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Fixed VHF recommendations

Old 01-15-2014, 06:07 AM
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Default Fixed VHF recommendations

Installing new electronics in my boat in March, and looking to replace the older West Marine unit in there now. Want something of decent quality with DSC, and would like my Simrad NSS8 and the VHF to be able to talk.
Also wondering if there are any major benefits of AIS for a smaller CC that boats primarily in good weather?
Was kind of thinking along the lines of either the Simrad RS35 or RS12, or possibly a Standard Horizon unit (need it in black).
Any recommendations?
Old 01-15-2014, 06:21 AM
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Standard Horizon 2150 - it's DSC capable, and uses a large rotary know. To change channels vice push buttons (a major plus in my book).
Old 01-15-2014, 06:23 AM
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I too am a fan of Standard Horizon. If you want AIS, the 2150, or the 2200 - with GPS built in and coming soon - would be the way to go.

Personally, I use a GX1600 which you can find all day long for less than $150. Big display that's easy to read. It's also $60 less than the GX1700 which has a built in GPS. It takes 10 minutes to connect the wires from the 1600 to a GPS and once connected, it does the exact same thing.
Old 01-15-2014, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Parthery View Post
I too am a fan of Standard Horizon. If you want AIS, the 2150, or the 2200 - with GPS built in and coming soon - would be the way to go.

Personally, I use a GX1600 which you can find all day long for less than $150. Big display that's easy to read. It's also $60 less than the GX1700 which has a built in GPS. It takes 10 minutes to connect the wires from the 1600 to a GPS and once connected, it does the exact same thing.
I just ordered a GX1600 from the GPS store for $139.95 with a $30 mail-in rebate. Great deal for $109.95.
Old 01-15-2014, 12:58 PM
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I've always been an Icom fan. Have two m504s wired to my Raymarine MFDs. I have not looked much at VHFs lately as I am happy with mine but having NMEA2000 capability would be a bonus
Old 01-16-2014, 03:24 PM
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What are the primary advantages of AIS, and is it something that would really benefit a weekend boater that primarily fishes inshore with just a few days offshore each year?
Old 01-16-2014, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Hollywood9s View Post
What are the primary advantages of AIS, and is it something that would really benefit a weekend boater that primarily fishes inshore with just a few days offshore each year?
AIS is useful if you boat areas with moderate to heavy large commercial traffic such as tugs, ferries, and ships. Otherwise, recreational boats with AIS transmitters that you will be able to get data from will be few and far between.
The advantage is that your chartplotter can show heading and speed of these large vessels to reduce probability of a collision. Another advantage is that you can see a vessel around a river bend that you cant see on radar. For example, a tug pushing a load of barges on the Mississippi River around a bend wont be seen on your radar, but you will see his vessel name on your chart plotter, his speed, position, and heading if you need to contact him to pass safely.

Take a look at this site, zoomed down to your area, and see if the data is helpful to you.
http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/home?language=_EN

Last edited by High Wire; 01-16-2014 at 03:54 PM.
Old 01-16-2014, 03:45 PM
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AIS gives the coast guard and any other vessel equipped with it the capability to see where you are at all time. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending how you look at it. The only advantage I could see for you is that you would be able to see commercial guys fishing spots and steal them. I can hear the comments already after this comment, but it is the truth. Other than that I would not get AIS for your boat. I like standard horizon personally. If I were you I would skip the AIS and install two VHF with DSC. This way you can alway monitor 16 on one and what ever other freq on the other. It makes it very nice.
Old 01-16-2014, 04:02 PM
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I previously had a Standard Horizon GX1500, replaced it last summer with Simrad RS35, I also have the HS35 wireless handset. The Simrad has better sound quality and a much better user interface than the Standard Horizon. The max communication range is at least as good as the SH. The main reason why I replaced the GX1500 was to get rid of my last NMEA 183 connection, now everything onboard my boat is NMEA 2000. I have an AIS transponder so I don't use the AIS receiver integrated in RS35. When I installed RS35 I had NMEA 2000 communication problems, a lot of other users experienced other problems. After sw 1.12 which was released late July I haven't heard about any issues. If you don't need the option to connect a wireless handset you can save some by going Lowrance Link-8 instead, same unit except for the wireless handset.
Old 01-16-2014, 06:21 PM
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If I were to buy a unit that had AIS capability, would I have the option of disabling it and not using the AIS, but still allow the NSS8 and the VHF to share gps coordinates so if the distress button was activated it would send out the coordinates on my location?
Old 01-16-2014, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by High Wire View Post
AIS is useful if you boat areas with moderate to heavy large commercial traffic such as tugs, ferries, and ships. Otherwise, recreational boats with AIS transmitters that you will be able to get data from will be few and far between. The advantage is that your chartplotter can show heading and speed of these large vessels to reduce probability of a collision. Another advantage is that you can see a vessel around a river bend that you cant see on radar. For example, a tug pushing a load of barges on the Mississippi River around a bend wont be seen on your radar, but you will see his vessel name on your chart plotter, his speed, position, and heading if you need to contact him to pass safely. Take a look at this site, zoomed down to your area, and see if the data is helpful to you. http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/home?language=_EN
it's important to distinguish between AIS receiver and transponder [transmitter and receiver]. I'm a recreational boater and I have an AIS receiver only. For all the reasons set out above, I find it incredibly useful. It is much easier for me, being small and mobile, to stay out of the way of the heavy and large commercial traffic. The big ships don't slow down or turn quickly. And that's assuming they see you in the first place! AIS lets me see them from very far away. Tells me who they are, where they are going, how fast they're going and their bearing. Everything I need to know to stay clear.

Last edited by saxe point; 01-16-2014 at 09:26 PM.
Old 01-16-2014, 06:45 PM
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I have AIS receiver... Not transmitter. I can see others and they can't see me... Which is how I prefer it!!

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Old 01-16-2014, 08:12 PM
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I did some reading on the Simrad rs35 and its Lowrance equivalent the Link-8. Seems there have been alot of problems with them with the NMEA2000 initially, anyone know if the bugs have been worked out by now?
How bout the RS12 or the Link-5, anyone have any experience with them or know if they have had any issues?
Looking at the SH GX2150 as well.

If I get a radio with AIS, what else would I need to purchase to get it hooked up and running? Would I need seperate antennas for the AIS and the VHF?
Old 01-16-2014, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Hollywood9s View Post
I did some reading on the Simrad rs35 and its Lowrance equivalent the Link-8. Seems there have been alot of problems with them with the NMEA2000 initially, anyone know if the bugs have been worked out by now? How bout the RS12 or the Link-5, anyone have any experience with them or know if they have had any issues? Looking at the SH GX2150 as well. If I get a radio with AIS, what else would I need to purchase to get it hooked up and running? Would I need seperate antennas for the AIS and the VHF?
To receive? No special antenna... To transpond I believe you need a specific AIS antenna.

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:19 PM
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IMHO... Garmin AIS 300 is a great unit... 600 if you want a transceiver

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:49 PM
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ICOM is introducing M506
AIS integrated, Voice recording, NMEA2000, 2 handset, etc.
Greetings, Wilhelm
Old 01-16-2014, 11:17 PM
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The AIS receivers in RS35 and Link-8 can be disabled, I have disabled mine in RS35 since I also have a AIS transponder with NMEA 2000 interface. The NMEA 2000 communication problems where solved with the introduction of sw v1.12 late July.
Old 01-17-2014, 03:54 AM
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My personal opinion is that you do not need AIS based on the description of where you boat. The 2150 or 2200 are both receivers only and do not transmit your position data by AIS so it does not help others to see you. If you are not in an area with commercial traffic or you do not do much nighttime or low visibility boating, I would recommend you consider instead of one 2150 or 2200, go with 2 SH gx1700's They have a built in GPS. What I like about this...... My chartplotter does not have to be working properly to transmit my location by DSC distress mode. Even if the chartplotter craps out or I have a connection issue, I can still transmit distress and my location to try to get help. Or.... IF you do not have space for two mounted vhf's, you could use a single gx1700 on the boat and then have a portable vhf with built in gps in case you ever have a complete electrical failure on the boat. Then you still have a communication option, that also has built in gps and dsc distress transmit.

Just my 2 cents.
Old 01-17-2014, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Hollywood9s View Post
If I were to buy a unit that had AIS capability, would I have the option of disabling it and not using the AIS, but still allow the NSS8 and the VHF to share gps coordinates so if the distress button was activated it would send out the coordinates on my location?
Yes if you interface both units correctly.
Old 01-17-2014, 09:30 AM
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Spoke with Simrad technical support this morning. They said the NMEA2000 connectivity issue was resolved this past Summer. I don't necessarily need AIS, but I would prefer to use NMEA 2000 over the 0183. I also prefer the layout of the RS35, and I need a larger size unit because there is already a hole in my dash where the old West Marine unit was.
If I can disable the AIS, but still have the RS35 share coordinates with my NSS plotter for a distress call, then I'm leaning toward that route.
Can anyone verify that the NMEA2000 is working fine now? Anyone currently have it hooked up and running?

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