Uniden Mystic, a new lease on life

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.

11 Responses

  1. So there’s an “All Ships” selection on the DSC Menu. Is this not simlar to AIS? Different frequency/channel?

  2. Pascal says:

    And, why not a handheld or portable Gps/Plotter with a built-in AIS receiver? Pheraps, this could cost less than a Gps/VHF transceiver.
    Anyway, a more complete Gps/VHF/DSC/AIS witch could have 3 versions: handheld/portable/fixed mount, would be great.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Not really, John. AIS transmissions are completely automated, and on different channels (though, to confuse things, AIS can use DSC calling channel 70 for special purposes like changing frequencies). An all ships call simply means that every radio in range will ring and switch to the working channel you specified. A DSC distress call is just a special form of “all ships” call that sets off a extra loud alarm and switches everyone to 16. If you make an individual or group DSC call, all radios in range will ‘hear’ it on 70, but only the ones with the right MMSI numbers will respond.

  4. Oh, Ben. Like all tech-guys you are too close to the problem and go out of your way to make it difficult. 🙂 I’d bet a software hack could make the Mystic do AIS. (Only half kidding.)

  5. Pascal says:

    I think that the overall idea of the well known “NASA AIS Radar” is very good. If it have an internal gps (very cheap ) and better construction (Weather Proof, Color screen) I already have bough one.. It even does not need to have eletronic charts/ploter, because the simulated radar screen is praticaly what we need to make it a very usefull device. Other thing is that it could have a NMEA out port to send the decoded AIVDM message to other equipment like the “NASA BalckBox Engine”, and this pratically would double the value of the equipament, Why no other company offer this too until now?
    Another question is: why the big radio manufactures (Icom, Standard Horizon, JRC etc) does not have yet launched an AIS transceiver (a class B AIS) inbed in theirs marine VHF/DSC radios? I think this would be very ease and simple as all the VHF radios already have chanels 87/88 and almost all have NMEA IN/OUT. And including a cheap gps chip like a SIRF woul not increase too much the final price. I would buy one if it exist just now.

  6. del (uk) says:

    ..a software hack to get a DSC radio to tx / rx AIS? I don’t think so! 1200 bps v. 9600? Fsk v. GMSK, need I go on?
    I couldn’t agree more, come on you manufacturers, get on with it! I’m sure one of the semiconductor companies that are already doing DSC and AIS modem chips would be only too happy to design something along those lines.

  7. Give me a suitable platform with software access to a radio, GPS, maps, screen, buttons, and I’ll make it happen. I’m a software guy. My tool is a hammer all problems look like a nail. 🙂 (Can’t say I haven’t done this sort of thing before though.)
    Perhaps you, Pascal, and I should form a company to build one of these?

  8. Bill says:

    Does anyone know why Uniden stopped making the Mystic?

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Bill, I don’t have any inside knowledge but surmise that Uniden just figured it had much bigger (consumer electronics) fish to fry. I’ve heard that marine VHF has always been a tough business, and it’s only getting harder as every m.e. brand feels it ought to have a VHF to fill out a complete helm. Uniden hasn’t shown much marine interest for a while.

  10. Natalie says:

    I’ve been looking for a great VHF (alkaline capapble, waterproof) and a GPS hybrid would be handy. Need to purchase several. I haven’t found a color GPS screen, and Garmin has discontinued their line of VHF products. Any updates or advice, Captains?

  11. Olaf says:

    Isn’t it hard to believe, that this 2004 radio still provides more features than the most recent DSC/GPS handhelds? Still a perfect package for small boats with small batteries – at least together with a masthead antenna.
    It does not only provide single waypoint navigation but routes and outputs NMEA 0183 waypoint/ XTE information for e.g. supporting a tiller-pilot. It even allows waypoints and routes to be uploaded from a PC. 
    8 years later adding the two fixed frequency receivers for AIS can’t be to difficult.
    Even using the most of the time idle transmitter for AIS position reports every 30 sec should be only a matter of SW.
    The easyAIS transponder has been certified with an embedded antenna splitter – the AIS is “blind” and can’t seek for free AIS slots during voice transmissions (which can be up to 5 min long) and therefore can’t always send reports every 30 sec.
    Well, the Garmin Rhino would be a good starting point … 

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