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Replacing Garmin VHF

Old 10-18-2017, 06:29 PM
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Default Replacing Garmin VHF

Need to replace a Garmin VHF 200. Boat has 2 Garmin 8212's and a Garmin autopilot. Is there any reason why I would go with a Garmin VHF again?
Old 10-18-2017, 07:29 PM
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Only if you are wanting to keep the "package" complete. Some people find that important, I do not.
Old 10-19-2017, 10:58 AM
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I was disappointed by the amount of "integration" my VHF-200 provided. If I did it over again, I'd save the money and go to a different brand with as many or possibly more features.

An example of non-integration is that an MMSI entered into my 8212 won't be shared with the radio or vice versa, so I enter them twice.
Old 10-20-2017, 08:09 PM
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Agree the integration is not complete. But the ability to call an AIS target from the MFD without entering the MMSI in the radio itself is quite helpful. I just make routine calls from the directory in the radio. I don't enter the MMSIs twice. Also wish you could send position requests from the MFD but I haven't found a way to do that, either.

Any other radio integrate better? I already have a Garmin AIS600, so the VHF200 works for me.
Old 10-20-2017, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by RollerCoastr View Post
An example of non-integration is that an MMSI entered into my 8212 won't be shared with the radio or vice versa, so I enter them twice.
no system does that. and considering you can't change the MMSI on a radio. I would prefer it that way
Old 10-21-2017, 05:46 AM
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Oh, sorry, I didn’t make that clear. I’ll clarify because I want to rant.

My Garmin MFD and my VHF200 both have MMSI directories to hold numbers of other vessels.

The 200 doesn’t have AIS nor built-in GPS, yet it costs considerably more than radios that do. I was willing to pay the premium because AIS isn’t useful in the Great Lakes, and I wanted integration. (Of the 800 wells in this marina, with boats ranging from PWC’s to 70 footers, ONE vessel is equipped with AIS. That skipper has no friends, and refuses to offer or accept assistance. I don’t foresee ever hailing him. It’s a trawler anyway, so even if he heard a distress call and tried to do the right thing, it would take him too long to reach me anyway.)

I collected MMSI numbers of my friends and chose to enter them into my touchscreen, full color 8212 instead of the awkward 3” display of the radio. Who wouldn’t, right? I’m old enough to struggle to see a string of numbers on the small monochrome display in the corner of my dash, but too young to admit that I need to visit an optometrist. Ahem.

Once my directory was complete, I searched for the Pos Req button on the MFD. Buoy Scout is correct. It’s not there. Huh? I guess I have to initiate it from the radio, so I do that, only to see a blank directory. huh? My NMEA2000 network shares fuel, entertainment, and GPS data, but the directories don’t leave the unit you enter them on!?!

Buy a pair of “readers”and suck it up and only enter directory entries on the VHF you say? Not so fast. DSC position requests won’t show the boat name on the VHF - only the number.

I’d be frustrated if these features were missing on a “budget” radio, but since I paid a premium, I’m more than frustrated. I’m a WHOLE lot less loyal to Garmin than I used to be.
Old 10-21-2017, 05:51 AM
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Maybe with a software update, we'd get better integration? Seems like that is all it would take.

When I put my Garmin VHF200 in, it was the only one with N2K. (that I could find).
Old 10-21-2017, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Buoy Scout View Post
Maybe with a software update, we'd get better integration? Seems like that is all it would take.
I’m hoping! Yes, it seems like a simple update could fix it.

When I first installed NM2K fuel meters, my 5212 rounded economy to the tenth. That drove me nuts, so I kept the calc app on my phone to get hundredths. I not only submitted several feature request, but I also begged others on forums to do so. It never happened on the 52. I upgraded to the 82, and the first update I loaded gave me hundredths.

It’s possible that hardware limitations were an issue with the 5212, so I’m hoping that’s not the case with the VHF.
Old 10-21-2017, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RollerCoastr View Post
...The 200 doesn’t have AIS nor built-in GPS, yet it costs considerably more than radios that do. I was willing to pay the premium because AIS isn’t useful in the Great Lakes...
I don't quite see the link between AIS usefulness and being somewhere other than the Great Lakes. AIS works as well on the Great Lakes as anywhere else. The requirement for mandatory carriage of AIS is the same on the Great Lakes as elsewhere.

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Last edited by jhebert; 10-21-2017 at 08:01 AM.
Old 10-21-2017, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by RollerCoastr View Post
...The [GARMIN] 200 ...costs considerably more...I was willing to pay the premium because ...I wanted integration.
Thanks for the lengthy description of how the GARMIN radio and chart plotter do not seem to be particularly well integrated in terms of being able to initiate a DSC call by using the chart plotter to control the radio and being able to look-up vessels by name in a directory on the chart plotter.

With the GARMIN radio and chart plotter as now connected, I think you describe how the chart plotter can only initiate a DSC call if the target vessel is known from AIS reception. This indicates the radio can respond to commands from the chart plotter. It sounds like GARMIN just needs to work on the software on their chart plotters to get the function you want. The radio would appear to be ready to do the bidding of the chart plotter.


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Last edited by jhebert; 10-21-2017 at 08:05 AM.
Old 10-21-2017, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jhebert View Post
I don't quite see the link between AIS usefulness and being somewhere other than the Great Lakes. AIS works as well on the Great Lakes as anywhere else.
It might be confusing that I have Miami listed as a home port? The point of view I’m describing in reference to AIS is from a vessel based exclusively in the Great Lakes.

AIS is rare up here. Very rare.
Old 10-21-2017, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jhebert View Post
Thanks for the lengthy description of how the GARMIN radio and chart plotter do not seem to be particularly well integrated in terms of being able to initiate a DSC call by using the chart plotter to control the radio and being able to look-up vessels by name in a directory on the chart plotter.

With the GARMIN radio and chart plotter as now connected, I think you describe how the chart plotter can only initiate a DSC call if the target vessel is known from AIS reception. This indicates the radio can respond to commands from the chart plotter.
Actually an 8212 (and many other Garmin MFD’s) can initiate a DSC call to a VHF200.

In order to do that from the MFD, the MMSI number must be entered into the MFD. Without a separate AIS receiver like Buoy Scout has, there is no AIS involvement at all.

Reality is that to enable DSC calling, the MMSI numbers of other boats must manually be entered because of the lack of AIS. That’s 100% fair. I didn’t pay for it.

My RANT is that after paying for integration and “branding”, I have to enter every MMSI number into two devices, and even then integration features (location request etc) are lacking. That’s 100% BS!
Old 10-21-2017, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by RollerCoastr View Post
Actually an 8212 (and many other Garmin MFD’s) can initiate a DSC call to a VHF200.

In order to do that from the MFD, the MMSI number must be entered into the MFD. Without a separate AIS receiver like Buoy Scout has, there is no AIS involvement at all.

Reality is that to enable DSC calling, the MMSI numbers of other boats must manually be entered because of the lack of AIS. That’s 100% fair. I didn’t pay for it.

My RANT is that after paying for integration and “branding”, I have to enter every MMSI number into two devices, and even then integration features (location request etc) are lacking. That’s 100% BS!
I am confused by your comments. The inference I make from your remarks:

--you plan to only ever make a DSC call to a vessel that is also transmitting AIS;
--you want the chart plotter to collect and organize every vessel, by name and by MMSI, that it ever hears about from an AIS receiver, building its own directory

These don't seem like reasonable requirements.

I think I understand that at present it is possibile with certain models of GARMIN radio and chart plotter, to create and build a directory of vessels on the chart plotter, by manually entering their MMSI and vessel name; once this is done then you CAN call them via DSC from the chart plotter, but:

--you can only initiate a routine call to them, requesting they reply by voice on some channel
--you cannot initiate a POSITION REQUEST POLL to them

Is that correct?

Also, I am really confused about this comment:

Of the 800 wells in this marina, with boats ranging from PWC’s to 70 footers, ONE vessel is equipped with AIS. That skipper has no friends, and refuses to offer or accept assistance. I don’t foresee ever hailing him.
If you are not on friendly terms with some other vessel owner and never plan to call him on the radio using DSC, I don't really understand how any of that affects how well a particular GARMIN radio is integrated with a particular chart plotter. I understand why you are unlikely to call him for assistance, but I don't see how your relationship with that fellow affects the usefulness of the Garmin radio.

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Last edited by jhebert; 10-21-2017 at 09:35 AM.
Old 10-21-2017, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by RollerCoastr View Post
...The point of view I’m describing in reference to AIS is from a vessel based exclusively in the Great Lakes...AIS is rare up here. Very rare.
As I mentioned earlier, the requirement for mandatory carriage of AIS is the same on the Great Lakes as anywhere else.

You must be trying to say voluntarily equipping a small commercial vessel or a recreational vessel with AIS is more common around busy ocean ports like Miami, Florida than on the Great Lakes.

I don't think the Great Lakes really have anything to do with this. The real factor is the size of the recreational vessels and their number. There are probably more mega-yachts around Miami, Florida--particularly in the winter when you are probably down there--than there are on the Great Lakes in the summer. But there are plenty of vessels on the Great Lakes transmitting AIS. You just don't see AIS carried on smaller, less-than-50-foot, recreational boats, really anywhere. That's fine with me, as I don't need the AIS display cluttered with a bunch of little fishing boats.

Last edited by jhebert; 10-22-2017 at 12:01 PM.
Old 10-21-2017, 10:45 AM
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Plenty of recreational vessels on the Chesapeake running Class B AIS transceivers, especially those over 40 feet.
Old 10-21-2017, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jhebert View Post
I am confused by your comments. The inference I make from your remarks:

--you plan to only ever make a DSC call to a vessel that is also transmitting AIS;
--you want the chart plotter to collect and organize every vessel, by name and by MMSI, that it ever hears about from an AIS receiver, building its own directory

These don't seem like reasonable requirements.
I think the confusion stems from me saying DSC, but you hear AIS...?

So no: I have no AIS capabilities whatsoever. My expectations include only the capabilities of DSC.
Old 10-21-2017, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jhebert View Post

Also, I am really confused about this comment:

If you are not on friendly terms with some other vessel owner and never plan to call him on the radio using DSC, I don't really understand how any of that affects how well a particular GARMIN radio is integrated with a particular chart plotter. I understand why you are unlikely to call him for assistance, but I don't see how your relationship with that fellow affects the usefulness of the Garmin radio.
Once again, that was in reference to an AIS boat, not a DSC boat,
Old 10-21-2017, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jhebert View Post
You must be trying to say voluntarily equipping a small commercial vessel or a recreational vessel with AIS is more common around busy ocean ports like Miami, Florida than on the Great Lakes.
More common is a drastic understatement. To illustrate that, visit www.marinetraffic.com and compare Biscayne Bay to Sandusky Bay.

It’s not even 10:1. AIS is almost unheard of up here. Ferries, freighters and a few yachts - that’s it.

“More busy” is also a misconception. Not about megayachts for sure, but the amount of boat traffic would surprise anyone not familiar with both of these areas. You’d think a small blue-collar mid-western area like the western basin wouldn’t hold a “boating candle” to Miami, but that’s not reality.
Old 10-21-2017, 04:53 PM
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ROLLER'--I don't have any confusion about AIS and DSC. I just read you comments and try to figure out exactly what your "rant" (your term) was about.

Comparing Sandusky Bay and Biscayne Bay at this time of year is probably not a good comparison for density of AIS signals. This time of year most recreational boats on the Great Lakes have been put into winter layup.

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Last edited by jhebert; 10-22-2017 at 12:01 PM.
Old 10-23-2017, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jhebert View Post
ROLLER'--I don't have any confusion about AIS and DSC. I just read you comments and try to figure out exactly what your "rant" (your term) was about.
I'm not accusing you of not understanding the technologies, but your inferences from my rant center around AIS. My frustration with Garmin's integration shortcomings are exclusively about DSC.

That's not to say AIS isn't an interesting discussion. I like technology, and AIS intrigues me, but I don't see a case for it in the Great Lakes region (and I assume many other regions?) at this point.

Originally Posted by jhebert View Post
Comparing Sandusky Bay and Biscayne Bay at this time of year is probably not a good comparison for density of AIS signals. This time of year most recreational boats on the Great Lakes have been put into winter layup.
That would be true if more than a handful of recreational boats in the Great Lakes are AIS-equipped, but I promise you, that's not the case. This summer in Lake Erie we had my neighbor in his 48 Symbol, we also see couple of 60-something sportfishers (which have probably snow-birded by now), a massive long-range trawler, a 70 Marquis and a few random, presumably far-traveling sailboats. That's about it.

Comparing Great Lakes AIS signals on a July Saturday compared to next Saturday would look remarkably similar because it's almost entirely commercial vessels.

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