS receiver that operates through a single antenna. It displays on my chartplotter.

I added a Class B transponder and I put on a smaller additional antenna for it. I could have used a splitter but the splitter cost about as much as a second antenna. The additional antenna gives me the ability to easily attach it to my VHF radio should something happen to my main antenna.

This setup eliminates the additional electronics of a splitter and gives me a spare VHF antenna if needed. And it works great.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:11 PM   #3
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I have a Lowrance Gen3 boat and just went through an AIS upgrade so hopefully I can help.

As far as I know you cannot make DSC calls through anything but a VHF.

I upgraded my VHF 2 years ago to an ICOM 506 and it is an excellent radio. It has an AIS "Screen" but it is display only unless you get the full bnlown AIS radio which I think is a major waste since you have good MFDs. It works fine for basic display but its a far far cry from the ability to work with AIS targets on your MFDs. So there would be no reason for you to get the ICOM with AIS.

On the HDS3 MFDs AIS targets are shown as very visible triangles with a heading line. Touching the AIS target brings up its name on the screen and clicking on the name (or on the AIS menu item on the right) brings up a full page of info on the vessel. It works very very well.

And the whole thing is very easy to set up since it all runs over the NMEA2K bus. I would strongly suggest if you get the ICOM 506 get the model that has NMEA2K. I also got the Command Mike for my upper station and it is excellent.

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Old 07-02-2018, 01:54 PM   #4
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Thanx Ken! I know not a lot of "ocean" guys use the HDS units so it was a shot in the dark.

So it looks like I will need:
- ICOM M506 W/ N2K - w/o AIS - This is so I can make DSC calls
- Vesper XB-6000 (or 8000) - So I can see and be seen through AIS
- Second Antenna for AIS (or splitter)
- MSSI #

Plug it all into the N2K buss, and.......presto.....it will all play nice.....theoretically.

(Boy, alphabet soup, networked together.........)
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Old 07-02-2018, 04:57 PM   #5
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I installed the Digital Yacht 3000 because it had both a built in antenna splitter and WIFI. So I only needed the single antenna which I wanted. A little more money but it worked for how I wanted to use it. No changes on the HDS3's at all. Everything just worked together!

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Old 07-02-2018, 07:23 PM   #6
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That's what you will need. I really like the Vesper 8000. I'd put up a second VHF antenna for AIS if it is in budget, then you have a spare if one gets clipped or goes Tango Uniform. The Vesper will get all your data to your iPad or smartphone too (WiFi). They have been very good over the last 10 years at updating software to keep it fresh.

If you are going to Canada, get the official FCC MMSI, not the BoatUS version.
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDW View Post

If you are going to Canada, get the official FCC MMSI, not the BoatUS version.
When I made my submission of the FCC MMSI document to Defender, it specifically said it had to be an FCC MMSI.

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Old 07-03-2018, 09:21 AM   #8
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Do I need a new VHF if I add an AIS Transponder?

I have the Sitex class B transponder. The Vesper units look fine. I would encourage you to have a dedicated antenna for the unit, and it should be a good one. The antenna should be as high as possible and without transmit interference from other antennae. The Class B transponders transmit on low power and are easily affected by all of the above, as I found out whilst troubleshooting my own unit. I have two VHF radios and the AIS unit and they all have the same MMSI. Often receiving units will ďseeĒ your MMSI at range before the name of your vessel is identified.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:29 AM   #9
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I have the equivalent setup as,Waterford at post #2, for the same reason, viz: I bought a Rx only vhf first & a full transponder 2nd. BUT if I were doing it from scratch today I would get the integrated Icom transponder ais dsc vhf and wire its output to my mfd.
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:16 AM   #10
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I recently did what you're asking...installed the Vesper XB 8000 to my tablet based nav system and to my NEMA 2000 network for AIS and ran a separate cable from the Vesper 0183 port to my ICOM radio to complete the DSC service.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:51 AM   #11
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Use a dedicated AIS antenna, if possible. It will work much better.


No need for the AIS version of the M506, as it overlaps with the Vesper's function.


Beware of the N2K version of the M506. In combination with certain other devices, including a second M506, it will confuse other devices into thinking that it's a GPS and other function N2K device, not just a VHF. It's been 3 years an iCom still haven't fixed it despite a few SW updates, so I can only conclude that they don't plan to fix it. No more M506s for me as a result, even though the radio part is exceptionally good. Actually, I should restate that. I would only ever use the non-N2K version of an M506, and that would be my recommendation for your system. Get the non-N2K version and connect it via 0183 so there is no chance it will mess up your N2K network.


Make sure the M506 is at least sw V 1.1, and UX232 V 1.006. That's the latest as of about a year ago. You will need to power it on and check through the menus to see the versions. If it isn't, return it or send it to iCom to update before you waste time installing it.


The M506 is an excellent VHF, but a very poor (one of the worst I have encountered) N2K device, so I would really avoid that interface on it.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:55 PM   #12
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I did the m506 n2k w/AIS last year. Then before it was even installed, added a vesper WatchMate. Did a nice external antennae on the vesper and also added a Garmin n2k gps and then before that was installed added an n2k weather station that also had a gps. So now I have multiple AIS and 3 gps sources on my network. So far everything works fine, but I have more sophistication on my network than multi purpose displays at this point. Much gets translated to 0183 before being shared with Nobeltec.

Iíve noted twisted reports of frustration previously, so at least I know which device can get removed from n2k if I suddenly have issues after adding another device.

One benefit of the m506, I use a remote mic on the fly bridge. I can list the AIS targets on the remote mic, so if making a call I can get the targets name without going below. Itís a tiny little screen, but in a pinch it gets used. With better planning I would not have quite so much redundancy.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:13 AM   #13
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I just had the emTrak transceiver installed on my boat last month. It works great and was a very easy install. All I needed to buy was another VHF antenna. It was then wired to both of my Garmins (not NMEA 2000).

This is the most cost effective route to send AND receive AIS signals. For less than $550 I now have an AIS equipped boat. You'd be hard pressed to find a transceiver and antenna for less than that.

Search for me on any AIS vessel finder app: Slow Lane (Mass. pleasure craft)
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:36 PM   #14
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Well you have two questions. AIS and DSC.

AIS - I suggest you get an AIS transciever so others will know where you are versus you only knowing where they are. Many AIS transcievers come with an internal GPS. I purchased a Vesper AIS Watchmate and it works great. It connects to my Raymarine NMEA 2000 network so I can track AIS targets on my MFD. Since Vesper has WIFI I can also view AIS targets on my IPAD Vesper app. Lastly the Watchmate has its own screen so I can also view AIS targets there as well. I connected the AIS to one of my existing VHF antennas using a Vesper powered splitter. All work great.

DSC - if your VHF doesn't have a DSC function I suggest you replace it. You can do it pretty simply with a new VHF that has DSC function by getting the GPS NMEA 0183 output from you MFD GPS out. I just replaced one of my VHF's with an ICOM330 for around $150 from Defender Industries. You need this as a minimum to send out a DSC distress signal. You can also connect your VHF DSC output via a gateway (check with your MFD manufacturer) to get DSC call locations on your MFD. You can spend more money on a ICOM506 which connects via NMEA2000 network creating not only outbound distress capability but also input onto your MFD of other DSC call locations. This is a more reliable connection for DSC location calls on your MFD.

Good luck!
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Old 07-09-2018, 02:18 PM   #15
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Hi Mark:

I installed the Veper XB 8000 unit on Oma, along with a new Icon 424G radio. I went with separate, new VHF antennas, after trying to reuse an old one (The S/N ratio was way off on the old antenna) I do not have the radio connected to the Vesper (Both have internal GPS units and air gapped redundancy seemed like an ok Idea - If I need to do an mmsi call, I can enter it in the radio manually.) Vesper suggested either a separate antenna or their splitter to preserve the warranty.

I just finished a trip from Lake Barkley in KY to Chicago down the Ohio and up the Mississippi/Illinois/ to Chicago. I used either iNavx or the Watchmate app on an iPad for AIS, which worked better than the old (20 year old raymarine MFD) for a display. At times I would have both the Watchmate app up and iNavx up on a separate iPad. All data from the iPads came from the Vesper unit via WiFi. Could not have been happier with the setup or the unit. The Icon radio worked fine for hailing commercial traffic (Easy since their names were displayed) and could "see" around the bends in the rivers with the AIS and more importantly, They could see me. (The 8000 is the transerver, which includes Wifi, USB, Nmea 2000 and NMea 0183 connections, plus will bridge the 2000/0183 networks.

The anchor alarm feature on the Watchmate software did its job when we were anchored out behind a towhead on the Illinois - a stiff wind came up and blew us upstream against a 1+ Knt current we expected to hold us downstream. The alarm went off and we were surprised we were upstream of our anchor. We set a stern anchor and went back to bed - (After re-setting the alarm) Very happy with the Vesper unit. (Also with the Icon radio - it performed as expected.)


I did not see any use for MMSI direct calling based on the AIS data. If i was traveling in a flotilla, I would have keyed in their numbers in to the memory of the Icon radio...

having a 30 year old boat, I am slowly replacing systems and the Vesper unit seemed like it gave me the flexibility to keep some old stuff (0183) as I add new stuff.

Paul - Oma, KK Manatee

Quote:
Originally Posted by MArnold View Post
Hey All,
I'm upgrading some electronics on (formerly) New Moon and want to add AIS.

DISCLAIMER: I hope these are 'educated' questions, but I am learning fast.......

I currently have an ICOM M127 without DSC or AIS. I also have NMEA2000 Network and Lowrance GEN3 HDS MFD's networked to N2K and through Eathernet.

It seems that the "best" AIS Transponder setup would be the Vesper XB-6000 or 8000.

The Question: If I want to be able to make DSC Calls, could I do it through the MFD and XB-6000 (with an antenna slitter or additional AIS antenna) or will I need to upgrade the VHF Radio as well.

I would go with the ICOM M506 if I upgrade the Radio.

So the second question: Provided that I put the Vesper System on the boat, would I need the ICOM M506 WITH AIS or WITHOUT AIS (since I will have the Standalone AIS Transceiver)?

I feel that if I ad AIS I want to get a Transceiver rather than just a RX only through the M506.

I know MOST of this has been beat to death, but sometimes sorting through long winding threads only gets me so far.....

Thanx in advance,

Mark-
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