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Old 07-28-2015, 12:19 AM   #1
Al
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Talk to me about AIS.

Have become enchanted with AIS. Having the program on my phone allowing me to view the vessels about with this feature holds my attention.
I can see this as substitute for "SPOT" in terms of the wife following my voyages on her notebook. As I travel in blind spots for cell service, being able to view my position seems a no brainier. Other than having this option on my phone I would really like to hear the pros and cons, size of unit, requirements of space, cost, and depth of technology required to make the installation.
Is is practicable for a small boat such as our at 28 feet? Are there restrictions on who can or can not utilize? Just a few of the questions. If there is a primer on the subject on line that one could review?

Thanks, Al
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:29 AM   #2
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At its simplest, AIS is available in either class "A" or "B." For your purposes "B" would probably suffice, IMHO.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:25 AM   #3
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AIS operates on the VHF band so depending on your cruising area, while other vessels can 'see' you, there may be no stations retransmitting your ID for your wife follow on the internet sites.

I have a delorme satellite gizmo mostly for Mission Control's peace of mind, and if I remember to pocket it when going ashore, she can even see which pub we are at.
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:06 AM   #4
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Stand-alone AIS transponder/receiver systems" are rather expensive.

AIS data are transmitted on 2 VHF frequencies.
Seeing you already have a VHF radio on your yacht, there is no point in duplication by buying a dedicated ais receiver.

To visualize the data, all you need is an additional rc-circuit added to your VHF radio and some decoding software for your laptop.
Then connect the VHF to your laptop for tracking and navigating in real time.

now this is not how I did it I used a Garmin AIS 600 through my NMEA it can then run to any of the screens in the boat including my tv
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:44 AM   #5
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Wikipedia might be the first place to go to. Try this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automa...ication_System

In a nutshell, there are varying types and degrees of AIS. There are receive only units and there are full transceivers that also broadcast your position with the transceiver being about twice the cost.

Then there is packaging and display. Some of the AIS's are the size and footprint of a VHF radio. Some are designed into VHF radios. The displays are rather small and challenging. Other units are more like a GPS and have GPS built in and GPS style color displays. Then there are "black box" units without displays. They are normally used with a NMEA 2000 network and a multifunction display. In most cases this is the most useful approach.

All AIS's require a VHF antenna connection.

For your wife to track you on her laptop, you have to be in range of a retransmission facility. This may change in the future as more AIS satellite systems are deployed. AIS is still evolving but it will probably be as universal as GPS in a few years. A keen observer will recognize GPS and AIS share a lot in common and really should be integrated.
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:50 AM   #6
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Have AIS on both of my boats. One is a Simrad stand alone about $1200 with it's own antenna. The other is a West Marine unit that is interfaced through a network (not the nmea 2000) cable to my Garmin plotter. While the unit through my Garmin plotter is very nice, it requires me to leave the plotter on at night to have the AIS active at anchor. The Simrad on my charter boat can be on while the rest are turned off to save the battery. Typically I leave the AIS, VHF, and a simple GPS with anchor watch, while anchored doing diving charters. In my area, land station coverage is poor. I may go more than a month without being picked up by a land station. This is with a top quality AIS antenna on a 14' mast. I routinely pick up ships at 60 miles and can be seen at 30 to 40 miles.

In summary, I like my unit displayed on the garmin chartplotter. I like that I don't have to leave the suite of electronics on with my stand alone at night. Currently AIS is a poor tracking device for land based admirals.

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Old 07-28-2015, 07:06 AM   #7
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Talk to me about AIS.

Before my trip down the Louisiana ICW I was advised by Dimer2 to install AIS so the tugs pushing the long barges could se me coming around corners, and also so I could see them coming and adjust my position if needed.

It has worked out very well, and it has made things much easier on me. A few barge captains have been surprised that a recreational boat had AIS and they told me they thought it was a great idea.

I bought a "cheap" Sitex transponder unit for around $500. I also bought a good antenna splitter ($250 Vesper Marine)so I could use my existing VHF antenna and because I didn't feel like running more cable through my crowded wire chase.

It was an expensive add on but well worth it in my opinion.
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Old 07-28-2015, 07:27 AM   #8
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AIS Website

Interested in which AIS website members are using to follow vessel traffic. Would like my family to be able to locate our boat and track our voyage.
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Old 07-28-2015, 07:59 AM   #9
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Hi

The only one I'm aware of is

Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions - AIS Marine Traffic

although I'd be interested to hear of others.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al View Post
Have become enchanted with AIS. Having the program on my phone allowing me to view the vessels about with this feature holds my attention.
I can see this as substitute for "SPOT" in terms of the wife following my voyages on her notebook. As I travel in blind spots for cell service, being able to view my position seems a no brainier.
The AIS web sites are only as good as the receiving stations. I've found that each of the three or so "big" web sites uses a different network of ground-based receivers, so you can never be sure which, if any, you might show up on.

There's usually good coverage around big harbors. After that, only one or two networks may cover the medium-sized harbors. Outside the harbors, coverage goes from spotty to non-existent.

I typically want to go places the big ships don't. Places where there's no interest in an AIS receiving station.

I have an AIS Class B transceiver and it's great. I'd recommend it. But not for letting folks back on shore know where you are. I ended up buying the Delorme InReach for that.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:38 PM   #11
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Maybe this should be combined with the other thread on this topic?

Here are three more sites that display live AIS data: VesselFinder, FindShip and FleetMon.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:42 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies. I think it is a good idea to combine this thread with the other on AIS--but I don't know how to do that Suggestions appreciated.
I've looked at a couple of websites and some seem to display more targets than others--some have ability to filter the type of vessel one is seeking. Was wondering if there is consensus about the best place to go on a home computer to track the boat.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:57 PM   #13
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Thanks for the replies. I think it is a good idea to combine this thread with the other on AIS--but I don't know how to do that Suggestions appreciated.
I've looked at a couple of websites and some seem to display more targets than others--some have ability to filter the type of vessel one is seeking. Was wondering if there is consensus about the best place to go on a home computer to track the boat.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a Class B AIS unit will only be picked up in areas where coverage is provided by a volunteer land based receiver. They are also less powerful than the Class A commercial units.
We recently took a trip from Muskegon MI to Sturgeon Bay WS and back. We showed up on only about a third of the trip. And somewhat intermittently even then.
You don't want to create more anxiety, so please make sure your friends and family are aware it is not perfect. SPOT or something similar may be more useful.
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:41 PM   #14
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As a commercial guy, it certainly makes it much easier for us to see you if you have AIS. Sometimes in the middle of the night, when there's heavy rain washing out the radar, that might be the only way I know you're there.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:48 PM   #15
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The AIS web sites are only as good as the receiving stations. I've found that each of the three or so "big" web sites uses a different network of ground-based receivers, so you can never be sure which, if any, you might show up on.

There's usually good coverage around big harbors. After that, only one or two networks may cover the medium-sized harbors. Outside the harbors, coverage goes from spotty to non-existent.

I typically want to go places the big ships don't. Places where there's no interest in an AIS receiving station.

I have an AIS Class B transceiver and it's great. I'd recommend it. But not for letting folks back on shore know where you are. I ended up buying the Delorme InReach for that.
Dawdler,

I think you should read Capt Tom's post again.

If your main concern is family and friends tracking you, That's not the strong point of AIS and even less so virtual AIS.

I've used all three and the Delorme InReach can't be beat for they purpose.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:02 PM   #16
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We use a Garmin class B AIS 300 connected between the VHF and antenna, its information is connected to our Garmin 740s through NMEA and it overlays targets on it.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:33 PM   #17
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Agree, Delorme is the better tracking device.
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:45 PM   #18
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In my opinion AIS is a device that is effectively used for collision avoidance. I use mine for that purpose and it has been a major tool in that resource box. It has not only provided real time information on the Rivers but also well offshore. If you are purchasing it for use as a means of someone on land easily locating your position you will most likely be disappointed, especially offshore. If that is your reasoning for the purchase it would probably be easier to just have those on land track your phone with "where is my phone".
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:40 PM   #19
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Al,

I don't think putting an AIS Class B transponder on your boat will allow many people to track you over the internet. Once you get out of the channel in Ketchikan I dare say no one is receiving AIS transmissions and posting them. Your Spot or InReach is the best device.

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Old 07-28-2015, 09:52 PM   #20
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