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Old 31 July 2017, 12:40   #1
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VHF with AIS built in? Anyone got one?

At planning stage to upgrade vhf and plotter in the next couple of months.

Both ICOM and Standard Horizon are producing a DSC VHF set with integrated passive AIS.
It looks like a very simple and reasonable solution to getting an additional gadget onto the boat.
Seems cleaner install than an additional black box, with additional aerial or splitter.

Has anybody got one of these?
If so, are you happy with what you've got? Any recommendations?

Both companies have their own reputations for reliability etc. so that's my own risk.
I'm really just looking for peoples experience.

Thanks
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Old 31 July 2017, 15:38   #2
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I have the gx2200 very happy with it. Can't go wrong with standard horizon. The ais works great. Although if you really want to use it for ais more than recreationally, I'd output to an external chartplotter to have a better map overlay
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Old 31 July 2017, 15:57   #3
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I have the Icom 506. I also have a black box AIS transponder so the AIS bit of the vhs is a tad redundant. I only went for this model as it was the only one at the time that used nmea2000. The 506 is fine & id happily fit another.
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Old 31 July 2017, 17:09   #4
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I've got an icon m506 with ais and its linked to the simrad go7 it works great and its a neat installation although the simrad did shit its pants last week and I've just fitted a new unit I've used an alternative to keep me going touch wood its been pretty reliable
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Old 31 July 2017, 17:19   #5
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I have an M506 and a GX1700 running side by side. So I guess I can't tell you what the GX2200 is like, but the M506 is excellent.

Let's consider what you get with each:

Standard Horizon:
  • AIS/GPS - the perfect standalone set
  • Luckily, as it only has NMEA 0183 networking
  • And will be an arsepain to wire up
Icom:
  • No GPS onboard
  • Which is OK as it has NMEA 2000
  • But you'll need a NMEA 2000 network
  • And will interface seamlessly with a plotter
  • Has a 2 minute replay feature
  • And a great speaker on the Mic
I stress again, that I can't comment on the Standard Horizon model you are looking at. That said, my GX1700 can't hold a candle to the M506. They are both fine VHFs, but the Icom has it hands down. The S-H is a bit plasticky, has less menu access via dials, has a poorer screen with poorer text and most importantly, has much poorer audio - the Icom has absolutely excellent sound - loud and clear. Both sets perform well in CG radio checks.


Needless to say, there are other VHF sets that will do similar jobs, the Link-8 being one.
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Old 31 July 2017, 17:22   #6
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Originally Posted by breezeblock View Post
and I've just fitted a new unit I've used an alternative to keep me going touch wood its been pretty reliable
Has the gArfIsh been on your RIB?

The willkcraft tours The Corryvreckan


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Old 31 July 2017, 17:36   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willk View Post
I have an M506 and a GX1700 running side by side. So I guess I can't tell you what the GX2200 is like, but the M506 is excellent.

Let's consider what you get with each:

Standard Horizon:
  • AIS/GPS - the perfect standalone set
  • Luckily, as it only has NMEA 0183 networking
  • And will be an arsepain to wire up
Icom:
  • No GPS onboard
  • Which is OK as it has NMEA 2000
  • But you'll need a NMEA 2000 network
  • And will interface seamlessly with a plotter
  • Has a 2 minute replay feature
  • And a great speaker on the Mic
I stress again, that I can't comment on the Standard Horizon model you are looking at. That said, my GX1700 can't hold a candle to the M506. They are both fine VHFs, but the Icom has it hands down. The S-H is a bit plasticky, has less menu access via dials, has a poorer screen with poorer text and most importantly, has much poorer audio - the Icom has absolutely excellent sound - loud and clear. Both sets perform well in CG radio checks.


Needless to say, there are other VHF sets that will do similar jobs, the Link-8 being one.
when the simrad was in the process of going tits up I was getting patchy gps on the icom I didn't realise that the simrad transmitted the signal to the vhf I was thinking I was having major issues but it was solved when I fitted the new unit hopefully it was a one off
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Old 01 August 2017, 07:41   #8
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I have a Lowrance Link 8 connected to a Garmin EchoMap 50 and they work well together with AIS targets showing up well on the plotter. The screen on the radio is too small to be of much use, other than to give you an awareness of other vessels. Plotter view is great though and the plotter has enough IO ports to cope with DSC and AIS inputs (at different baud rates so not a shared link). The Link 8 seems very good as a radio too and has NMEA 2000 capability, not that anything else I have has though.

I'd happily recommend it but it was a close call between that and the SH unit.

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Old 02 August 2017, 16:38   #9
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Thanks for your replies.

It seems there are no bad choices (which is good).
As you have mentioned NMEA standard seems to be the biggest consideration.

Willk, does your ICOM get its gps data over NMEA2000? I had read that it fed AIS over NMEA2000 but received position info over NMEA 0183. That may have been an older firmware version.

I love the standby Simard, future design icon.
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Old 02 August 2017, 16:58   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron Dials View Post
Willk, does your ICOM get its gps data over NMEA2000? I had read that it fed AIS over NMEA2000 but received position info over NMEA 0183. That may have been an older firmware version.
Yeah - mine is 100% NMEA 2000 and integrated perfectly/automatically. I "think" I'm V1.02 - but that was a couple of years back. They're on 1.03/4 now.

Buy the ICOM, it's a class act - you know you want to...
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Old 03 August 2017, 10:47   #11
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You're right I do.
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Old 03 August 2017, 11:40   #12
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Standard Horizon's new GX6500 has a Class B AIS TRANSCEIVER in it..not receive only!
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Old 19 August 2017, 02:41   #13
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I'm now interested in swapping out my current ICOM MC411 fixed DSC VHF for a VHF with combined DSC and AIS compatibility.

I think the main time I would find the AIS feature helpful is when I go much further offshore to go cod fishing and I'm amongst the large vessel traffic in the middle of the English Channel. Previously I've found myself in heavy fog out there twice and its quite unnerving hearing the large container ships whizzing by at 15/18 kts and more and not being able to see them.

I would like to have a good quality VHF radio with these vessel 'targets' shown on either my Lowrance HDS 8 or Garmin 750S plotter (both of which are linked up on a NMEA backbone network) so I can see if I need to get out of the way or perhaps call them up and make them aware of my position if required. Having a collision alert alarm would be helpful too especially when focused on fishing.

So key features would be:

>NMEA 2000 so its direct plug and play rather than fiddly wiring up
>Ability to display vessel position and speed info direct to one of my plotters
>Collision alert (either on VHF or through plotter)
>Ability to select and VHF call a particular vessel if necessary
>Preferably smallest possible unit so I can flush mount it without cutting too much more of my console apart!

Am I asking too much? Should I wait a year or two for this technology to become more mainstream?

Does anyone already have field experience of this kit and apart from what has already been said in this post can anyone make any pointers into which make / model would suit me best for my specific requirements above?

Thanks!!
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Old 19 August 2017, 05:23   #14
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>NMEA 2000 so its direct plug and play rather than fiddly wiring up
>Ability to display vessel position and speed info direct to one of my plotters
>Collision alert (either on VHF or through plotter)
>Ability to select and VHF call a particular vessel if necessary
>Preferably smallest possible unit so I can flush mount it without cutting too much more of my console apart!

Am I asking too much? Should I wait a year or two for this technology to become more mainstream?

Does anyone already have field experience of this kit and apart from what has already been said in this post can anyone make any pointers into which make / model would suit me best for my specific requirements above?
AS you have seen above, I have the Icom and can say only good things about it. Both it and the Lowrance Link-8 should meet your requirements. The Standard Horizon is not NMEA 2000.

I put an AIS rx VHF on board because I wanted a second VHF and it seemed like a handy way to bring AIS onboard as well. I had similar concerns to you about heavy traffic in fog - I found myself regularly transiting dense fog offshore in shipping lanes. In practice you still get surprised by the fishing boats and navy/fishery vessels that don't run AIS.

The Lowrance is currently a bargain at £250 - but I'd suggest that you get what you pay for

If you are tempted to stretch to the Icom, I'd also consider keeping your existing VHF and just making the leap to a NMEA2000 AIS transponder - they start around the £500 mark.
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Old 19 August 2017, 06:10   #15
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Lowrance link 8 has nmea 2000 built in. It should fo what you want. Have you considered biting the bullet and fitting s full ais transponder? No trooped a costs but it would be in your console and should avoid further cutting. It will also have the advantage of transmitting your position and details.

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Old 19 August 2017, 12:48   #16
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Have to say, I'm quite peeved at SH not putting N2k on their offering. Been thinking about a link-8 for a while now, as it'll just about fit the hole where my GX1600 is.
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Old 19 August 2017, 12:59   #17
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Cheers Phil, good suggestion / solution, although wouldn't I need an additional antenna or could a splitter of some sort be used?

Looking at the respective cut out sizes for flush mount installation the Standard Horizon 220 model is smallest cut out and most closely aligned to the existing hole size. The newer ICOM M506 is much deeper in section size (94mm whereas existing hole is 62mm).

From reading the online installation manual for the SH it doesn't look too bad to wire up the NMEA0183 providing you make decent connections between the fiddly wires.

I like their advertising spiel about the proximity alarms that can be set too - or is that just hype and really can they all do that?
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Old 20 August 2017, 02:47   #18
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Cheers Phil, good suggestion / solution, although wouldn't I need an additional antenna or could a splitter of some sort be used?

Looking at the respective cut out sizes for flush mount installation the Standard Horizon 220 model is smallest cut out and most closely aligned to the existing hole size. The newer ICOM M506 is much deeper in section size (94mm whereas existing hole is 62mm).

From reading the online installation manual for the SH it doesn't look too bad to wire up the NMEA0183 providing you make decent connections between the fiddly wires.

I like their advertising spiel about the proximity alarms that can be set too - or is that just hype and really can they all do that?


You can set CPA & proximity alarms on all AIS units afaik. If you go the whole hog, the Digital Yacht AIT2000 is a good bit of kit.
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Old 21 August 2017, 05:01   #19
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Cheers Phil, good suggestion / solution, although wouldn't I need an additional antenna or could a splitter of some sort be used?
Yes you need a different antenna, or a splitter, but the splitter is quite pricey as it needs a transmit splitter if you are going the whole hog. I've never been convinced by splitters: if you are talking on 16 perhaps... you aren't receiving AIS info...

**BUT** there are advantages of having two antenna - if one breaks you have a spare! Just consider how its plugged and length of wires so you can swap them round if need be..
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Old 21 August 2017, 09:03   #20
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**BUT** there are advantages of having two antenna - if one breaks you have a spare! Just consider how its plugged and length of wires so you can swap them round if need be..
I did this - means I have a spare VHF antenna. I used a small raider antenna, so it's neat. You need a cable adaptor off fleabay for most of them.
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