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Old 05-24-2015, 11:05 PM   #21
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I hear you. We buy products to serve us, not for us to be slaves to them. My new rule us that I'll spend no more than one session with tech support trying to get something to work. If it's not working after that, I just return it and get something else. Poor products should be their problem, not yours.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:20 PM   #22
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Troubleshooting Sitex MDA 1 Metadata Class B AIS transceiver...

Okay...so... I think I may have solved the Sitex AIS problem. The tech at so-tex and the electronic rep in Seattle think the antenna is the problem. So I've hooked it up to the long VHF antenna again that I know works well with the VHF. I am now showing up on one of the local ships antenna. Diagnostics indicate a VSWR of 0.9:1. Diagnostics of the other antenna indicates a VSWR of 3.8:1. Technician at Sitex things that isn't adequate. I bought a Shakespeare 5225-xt antenna which was was recommended by the Seattle rep. Will see how that develops over the next couple of days.


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Old 06-06-2015, 08:58 AM   #23
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I had a similar issue in the past and found the problem with an SWR meter. They are not very expensive, and very handy to have around for testing such things.

I think chances are that your problem is in the connector(s), not the antenna itself. If you are using solderless connectors, that would be my first guess. I have not had good luck with them. Carefully prepping and soldering on a PL-259 connector is a total pain in the butt, but very much worth it in the long run.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:37 AM   #24
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I had a similar issue in the past and found the problem with an SWR meter. They are not very expensive, and very handy to have around for testing such things.

I think chances are that your problem is in the connector(s), not the antenna itself. If you are using solderless connectors, that would be my first guess. I have not had good luck with them. Carefully prepping and soldering on a PL-259 connector is a total pain in the butt, but very much worth it in the long run.

Thanks TT. I was just going to ask about the solderless connectors:

http://shakespeare-ce.com/marine/pro...p-g-connector/

So...the antenna. I bought a new one but have not yet installed it. I'm having a devil of a time getting an electrician on board to help. They are too busy doing larger projects at this time of the year.


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Old 06-09-2015, 11:27 AM   #25
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Another update. As mentioned, I bought a Shakespeare 5225-xt antenna which was was recommended by the Seattle rep. I bought this before carefully inspecting the one I have installed. It turns out I have a nearly identical antenna, with the blue and green band on it. No manufacturer's name but it is in all other respects it is identical.

Another electronics fellow came aboard and looked at my diagnostics again. Everything checks out fine with the AIS connected to the big 16' antenna. He said the easiest way to determine if the 8' Shakespeare is working would be to connect it to the VHF and test it. I contacted coast guard on the working channel for a radio check on a 1watt transmission and he indicates a strong transmission to Bowen island.

So, I'm damned if I'm going to swap out a perfectly good antenna for another identical one, just for a chance that this fixes the problem. So I'm taking the new antenna back, unused.

So we're going off on our long trip tomorrow, providing the weather cooperates. We will leave the AIS connected to the taller antenna, and the radio on the shorter one, which is probably 18 feet above the water. We will see how that works. If anyone sees "Phoenix Hunter" on AIS, be sure to say hello!


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Old 06-09-2015, 04:03 PM   #26
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Another way of testing

Within marine traffic.com you can set up known vessels in "My Fleet".
In that set up you can have the system eMail you when one of your fleet becomes "in range" of any of the sites stations.

If you set up your own boat in your fleet it will send you an email that you are "under way" or "in range" and thus confirming you are sending an AIS signal. You know it's working !!! ( You will need to be within cel phone/wifi range )

Tracking a friend's boat in your fleet is another (albeit kinda creepy) way of knowing where they are.

As a side benefit if you get an email that YOUR boat is under way and your out mowing the lawn you may want to take some kind of alternate action!!!
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:15 PM   #27
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Thanks, Tolly.

I was talked into keeping the 5225-xt antenna and I've installed it. Diagnostics are checking out fine on the proAIS2. VSWR is 2.2:1. Voltage is 12.7. Silent mode is not hooked up. We continue to receive AIS targets and these display on the plotter but we are still not able to transceive. I contacted Vessel Traffic Services on 74A and they are not identifying us after 45 minutes. We are not showing up on Marinetraffic.com.


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Old 06-09-2015, 11:23 PM   #28
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It seems there is not much left at this point other than a bum AIS device, right?
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Old 06-10-2015, 01:06 AM   #29
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It seems there is not much left at this point other than a bum AIS device, right?

Yup. It may get started when we move about. Not sure. The vendor says he will accept a return when we get back in 3 months. I'm at a loss.


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Old 06-13-2015, 09:51 AM   #30
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Troubleshooting Sitex MDA 1 Metadata Class B AIS transceiver...

We left Steveston for Pender Harbour on Wednesday. AIS started transceiving and showed up on Vessel Finder. At some point we were out of range from the shore based stations and our progress was no longer updated. We didn't check with any vessels in the water to see if they could see us on their display.

6 weeks ago, we went out on the water and the unit was not transceiving, so perhaps the upgrade in the antenna has made a difference.

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Old 06-13-2015, 10:44 AM   #31
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Jim, is the data under "Phoenix Hunter" or something else as I have not seen you on "Marine Traffic" or "ais3.siitech.com" site as of yet. Have a great trip and don't forget photos please.
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Old 06-13-2015, 11:00 AM   #32
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Boy, this discussion makes me feel really lucky - I bought my AIS transceiver on eBay for $150, bought a Shakespeare antenna for $30, hooked it up, and everything just works, including the emails from MarineTraffic for most port arrivals and departures (which is kind of creepy and fun at the same time).
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Old 06-13-2015, 11:16 AM   #33
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Boy, this discussion makes me feel really lucky - I bought my AIS transceiver on eBay for $150, bought a Shakespeare antenna for $30, hooked it up, and everything just works, including the emails from MarineTraffic for most port arrivals and departures (which is kind of creepy and fun at the same time).
Pray tell, what did you find for $150? I don't see anything under $450. You must have hit the jackpot!
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:30 PM   #34
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I wouldn't worry about it, as long as the GPS isnt direct next to the antenna you'll be fine (I mean inches away). My AIS GPS antenna is mounted under my FB brow and shoots through the FB no problem. They'res also a VHF antenna about 5ft away on the other side of the glass.
Yes. totally agree.
Your location should not be the problem. Neither is it a Class B issue.

Does your plotter even see it?
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:35 PM   #35
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It was a used em-trak B100, made in the UK I think, although they're serviced by West Marine. I did get lucky with the price, but I remember similar units were going for about $200 at the time. I was lucky too that it came with all the cables, gps mushroom, and software. A West Marine rep emailed me the computer file with the updated boat identification, did a usb connection to my laptop in the den and shazam, it all worked.
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Old 06-13-2015, 05:38 PM   #36
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Jim,
I just saw your last post.

It sounds like it was the antenna.
When I got mine, I also opted for the $150 8 ft Shakespeare Ant.
I figured if i bought them together, they would work together.

They did. Once i figured out I had spliced my two VHF antennas together so that neither was connected to any receiver
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Old 06-14-2015, 12:12 AM   #37
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Jim, is the data under "Phoenix Hunter" or something else as I have not seen you on "Marine Traffic" or "ais3.siitech.com" site as of yet. Have a great trip and don't forget photos please.

We did show up on Vesseltraffic.com, but not Marinetraffic.com. We we last tracked by "Vesseltraffic.com" just before welcome passage. I have not contacted other traffic to see if they are receiving and plotting our signals.


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Old 06-14-2015, 01:38 AM   #38
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Are you in Pender now, Jim?
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:32 AM   #39
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Yes, we were in Pender. Now in Prideaux. The AIS is off for the night.

https://share.delorme.com/JamesCave


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Old 06-15-2015, 12:15 PM   #40
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Jim,
Just a quick question. Does this Si-Tex unit have an external GPS antenna connected? I see in the specs it comes with a built in antenna with an external being optional. My unit which is an old WestMarine one only has an external antenna but when I moved it up onto the radar mast it made quite a difference in performance. Just a thought.
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