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New ICOM VHF fixed & handheld  

 

Tom Andresky
(@bwpirate)
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Topic starter  

ICOM has added two new entries into the market place. The new handheld is available M94d includes AIS displays and the VHF M510 color displays plus plus reduced profile.

M510 …..

7080AA9B 8923 4CAC 8251 0370455DBDC9

The general information can be viewed at the at the ICOM website.

Their MA 510 TR class B AIS unit fits right in small profile N2k color displays etc.

73354A78 1C3F 44EC 9F1E 7730A7432263
This topic was modified 1 month ago 3 times by Tom Andresky

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Ben Ellison
(@ben-ellison)
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Thanks, Tom!

I don't know why ICOM has not made a big deal about it yet, but the M510 is much more than a beautiful color screen in a smaller format:

 

www.icomamerica.com/en/products/marine/mountedvhf/m510

 

 

 

This post was modified 1 month ago 4 times by Ben Ellison

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Bill Kearney
(@wkearney99)
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Curious that it depends on using a 'wireless' interface to make a connection to an NMEA-2000 network.  But there's no manuals or literature online for that CT-M500 module.  Nor is there a manual for the M510 (and I crawled the website to see if just wasn't listed yet).  Using a wireless LAN seems clever, but you run into a lot of potential problems if the devices can't readily join and operate on an existing WiFi network.  

Many devices that start off this way expect to host their own SSID and expect you to change your handheld device to use that.  This isn't realistic when the handheld devices also need an internet uplink.  Most phones/tablets expect an either-or scenario, so switching back/forth between WiFI SSIDs is a non-starter.  

Then ones that do support acting as a client to an existing WiFI SSID often fall down when that host SSID is offline during power up.  As in, from a cold start on the boat when everything had been turned off at the battery switches.  Some smarter devices know to re-try their connections, to allow for the time it takes for the SSID to spin up.  But when you've got a series of inter-dependent devices... well, let's just say having genuine hard-wired connections takes a whole lot of headaches RIGHT OFF THE TABLE.

I'd very much like to replace my M602 with something that had more versatile features like this, but hesitate unless there's info out there already that covers real-world scenarios.

This post was modified 1 month ago by Bill Kearney

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Ben Ellison
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@wkearney99 I share your concerns, Bill, but I just got off the phone with Ray Novak of IcomAmerica and one thing I learned is that the M510 can join a boat WiFi network instead of creating its own. 


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Bill Kearney
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The CT-M500 being used as a bridge for NMEA-2000 concerns me a bit. It's one thing to use WiFi for audio and intercom functions.  But there are already a number of things out there trying to use Ethernet for boat data.  Maretron, Yacht Devices, Rosepoint, Signal K.. the list goes on. 

So yet another device attempting to shout active amounts of data over a wireless link... well, let's just say I'd much rather NOT use WiFI for the GPS, AIS or other chatty N2K traffic. Marine vendors have not had a great track record for implementing things that play along well with others when it comes to IT networking transports.  This is a new thing for Icom, so maybe they'll break from the pack of past poor performers.


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Rory MacLysaght
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I would love to see a full review of this unit.  ICOM's specs say it is NMEA 0183, which seems odd for a new devise, and requires the optional unit to add wireless NMEA 2000 connectivity.  But if you look on Defender.com https://www.defender.com/search.html?q=icom+m510&x=0&y=0 it claims it already features N2K, and includes AIS transponder.

I'm currently looking at the Cortex VHF/AIS unit recently reviewed here, but this seems like it might, possibly, check some of the same boxes.  Interested to hear your take on this (or a full review).


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Tom Andresky
(@bwpirate)
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Topic starter  

Looking at the back of the unit there is NMEA 0183/HS connectivity so that gives you the capability to connect the VHF to one MFD display both AIS targets with that unit. The benefit of the N2k connectivity of course ease of connection and being able to share the data over multiply MFD's. It will be interesting to see how the reliable the wifi connectivity is.

 

ICOM501.9

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Ben Ellison
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Rory, what you're linking to at Defender is Icom's M510TR Class B AIS transponder with its own target screen, not the new M510 VHF. I guess the similar names are because they are sort of in the same color screen family. At any rate, the M510 VHF won't start shipping until August, but there will be a press release soon and I plan an article to elaborate on the release.

Overall, Cortex is a much more ambitious product, I think. The off-boat monitoring is an obvious difference, but maybe bigger are the refined AIS target analysis plus the man overboard and anchor drag features. But even Cortex doesn't (yet) support VHF calls via the app, so it's great to see Icom trail blaze this feature. 

Bill, I agree that it would be nice and simple to have an NMEA 2000 port of the M510, but Icom pointed out to me that they have been making complex WLAN (WiFi) radios for many years, so maybe that CT-M500 will just work:

mamerica.com/en/products/network/wlan/wlan/default.aspx


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Bill Kearney
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Posted by: @ben-ellison

I agree that it would be nice and simple to have an NMEA 2000 port of the M510, but Icom pointed out to me that they have been making complex WLAN (WiFi) radios for many years, so maybe that CT-M500 will just work:

Their IP handsets and other RoIP devices are certainly interesting. 

I have no idea why the forum won't let me post a URL to the VE-PG4 gateway. (ah, fixed it)

It's one thing to have directed TCP or coordinated multicast traffic on an IP network, that's well-plowed territory for business networks.  Boat networks, though, tend to not be very robust or configurable to the degree necessary to make for smooth functioning services.  That's why this offering seems like a rather odd duck. 

Now, if they paired it with an equivalent of the RC-M600 remote station... that would make it more interesting.  But, again, this would then by dumping a lot of traffic onto a WiFi network that might not be prepared for it.  I'm sensing a lot of returns/complaints from naive users that have expectations higher than their boat setup will deliver.

The tid-bit that it's not shipping until August is good to know.  Takes it off my list of purchases for this year.  

This post was modified 1 month ago 3 times by Bill Kearney

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Ben Ellison
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@bwpirate Tom, I like the reverse idea. Assuming that many boats with a premium VHF like this also have an AIS transponder and are probably feeding target data MFDs over N2K, so run the 0183 HS output to the M510 to get added target tracking on the radio plus direct DSC calling to targets. The M510 without an internal AIS receiver apparently supports this use:

"With its integrated AIS receiver*
or external NMEA sentence
(third party AIS receiver, transponder),
the IC-M510 can
show real-time AIS vessel traffic
information on the display.
You can directly make an individual
DSC call to selected AIS
targets from the AIS screen."


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Bill Kearney
(@wkearney99)
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Posts: 29
 
Posted by: @ben-ellison

@bwpirate Tom, I like the reverse idea. Assuming that many boats with a premium VHF like this also have an AIS transponder and are probably feeding target data MFDs over N2K, so run the 0183 HS output to the M510 to get added target tracking on the radio plus direct DSC calling to targets. The M510 without an internal AIS receiver apparently supports this use:

True, but if it had native N2K there'd be no need to feed it anything, it could just pick it up straight off the N2K bus. That said, it's not until recently that things are putting AIS onto the N2K bus, so there's likelihood the devices detecting AIS would have an 0183 output for it.  

An additional concern is being able to restrict what devices put back OUT onto their streams. iirc, Icom has had issues in the past with this. Not being able to restrict what sentences get SENT is often worse than not being able to handle them at all.  N2K has a lot of nice plug-and-play, but does eventually need some instance reconfiguring when there's more than one source for the same data on the network.

Making the leap to AIS 'target tracking' is a bit of a journalistic stretch, beyond just seeing the blips, that is.  I get your point, but there's a big processing leap between an operator visually noting the blips versus actual 'tracking' on the device itself.

If the AIS source provided necessary data, the VHF radio handling all the DSC action could get interesting.  If the phone app could handle editing the entries that'd be a real win. Doing DSC calling or contact editing via the knobs or keypads on past radios was such an awful ordeal that most people really never bothered with it. 

Vendor incompatibility between DSC-chartplotter integration certainly hasn't helped move it forward.

But it does beg the question of how many people are genuinely ever going to use DSC calling?  It's a big chicken-and-the-egg problem.  Anecdotally many users report never getting a DSC call answered, versus a much higher percentage getting a response from a voice hail on 16.  


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Tom Andresky
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Topic starter  

What I really like about this VHF it adds to your SA (situational awareness) in very simplistic way ... the color display gives you instant visual clarity in a high traffic area where AIS equipped vessels are the norm. Having spent 32 years in the Navy from the mid 60's to the late 90's I can tell you the addition of color displays made navigating high density traffic areas much easier. What I like about this site is you have a group of sophisticated boaters that view electronics in different light. Many are very technically inclined thinking not only inside the lifelines but outside them too.I learned the idea KISS was really a good one. So with this radio and a good chart plotter and radar you can safely navigate in tight traffic areas and connecting to your MFD that uses color AIS targets and radar doppler target tracking you got what you need. I've found the electronics available to today's boaters have out pasted their to level of comprehension. The more you use something the better you get using it but when you walk away for a period of time you lose those skills .... they're perishable.So the simpler the better while still retaining the important functionalities.

Tom


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Bill Kearney
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Posted by: @bwpirate

What I really like about this VHF it adds to your SA (situational awareness) in very simplistic way ... the color display gives you instant visual clarity in a high traffic area where AIS equipped vessels are the norm.

I've found the electronics available to today's boaters have out paced their level of comprehension. The more you use something the better you get using it but when you walk away for a period of time you lose those skills .... they're perishable. So the simpler the better while still retaining the important functionalities.

Agreed.  Those are excellent observations.

A side note, now that all these things are getting displays... how about some decent coordination between them for night viewing?  I shot a message to Maretron about this and they're thinking about it.  It'd be great to have a standard way to adjust dimming/color on one unit and have it shared with all the others.  Because right now I have to dim the chart plotters, then the VHF, then the Maretron and B&G displays...


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Ben Ellison
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Found out that the M510 only accepts AIS data via NMEA 2000.


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Tom Andresky
(@bwpirate)
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Topic starter  

That's interesting. Without seeing the back of the M500 I'm assuming there is a wired connection from this unit to a N2k backbone so data can be shared between the VHF and installed MFD's. I understand where Icom is coming from especially with the integration of smart phones. I'm eager to see your analysis of the M510 when you get one to evaluate.

 

Thanks for the information ....

 

Tom


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