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.
You’re probably aware by now that the original (Class A) Automatic Identification System was designed for commercial shipping. Class B AIS was designed to be simpler (cheaper) to implement and to be suitable for recreational vessels. It is compatible with Class A systems and available either as “Receive Only” or as a “Transceiver”.
In this post we’ll described a range of options for “Receive Only” systems, typically the initial choice of most yachties.
Installing an Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) is becoming a mainstream option for yachts. Prices are dropping and AIS equipment is evolving, resulting in a greater variety of instruments on the market. That variety will no doubt increase further, but we can see distinct categories of AIS equipment emerge.
For those looking to invest in a system, we’re going examine those categories in a series of six posts. We will look at the full gamut of equipment, ranging from economical class B receive-only units through AIS integrated with Radio Receivers and Chart Plotters, right up to standalone class A systems.
There is already so much choice that we won’t be able to cover every available unit, but we will highlight representative equipment and discuss which features to look for.