As we saw last week, one way of simplifying the installation of an AIS receiver is to use an antenna splitter (aka multiplexer) to share the boat’s VHF radio antenna. Taking that concept further, VHF radio manufacturers are now starting to incorporate AIS receiver into the radio itself. An early example was the iCom IC-M505.
Recently the Standard Horizon GX2100 (pictured) VHF radio raised the bar with a comprehensive set of features including AIS and even the option of having an AIS display on the microphone.
Inevitably, radios have only a limited display, although they do offer a standard NMEA output to interface with a chart plotter. So, rather than building AIS into a radio receiver to save on the antenna, why not build AIS into a chart plotter?
And yes, it’s been done. Pictured is the Digital Yacht chart plotter which includes a dual channel Class B AIS receiver – just connect a VHF antenna and off you go!
No doubt over the coming period, we’ll see even more options to put a Class B receiver on our boat. Meanwhile here are links to items mentioned this week:
Next week, we’ll look at the case for buying a Class B Transponder and be seen as well!