AIS Class B, really on the map


Check the stats! They indicate that at one moment earlier today one particular network of AIS coastal receivers was seeing 763 AIS Class A transponders from towers scattered around the U.S.  And one Class B.  Guess whose 5 meter pleasure (and electronics testing) vessel that was?

Yes indeed, not only is Gizmo now Class B equipped but I’ve got an excellent testing aid thanks to the gracious support of Penobscot Pilot Skip Strong (buy his book!). Whereas no public AIS site (I know of) is covering my area these days, I asked Skip for access to the receiver network the Pilots built to help them manage their work. Well, it turns that it feeds into the fairly substantial nationwide net of receivers seen above and the data is Web served via SiiTech’s excellent Web VTS Pro software (with much of it public,  though not the Bay, once you’ve registered). Web VTS Pro keeps a replayable minute-by-minute target history, which is how I made these screen shots. Skip may also help me practise collision avoidance with some big iron.
  And both of SiiTech’s Web viewers count transponder types, which will let us watch Class B use grow here in the U.S. Which is going to happen. There’s lots of good news. Simrad’s dealers may now take orders for the AI50 ($1,595) and the NAIS-300 ($1,149 for either SimNet or standard NMEA connector models); the dealers will do the data input. Milltech Marine is taking orders for the ACR Nauticast B ($899, with antennas, and a proven performer in my book); Milltech will input static data before shipping the unit. In both cases, deliveries are expected soon, and more for sale announcements will follow soon.
  Best of all, my worries about Vessel Name are past. Unless your boat is one of the 14–17,000 U.S. commercial vessels who may be mandated to carry Class A or B in a couple of years, the static data seen below (bigger here) is apparently just fine, as long as it corresponds to the boat’s MMSI registration (which, I assure you, it does ;-).


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.

6 Responses

  1. bobc says:

    You can invite the folks to come by the Annapolis boat show to see the Simrad AI50 in action and look at the traffic on the bay.

  2. MaineFog says:

    “”Skip may also help me practise collision avoidance with some big iron…”
    Even without the bay showing up in SiiTech, we have managed to avoid Skip. He is kind of hard of hard not to miss although almost impossible to see on the bridge. Still, it would be nice to have the bay transponders show, Portland is there.

  3. Auspicious says:

    Defender is now showing a regular price for the Nauticast B of $800, and an Annapolis Boat Show price of $750.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Lots of new goodies in the 2009 Maretron Catalogue when was recently put up on their website i.e. temperature unit, run unit, etc.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here’s another AIS site. Siitech has a nice site but this shows targets in more ports, such as Boston.
    Our AIS was interesting to use this season but as for collision avoidance we found ARPA–MARPA in our case–the ticket a few times.

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, John. It only covers Spain, and in Spanish, but check out the innovative AIS Web display here:
    I’m working on list of AIS viewers like this, by the way.

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