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Old 15 October 2010, 17:25   #1
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Great little AIS receiver for ribs

Just thought I'd spread the word about how impressed I am with the Digital Yacht ANT200 AIS receiver (pictured below) that I recently bought through Malthouse Marine for a very reasonable sub 200 price (you can pay me in beers Mart ).

I'd been toying with the idea of adding AIS to my plotter for a little while now, more just for interest than any real necessity, but after a recent trip in bad vis/fog I could see the advantage of knowing the name and MMSI of nearby large/commercial vessels to be able to call them on VHF if needed. There's a load of different AIS units on the market, but the ANT200 was small and simple to install with literally two wires to connect to the plotter and two to power. It draws 0.09 amps from my bench power supply.

Seeing as my boat is out of the water for winter I set it up on the window cill at home to see what I could pick up (2 miles from the coast). The unit is advertised as having a 10 mile radius for reception, which I'm pretty sure is accurate. Pics below show vessels in harbour some 3 miles away and the Condor Clipper en route to Portsmouth some 8 miles from me. There was hardly any setting up required on the Garmin, other than selecting 'high speed' nmea input and you then get prominent red triangles for every transmitting vessel in range. You can control which level of zoom these will show up on by tweaking the plotter settings and you can adjust the length of the speed/bearing indicator line to suit so you'd have an idea of how far it will travel in your chosen timescale. The only downside is that it is nmea 0183 rather than N2K, but I think most plotters still have 0183 inputs available.

All in all, a simple additional bit of safety equipment, especially if you can't justify going the whole hog and getting radar. It's clearly not the same as radar, but it's a step in the right direction.
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Old 15 October 2010, 18:52   #2
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I've got one coming on Seawolf arriving next week so good to hear it works well
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Old 15 October 2010, 19:03   #3
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When I put my transom back together a couple of months ago I got a new mount welded onto my aerial bracket ready for when I had a spare 200. Glad to hear it works as well as advertised.
After the run back through the shipping channel on the IOM trip in heavy fog I decided to fit one for next years trip as soon as I could.
It does seem very easy to fit and the specs look good for the effort/cash required.
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Old 15 October 2010, 19:05   #4
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I've got one coming on Seawolf arriving next week so good to hear it works well
I'd have thought if a big boat turns up down your way, the locals would be out in rowing boats with beads & sheepskins
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Old 16 October 2010, 05:48   #5
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I'd have thought if a big boat turns up down your way, the locals would be out in rowing boats with beads & sheepskins
'k off

Beads, whatever next. If a big boat turns up down our way the locals row out to it to take advantage of the clamouring hordes who will cheerfully pay 25 for a 99p fluffy penguin and an inexpensive baseball cap made in China

You need the AIS receiver to identify which one is coming in so you know what size stock to load up with - not all nationalities are the same size

Sheepskins are 50 by the way and like the hats, one size fits all
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Old 16 October 2010, 06:14   #6
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Just noticed in picture 4 the estimated date of arrival. Now I know Commodore have had some problems with their vessels, but to take 6 months to get from Jersey to Portsmouth seems a little pesimistic
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Old 17 October 2010, 04:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin View Post
I'd been toying with the idea of adding AIS to my plotter for a little while now, more just for interest than any real necessity, but after a recent trip in bad vis/fog I could see the advantage of knowing the name and MMSI of nearby large/commercial vessels to be able to call them on VHF if needed. There's a load of different AIS units on the market, but the ANT200 was small and simple to install with literally two wires to connect to the plotter and two to power. It draws 0.09 amps from my bench power supply.
Does it allow you to "click" on a vessel on the plotter and call it directly (via the VHF) rather than read the numbers off the screen and punch them in to the radio? I realise that is probably plotter and VHF specific rather than the AIS input?
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Old 17 October 2010, 08:18   #8
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Hmmm, I'm not sure. I know that wouldn't work on my set-up as my Icom VHF can't accept calls instigated by the plotter, although if I had a Garmin VHF then I can't see why it wouldn't. The Plotter obviously sees the AIS info in the same way as if it were being fed by say a Garmin AIS, so I would imagine you could. I'll have to have a look and see if there's an option to 'call' vessel even though it wouldn't actually work for me.
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Old 17 October 2010, 11:45   #9
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Quick update. There is no option to 'call' vessel on my plotter but I'm still working in the dark ages with an NMEA0183 system. It may be that newer N2K plotters would have that option.
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Old 13 December 2010, 18:58   #10
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I eventually ordered one of these tonight after I had my mast altered to take it earlier this year. My network is all N2k but unfortunately the VHF is still NMEA0183 so probably won't work pointing and clicking on mine either.
mine is realy for the IOM trip next year, it was a bit lonely going across the 17miles of main shipping channel this year
1. On my own
2. In thick fog
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