Every ship of 300 GT. or over plus passenger vessels of any size, are required by the I.M.O., since December 2004, to operate a class-1 AIS transponder .
Prices for 'Class A' transponder systems are well over US$3000.-.
And 'Class B' transponders are priced up to US$2500. These are for non-SOLAS vessels eg. small fishing and pleasure vessels.
All these prices are definitely beyond the scope of this website.
A cheaper option is to have a dedicated AIS receiver with its own VHF exterior antenna installed at around US$500.-
The picture on the right shows such a setup
It is a good way to do it, as it leaves your VHF radio available for scanning or comms.
The GPS connects directly to the AIS receiver, which plots your yacht in the center of it's very small screen.
Yes, it works, BUT it's hard to see, plugged into a laptop is a the better option here.
You also need a second GPS connected to your laptop, for your navigation program.
The cost of a dedicated AIS receiver, is also beyond the scope of this website.
There is an even cheaper way, which involves using your VHF radio ONLY as a AIS receiver.
Is my VHF radio suitable for AIS reception?(Please check this as not all radios are created equal.)
If your radio can receive the correct frequencies, than it needs an additional 'RC-Circuit' in order to distinguish the incoming AIS data.
ORDER your diy AIS pack here.
Some details:Tune to AIS Channels 87 or 88 ... All you can hear is noise, nothing that resembles data of any kind. Yet there is lots on both frequencies.
You can use virtually any Pentium3 or faster, laptop, as long as it has a 'Line-in' or a 'Microphone-in' socket.
You only need one GPS.
The charts can be scanned paper charts in various formats or any CM93 chart.
The sound-card must be able to handle a 48 Kb sampling rate. Most laptops do anyway.
The audio connection lead (1.5m long) between the VHF and laptop is supplied.
The software on the DVD includes: World wide Navigation with AIS overlay, chart making - , Manuals, 2009 charts for New Zealand with coverage from Australia to Tahiti and some Pacific Islands, US East and West coast and more + dozens of handy utilities.
The best news is that AIS over VHF is a lot more economical than a radar system, not only in power consumption but financially also and gives a clutter free screen.
The most COST effective way is wired like the picture on the right.
The RC circuit or filter installation price is NZ$125.-, if installed by us; This price includes postage back to your address in NZ or you can purchase a DIY kit for less than NZ$100 aimailed to anywhere in the world.
To send your radio to us by mail, New Zealand Post provides an economical service (Parcel_Post) Parcels are automatically insured.
You can use your radio just like before the hardware installation.
After Prior arrangement, you send the radio by Tracked Parcel Post to AISonVHF in Tauranga, we do the modification, turnaround is usually within 7 days.
However if you wish to go the DIY way, it is just NZ$97.- (About US$70) free airmail worldwide.
We accept Credit Cards, Paypal, Bank Transfer.
Prefer to install it yourself?
You will receive:
AIS RC-Circuit as a sealed unit
Audio connection lead
Comprehensive 'step by step' instructions for hardware and software.
On the DVD you will find:
N. Zealand and S. Pacific Ocean Charts
USA East and West coasts charts to the equator.
Australia East coast charts.
World magnetic variation chart 2010.
The Nautical Almanac for 2015 and 2016.
World Wide tides with sun and moon data.
Linux navigation software Ubuntu and Debian plots live AIS
Windows navigation software for plotting live AIS data.
++ Many more very useful utilities.
DIY involves soldering the sealed RC-Circuit unit to the vhf main circuit board, installing the chassis socket and making the internal connections.
It may sound rather daunting, but is really easy to do.
Just a couple of simple solder joints and you're done.
In order to supply you with the correct filter and soldering information, we need to know your VHF radio brand and type and if possible it's approx age.