AIS made simple...I think?
We purchased a AIS receiver from Milltech Marine for $189. They are
located at http://www.milltechmarine.com/products.htm. They offer
several products. We chose the Smart Radio SR161 AIS Receiver.
We mounted the AIS receiver behind the nav station near the AM/FM
radio and connected it to 12 volts at the switched 12 volt wiring
block for the Hydra. The AIS is powered "on" when the 12 volt toggle
switch for the Hydra is turned on. To connect the AIS to an antenna,
we bought a BNC "T" connector and 2 screw-on BNC connectors from Radio
Shack. We connected the BNC "T" to the back of the AIS receiver, cut
the antenna wire going to the AM/FM radio and attached the screw-on
BNC connectors to each end of the cut antenna wire, then connected
those to the BNC "T" on the back of the AIS.
Then we ran the included serial cable to a "serial to USB" converter
which we attached to a USB port on our laptop. Just a few software
changes to Maxsea and we began picking up ships on both the Pacific
side and the Caribbean side of the Panama Canal.
It was certainly the best $200 investment we have made.
s/v BeBe SM2 #387
Bill forgot to mention another necessary component to make the AIS
work smoothly. We also added 2 GB RAM to the computer. We originally
had only 1 GB RAM and that was not sufficient and caused the AIS to
slow the charting software. Works great with the additional RAM.
I purchased the same unit at the Miami boat show. However, I also
purchased a VHF splitter so that I could connect the unit to my
existing VHF antenna.
It sounds like I do not need the splitter. I did not realize that the
unit could receive the information via the AM/FM radio input.
Is there something special about the AM/FM radio antenna on that model
of Amel, or can the AIS unit receive its signal from a standard AM/FM
John SM 394
Bill and Judy,
what did you do to handle both GPS and AIS connected to the computer? I'm being told that I need a multiplexer or at least a USB hub
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John,toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
I am not sure of the exact answer to your question. The AM/FM antenna
on BeBe, SM2 #387 is located on top of the main mast and appears
identical to the VHF antenna.
I did it this way using the AM/FM antenna wire because it seemed the
simplest way to go...I was not sure if it would work, but it works great.
I am sure the splitter will work fine also.
s/v BeBe, SM2 #387
Our GPS and our B&G Hydra are connected to a multiplexer, but I am not
sure that it is necessary. What is necessary is multiple serail port
connections to your computer.
I believe that you will either need a NMEA multiplexer which allows
the connection of several NMEA inputs and has a single serial port
output, OR you need sufficient serial port inputs on your
computer...or some combination which will allow you to connect
multiple serial connections to your computer.
We happen to have both a NMEA multiplexer which is connected to the
GPS, Autohelm and Hydra and we also have a "4 serial port to USB"
converter which allows 4 serial connections and connects to 1 USB port
on the computer. It is made by Edgeport and is called an Edgeport/4.
By the way, our NMEA multiplexer (GPS, Hydra, Autohelm) is connected
to the Edgeport/4 via a serial connection. The AIS is also connected
to the Edgeport/4. Our SSB Pactor modem is also connected to the
I believe if you have sufficient serial port connections that you
probably do not need a multiplexer.
s/v BeBe SM2 $387
Bill and Judy,computer? I'm being told that I need a multiplexer or at least a USB hub