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Old 03-22-2011, 08:57 PM   #1
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VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

Hi there...

We are in the process of upgrading our VHF capabilities on Dorian I, and are down to deciding between the Icom M504 and the Standard Horizon Matrix AIS units. We are also intending to have a remote full function mike for the upper helm. Icom seems to have a better reputation, and so we are leaning toward them, but the AIS function is a real attraction for the Standard Horizon. Our dealer (who offers both) is high on Icom, but also on this particular model from Standard Horizon. Although we're still awaiting pricing for the SH Matrix AIS, I'm sure it will be significantly less that the ICOM M504 and AIS module (AIS module alone is $497.00) combination.

Any experience out there on these two options?
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:25 AM   #2
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

I installed a SH GX2100 last year. The AIS function is great. I have received AIS signals from as far away as 35 miles.

The radio part is not as good as my SH GS1500. The controls are more complicated with the menus and submenus. The loudhailer/horn is so difficult to access that by the time you have pushed all the buttons, the need for the horn has passed! I have had to make up cheat sheets on post it notes to remind myself how to access the horn/hailer.

All in all, having a good AIS receiver for $350 is the best quality of the GX2100.

I consider it to be a good AIS receiver and a backup/second VHF.
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

Thanks Larry, that is very helpful. You have touched on exactly our concern about the Standard VHF, and that is the detailed instructions that cover the wide variety of options you have for the soft keys. That would suggest quick and easy operation of some features might be difficult.*
As our purchase will be our primary VHF (our current Icom M80 will be our backup), we would definitely want something that can be relatively simple and effective to operate.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

Instead of buying/installing AIS,*I decided that the following site*that shows the AIS traffic in the are is good enough and its free.*http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/def...m=2&level1=140

We have Verizon broad band which cover*most*of the Puget Sound and the islands.* If you look at your area you will see*the majority*are large ships/tugs/ferries/charters which are the the ones I am most concerned about.* Very small % of pleasure boats and smaller commercial have AIS.***A new VHF with AIS is on the wish list but no this year.*
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:44 PM   #5
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

Thanks PhilFill...a great site! I can supervise all of the west coast traffic way out here in Calgary! Will definitely keep that one bookmarked.

We don't use a computer on board so this wouldn't help unfortunately; AIS is not an absolute requirement at the moment but I'm sure at some point it will be useful. If the Standard vs Icom VHFs come out even we would go with the "free" AIS of course.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:58 PM   #6
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

Quote:
Phil Fill wrote:
Instead of buying/installing AIS,*I decided that the following site*that shows the AIS traffic in the are is good enough and its free.*http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/def...m=2&level1=140

We have Verizon broad band which cover*most*of the Puget Sound and the islands.* If you look at your area you will see*the majority*are large ships/tugs/ferries/charters which are the the ones I am most concerned about.* Very small % of pleasure boats and smaller commercial have AIS.***A new VHF with AIS is on the wish list but no this year.*
While the link that P/F mentioned above can be interesting and even entertaining, I wouldn't want to rely on the quality of AIS information it provides.* If you simply want to know how many AIS transponders are reporting to someone's private receiver in a specific area, which then reports to marinetraffic's server, it's a good source.*

However, based on my experience with the site,*there are always a surprising number of transponders that aren't indicated for various reasons.* So, even though it may be "good enough", you need to be cautious in its use.

*
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:35 PM   #7
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

Phill/Fill
The delay time is very significant on the AIS report. It would be useless for navigational purposes but fun for keeping track of peeps you know. I have used it and saw my boat as southbound in th North River (NY) and I was actually moored!
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Old 03-26-2011, 07:09 AM   #8
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

Quote:
Conrad wrote:
Hi there...

We are in the process of upgrading our VHF capabilities on Dorian I, and are down to deciding between the Icom M504 and the Standard Horizon Matrix AIS units. We are also intending to have a remote full function mike for the upper helm. Icom seems to have a better reputation, and so we are leaning toward them, but the AIS function is a real attraction for the Standard Horizon. Our dealer (who offers both) is high on Icom, but also on this particular model from Standard Horizon. Although we're still awaiting pricing for the SH Matrix AIS, I'm sure it will be significantly less that the ICOM M504 and AIS module (AIS module alone is $497.00) combination.

Any experience out there on these two options?



"Icom seems to have a better reputation"

It depends on who you ask.* There is someone out there who has had great experiences with both and someone who has had bad experiences with both.

The next VHF I get will be the Standard Horizon AIS model.* If it wasn't for the fact that I have to enlarge the mounting hole, I would have already installed it.*

Standard Horizon has great customer support.
*

*
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Old 03-26-2011, 07:12 AM   #9
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

Quote:
Phil Fill wrote:
Instead of buying/installing AIS,*I decided that the following site*that shows the AIS traffic in the are is good enough and its free.*http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/def...m=2&level1=140

We have Verizon broad band which cover*most*of the Puget Sound and the islands.* If you look at your area you will see*the majority*are large ships/tugs/ferries/charters which are the the ones I am most concerned about.* Very small % of pleasure boats and smaller commercial have AIS.***A new VHF with AIS is on the wish list but no this year.*

I think you will find the information on that website to be from several minutes to several hours old.* It also doesn't cover all areas.

The actual AIS receiver on your boat will calculate routes and danger zones based on speed and distance.* You can't really put both in the same ballpark.
*

*
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Old 03-26-2011, 07:24 AM   #10
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

I would have to agree with Ron, nothing beats a real time AIS receiver or in my opinion at least a Class B transponder. Mine integrates into my Garmin NMEA2000 system.
There is delay in the online AIS products then how do you reckon that with your vessels position and speed especially if your vessel doesn't show up on the website because you have no transponder?
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:20 AM   #11
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RE: VHF: Icom M504 vs Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GX2150

In the end we went with the Icom products, as we decided that for the near future we would not need AIS. Icom does have an AIS module that could be added at a later date, although the economics wouldn't work as well as they would with the Standard models.

Thanks everyone for your input.
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