I’m excited, because my dream VHF radio is finally installed aboard Two Lucky Fish. So going way way back into the Navagear archives, some readers may recall the crazy NMEA wiring I had to utilize to get all the data where it needed to go. Here’s my old diagram:
- GPS data to the DSC VHF
- AIS data to the chartplotter
- DSC data from the VHF to the chartplotter
Guess what? It worked! And while I’ve added and replaced various components since I set this up in 2008 (four years ago?!?), the basic rats nest has remained in one form or another.
Now I’ve got my chartplotter connected to my VHF radio, and…well, that’s it. It’s all there.
The Standard Horizon GX2150 (which I kinda sorta helped design) has an AIS receiver onboard, so it sends out AIS and DSC data. My antique Raymarine chartplotter has GPS, so it sends that out to the VHF. Easy!
Some pictures of my new install. Please forgive the quality of my phone camera images. This isn’t one of those staged marketing photoshoots; it’s just me on my boat sitting in its slip on Seattle’s Lake Union.
It’s working, displaying nearby AIS targets:
Raymarine C-80 displaying AIS data received from the Standard Horizon GX2150:
- Vesper Marine AIS WatchMate 850, currently running standalone, with no NMEA interface to the rest of the system, and broadcasting Class B. Oh, and it serves up GPS and AIS data to my laptop when it’s aboard.
- Standard Horizon Matrix GX2150
- Raymarine C-80
But hold on! What’s this? There’s an AIS triangle practically right on top of my vessel’s black disc! Who the heck is that?!?
Interesting issue. The GX2150 is smart enough to recognize my own MMSI number and disregard that AIS data. I don’t need to be reminded that I’m in danger of colliding with myself all the time!
However, the old C-80 doesn’t seem to realize that this AIS target is just me. I’ll have to figure out how to fix that, but for the time being it offers a fascinating test-case: What will it look like underway? Will the AIS target stay put, and “jump” on top of my vessel’s symbol every 30 seconds? Will it appear to hold the course and speed last reported for the duration of the 30-second silent period? If it’s interesting, maybe I’ll shoot some video and post it.