AIS Class A, very much in the Spirit of Zopilote

SEAcas Ray E-120 1

This whole last week was rich with AIS-related matters, including a fine visit with Fred Pot, but yesterday it got almost silly. First I got a call from Jeff Moser at PMY (who’s turning out to be a talented and good humored addition to the staff there), asking if I could write a feature on AIS for a special annual pub called the Yacht Owner’s Guide that’s oriented to bigger boats. Of course I will, why not, says I (FYI: I’m committed to my monthly PMY columns, and wonderfully free to choose their subject matter; everything else is by suggestion, from one direction or the other).

Latter in the day, I hooked up Fred’s SafePassage all-in-one AIS receiver/dGPS to the Raymarine E-120. Everything worked well, and darned if I didn’t see my first AIS target right in Camden Harbor (the screen above, bigger here, shows what happens when you first cursor on a target). And darn if it wasn’t Spirit of Zopilote, a well known 64’ trawler operated by a gentleman named Bruce Kessler, a reputed guru of offshore power boat cruising. I called the marina owner, who checked with Kessler, and minutes later I was onboard taking pictures and having a great gam with Bruce. So AIS helped me collect some excellent material for an AIS article, and Panbo entries to come! (By the way, Kessler is aware that he hasn’t yet re-entered some of the static info, like length and draft, since his Furuno FA 100 came back from an update, and, yes, I did obscure part of his MMSI and call sign).

SEAcas Ray E-120 3

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

5 Responses

  1. Douglas says:

    I have an SR-161 AIS receiver ($189) from Milltech Marine hooked up to MacENC on a new MacBook. Just using the small portable bendy antenna I can see targets up to 15 miles away. Wonderful.

  2. Jeffrey Orling says:

    I have connected the NASA engine to a C80 and cannot get a thing. I am using an old Metz VHF 36 antenna.
    The NASA has no idiot lights to indicated whether it is on, receiving signal or sending data and all I get on the C80 is no AIS.
    To connect the NASA to a C80 one has to use a DB9 serial cable / connector and sort of the wires. I am told that pins #2 and #5 are the signal and ground.
    Without signal it is pretty hard to trouble shoot this rig. I have so far confirmed that the power cable to the NASA is OK and supplying power, the antenna cable is OK.. and I believe I got the correct wires in the DB9.
    No joy yet….
    break more to follow
    sv Shiva
    Contest 36s

  3. GPSNavX says:

    You might try connecting the NASA AIS receiver to your computer using a Keyspan to USB Serial adapter. You can then run a simple terminal application to see if you are getting NMEA data. Keep in mind no NMEA data will be present until the AIS receiver gets AIS data from near by traffic.
    Yes you would want to connect pins #2 and #5. Also realize AIS data is at 38400, not the typical 4800 of NMEA data.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Gee thanks for the suggestion. I don’t have a PC on board and I dont have a laptop… Any other brilliant ideas?
    sv Shiva
    Contest 36s

  5. Jeffrey O says:

    Switched the NEMA out pin 2 with pin 5 and got some joy… now let’s see how this C80 manages the data.
    I do see that the C80 needs some work on this… and I suspect that in susequent software upgrades it will be improved.
    sv Shiva
    Contest 36s

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