AIS

AIS

Postby Tales » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:07 pm

Standard Horizon GX2200E VHF radio with AIS.

After reading about AIS ten years ago I have been keen to have a unit onboard. What has always held me back has been the price.
Didn’t seem to matter how many times I did the sums, it always seemed too expensive for my limited application. The most useful setup seemed to be with a chart plotter which I also did not have.
Last year, friend was given a second hand Standard Horizon VHF radio with integrated AIS salvaged from a wreck. His boat was fitted with a chart plotter and once he connected it with the Standard Horizon radio he could see the AIS targets on his plotter screen.
By the time I heard about it, the current version of that radio was the Standard Horizon GX2200E. It has a small screen on the radio which displays AIS data but does not have a chart. It can, however give audio warning of ship proximity and do the calculation of closest point of approach. It also has its own GPS and gives speed over ground and can store and use 100 waypoints. It only needs one antenna which makes installation quite easy if replacing an existing VHF radio.
Mid 2016, Whitworths had this unit available but I bought one from the USA and saved about $50. Whitworths also had a Lowrance Elite 5M HDI chart plotter on special at that time which I did buy and I ended up with a system for under $900.
Getting the two to talk to each other took a little time and correspondence with both manufacturers but I am a novice in this area and others may not have this problem.
On the boat, I tend to use the AIS data on the chart plotter but to get the closest point of approach I have to go below and consult the radio. The 5” chart plotter fits the instrument panel nicely but the sounding digits on the screen tend to be too small for me to read without glasses. The chart colour shading is what I mostly use for depth information anyway so it’s not too hard to grab the glasses for the odd time when closer scrutiny is required.
I have found having a chart plotter a great advantage and prefer to sail with it switched on now that I am getting used to it. Sailing as we do in the South of Port Phillip with the tides, ferries and the ships to contend with, the AIS is a real boon.
Tom
12/12/2016
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Re: AIS

Postby Shaun » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:51 am

Thanks Tom.
I have been thinking of getting AIS for quite a while now (I suppose the longer I leave it...the cheaper it gets :) ).
The main use of it for me being when travelling South along the NSW coast at night, while being out wide in the EAC, there are quite a lot of coal tankers around.
Although I'm leaning more towards an android tablet with Navionics on it rather than a chartplotter, does anyone know if it's easy to get AIS info viewable on a tablet?
cheers
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Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

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Re: AIS

Postby lockie » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:57 am

I haven't used one, but the gossip on a few forums speaks well of this cheap little unit for receive-only AIS.

https://www.tindie.com/products/astuder ... -receiver/

Do be aware though that putting a splitter in to allow it to share the VHF antenna will weaken the radio signal a bit. If you sail where signal is marginal, a dedicated pushpit antenna for the AIS might be worthwhile.

Cheers, Graeme
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Re: AIS

Postby lockie » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:18 am

After writing the above, I decided to buy one since the annual Bass Strait cruise is coming up, and it will let me relax a bit more at times, especially around the Prom. I'll report back on how it goes.

I have used Marine Traffic on my netbook. But of course that needs 3G/4G coverage, although the external antenna gives a signal over quite a lot of Bass Strait.

Will anyone else be out in Bass Strait between Boxing day and Australia day? If so, keep and ear and eye out for me in Shakti.

Cheers, Graeme
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Re: AIS

Postby Tales » Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:49 pm

We used the iPad with Navionics down the East Coast and here in Port Phillip and love it but last time I asked the Navionics people, they had no plans to receive AIS data.
InavX does but cost a lot more.
Cheers,
Tom
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Re: AIS

Postby Phillip » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:29 pm

Do not rely on Marine Traffic for up to date info as I have found it can be delayed by an hour! :shock:
Phillip.
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Re: AIS

Postby lockie » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:26 pm

Phillip wrote:Do not rely on Marine Traffic for up to date info as I have found it can be delayed by an hour! :shock:


Agreed: standing orders on Shakti require it to always backed up in real time by the Mk I Eyeball.
Having said that, I've always found Marine Traffic pretty much spot on.
Having said that, I don't intend to experience the first glitch by dint of a collision.

Cheers, Graeme
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Re: AIS

Postby Iluka82 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:29 am

I have a lowrance link 8 vhf on iluka, It has an ais reciver built in with a small display that shows other targets, it doesn't have a built in GPS and therefore has to be connected to one to be useful. It can also be connected to a plotter or laptop to show targets on a bigger screen.
I also have the app "boat beacon" on my iphone (it cost me about $8) I have found this app invaluable, as when within mobile converge it acts like an ais reciver. You can also add your boats MMSI number to it and it will display your boats position on internet based ais apps, so your friends and family and other boats using Internet asi can track your position (ships won't be able to see your position, but it does give you the name of the ship so you can call them on VHF) I've used this app in bass strait and found it to be very usfull at night to work out how far away ships ate, especially when converging in at port Phillip heads. I agree with Philip and Lockie that you don't want to relay on it 100% and nothing can replace a proper look out. To be useful in the cockpit you also need a waterproof cover for your phone and a usb charge outlet to keep the phone charged.
Cheers
Nick
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