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Old 10-25-2012, 12:16 PM   #1
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NEW VHF Radio

Looking for a new VHF radio for the flybridge which is where we spend most of our time, and I have seen a model with and AIS reciever built in the Standard Horizon Matrix GX2150 AIS Receiver VHF Radio. Wondering if anyone has read about or seen anything about a new VHF with a AIS transmitter and reciever built in ? Hate to buy a new VHF this year only to see next years model have both TX & Rx in one unit ? Any Ideas ?
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:59 PM   #2
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I'm installing the 2150 this weekend, along with the remote mike setup. At this point, $800 for an AIS transceiver is a bit much, but the ability to receive (along with the ability to display on the plotter) is useful.

Last boat had the GX1500s radio. I've always preferred SH over Icom for features and bang for the buck.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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Agree and like the unit, just second guessing before I spent the money. Were you able to find any kind deal on that package ? I was looking to do the same thing.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:33 PM   #4
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Indeed. Hodges Marine was where I purchased the radio and remote mike from. I'm installing a complete RM system (e125, e127, HD open array, transducer, etc) and have found that Hodges consistently has the best prices and support.

Hodges Marine Electronics

I have no affiliation, just a satisfied customer.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:47 PM   #5
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I suspect when the day comes that every 20' and larger boat has an AIS transceiver, the larger ships will just turn them off, there would be too much clutter in busy areas. My plan is to stay out of their way. I don't think they would go around me anyway.

I have been considering the SH unit with AIS receiver for a while but somehow it hasn't gotten to the top of the wish/need list yet.

This has been a good electronics dealer for me:

BOE Marine - Marine Electronics and Outfitting - Lowrance, Garmin more
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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We have a Furuno Loran-C unit in our electronics panel at the helm. It was great in its day but its day is over. For some time we've been kicking the idea around of what to replace it with that could be of use to us. We considered a second VHF (at the lower helm, there is already another one up top) but with the modern radio's ability to monitor several channels at once we couldn't really make a case for another radio.

We have also thought about AIS. But so far we haven't been able to make a case for that, either, despite the fairly high volume of commercial traffic in the islands (ferries) and going to and from Vancouver, Seattle, and Tacoma. One reason is that all these waters are covered with VTS and we use that if we are in a situation where we feel we need traffic advisories and that the commercial traffic should be made aware of our presence.

I can certainly see the value of AIS in some places. But so far we haven't been convinced this is one of them.

And we sort of have it on our iPad as far as seeing what's where is concerned. Only issue with this is that the iPad has to be talking to the internet.

But if we were in a position of having to replace a radio and if Icom made one with AIS capability we'd probably opt for that feature even if we weren't convinced we really needed it.
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:24 AM   #7
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"Furuno Loran-C unit in our electronics panel at the helm. It was great in its day but its day is over.'

True today , but ground stations are far easier to replace than GPS satelites.

You might consider de mounting it but not discarding it or its antenna.

Could be worth $20,000 on E bay after a rogue space nuke BANG!
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:26 PM   #8
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I am convinced Loran is gone for good. I have always characterized Loran as a very inaccurate way of getting accurate information. GPS and its in-development successors are so easy to use and so universal that if anything happens to one or more satellites it is FAR cheaper to replace the satellites than to return to an archaic system that nobody has equipment for anymore.

You're not gonna be landing planes automatically all the way through touchdown with Loran. And even if Loran could be made that user-friendly, the hardware replacement costs alone on a worldwide basis, let alone the cost of developing, testing, and getting approval/certification for all the applications for Loran that we have for GPS, would make building and launching satellites virtually free by comparison.

Loran may have a fond spot in your memory, FF, but it's gone forever. Just like the old A-N radio ranges.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:46 PM   #9
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I have just installed the Std Horizon 2150 on my F/bridge...completely delighted with it. Easy to send AIS signal to my plotter. There are no VHF/AIS transponder radios on the market and according to a comment on Panbo.com, there are serious technical issues that mean this may never happen. Be that as it may, the 2150 gives you a great DSC-equipped VHF radio and a good AIS receiver for very little $$. In another 12-24 months, AIS transponders will probably be under $300 (they are under $500 now...see Defender Marine) so my thinking was to get the benefit of the AIS receiver immediately and then see if I want the transponder functionality in 24 months.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:37 AM   #10
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I think Ron made a good point a post or two back. The big guys are worth knowing where they are, because we need to dodge them. They probably don't want the plot screen dotted with wee boats like ours - wee compared to theirs I mean - so why bother with a AIS transmitter? The VHF with AIS receiver sounds a great compromise in a busy place however. Or just an AIS receiver to fill the hole in your array, Marin...? Sounds a perfect marriage.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:55 AM   #11
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Or just an AIS receiver to fill the hole in your array, Marin...? Sounds a perfect marriage.
We've certainly thought about it. But so far we can't make a valid case for it. The area we boat in most of the time in Washington and BC is covered by VTS so if we're in a shipping area in poor visibility we can contact them and like air traffic controllers they add us to the vessels they are tracking and communicating with.

There aren't a lot of "hidden corners" as you might have on narrow waterways like the ICW where a large vessel can "suddenly" appear without warning and very close to you. The few there are--- Active Pass for example--- vessels approaching them announce their intentions on the radio and ask for calls from potentially conflicting vessels.

Never say never but I can't recall any instance of us being taken by surprise by a commercial vessel. We have a very good radar and we use it all the time underway and we are almost always following a pre-plotted course on both plotters. So on the occasions where we've gone from decent visibility into solid fog the transition to "instruments" is seamless.

I can certainly see the value of AIS for commercial traffic and for recreational boats that operate in areas where traffic is concentrated or at night. But for us, we so far do not see any value in knowing the name of that tanker over there or that bulk carrier over there. What we really need to know to avoid a collision is supplied to us by the instruments we already have.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:23 AM   #12
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If I was to invest in AIS, it would be "A" class rather than "B" which commercial traffic might choose to ignore.

But it's not presently a cost-effective investment for me. If I need to keep track of kayaks and other small vessels, larger vessels aren't anymore difficult.

U.S. Army ship after "popping up" (earlier out of visual and radar range) around East Brothers Island:

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Old 10-27-2012, 02:41 AM   #13
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It is a myth that Class A users can in any way 'turn off' or 'filter out' Class B transmissions....but this myth has certainly taken hold. It was revealed to be false in a recent survey reported on panbo.com,the marine electronics forum. Class A transponders many times the cost and complexity of the plug-&-play Class B.
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:46 AM   #14
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In the UK, the preferred VHF is made by ICOM. Is this make available in the US?

Marine Radio : Icom UK - two way radio transceivers, receivers and navigation products

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Old 10-27-2012, 07:58 AM   #15
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In the UK, the preferred VHF is made by ICOM. Is this make available in the US?

Marine Radio : Icom UK - two way radio transceivers, receivers and navigation products

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Yes. ICOM probably makes the best SSB/Ham radio with the IC-M802. As far as VHF radios, there's lots of good competition from other brands so the market is pretty wide open.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:52 PM   #16
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In the UK, the preferred VHF is made by ICOM. Is this make available in the US?

Marine Radio : Icom UK - two way radio transceivers, receivers and navigation products

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Not only is ICOM equipment available in the US but it is probably the most preferred brand of VHF radio although others--- Standard Horizon for example--- are not far behind. A great thing about where we boat (PNW) is that ICOM has a large factory service and distribution center outside Seattle in Bellevue. So getting service, parts, etc. is a snap in this area.

When our previous ICOM radio developed an intermittent fault the Bellingham dealer we get all our marine electronics from sent it to the Bellevue service center and ICOM tested it in a heat and cold chamber for two days straight and could not get the problem to replicate itself. The dealer did when he got it back, however, so in the end we replaced it with the then-current version of the same radio. The old one was out of warranty but ICOM reduced the price of the new one to compensate us for our problem and inconvenience.

I took the old radio out one weekend and installed the new radio the following weekend. Hard to beat that for speedy service.
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