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AIS Installation

Aug 29, 2016
66
Catalina 2004 310 (Hull #250) BC
One of my projects will be to install a class B AIS (automatic identification system) transceiver, connected to a VHF with AIS (receiver). Mandatory for any yachtsman once one understands the benefits. Has anyone installed yet? Where did you locate the unit?
I'm looking to get the Vesper XB 8000.
Here's some info put out by a local guy here (he also has over 100 youtube videos that are useful):
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
So many things to consider. The unit can go virtually anywhere. But you need to locate the antenna splitter, a junction point into the backbone and a power source. So the location on your boat might not be the same as others.

I don't have one on Smitty, too spendy. But we have a receiver. I have installed Vesper units on several boats.
 
Oct 15, 2019
1
Beneteau Oceanis F
The best place where you can install your XB 8000 is on the back of the unit panel where you keep your Chartplotter as far as I know. This way you the unit will interfere better with it and another thing you need to consider is also the wiring. They do come with a 2m wire data cable and from there you can mount your splitter (would not recommend anything else other than the SP160 VHF/AIS Antenna Splitter) anywhere you like as long as it's a convenient location to link the other instruments onboard INCLUDING THE EXTERNAL ANTENNA.

connection.png

You might have come across this diagram before but I will place it here just in case there is someone who doesn't know for sure what this is all about or not familiar with the XB 8000 transponder. There is also an XB6000 but that is another story.​
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
The best place where you can install your XB 8000 is on the back of the unit panel where you keep your Chartplotter as far as I know. This way you the unit will interfere better with it and another thing you need to consider is also the wiring. They do come with a 2m wire data cable and from there you can mount your splitter (would not recommend anything else other than the SP160 VHF/AIS Antenna Splitter) anywhere you like as long as it's a convenient location to link the other instruments onboard INCLUDING THE EXTERNAL ANTENNA.

View attachment 170840
You might have come across this diagram before but I will place it here just in case there is someone who doesn't know for sure what this is all about or not familiar with the XB 8000 transponder. There is also an XB6000 but that is another story.​
Our boats are setup with Navpods so you can't really mount with the chart plotter.
 
May 7, 2012
691
Hunter e33 Maple Bay, BC
Bernie, I installed an em-trak transceiver (B300) with a separate antenna (GAM SS-2) tuned for AIS frequency. Thus I do not need a splitter ($$). This unit has an internal GPS and interfaces with either NMEA 0183 or 2000. And although it does not have WiFi, it does have USB. I located the antenna on my pushpit giving me a theoretical range of about 6 miles, based on both tx and rx antennas at 6' height; however, I regularly pick up cargo vessels in English Bay which is approximately 40 nm away. With this setup I now have redundancy for a VHF antennae and also a 2nd source for GPS connected to my chartplotter and available at all times. I have used em-trak support and have found them to be very helpful and quick to respond.


You also may want to have a look at their new B360, high power (5W) transceiver with WiFi.
 

leo310

.
Dec 15, 2006
224
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
I installed a Vesper XB8000. When I did install it I did not use the VHF Radio Ant. but installed a separate ant along side of the gps ant. on the solar panel arch. Connection to the chart plotter is via nmea2000 bus as I have ap and other units tied in to this bus. Not using the VHF radio ant I still get 20 miles of AIS information, that's more than 3 hours of sailing time to avoid any problems.
 
May 7, 2012
691
Hunter e33 Maple Bay, BC
I installed a Vesper XB8000. When I did install it I did not use the VHF Radio Ant. but installed a separate ant along side of the gps ant. on the solar panel arch. Connection to the chart plotter is via nmea2000 bus as I have ap and other units tied in to this bus. Not using the VHF radio ant I still get 20 miles of AIS information, that's more than 3 hours of sailing time to avoid any problems.
Only if the distant target is stopped or going away from you. Less than 45 minutes if that tanker doing 20kts plus is coming straight at you. :yikes:
 

leo310

.
Dec 15, 2006
224
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
But with the Ship information you get via AIS you can plan a course change long before any problem will arise. I have been doing this in heavy ferry traffic, tugs and as well as tankers on the BC coast.
 
Aug 29, 2016
66
Catalina 2004 310 (Hull #250) BC
My nav electronics are so outdated (Navman 5500 plotter, no gps on the VHF so no DSC function), so am planning the whole project. I have a Standard Horizons 2200/command mic sitting in boxes ready, but will delay purchasing AIS (Vesper XB 8000 or latest version) and chart plotter/MFD till early 2020 to get latest technology, and maybe get some discounted prices...not cheap!
Hate to think about more costs but consideration for future radar is part of the planning (dreaming) too.
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,138
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
BC. I installed a XB8000 in 2017. I bought it from Milltechmarine (AIS Transponders) in December when he was located in Gig Harbor. They had the best price at the time. Plus got a $50 rebate in addition from the Seattle Boat show promotion.
It is attached to a Vesper splitter, and shares the antenna with the VHF SH2200. I used LMR400 Ultra Flex coax cable, and the Vesper Antena that is tuned to optimize both the AIS and the VHF frequencies. I suspect that means they shave a little on the low end of the VHF frequency and a little off the high end of the AIS frequency.

I ran a cable from my SeatalkNg backbone to integrate the data from my Vesper and the Depth sounder to the iPad WiFi through the Vesper gateway. It all works smoothly. I get good VHF and AIS info which has kept me safe from the BC Ferries and the freighters that run down Haro Straight Or the Juan D”Fuca Strait.

It was a relatively easy install. The setup requires you to tell the Vesper where the GPS antenna is relative to The overall boat. It would be more important on a freighter then a 35 ft sailboat.

I can go on one of the Internet AIS apps and see my boat. One of them sends an email when I leave and enter port.
Be glad to help with any specific concerns you have BC.
 
Nov 21, 2007
267
Beneteau Oceanis 34 Tacoma, WA
This is something that's on my list of upgrades that I'd like to do. I'm poking around, looking at the units that have been mentioned here so far. Is there such a thing as an AIS transmitter, only? My radio already receives, and it's networked with my chart plotter. I've used it since we bought the boat, and have loved the way it helps me see around corners. But I'm not crazy about spending that much money on a component that is 50% redundant. I thought a transponder was a 'transmitter', and a 'transceiver' did both, but I see descriptions of transponders which both transmit and receive. Am I confused, or are they?

I heard a cargo ship hailing a sailboat by name earlier this year, as they converged on Turn Point from opposite directions and thought it was great that some of the big guys actually watch and use the system occasionally. Not like the aluminum fishing boat that came blasting out of a wall of fog at WOT, way too close for comfort, with no AIS signal at all a couple of years ago.

I also though that there were more class B signals being transmitted up in Canada than in Washington.
 
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leo310

.
Dec 15, 2006
224
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
No such a thing as an AIS transmitter, only you have to get both in one package most manufacture have units RM, Garmin and Vesper. To transmit the unit must have its own GPS and ant. If you look some marker buoys are now transmitting and I hope it becomes mandatory like other safety devices.
 
Jun 2, 2018
14
Catalina 310 Port Orchard
One thing to think about. SOTDMA Class B is the future. If you live somewhere with a lot of marine traffic, the old-school CSTDMA Class B units may result in you not transmitting your position very often.

I mounted mine right next to my VHF radio. The unit I bought has a built-in active splitter, so that made the installation easy (use the existing VHF antenna), and I already had a Raymarine STng hub there to plug it into. No need to mount a "black box" unit like this anywhere near the helm... enough wires going there already.

What I bought is a EmTek B360. Selling point was the built-in splitter. WiFi is a big disappointment on this model; it only transmits position and AIS, not the rest of the NMEA2000 PGNs, and the wifi cannot be disabled, so once I get a more usable WiFi module (Yacht Devices YDWG-02), I will end up with WiFi broadcasts that are unused.

Vesper has a lot of fans, and they have better apps to go with their equipment. Plus, their WiFi transmits all the NMEA2000 PGNs. I was hoping they would be releasing an affordable SOTDMA AIS, but the version they just released is incredibly spendy (combo AIS transponder and marine VHF... be interesting to see if they have better luck selling that to the FCC that Standard Horizon did with their ill-fated GX-6500).
 
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Aug 29, 2016
66
Catalina 2004 310 (Hull #250) BC
Sounds like I best plan to integrate an NMEA 2000 backbone, as I would want to integrate the SH 2200 VHF down below deck, to the MFD (possibly a Garmin 1042), and AIS, and heck, might as well hook up the music (fortunately have a Fusion RA70N) while I'm at it. The most important part would be to have GPS function to the VHF to enable the DSC function. I'll have to draw up a schematic.

Has anyone with a 310 routed ALL these wires through our Edson pedestal?
- cabling for MFD, command mike, USB charger, and radar (might as well run the cable, just in case that's in the future). Where's the narrowest/tightest area? (I've read Curt's post before which is quite helpful...). I see this portion of the job as being potentially quite challenging.
 

leo310

.
Dec 15, 2006
224
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
you just need 1 power cable and 1 nmea 2000, if you have radar then that's another cable. taken out all the old Raymarine stuff removed 5 cables.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Sounds like I best plan to integrate an NMEA 2000 backbone, as I would want to integrate the SH 2200 VHF down below deck, to the MFD (possibly a Garmin 1042), and AIS, and heck, might as well hook up the music (fortunately have a Fusion RA70N) while I'm at it. The most important part would be to have GPS function to the VHF to enable the DSC function. I'll have to draw up a schematic.

Has anyone with a 310 routed ALL these wires through our Edson pedestal?
- cabling for MFD, command mike, USB charger, and radar (might as well run the cable, just in case that's in the future). Where's the narrowest/tightest area? (I've read Curt's post before which is quite helpful...). I see this portion of the job as being potentially quite challenging.
that is the beauty of a backbone. less wires. we have a Raymarine NMEA 2000 and a power. then a junction box running to the MFD 70 units.
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
2,576
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Sounds like I best plan to integrate an NMEA 2000 backbone, as I would want to integrate the SH 2200 VHF down below deck, to the MFD
The SH GX2200 is a NMEA 0183 unit, not NMEA 2000. You’ll need to convert the 0183 to 2000 or upgrade to the GX 6000, which is 2000 compatible.
I just installed the GX 6000. Plugged it into the Raymarine SeaTalkng network and AIS RX came alive on my CP.
 
Jun 2, 2018
14
Catalina 310 Port Orchard
Has anyone with a 310 routed ALL these wires through our Edson pedestal?
- cabling for MFD, command mike, USB charger, and radar (might as well run the cable, just in case that's in the future). Where's the narrowest/tightest area? (I've read Curt's post before which is quite helpful...). I see this portion of the job as being potentially quite challenging.
I ran that cabling through one of the pedestal guard tubing (1-1/4"). I used a piece of coax cable as a snake to pull cables through. And there is still room in that one tube for more.
1. SeaTalkNG network cable
2. 16 gauge duplex power wire for USB plug
3. 16 gauge duplex power wire for MFD
3. Autopilot motor wire (10 or 12 AWG duplex, can't remember)
4. Remote microphone cable
5. NMEA0183 cable (runs to my DSC radio in the cabin).

The only thing I haven't run is radar, but in my case, that will be RayNet cable, which is no more challenging that the SeaTalkNG cable.
 
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