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Old 11-04-2014, 11:35 AM   #1
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VHF with NMEA 2000

My NMEA 2000 bus is coming along nicely, and I just happen to be in the market for a new VHF radio in the near future. Nothing fancy, just an inexpensive VHF with a half-decent display and maybe the ability to get a remote mic someday. I already have an AIS Class B transceiver and plenty of GPS receivers so I don't need either of those features in my radio.

The only that supports NMEA 2000 that I've come up with is the Simrad RS12. Nice little unit, under $200, but no remote mic option.

I'd like to have more than one option. Anyone know of any other model that might meet my needs?
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Old 11-04-2014, 11:40 AM   #2
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Icom M506.
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:07 PM   #3
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Simrad RS 35 has a wireless remote option. Also has ais but you don't have to use it. Just got one for $306 (google search)

Rafe

In case your interested, I am taking out a Standard Horizon GX 2150 w/ ram mic. Black radio & white ram mic. I should be able to remove the cable w/o cutting. I think it's 4 years old. How does 50% off new sound?
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:36 PM   #4
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I had initially had two Simrad RS35 VHFs with wireless remotes. Both VHFs went tits up within the first 24 hrs of use. The third replacement also went tits up within 24hrs. I now have ICOM 506s and the Simrad VHFs are gone.

If you get the Icom, be sure to get it upgraded to firmware V1.002. It will likely come with V1.000. They fixed a bunch of N2K issues.

I first tried the 506 that is N2K + AIS. What I found is that having multiple AIS sources is problematic. From what I can tell there is no standard for who is supposed to filter out your own ship's position reports. Some AIS devices filter it out, but others don't. And some charting products filter it out, but others don't. With my AIS transceiver putting info on the N2K bus, plus my VHF doing the same, my charting program always though I was going to collide with myself and was always alarming. I have notificed NMEA of this loop-hole/oversight in the spec, but have not heard anything back yet. To further complicate things, you can't turn off the N2K AIS position reporting on the 506. I don't recall if it was possible on the RS35 since I didn't have it working long enough to try. Similarly, none of the display devices seem to be able to select an AIS source the way they can with other N2K devices. By the way, all these products that I've tried are NMEA 2000 Certified devices.

I was really hoping to have the AIS in the VHF be a backup for my main AIS transceiver, but wasn't willing to risk creating flakey N2K operation, so I reverted to the 506 model that is N2K only. It still has some quirks, but works (sorry, the rhyme wasn't intentional). For example, it has an AIS option in the menus, but I can't figure out what it actually does, and iCom can't tell me either. But at least it's a benign bug. I have reported all this to Icom as well.

So my advice would be to only have one AIS device on your N2K network. That means no AIS in your VHF, or be certain that the N2K position reports can be turned off.

Eventually the N2K community will get this stuff right, but it's taking a painfully long time.
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:58 PM   #5
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I can see my "nothing fancy, inexpensive VHF" dream slowly drifting away.

The iCom looks like a great machine. More than twice the price of the Simrad RS12 though.

The Simrad RS35 is only 1.5 times the price, but then add $137 for the remote mic. I could buy a handheld for less. But I don't need one now, just nice to have that option for the future.

Then there's Twisted's experience with Simrad units. Ouch.

Good tip on dual AIS inputs on the NMEA 2000 bus. I didn't want to pay for a 2nd one anyway, but now I'm sure I don't want it. After all, AIS is really just another nice-to-have, so redundancy isn't critical.
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Old 11-04-2014, 04:10 PM   #6
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Google the RS35 to see what owners are experiencing. I looked after I started having trouble and found out I wasn't alone. Don't know about the RS12.

Yes, the Icom radios are more expensive, but from my little experience, I think you get what you pay for. We returned the Simrad VHFs so I wasn't out the cost of the equipment, but we sure wasted a lot of time even trying them.
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:06 AM   #7
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Can someone explain to me the advantages of having a vfh on a nema 2000 network if the vhf does not have AIS?
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:41 AM   #8
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can someone explain to me the advantages of having a vfh on a nema 2000 network if the vhf does not have ais?
dsc
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:42 AM   #9
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dsc
Thanks!
But cant you have DSC without being on the nmea 2000 network? Or is it enhanced by getting the gps coordinates via the nmea 2000?
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:25 AM   #10
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All the functions work over either N2K or 0183, assuming you have 0183 wired up properly. It really comes down to the convenience of N2K which is a single cable, vs 0183 which in this case is likely multiple connections since since AIS needs to run at a higher speed than other 0183 devices, so typically needs a dedicated connection. And if you have a boat that is wired with N2K, connecting to 0183 devices requires an adapter of some sort, and some adapters work with some things and other don't.

0183 is fine for simple setups, but as the electronics config becomes more complex the one talker to multiple listeners mesh topology of 0183 quickly becomes untenable. N2K's use of a single cable for multiple talkers and multiple listeners with programmable selection of what you want to listen too is much simpler and much more capable.

So I think the simple answer is that if you have N2K in your boat, and N2K VHF is much easier, where the reverse is true if you only have 0183 on board.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:28 AM   #11
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Oh and Garmin makes N2K VHF's. Not sure if they have a mic option though.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:01 AM   #12
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Here's the Garmin unit. It can have a remote mic.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
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All the functions work over either N2K or 0183, assuming you have 0183 wired up properly. It really comes down to the convenience of N2K which is a single cable, vs 0183 which in this case is likely multiple connections since since AIS needs to run at a higher speed than other 0183 devices, so typically needs a dedicated connection. And if you have a boat that is wired with N2K, connecting to 0183 devices requires an adapter of some sort, and some adapters work with some things and other don't.

0183 is fine for simple setups, but as the electronics config becomes more complex the one talker to multiple listeners mesh topology of 0183 quickly becomes untenable. N2K's use of a single cable for multiple talkers and multiple listeners with programmable selection of what you want to listen too is much simpler and much more capable.

So I think the simple answer is that if you have N2K in your boat, and N2K VHF is much easier, where the reverse is true if you only have 0183 on board.
This gentleman already has AIS, so the only advantage for him would be DSC distress calls with coordinates?
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:01 PM   #14
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