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Old 08-07-2019, 10:03 PM   #1
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Updating AIS info

Our boat's AIS transponder still broadcasts the old name from the previous owner. Would be nice to change to the new name. This must be a common enough issue.

I did find the AIS transponder under the flybridge coaming and it does have a USB cable for PC connectivity coiled up next to it. I also found a small CD ROM (software?) disk with the documentation. So, my plan is to load the SW and see if I can connect to the transponder via USB and update the vessel name. Has anyone done this?
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:08 PM   #2
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Do you know what brand it is? I assume you still have the MMSI that was assigned to the old boat name? Youíll have to change that too with wherever itís registered....
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:10 PM   #3
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Transceiver, not transponder.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:29 PM   #4
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Far simpler to just transfer the MMSI account. PO should give you a login and password. You can then change boat information, contact information etc online.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:25 PM   #5
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I had not thought about the previous owners MMSI account. But how does changing the MMSI account info change what the transponder transmits on the boat? I'm pretty sure the info is locally programmed into the transponder.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:33 PM   #6
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Only the dealers are technically allowed to program equipment, it was part of the agreements set up as part of the ais system, and I believe there is a limited number of changes allowed for a piece of equipment.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:07 AM   #7
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It is possible to sweet talk a dealer's tech into telling you how to change the name and MMSI if you can present a good enough reason. No qualified service techs available for a long time and a long distance away was the argument I used successfully.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:23 AM   #8
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The name of the boat is programmed into the unit. Even if you change it online it wonít change in the actual VHF data being sent out. I have had good luck contacting the vendor Iíve purchased units from before and explaining the boat was sold and name was changed. However, they donít have to honor the change and may require you to send it back to be reprogrammed.

If that doesnít work I would contact the original manufacturer to see if they would be willing to help. At that point itís probably better to get a new MMSI altogether if you donít have access to change the old data.

At some point it might just be easier to buy a new unit although that is expensive.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:54 AM   #9
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I think you also have to change it with the FCC, maybe?
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:04 AM   #10
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I think you also have to change it with the FCC, maybe?


Wherever it was registered you need to keep the boat name and owner name details current. Some folks register with the FCC and some wirh BoatUS which are two different spots and not connected in the same way. Most people use the FCC so you can get a station ID. Many coast guard registered boats require that anyhow.
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:27 AM   #11
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What brand and model transceiver is it?

Most have the ability to be re-programmed. But many also have an installer password designed to limit changes.

Transferring an MMSI won't help AT ALL if the unit is squawking the vessel name. That's coming from the transceiver itself.

Now, if the unit is squawking the MMSI and you're fine with that then, yes, getting an MMSI transferred has merit. But there's nothing obligating a previous owner to transfer it and they might want to keep using it. They could be among the rare set of operators that actually uses their MMSI for calling and such.

Best to re-program the unit. Also a good idea to make sure it's squawking the correct data. Beam, length, etc. But note some units allow for very precise configuring regarding where the antenna is placed. Don't muck about with that if the data is already correct, stick with just changing the vessel name.
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:32 AM   #12
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The software is probably ProAIS which is from SRT who make nearly all the AIS devices for nearly all vendors. Once the AIS device has been programmed the first time, on subsequent attempts you can only change certain things. I know you cannot change the MMSI. What I don't recall is whether you can change the boat name while keeping the same MMSI. You might be able to.



BTW, the MMSI is "supposed" to stay with the boat forever, kind of like a USCG Documentation boat number. But in practice it almost never does and people just get a new MMSI because it's easier.
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:43 AM   #13
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It will depend on the unit. My original Simrad was 100% user programmable through the display. My Garmin is O% user programmable. Until the unit make and model is identified, it's only a guess.

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Old 08-08-2019, 07:00 AM   #14
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I just went through this with a Raymarine unit. You cannot change the MMSI number with the software they give you. You would have to send it back to be programmed. I could not find anyone local that had the capability, even Raymarine dealers.

I finally got the PO to release the MMSI number through Boat US. It took 5 minutes to change the information on the unit. Very easy. Make sure that you change the information on the Boat US site also.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
The software is probably ProAIS which is from SRT who make nearly all the AIS devices for nearly all vendors. Once the AIS device has been programmed the first time, on subsequent attempts you can only change certain things. I know you cannot change the MMSI. What I don't recall is whether you can change the boat name while keeping the same MMSI. You might be able to.



BTW, the MMSI is "supposed" to stay with the boat forever, kind of like a USCG Documentation boat number. But in practice it almost never does and people just get a new MMSI because it's easier.
I know from experience you CAN change the MMSI. It may depend upon the particular unit but it can be done.
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Old 08-08-2019, 10:24 AM   #16
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We worked with the previous owner to release his MMSI and then we used a service to have it transferred to our name. I had to get an FCC license before hand. Once we had that, we took out the AIS unit and took it to a local dealer who changed the name. Several steps in the whole process for security.

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Old 08-08-2019, 03:56 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Portage_Bay View Post
I know from experience you CAN change the MMSI. It may depend upon the particular unit but it can be done.

It can be changed, but not with ProAIS or any other software normally available. If you have experienced otherwise, I'd be real interested to know more about it. It would be a real exception. Now Class A is different, so perhaps that's what you encountered? Oh, and outside the US the rules are different, and changing the MMSI may not be a problem.
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:59 PM   #18
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It can be changed, but not with ProAIS or any other software normally available. If you have experienced otherwise, I'd be real interested to know more about it. It would be a real exception. Now Class A is different, so perhaps that's what you encountered? Oh, and outside the US the rules are different, and changing the MMSI may not be a problem.

Yes it was a class A set. And sort of outside the US. I was taking possession of a UK boat for my employer in the UK and transferring to US flag, US radio license. A US tech told me over the phone the secret code to access the secret menu to make the changes.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:03 PM   #19
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I finally got around to changing the boat name on the AIS transponder. It took only 30 seconds. I used the application "ProAIS2" and connected the laptop to the USB cable from the AIS transponder (Comnav X2). ProAIS2 install loads the appropriate USB drivers. Clicked connect and it read the info from the device. Changed the boat's name and rewrote info to the transponder. Done.
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsholz View Post
I finally got around to changing the boat name on the AIS transponder. It took only 30 seconds. I used the application "ProAIS2" and connected the laptop to the USB cable from the AIS transponder (Comnav X2). ProAIS2 install loads the appropriate USB drivers. Clicked connect and it read the info from the device. Changed the boat's name and rewrote info to the transponder. Done.
Couple of things - did you check what MMSI is in your radio(s)?

You should get the MMSI tranferred to you or get a new one.

If your radio transmits a distress with the PO's MMSI the search and rescue folks may get the PO's info from the database - including boat name, usual people on board, and who should be contacted in case of a distress. That really needs to be your info.

See the current thread "MMSI Rant Part Two" in General Discussion.
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