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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Radio - using AIS

While in Marathon we felt it was time to purchase a new radio for the lower helm. When traveling it is advantageous to have two radios and monitor more than one station. It is possible to scan many stations with a VHF, but Jim's preference is for separate radios, so we rode our bikes to our favorite store, West Marine! Once again we enlisted the help of our handy friend Pete, from Blue Yonder.

We have learned more recently that price matching is required at West Marine! Their prices are not as reasonable as we would like. We found our Standard Horizon GX2100 on line for almost $100 cheaper than at the West Marine Store. When we showed the sales person a copy of our research, they matched the price, no problem! Doesn't hurt to ask! We also purchased a Second Station for use on the upper helm. That gave us two radios on the bridge as well.

AIS stands for Automatic Identification System. AIS is an automated tracking system used by ships for identification and location of other vessels. It supplements marine radar. The system on the GX2100 is a receiver only. It does not transpond our location to other craft.

The identification information gives a unique ID (number or boat name), position, course and speed. The system is integrated with our VHF radio that we use for communication on the water and for safety purposes.

AIS is required on larger ships and is being used more often on smaller boats. You will see from the picture on our chartplotter, that AIS can be integrated into many chartplotters. The screen here shows how many boats are located along the ICW in the Ft. Lauderdale area.

Primarily AIS is used for collision avoidance. Handy tool!

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