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Old 03-10-2017, 09:54 AM   #1
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Standard Horizon GX-6500 AIS Class B, Etc Radio

What are the advantages of this unit? Anyone have this unit and able to review it?

Commercial grade fixed mount VHF with nmea 2000 and integrated class b ais transponder
66 channel waas GPS antenna included
Ais / ais sart target display
Dual zone 25W pa / loud hailer

https://www.amazon.com/Standard-Hori.../dp/B01N3Y4LVH
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:27 AM   #2
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Standard Horizon

Standard Horizon GX6500 Quantum



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  • Commercial grade fixed mount VHF with nmea 2000 and integrated class b ais transponder
  • 66 channel waas GPS antenna included
  • Ais / ais sart target display
  • Dual zone 25W pa / loud hailer
  • Integrated voice Recorder to play back up to two minutes of rx receive audio
Well, that's not the only place you can buy it so you don't have to be an amazon prime member to buy one. Note that it says "Usually ships within 1 to 2 months.". I don't think it's on the market just yet. Also note that the copy calls it a "transponder". It is not. The VHF radio part is a "transceiver". The AIS part is also a transceiver. It transmits and receives.

The main advantage to this unit is that it is a full featured VHF transceiver along with AIS transmit and receive features in a single unit. I presume but do not know that both functions share a single VHF antenna so you don't have to install an additional antenna on your boat or purchase a splitter.

This is a product I am strongly considering if and when I add AIS to my boat. SH already has a similar unit that only receives AIS signals.

These units can be connected to your chart plotter and will show the position of AIS equipped vessels and warn you if you are on a collision course. That's a pretty good safety item.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:07 PM   #3
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Also good to network the data to your plotter or PC, including the gps signal as primary or backup.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:14 PM   #4
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I am wondering what this helps to eliminate and INTEGRATE:

If outfitting a boat from scratch with electronics and looking for simplicity with:

1) Standard Horizon GX-6500 AIS Class B, Etc Radio
2) Furuno 1st Watch Wireless Radar w/iPad
3) iPad for Chart Plotter
4) what autopilot to use?
5) are there wireless depth finders?
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:14 PM   #5
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I've got the little brother to this unit, it doesn't have the ais transmitter just the receiver. My only complaint is that programming it or accessing the various menus and functions is pretty clunky... Other then that the unit works as advertised.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:26 PM   #6
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I am wondering what this helps to eliminate and INTEGRATE:
To put it in simple terms, it integrates the VHF radio and the AIS. It also have some nice features like a loudhailer (PA system and automatic electronic fog horn).

You will still want to see the AIS targets on your chart plotter and I'm not sure you can do that with an Ipad.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:14 PM   #7
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I've looked closely at this and I already have the radio with the AIS receiver, which I really like but agree that it is cumbersome and I regularly have to go to the manual to get guidance on how to use the thing.

I have decided that it is too expensive. I am also questioning the reasons to have AIS on a recreational boat. I rarely am out in fog or very poor visibility and I have a healthy radar signature so for now, I am going to pass. However, if anyone is contemplating AIS, this seems to be a fine solution, considering that most quality devices are about $800 so with this you also get a commercial quality radio (whatever that means?) and an opportunity to upgrade that old morse code key you've been using.

Binnacle in New Brunswick apparently has them, I don't know if they will sell offshore but I can't see them turning down customers. Our Loony sucks.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:39 PM   #8
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We have had Standard Horizon Matrix AIS receiver/VHF radios on two previous boats. They worked very nicely, and we found them easy to operate.

This new unit has not been released in the USA to my knowledge. A Standard Horizon rep at the Seattle Boat Show told me to expect March availability. He said the FCC approval was pending (PANBO forcasted availability last year). I recently ordered the GX6500 from West Marine, and was informed to expect shipping in April. I have two new Morad antennas for this unit, and we are looking forward to getting it (and other upgrades) installed aboard IRENE ASAP.

I think the advantage will be simply the integration...one unit that does what previously required two units. Since we did not have any AIS capability on IRENE, and we really liked the SH AIS radios on the other boats, it was an easy decision for us. Our boat is small, and I want to keep our relatively clean-uncluttered helm area the way it is. Additionally, my current radio "locked up" on us during a very low (no) visibility run home from the San Juans last fall. The radio has an integrated fog horn function, which worked while the radio did not. My confidence it that unit is gone. We usually have to be home for work on Monday, and we run in zero vis if we have no disabling casualties. The AIS will be useful in these conditions. Importantly, my wife wants it...happy wife, happy...
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:52 PM   #9
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I presume but do not know that both functions share a single VHF antenna so you don't have to install an additional antenna on your boat or purchase a splitter.
It looks like the 6500 requires separate AIS and VHF antennas.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Standard Horizon GX6500: a loaded VHF radio also integrated with Class B AIS
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ka_sea_ta View Post
I've got the little brother to this unit, it doesn't have the ais transmitter just the receiver. My only complaint is that programming it or accessing the various menus and functions is pretty clunky... Other then that the unit works as advertised.
Assuming that you have the 2200, does your GPS read out your heading as True or Magnetic? On mine the display can be changed to T or M but the number alway stays with a True course value.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:00 AM   #11
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Assuming that you have the 2200, does your GPS read out your heading as True or Magnetic? On mine the display can be changed to T or M but the number alway stays with a True course value.
The short answer is I don't know, I just use the AIS receiver interfaced to my chart plotter.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:01 AM   #12
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Thanks I guess if I had done more research I would have picked up on that. It's a bit of a shame though. I would have thought they could integrate the two functions so they could share a single antenna without the loss of a splitter.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:19 AM   #13
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I believe the AIS unit is actually a separate transceiver within the unit, which will be doing its job (and using its dedicated antenna) without user input. This will often be occurring simultaneously with the user transmitting/receiving on the other transceivers (VHF and DSC), hence the need for a dedicated antenna.

The other benefit of this is that you can use an AIS antenna tuned for the AIS frequencies, just like with a traditional AIS transceiver, theoretically avoiding the degraded performance of a shared antenna.
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Old 03-16-2017, 03:51 AM   #14
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I've ordered this GX6500 from West Marine so:

1) We'll so how it goes in real life
2) We'll see if it actually ships in 2-3 weeks (I'm suspicious)

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Originally Posted by IRENE View Post
I believe the AIS unit is actually a separate transceiver within the unit, which will be doing its job (and using its dedicated antenna) without user input. This will often be occurring simultaneously with the user transmitting/receiving on the other transceivers (VHF and DSC), hence the need for a dedicated antenna.

The other benefit of this is that you can use an AIS antenna tuned for the AIS frequencies, just like with a traditional AIS transceiver, theoretically avoiding the degraded performance of a shared antenna.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:18 AM   #15
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...........I am also questioning the reasons to have AIS on a recreational boat. I rarely am out in fog or very poor visibility and I have a healthy radar signature so for now, I am going to pass. .
In a way, I agree with you but it depends on your location and how you boat. On the AICW and Florida's St Johns River I have seldom felt the need for AIS. Crossing some of the big harbors or commercial rivers, one would have been nice to know if any commercial ships were coming and to know their names if I want to call them on the VHF. I've thought about the SH VHF with AIS receive partly because my existing radio is old and the newer model has some nice features besides the AIS.

There was a thread on a different forum claiming that not only buying an AIS receive only system was a waste of money, but buying a class B transmitting system was also a waste of money. The poster claimed that everyone should be buying class A systems.

For me, and I suspect most folks, when I see the QE II heading my way, I'm not going to challenge it, even if I'm the stand on boat. I'll stay out of it's way.

The only advantage I see for a 28' boat transmitting an AIS signal is so the folks back home can follow my progress.

On the other hand, if transmitting capability is only a couple hundred dollars more, I would be tempted to buy it.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:32 AM   #16
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Where I am cruising now I don't need any AIS as most of the boat are recreational cruisers that have nothing aboard, neither AIS nor Radar (and in some cases not even a VHF). But the day I will start cruising on St-Lawrence waterway I think I will get an AIS. Consideting that big shipping vessel are going back and forth between great lake and Altlantic on this waterway I would feel more comfortable knowing that they can see me on AIS.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:36 AM   #17
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Standard Horizon GX-6500 AIS Class B, Etc Radio

A trawler or similar style boat recently ran into, bounced off of, and then kept going after hitting a huge passenger ferry in the Puget Sound. In the busy shipping lanes here, especially in the inky dark of early morning and other times, I think AIS is important.

Course that guy hitting the ferry was in broad daylight with the ferry laid into their horn - I have a feeling he was commanding the boat from the head.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-...icle_title_1.1

I also did a trip up from Norfolk in the East Coast to Kent Island and that was in shipping lanes...I'd rather they know I am around.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:31 AM   #18
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............ I also did a trip up from Norfolk in the East Coast to Kent Island and that was in shipping lanes...I'd rather they know I am around.
That's fine but I believe they can turn off the class B (recreational) signals. I'm not certain of that, though.

My thought is, if I know commercial ships are around and where they are, I will stay out of their way and not expect them to change speed or course to avoid my boat. For the most part, I can stay out of the commercial shipping lanes or if I have to cross them, do it as quickly and directly as possible.

I've done that same trip four times (twice each way). I didn't feel the need for AIS, even receive. The ships are going north or south and you can see them for miles. Night time or dense fog would be a different story, but as a recreational boater, I just stay in port under those conditions.

New York harbor, with high speed ferries going every which way would be a different story. That's when the collision warnings on a chart plotter interfaced with AIS would be a safety system. I doubt those boats are going to change course for recreational boaters. They have a schedule to keep and in my experience, a sense of entitlement. I think that's what happened in the Puget Sound case.
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:49 AM   #19
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Standard Horizon GX-6500 AIS Class B, Etc Radio

Puget has those high speed ferries too. Here is a list of specs on this radio:

Key features:

Integrated Class B AIS Transponder
AIS/AIS SART Target display
AIS Call Sign, Ship's name, MMSI, BRG, COG, SOG, DST
66 Channel GPS antenna included
NMEA2000 and NMEA 0183 compatible
Programmable closest point of approach (CPA) alarm
Dual zone 25W PA/loud hailer and programmable fog signals
GPS compass, waypoint and GPS status pages
Oversized rotary channel knob with push to enter
Supports two RAM4 or four RAM4W repeaters
Integrated voice recorder for 2 minutes of received calls
Advanced receiver attenuator for local/distance RX
Integrated 32 code voice scrambler
Front panel waterproofed to IPX8
Specsclick to expand contents
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Old 03-16-2017, 09:16 AM   #20
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Puget has those high speed ferries too. Here is a list of specs on this radio:

Key features:

Integrated Class B AIS Transponder
AIS/AIS SART Target display
AIS Call Sign, Ship's name, MMSI, BRG, COG, SOG, DST
66 Channel GPS antenna included
NMEA2000 and NMEA 0183 compatible
Programmable closest point of approach (CPA) alarm
Dual zone 25W PA/loud hailer and programmable fog signals
GPS compass, waypoint and GPS status pages
Oversized rotary channel knob with push to enter
Supports two RAM4 or four RAM4W repeaters
Integrated voice recorder for 2 minutes of received calls
Advanced receiver attenuator for local/distance RX
Integrated 32 code voice scrambler
Front panel waterproofed to IPX8
Specsclick to expand contents
One thing: It's not a "transponder" unless somebody changed the definition of the word while I was not paying attention. A "transponder" does something in response to an external signal (another boat, another airplane, a signal from a land based station, etc.)

It's a "transceiver". It transmits and it receives on its own without any outside instructions.
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