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Old 12-17-2014, 02:18 AM   #21
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Standard Horizon 2150 with AIS etc. Model 1000 as a backup. Very happy, AIS on my plotter.
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Old 12-17-2014, 07:42 AM   #22
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I have a SH GX 2100 with AIS display, hailer and DSC. I found the tech assistance at SH top notch.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:59 PM   #23
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This is great and very interesting information and I appreciate the recommendations. I like having redundancy and the boat is already set up with VHF at both helm stations. What I am now considering is keeping one of the old vhf's in place and replacing one with current technology and remote mic. Now the question would be which station gets the new radio?
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:35 PM   #24
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I think the main radio should be at the helm that you spend most time at. I have 2 iCom M504's, one at each helm. I like having the exact same radio. I also like redundancy. Each radio is wired through 0183 to separate Garmin 4212's. I have a stand alone AIS Transceiver wired to the flybridge chartplotter. The Garmins are networked together and are connected with N2K as well so the AIS is shared on both units. It woks really well. Whatever you decide to do make sure your new radio gets your MMSI number programed AND is wired to the chartplotter so that the little red button actually sends your date AND YOUR POSITION !!
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:16 PM   #25
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Should say DATA and Position,
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:51 PM   #26
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I like the idea of 2 radios; here's how I'm set up with 2 radios.

Both radios have remote mike capability, so I have a head unit on the flybridge and one at the lower helm. The remote mikes are run to opposite station. Each radio is interfaced with its corresponding head unit for DSC and AIS info.

Works great!
Boy, talk about belt and suspenders.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:17 PM   #27
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Whatever you decide to do make sure your new radio gets your MMSI number programed AND is wired to the chartplotter so that the little red button actually sends your date AND YOUR POSITION !!
A nice thing about the Standard Horizon GX2200 is that it has built-in GPS. You don't need to connect it to anything for it to include ship's position in a DSC distress message.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:40 PM   #28
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+2 on the integrated GPS. Also per the Standard Horizon's website, the GX2200 will "Contact Class A or B AIS Ship with DSC". If I understand that right the radio will place a DSC call to an AIS target. This would save the hassle of identifying the ship, looking up and then entering its MMSI.


Now, what is an A or B ship in AIS parlance?
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:43 PM   #29
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Many of the brands discussed are sold in Australia. The homegrown company is GME, popular, around a long time, and providing good service. I have their DSC VHF, with a "slave" unit on the FB. Thinking about it, 2 stand alone units might have been smarter, for redundancy just in case.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:06 PM   #30
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Good Question

Most if not all large ships are using class A - AIS. They are more powerful and much more expensive. Most if not all recreational boaters have class B. Some people say that the Big Boats (freighters, ferries, tugs and other large commercial vessels) do not monitor class B and in fact can tune those targets right out. That means that they do not see you if you are transmitting class B AIS. They claim they tune it out to avoid "screen clutter" in busy areas. You can see them but they wont see you.

VHF with built in AIS are great as receivers (remember most do not send your AIS position), just make sure you can connect the radio to your chartplotter so the AIS targets appear there. That's where you want them. In some cases that is not possible without buying accessory cables and hubs. This is where new new VHF's have N2K capability make it so easy to install.

DSC calling is another great tool to have and if used properly can be a real asset. It is true that newer units can call another boat that is displaying their MMSI # by a single tap on your chartplotter screen.

A great source for information and equipment in the PNW is: Welcome to Milltech Marine - your AIS experts and no I am not affiliated with them.
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:35 AM   #31
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VHF with built in AIS are great as receivers (remember most do not send your AIS position), just make sure you can connect the radio to your chartplotter so the AIS targets appear there. That's where you want them...

DSC calling is another great tool to have and if used properly can be a real asset. It is true that newer units can call another boat that is displaying their MMSI # by a single tap on your chartplotter screen.
Standard Horizon and ICOM marine VHF transceivers with AIS receive capability can display AIS targets on their own screen and you can select from among those AIS targets to send DSC calls. You don't need to be connected to a chart plotter for that, though the displays on these little radios are crap compared to any decent chart plotter.
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Old 12-18-2014, 07:44 AM   #32
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Also per the Standard Horizon's website, the GX2200 will "Contact Class A or B AIS Ship with DSC".


Now, what is an A or B ship in AIS parlance?
That statement is a bit miss-leading. The VHFs DSC will also call a space ship and Santa's Sleigh if they have DSC VHFs.

AIS and DSC are really two completely different things. AIS exchanges ships position, course, and speed, and DSC is a ship calling mechanism.

As for the difference between class A and B, you can find lots on the subject by searching this forum. I have always been a strong proponent of Class B, arguing that the incremental features of Class A are of little value to recreational boaters. I see you are from the Puget Sound area so will share another significant difference that I recently learned. The Puget Sound VTS (vessel traffic service) does not receive Class B, so they are blind to Class B vessels. They will happily tell a ship that an area is clear even if it is littered with boats transmitting Class B position info. Personally I think that's pretty irresponsible of them, but it's true. I'm seriously considering upgrading to Class A as a result.
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Old 12-18-2014, 07:57 AM   #33
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This discussion bring up the whole question of AIS receivers vs AIS transceivers.

For those new to the topic, an AIS receiver only receives position reports from other ships and does not report your position. It only takes.

A transceiver BOTH receives other boat's reports, AND sends your ships position report. It gives and takes.

AIS is only as good as the position reports that appear on your screen, and if you are not reporting your position, you are not contributing to the usefulness of the system. The system only gets better if people transmit their position as well as receive others positions.

Personally, I think these receive-only devices are a terrible thing because they allow people to benefit from the system without also contributing to it. As we can see from this thread and many, many others, the temptation to add a VHF with AIS receiver is huge, and once done I'd venture to say that most boaters consider their job done. Great, you have helped yourself, but done nothing for the rest of us.

You are welcome for my AIS report. But if you are going to use it, please reciprocate.
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:09 AM   #34
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Receive-only AIS has always seemed to me like driving on a highway at night where I keep my headlights off and nobody else can see me, but at least I can see other drivers. I guess that enhances collision avoidance for some drivers, but...
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:38 AM   #35
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If I get my radio in time I'm calling Santa cuz I also want a radar unit.


You are correct in that we here in Puget Sound are subject to the VTS which basically turns the sound into a shipping channel with ships having the stand on position no matter which way they are going as long as they are in the traffic lane. In the VTS lanes a receive only radio is about all that's useful as none of these ships are going to deviate course for a pleasure craft anyway. That is why I suspect the ships don't monitor Class B transmissions. I agree however that having more pleasure boats with AIS transceivers will make boating safer.


The GX2200 appears to have another very useful feature in that it will compute time and distance to closing with another vessel. This in itself makes this type of radio valuable in Puget Sound with all the shipping and ferry traffic.


Having bought my last radio in 2008 I am amazed (but not surprised) with the progress in radio technology and what has become available to the average boater at a very reasonable price point. Viva La Progress!
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:14 AM   #36
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Well, even if the big guys do ignore or turn off Class B on their displays it still helps me avoid them, and at least the B's can see each other. I don't want to get pulverized by the Queen Mary but I don't want to slam into somebody's sailboat either. I understand the big guys don't want their displays cluttered with a cloud of Bayliner/weekend sailor blips, but I do.
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:21 AM   #37
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Oh I totally agree ! What I like most about AIS is the ability to see a Container ship around a blind corner or a BC Ferry in Active Pass.
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:24 AM   #38
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The skippers I feel for here on Puget Sound are the ferry captains. They are threading their way back and forth through a fleet of pleasure craft all day long. I have seen them stop/alter course to avoid running down some idiot who thought they were the stand on vessel just because they did not have an engine running. In these situations, its not who's right that counts, its who's left.
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Old 12-18-2014, 03:16 PM   #39
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The skippers I feel for here on Puget Sound are the ferry captains. They are threading their way back and forth through a fleet of pleasure craft all day long. I have seen them stop/alter course to avoid running down some idiot who thought they were the stand on vessel just because they did not have an engine running. In these situations, its not who's right that counts, its who's left.
Indeed. I spent 5 years on an aircraft carrier, where the law of gross tonnage rarely loses.....
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Old 12-18-2014, 07:09 PM   #40
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Indeed. I spent 5 years on an aircraft carrier, where the law of gross tonnage rarely loses.....
Roger that, I was aboard Hancock and Enterprise . . . . . they say the bigger the boat, the righter the way.
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