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Old 07-28-2015, 10:32 PM   #21
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I probably wasn't clear enough in my original post. I already have AIS on board as an information/collision avoidance tool. That's its primary purpose and it is terrific for that. However, there appear to be several websites that allow folks at home to "watch" what's going on. This is a nice side benefit albeit with some limitations as have been discussed. In cursory investigation I saw some differences among sites, and was wondering if the TF members found any of the websites superior to others in coverage, ease of use, functionality, etc. So again, any preference for AIS monitoring websites?
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:14 AM   #22
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Talk to me about AIS.

You have to first get an mmsi number. Then you buy the AIS transmit and receive unit. The unit is supposed to be programmed by a licensed person with your mmsi number. Then you can install it. Vessel size does not matter. Just read your last post after sending. YOUR antenna makes all the difference in shore stations picking up your info. ( unless you are near a ship that is rebroadcasting info to one of the websites). I routinely see vessels that are visible that suddenly 'appear' on ais display. Some do not show up until VERY close.
Not all installations are equal.

Regarding which websites to use both at home and on phone: Generally anything that is 'free' is based upon traffic info within range of repeater stations on land. OR (as in marine traffic) boats who rebroadcast nearby vessels info and send that to marine traffic. The 'pay' sites use a combination of land based, antenna satellite based and rebroadcast info. If you pay you usually get better data.

I know my office pays 100 a month. But they want no delay, up to date infinite coverage everywhere. Personally I find the free info useful enough for my use. I use marine traffic.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:58 AM   #23
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Just evaluate what you really want out of the gear.....there are some ways to track a vessel for those at home and there is collision avoidance.

Even AIS doesn't help for probably 90 percent of the traffic the average received boat encounters. It is great for some situations..but if you avoid areas of high commercial traffic, much less useful.

So if unlimited budget get it for no other reason it is a good tool..if not, pick your poison.
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:23 AM   #24
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Tom (tpbrady)
Good to hear from you. I know you to be up on this electronic stuff and I believe you understand that I on the other hand am about "Smoke Signal" qualified!

I use Marine Traffic and find that the traffic reported is darn close to being on the mark for now time current location. I have a SPOT devise but have not activated the unit as the voyages are spasmodic at best with the question of annual subscription value.

The thinking of having with a one time AIS equipment expense on board and the Marine Traffic app on the wife's computer would be a straight forward accomplishment.

Once a boater is about 15 miles away from say Wrangell in this case, my most travled voyage, there is no longer any cell service hence, no internet via a UBS connection (I think that is the correct verbiage ) and not till one is nearing Meyers Chuck will cell service be reestablished. As that 30 miles of no coverage is the cusp of "Go or No Go" decision, prior to the normal weather and sea condition, having the wife know why I am not phoning in would count.

It may be that the SPOT is the better decision cost not considered a factor in the long run.
Thanks for your response and those who contributed.
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Old 07-30-2015, 01:40 PM   #25
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A lot of good info here.

WHY AIS? It is just another tool in your toolbox to make your cruising more enjoyable and safer. Period. Do you need it? Depends on your cruising style.

I upgraded my boat this last winter with all Raymarine equipment. Radar, MFD and AIS. I will be cruising the PNW, SE Alaska and I view AIS and just another safety feature. AIS cost me about $700 (unit and new VHF/AIS antenna) for transceiver Class B (Meaning I transmit and receive). Cheap insurance to aid in use with your chartplotter and radar.

Do you need it maybe not, but I have been in the thick fog, saw a tug/tow on my radar and was able to identify and call the tug by name because of AIS to avoid a collision. The USCG is also installing some AIS transmitters on buoys now.
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Old 08-01-2015, 01:50 AM   #26
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Talk to me about AIS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawdler View Post
I probably wasn't clear enough in my original post. I already have AIS on board as an information/collision avoidance tool. That's its primary purpose and it is terrific for that. However, there appear to be several websites that allow folks at home to "watch" what's going on. This is a nice side benefit albeit with some limitations as have been discussed. In cursory investigation I saw some differences among sites, and was wondering if the TF members found any of the websites superior to others in coverage, ease of use, functionality, etc. So again, any preference for AIS monitoring websites?

The short answer is, the AIS websites are limited, especially so in remote areas. The Delorme "Inreach" satellite transmitters are way more reliable and also permit texting to family and friends. It is not affected by high terrain, or other limitations of AIS. I have one and it is the primary means for us to communicate with family. The primary value of AIS is to provide identification, speed and course to other vessels in your vicinity, to aid in collision avoidance.

We had difficulties with the installation of our Class B AIS. It is affected by other boats in the marinas, whether you are moving or not, and has many of the same limitations of VHF. AIS is essentially a VHF that Tweets where you are. It's range is limited. Only large ships with tall antennae (and Class A) can broadcast signals more than 8-10 nm.


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Old 08-04-2015, 09:13 PM   #27
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Had an opportunity to speak to a boater with AIS on board. He is a boater out of Texas who had the unit on board prior to coming to Alaska via Anacortes, Wash. I found him on Marine Traffic as he passed the house this morning. Followed him on AIS to a local fuel dock. I explained my dilemma on being in blind spots and give a specific area of concern. His response was fortuitous, He had just traveled down that same route and found that he was not being followed or seen by AIS . Therefore, in our conversation the agreement was that SPOT would be the more positive process to accomplish what I desire. I am proceeding on that venue.
Will give a follow up on what develops with the SPOT discussion scheduled with our local rescue squad leader for tomorrow. Stay tuned-

Appreciate all the responses to the inquiry to this point.
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Old 08-05-2015, 08:39 AM   #28
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@Al
It would depend on what your complete intentions are regarding AIS use and visibility. Individual SPOT phones only communicate with home base (or whoever you chose to share with). AIS communicates with anyone else within range (especially a shore bases repeater). If you opt for spot you will never be seen by anyone else on a boat for navigation purposes.

The coverage gaps of AIS communication due to terrain or poor antenna installation we all have to live with. If we operate where there are no base stations that rebroadcast to marine traffic (or the like) then we have no visibility to others trying to look at us unless they are in range.

My boat has AIS. If I were voyaging afar I would probably get a spot myself. But, they are for two different purposes.
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:08 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al View Post
Will give a follow up on what develops with the SPOT discussion scheduled with our local rescue squad leader for tomorrow. Stay tuned-
I'm glad you finally heard some first-hand experience about the limitations of shoreside AIS.

If you don't mind my asking, what lead you toward SPOT as opposed to the Delorme InReach?

The SPOT is cheaper, and although the coverage is slightly less than the 100% InReach offers, for most coastal cruisers that's not an issue.

I went with InReach because it can send and receive ad-hoc text messages, and because I can pay for service plans by the month, and suspend the service altogether when I don't need it (after paying an annual activation fee.) Besides keeping the crew and family back home happy, the two-way text is a nice safety feature, as a backup to the EPIRB, PLB and multiple VHFs we already carry.

[edit] I just realized I didn't even mention AIS. I carry a Class B transceiver, but I don't consider it an emergency communications device OR a reliable way for folks back home to track us.
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:54 AM   #30
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I enjoyed speaking with Al in Ketchikan. The issue with AIS is with Marine Traffic as Al wanted to use it. Marine Traffic depends upon land based receivers to collect AIS information and post it on their web site. That is why you do not have complete coverage in the outlying areas outside of major population centers that have people that set up land based AIS receivers.

I suggested that for Al's application to let his wife know where he was, the SPOT or similar product would work better for him. I know that Delorme has another product, I just happen to have the Spot. For us we have it programmed to send an email to 8 email addresses (family members, etc.) The programmed message states that "All OK, just wanted to let you know where we are" the link will take them to a map showing our GPS location. All we have to do in the boat is turn the Spot on and press the "OK" button and leave it on until it finds the satellite and sends the email.

We love our AIS in the boat though. With it I can see most commercial shipping (A) and a great number of private personal boats (B). And they can see me. We were advised by a Tug operator on the Gulf Coast to add it to our boat so that the Tugs could see us and we see them especially. AIS works around bends and a much greater distance than radar. Great safety addition to a cruising boat....JMHO.
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Old 08-06-2015, 02:34 PM   #31
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I met with our fire department chief who is also a part of the local search and rescue squad operations. We discussed the situation that I have addressed on the forum. Here is what we are going to proceed with. On my next trip to Wrangell through my normal route which is an area that the rescue squad has not had opportunity to route any communications. They are as interested in the results as I in taking one of their loaner SPOT instruments. The rescue squad has a number of SPOT units that are offered to hunters, or tourist venturing out into the outback.
This is an opportunity to test the SPOT, confirm whether the unit will work in the area providing a closure to tempting the weather in advising home of my intentions going forward,

Now comes my recent introduced boating forum member, “Willies Tug” Herb. His confirmation of other comments regarding the use of Delome unit. While the wife and I do not text as a means of communications (Slow and seemingly too large fingers!!) however the ability to do so plus the ability to start and stop the service has merit for our considerations.

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Old 08-06-2015, 02:57 PM   #32
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I'm a commercial captain and I never leave the dock without the transceiver on. I find it especially useful for predicting traffic issues, like ferries coming out of SF, or crew boats moving around behind ships in the anchorage. When I see a potential issue on the overlay on my MFD, I scroll over the icon and it tells me which vessel I need to hail to resolve the problem at hand.

I have also used the AIS alarm feature on ocean deliveries. Set it to make some noise when a target is within a certain range, and you can rest that much easier on night watches. I've even set it while single-handing so I could sleep.

Necessary equipment in my mind.
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Old 08-06-2015, 03:43 PM   #33
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Lutarious: Absolutely correct for single-handed operations. I can rest much better on long crossings at night. AIS was developed for collision avoidance and now is morphing into an added aid to navigation with virtual beacons very helpful in that task also. As far as installing one for the sole purpose of someone on landing "following you" it is very limited. That may change as more shore stations are developed and repeaters on ships but one should not rely on it for purposes that were not intended.
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Old 11-29-2015, 10:17 AM   #34
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Hello. Interested in the Garmin 6000. Did you use a dedicated antenna or, use the integral splitter? Have read interesting stories about the effectiveness of the splitter.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-29-2015, 10:19 AM   #35
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Use a dedicated antenna.
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Old 11-30-2015, 08:15 AM   #36
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I used this AIS splitter with an amplifier.

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Had to do a quick install before bringing boat back to Tx so didn't want to fiddle with running another antenna cable. AIS worked fine. VHF seem to still work fine.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:38 PM   #37
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ais transponder license fee

What is it going to cost me to get the FCC to give me MMSI number, I think it's called, so I can operate internationally. How do they send you the number by email or snail mail or both.
Thank you all.
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Old 12-04-2015, 02:26 AM   #38
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What is it going to cost me to get the FCC to give me MMSI number, I think it's called, so I can operate internationally. How do they send you the number by email or snail mail or both.
Thank you all.
I did mine a few weeks ago and it was $215. The license is issued via the ULS system, the FCC will notify you of the successful grant via email then you can look up the license online.

That was for the ship's station. You'll need a separate license for each radio operator aboard (no test but another fee) to operate outside of the USA waters.
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:27 AM   #39
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Thanks questionmark exactly what I was looking for.
Now one more gadget to buy, does it ever end? Not.
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Old 12-04-2015, 08:20 AM   #40
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Another option for over the horizon tracking is the Iridium 9575 satphone. It has a built in GPS and an SOS button in the event of an emergency. Unlike SPOT uses Globalstar satellites, Iridium uses iridium satellites which are available everywhere on earth.

Globalstar satellites have a specific footprint which has low spots, and sometimes none at all. If you're talking north america, no problem, but south pacific or south atlantic, big problem.

The 9575 is water proof, dust proof, and impact resistant. It is smaller than the 9505 and 9555 iridium phones and has a longer battery life. It does require clear sky view, so if you have a metal boat, you'll either need an external antenna, or step out on deck for it to work. It works well under a fiberglass roof.

The cost is around $1250-$1300 depending on bare phone or phone kit. You can get prepaid service that lasts a year, cheaper than month-to-month.

I deployed them in the middle east with far fewer problems than previous models and like the new design.

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