AIS 300 upgrade

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AIS 300 upgrade

Postby a_nyc_scott on Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:58 pm

Hi,

I'm considering upgrading from the AIS 300 that is currently on my 2015 R-29S to an AIS 600. The electronics guy who does the work asked me what the current AIS 300 system is. Since my boat is in winter storage could you guide what comes with this boat?

Thanks!

Scott
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby Cutwater28GG on Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:06 pm

Does he mean who's the manufacturer? its a Garmin AIS 300 or what NMEA network it uses? if that really was his exact question, he doesnt sound very knowledgeable!
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby Andrew Custis on Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:38 pm

The current AIS system is a Garmin AIS 300. If you want to upgrade to the 600, I believe you can put the antenna inside of the electronics cabinet instead of re routing the antenna to the cabin top which can be a bit of a chore. He will want to verify this with Garmin. Other than that, swap out the box and should be able to use the existing power connection.
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby tlkenyon on Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:57 pm

My understanding is that the 600 has an antenna splitter that, according to Garmin, allows sharing of one antenna between the 200 VHF radio and the 600 with no signal loss. Some reviewers have disputed that and say that the signal loss is significant, and that an extra antenna is required. Your thoughts and experience??
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby a_nyc_scott on Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:38 am

Thanks! I assumed the existing system (AIS 300) was the one provided by Garmin. I appreciate the confirmation.

I've also read that the Garmin AIS 600 has a splitter that allows the existing VHS antenna to be used for both transmitting and receiving (no need for a new antenna). Has anyone installed this system and if so did you make use of this splitter?
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby tlkenyon on Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:05 pm

Here is a 7/29/15 review of the Garmin 600 Class B AIS as posted by Tampa Bay TowBoatUS on West Marine...

"We have experienced early failure problems with several of the 8 units we have installed on our towing fleet. Warranty replacement went well, but still having the unit inoperative in inconvenient. Additionally Bird Watt Meter reading indicates the built in splitter causes significant signal loss on the transmit side. We have two radios on board each vessel, simply switching any one to the Garmin AIS antenna connector will result in about a 10 watt loss. Now evaluating other units as replacements."

Anyone else have this experience? Anyone know if they have addressed this apparent problem?

TK
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby knotflying on Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:06 pm

My research shows the better installation is a separate antenna for the AIS transmit. Using a splitter can cause problems.
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby NorCal on Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:44 pm

I am looking at adding a Standard Horizon GX6500? It isn't quite out yet but should be shortly once FCC testing completed. It is a VHF radio along with transmit and receive AIS. It does require two antennas. For what seems like to be about the same price as the AIS 600 I would have a completely redundant radio with all the bells and whistles.
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby knotflying on Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:27 am

Just keep in mind that transmit, in my opinion, is a false sense of security unless everyone has and uses AIS. See and avoid is the best. I went with receive only so I can see and communicate with the vessels requiring transmit. It is especially useful on the river systems. I never had an issue. Something to think about.
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby SGIDAVE on Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:45 pm

knotflying wrote:Just keep in mind that transmit, in my opinion, is a false sense of security unless everyone has and uses AIS. See and avoid is the best. I went with receive only so I can see and communicate with the vessels requiring transmit. It is especially useful on the river systems. I never had an issue. Something to think about.


You make a point Mike, but I look at it this way...

If you have AIS transmit (like with the AIS 600 mentioned at the start of this thread), you have a reasonable expectation of being "seen" by the vessels required to have AIS. I have no expectation of anyone else receiving my AIS - thus no false sense of security.

Where AIS transmit will save you is when you CANNOT GET OUT OF THE WAY. For instance, IF you were dead in the water (from engine failure, fouled prop, medical emergency, ETC), AND it's FOGGY or DARK, and a commercial vessel is on collision course with you...wouldn't you appreciate AIS TRANSMIT? Yes, you would enthusiastically attempt to hail the oncoming vessel on your VHF, but the AIS would have made them aware LONG before evasive course correction on their part is necessary. Our boats are supposed to be visible by RADAR which the 'other' guy is supposed to be using but I wouldn't bet my life on it. Scenarios like this make having redundant safety devices prudent. You mention river systems which is a great example of my "can't get out of the way" scenario...the big vessel's radar won't see you around a bend in the river, but AIS would alert the other guy of your position so that s/he might be able to take action to prevent collision.

Granted, pleasure boats don't have to have AIS, so there is no expectation that they will know you are there.

It's possible to dream up weird situations where any safety devise would help/not help. It's up the the individual owner to configure their boat consistent with their level of risk tolerance.

IMO, If you want to upgrade to AIS transmit...go for it.

/dave
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby stwendl on Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:43 pm

knotflying wrote:Just keep in mind that transmit, in my opinion, is a false sense of security unless everyone has and uses AIS. See and avoid is the best. I went with receive only so I can see and communicate with the vessels requiring transmit. It is especially useful on the river systems. I never had an issue. Something to think about.


As a proponent to AIS, allow me to add a few points.

To me boating is a fun hobby and I enjoy the gadgets that come along with it, or sometimes not, just to be added by myself. We live in a time where everything has to be guaranteed to be safe, if not you call a lawyer and and try to get compensation, or at least some do, like a coffe to hot or some medical procedure not to ones liking. We drive in cars with side airbags, side impact protection, frontal airbags, seat belts, collision avoidance electronics etc.

On the water, collision is perhaps less of a risk, unless encountering one of those speed boats. But those operators probably have their eye's on the water instead of instruments. Then there is the risk of being bumped into by some of those 100ft tall walls of steel, commonly referred to as container ships or tankers, where visibility from the bridge the best and the worst condition is very limited. Being "seen" is important, and a radar cross section of our small boats is very tiny even with reflector.

AIS puts you on par with the big boys, and before long, I predict all boats to be required to have some form of AIS. Often entry of some technology is slowed due to cost. A radar unit of decent quality costs $1500+, plus installation and the required realestate to mount it, mast, dashboard, etc. Along with that, small boats bounce up and down. Not a good platform for a radar even if it was rotating very fast. Sailboats are a bit better off, with a high mast and reflectors, but still small compared to a large commercial vessel. Active AIS costs about $600 plus some very inexpensive display units that are on the market. Radar display units are on top of the $1500 referred above. So on the bottom line AIS doesn't look so bad as an entry to boating collision avoidance.

Now there is the question of congestion on AIS frequencies. I don't have the technical details ready, which was conducted by the coast guard if I recall correctly, which stipulated that a certain maximum amount of ais transmitters can be in one space before technical limitations of transmit windows saturate that space. I am sure the industry will address this quickly with a new standard if and when this becomes an issue.

Perhaps this post stimulates this subject a bit further. Enjoy
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby knotflying on Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:11 pm

All points at this juncture are purely speculative. I would have to see data that would convince me that a small vessel transmitting made a difference in collision avoidance. Assuming the small vessel (me) has AIS receive, If I were dead in the water I would be proactive and contact the large vessel approaching and advise that I had no power. Once contact is made having AIS becomes secondary. Being a former pilot when conditions were instrument we all had to fly under the same rules and were coordinated through air traffic control and all had transponders (similar to AIS) so until all boaters are required to have AIS I look at it as an added safety luxury but not a full proof safety feature. As long as one vessel is transmitting and one receives then human intervention is obtainable.
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby a_nyc_scott on Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:33 pm

In my mind even if the ability to transmit my location (AIS 600) only somewhat increases the chance that another boater (especially a large commercial boat) sees me in an emergency situation, the system has more than paid for itself. Further, the idea that my boat's last location will be known in a search and rescue situation gives me comfort. All in all, a valuable upgrade.
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby stwendl on Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:22 am

AIS is seen and recorded in many ships, especially commercial vessels as far as I know. If it ever should come to a point where it comes down to find out if your boat did the right move in a court, you may be glad to have it.

I also heard from commercial operators, that an AIS transmission has a bit more weight than a vhf call. It allows commercial operators to better plan an evasion if it would come to it. Having heard some of the vhf transmissions on the marine band when coast guard was trying to identify the location of a vessel in distress, I would trust any AIS over a vhf communication or even radar.

But to each their own, what ever makes you happy.
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Re: AIS 300 upgrade

Postby Bill & Donna Sibbers on Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:47 pm

For safety we always shared our detailed float plans with friends and family. With the AIS 600 they can now track our progress and see our whereabouts. We have three boating friends that transmit their location and we regularly check up on each other's departures and arrivals. While very cool, also provides a measure of safety and confidence.
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