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Old 05-10-2020, 05:19 AM   #1
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If you could do AIS from the start. Which setup makes sense.

I need to change out one of the VHF units. This maybe a good opportunity to AIS of some form. The boat has a new Raymarine MFD and older 7Ē Garmin Chart plotter as backup. I also use an (or two) iPad w/ Navionics. Very easy to use and enlarge the screen, etc. Of note, I have a good working SH hailer. But itís rarely used.

Which of the following setup would you consider reasonable. Does one need an AIS that transmits these days and going forward?

My choices are:
1. A new RAYMARINE VHF that also receives AIS data and includes a hailer function. This will show AIS targets on the RAYMARINE MFD and I can get rid of the current hailer. The VHF screen is too small for AIS functionality on its own. $$$

2. A basic SH/ICOM VHF and a stand-alone AIS receiver module (Raymarine or others). This will show AIS targets on the MFD. $$

3. A basic SH/ICOM VHF and a stand-alone WIFI AIS transreceiver. This will allow transmitting our AIS data, showing targets on the MRF and also on the the iPad (Via WIFI). $$$$

4. 3. A basic SH/ICOM VHF and a stand-alone Raymarine AIS transreceiver. This will allow transmitting our AIS data and showing targets on the MRF. $$$$$

I convinced myself that option 2 is the way to go. Then I started talking to a dealer who insisted that a transreceiver is the way to go. Preferably with WIFI. He made a good case but I am not fully convinced. Maybe I am being shortsighted.

A Raymarine AIS units will easily plug directly into the current backbone.. others will need additional cables/converters and need fiddling.

In your opinion, How important Is transmitting your AIS data? I read stories that it can be useful for commercial traffic to know where your boat is in situation where the Radar is not seeing as well. Thatís pretty rare, I reckon but still.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Streff
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:23 AM   #2
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If you have receive only, you're not offering any information (assistance) to boats around you.

We have a stand-alone AIS transceiver, and target info displays on our main plotter. At the time there weren't very many other options... like VHF radios with an AIS option.

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Old 05-10-2020, 07:20 AM   #3
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I recommend the transceiver option with a vote for one with WiFi. With that setup and a GPS source, it can be the only electronic device on in the anchorage and capable of providing your boat's location and status to others, a CPA warning for others transmitting AIS, and an anchor watch. Ours is a stand-alone unit with its own display, but that's not necessary to provide the functionality I'm suggesting if there's a mobile device app for the unit. Check user reviews for the units you're interested in, the supporting apps for your preferred mobile devices, and the integration with the hardware and marine network(s) you already have.

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Old 05-10-2020, 07:48 AM   #4
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Definitely a transceiver. Itís not AIS unless you are receiving AND transmitting.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:18 AM   #5
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Agreed, stand alone transceiver. If you anchor out, it's very low power consumption and alerts other vessels in low visibility situations to your presence. Also makes it easier for other vessels to radio call you by vessel name.

If you're paranoid about the government watching you or someone stealing your favorite fishing spot, you can always switch the transmit portion on and off.

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Old 05-10-2020, 09:00 AM   #6
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As an FYI, I have a raymaine class b separate receive/transmit AIS feeding my Ray MFDs. Everything is off right now but the AIS still transmits. In other words, this is a viable option if you want to transmit from anchor without running a lot of electronics. Also, my system required a multiplexer/demultipler so the AIS transmit could share the VHF antenna.
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:16 AM   #7
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Standard Horizon VHF

I just replaced my Ray 215 with a Standard Horizon Matrix Gx2000 Vhf and coupled it with a Quark-Elec QK-A026 AIS Receiver with NMEA Multiplexer + WiFi + GPS. I am very happy with the installation.
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:20 AM   #8
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Definitely a transceiver. Itís not AIS unless you are receiving AND transmitting.
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:27 AM   #9
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Definitely a transceiver. Itís not AIS unless you are receiving AND transmitting.
With the prices now so reasonable, go with a stand-alone transceiver. We have an Em-Trak AIS B transceiver and a Standard Horizon VHF with receiver.

The Em-Trak was about $400 several years ago, and less now.
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:46 AM   #10
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As an FYI, I have a raymaine class b separate receive/transmit AIS feeding my Ray MFDs. Everything is off right now but the AIS still transmits. In other words, this is a viable option if you want to transmit from anchor without running a lot of electronics. Also, my system required a multiplexer/demultipler so the AIS transmit could share the VHF antenna.
BWO a follow up to Barabus' post....I do exactly the same thing and an example of all systems turned off while in the slip (or anchor) is this graphic from marine traffic I just downloaded, showing my boat in her slip.
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:19 AM   #11
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I don't have one yet. Got the radar first.

I've have had this "discussion" before.
It's is not just about you seeing other vessels around you. If your unit is not transmitting then THEY cannot see you and it takes two to avoid a collision or some other problem.
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:43 AM   #12
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I installed AIS about one year ago. I went with the Vesper XB8000 with WiFi. It allows me abilities that I like. It can be used as a network hub to allow the display of NEMA 0183 or 2000 info on various devices. It has it's own dedicated GPS antenna which also allows for a backup source to supply other devices. It has a built in anchor alarm that works great, while at the same time allows you the option of transmitting your signal or to turn the transmission off if you desire. It draws little power. With it, I get AIS target info on my laptop computer where I run Coastal Explorer and also on 2 IPads I use running Navionics.
Being able to transmit AIS allows other boaters (commercial as well as pleasure) to contact you on VHS by name. I have many times heard boaters failing to make contact with for example: "the white power boat with the blue stripe located near Point Atkinson". I would expect hailing them by name would improve the odds of making contact.
I am sure there are other brands that offer similar features, but Vesper mainly concentrates in the AIS arena and has a good reputation. However, like most AIS, you will need a dedicated AIS antenna (best option) or a special splitter to use the regular VHF antenna (unless the splitter is built into the unit).
For a more basic unit, the Em-Trak suggested by Peter looked like a good deal.
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Old 05-10-2020, 01:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
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2. A basic SH/ICOM VHF and a stand-alone AIS receiver module (Raymarine or others). This will show AIS targets on the MFD. $$
If you choose to receive only, as in #2 above, it can be $ instead of $$ (and much simpler than #2) and still show up on your MFD (presuming it is not ancient).

Get a radio such as an Icom M506-21. This has a built in AIS receiver and NMEA 2000. You don't need any additional antenna (beyond your normal VHF antenna), nor o you need a splitter. NMEA 2000 will bring the AIS data to your modern MFD.

Standard Horizon I believe makes some models with NMEA 0183 if that works better for you. NMEA 2000 is preferable, IMO, especially if you already have a backbone.

Not saying whether or not you should choose receive only, but I can't think of any advantage to #2 over just something like the M506-21 and a NMEA connection to your MFD.
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Old 05-10-2020, 01:54 PM   #14
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Wanted to add Furuno AIS to my Furuno radar, but no way to interface with the old analog screen. Couldn’t justify new radar when the old one works perfectly, so I added a standalone Vesper transceiver with screen and a Morad 162 MHz tuned antenna. Happy with the install, and seems to work fine.
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:01 PM   #15
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My AIS purchases from the start were first a Standard Horizon VHF with receive-only AIS. It worked fine and displayed AIS targets on my MFD. As stated above, while this is better than no AIS, a much better solution is a Class B transceiver that also transmits your position to other boats. Mine is a Comnav that integrated with my Furuno system with using NMEA 0183. I didn't want to add yet one more VHF antenna for AIS so I used an antenna splitter, which works fine. A better solution though, in my opinion is to have a dedicated antenna, which reduces complexity and a possible failure point. Brand -wise, Vesper seems to be one of the market leaders for AIS B. I installed Comnav because I have their autopilot and like it, and it has worked fine.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:13 PM   #16
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Just added Raymarine Axiom Pro plus an AMEC B600 SOTDMA transceiver. It was very affordable (the AIS) and required no special adapters or converters.

And it works fantastic. Using it constantly on this trip.
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Old 05-10-2020, 04:54 PM   #17
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You should consider the type of boating you do. If you boat at night, or end up in fog frequently, then AIS B is helpful. I believe radar is a lot more helpful, but that's not your question. (A hailer acting as foghorm is extremely helpful if you run in fog.)

If you are fair weather only, with small risk of fog, then I'm not convinced AIS B offers any benefit. Not many boats transmit so you still need to have Mark II eyeballs on board. I typically shut it off in the harbor as there are too many stationary targets that clutter the screen.

I'm fair weather with medium fog risk and I depend upon radar. I have AIS Receiver and the fast ferries might show up on MFD before I can spot them. If the price of AIS B drops significantly I would add it but presently I don't see a compelling safety benefit compared to radar.
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Just added Raymarine Axiom Pro plus an AMEC B600 SOTDMA transceiver. It was very affordable (the AIS) and required no special adapters or converters.

And it works fantastic. Using it constantly on this trip.

Good to hear a review of the B600, as I've been looking at that same unit. One of the cheapest SOTDMA units out there, and unlike some, it will multiplex NMEA2000 data out over USB along with the AIS data, so it can be used to get data from your NMEA2000 network to a PC with OpenCPN.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:17 PM   #19
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You should consider the type of boating you do. If you boat at night, or end up in fog frequently, then AIS B is helpful. I believe radar is a lot more helpful, but that's not your question. (A hailer acting as foghorm is extremely helpful if you run in fog.)

If you are fair weather only, with small risk of fog, then I'm not convinced AIS B offers any benefit. Not many boats transmit so you still need to have Mark II eyeballs on board. I typically shut it off in the harbor as there are too many stationary targets that clutter the screen.

I'm fair weather with medium fog risk and I depend upon radar. I have AIS Receiver and the fast ferries might show up on MFD before I can spot them. If the price of AIS B drops significantly I would add it but presently I don't see a compelling safety benefit compared to radar.


So much depends on where and how you boat.
I use an app on my phone, Boatbeacon, that will give me CPA, identify AIS targets so that I could call them by name (never had to) and most boats the size of my own don't have AIS at all, so no benefit until crossing the commercial lanes. Curiosity about who is out there is easily satisfied with the App, and that also works from my living room, where I will never have a B transceiver, but can see the traffic going past.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:33 PM   #20
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Absolutely have a transciever AIS. We were crossing Lake Ontario in a very heavy rain. The radar was in a whiteout most of the time. We only saw 2 AIS targets the whole way across and one of them was a 700’ freighter that was on a collision course with us. We never saw it on radar. As we were watching the target my wife asked me what I was going to do. I said that I would call him in a minute. At that time he called us by name and asked where we were heading, our course was somewhat ambiguous since there were 6 to 7’ waves coming on our starboard quarter and pushing us around a lot. We told him that we were heading for a pass by an island. He replied that is what he thought and he would change course to pass behind us. We thanked him. We never saw him and never picked him up on radar. I don’t know if he saw us on radar or not but he did pick up our AIS data because he knew our boat name. Just not getting hit by a 700’ freighter was worth what we spent on the AIS... We have a Raymarine suite of electronics with a Raymarine AIS which made it plug and play.
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