If you're an electronics geek like me, you've probably looked at adding AIS functionality to your network and thought that all the options out there are too expensive to justify adding to your recreational boat. I mean, we really don't NEED it.... but, man, I want it.
Well check this out!
For under $100, got this with the adaptor and set up for NMEA 0183.
I paired it with this:
So, for under $150, I'm up and running with AIS.
Hooked it up last night, with the antenna just sitting on the dash of the boat
Within a couple of minutes, it acquired the first AIS target, 11 miles away, with plenty of trees and buildings and bridges in between.
Pretty soon, I was tracking targets 30 miles away, which puts them 18 miles out to sea.
This was with the antenna just sitting on my dash, not installed up on the radar arch!
For a recreational user, this is all I need! One of the main uses I am looking for is identifying commercial boats in narrow channels. I have had a few occasions where I have tried to hail tugs on 16 while in the intracoastal, trying to discuss who was going through the bridge first, or which side, and they have not responded. Now I'll have their mmsi, and can hit them on DSC. Hopefully they'd be more likely to respond thete.
So, for recreational boats like me, wanting to add AIS, check out dAISy!