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VHF radio for a particular application

Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
GPX2200 has internal DSC and AiS, cost $315. Cabled RAM3 (CMP31) is $110 for a total cost of $425
The GPX2200 is the radio I went with. The manual said I might need an external GPS antennae if I mount the radio down in the cabin, so I installed this dual combined antennae...HOWEVER! When I put the radio in its new location, it picked up the GPS satellites without any problem. So I am actually only using the VHF part of the dual antennae.

2018-05-31 11.32.16.jpg
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
363
Catalina 22 9874 Breezy Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
The GPX2200... picked up the GPS satellites without any problem. So I am actually only using the VHF part of the dual antennae.
:plus: My GX2200 is mounted below the deck (FRP + plywood core), and I've never had any problems with reception.

Also, re: AIS - I added a NMEA-to-wifi bridge (sitting right on top of the VHF), so we can now view AIS targets on our iPads as well as the tiny screens. A couple notes at Navonics App, AIS & WiFi GPS, although I don't think I've ever really written up that little project - I should take a few pictures sometime.
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
:plus: My GX2200 is mounted below the deck (FRP + plywood core), and I've never had any problems with reception.

Also, re: AIS - I added a NMEA-to-wifi bridge (sitting right on top of the VHF), so we can now view AIS targets on our iPads as well as the tiny screens. A couple notes at Navonics App, AIS & WiFi GPS, although I don't think I've ever really written up that little project - I should take a few pictures sometime.
@AaronD I'd love to see that...
 
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walt

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Jun 1, 2007
3,369
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI, Capri Coronado 15 Denver, Colorado
I did a quick check at the boat (1990 Mac 26S) with a Garmin hand held GPS unit and I do get less signal where I plan to put the VHF receiver but I dont think I will have any issue. The picture shows the clear sky GPS display on the right and the VHF radio location GPS readings on the left. This is under a spot where this is likely a plywood core but maybe 30 years and living in a really hot place during the summer chased out any moisture from the wood. Im not exactly sure how to interpret the display results but the GPS worked fine the whole time.

Im going to go ahead and order the GPX2200 unit and the RAM3.

gps_reduction1.jpg
 
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Feb 17, 2006
4,665
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
I'd probably need my reading glasses. ;)
They have a device now that projects the image above your helm. It is in 3d so you can look to the side and see several vessels stacked on top of each other (Mostly Navy vessels and commercial shipping). Really nice device.
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
363
Catalina 22 9874 Breezy Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
They have a device now that projects the image above your helm. It is in 3d so you can look to the side and see several vessels stacked on top of each other (Mostly Navy vessels and commercial shipping). Really nice device.
Will it include range to target for your water balloon slingshot or super soaker? I'm sure some bored light-wind racers want to know :)
 

walt

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Jun 1, 2007
3,369
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI, Capri Coronado 15 Denver, Colorado
Regarding AIS for a trailer boat, where Im thinking it will be most useful is for a once a year or once every other year crossing from Long Beach to Catalina Island where you have some chance of fog. Ive never used AIS so am guessing on this but trying to read that tiny display is one thing but AIS actively transmitting my location has to be way more effective than the little funky passive radar reflector Ive used in the past. AaronD's wifi setup is very cool in the link above. I could link the radio with my Garmin chart plotter if I ever get very motivated (not at the moment as the AIS wasnt the main reason I bought this radio).

Received the radio yesterday and am having fun trying to find a place for the RAM. .
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Regarding AIS for a trailer boat, where Im thinking it will be most useful is for a once a year or once every other year crossing from Long Beach to Catalina Island where you have some chance of fog. Ive never used AIS so am guessing on this but trying to read that tiny display is one thing but AIS actively transmitting my location has to be way more effective than the little funky passive radar reflector Ive used in the past. AaronD's wifi setup is very cool in the link above. I could link the radio with my Garmin chart plotter if I ever get very motivated (not at the moment as the AIS wasnt the main reason I bought this radio).

Received the radio yesterday and am having fun trying to find a place for the RAM. .
The radio also has alarms. So if it thinks you are on a collision course, it will let you know. The radio also has an anchor alarm so if you drag.... I really like my radio but to be honest, it is mostly a piece of mind sort of device as I've never been in a situation where it told me I was on a collision course nor have I dragged since getting the radio. I've only had mine two years so I'm guessing the time will come eventually. It can also function as a back up GPS in a pinch but you would need paper charts aboard to locate your position. All-in-all it is a really nice piece of equipment.
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,189
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
One more thing. The RAM can be set up to operate a remote MIC. You would probably want to install that on the spreader.
 
Feb 17, 2006
4,665
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
AIS only works if the other boat also has AIS.

Let's assume you and I sail to Catalina. I leave from Oceanside many hours before you leave from, say Long Beach area. Assume that during our transit a heavy west coast marine system moves in. Now you have AIS so you can see other vessels around you that also have transmitting AIS. My vessle does not have any AIS. So what happens when out paths meet?

Like I said, and have said many times, AIS is fine but for it to work everyone has to have it. However, radar will detect anything that is big enough or is using a radar deflector, or even the mast, and it will show up on your screen. In my humble opinion I believe a small radar is better than a powerful AIS.

As always, this is JMHO.
 

walt

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Jun 1, 2007
3,369
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI, Capri Coronado 15 Denver, Colorado
Brian D.. Yep.

Its mostly those big shipping vessels or the ferry that Im worried about in fog and I would think they would be monitoring AIS?? Or have their own on so that alarm mentioned would go off?

At my local lake, its drunk 30 foot power boats operating at night doing 40 plus mph that is my largest risk (and I pretty dont go out to much after dusk). On that channel between LA and Catalina, its also big power boats on autopilot and a distracted driver (for a variety of reasons) that I guess the radar would be better although some chance I would spot them on AIS (then I need that 3D projection gadjet you mentioned LOL).

But.. bang for the buck (and keeping in mind its a trailer sailor)

Radar reflector.. $30 to $75 or something like that. I still have it, can use it in addition.
AIS was an additional $65 or so in my case where I primarily wanted the RAM
Radar.. dont have any clue what that costs but its WAY more than $65. Plus radar must come with additional power requirements.. .

I think the AIS was a good investment for a trailer sailed boat. Local lake slip use.. I mostly will enjoy the RAM.
 
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Aug 1, 2011
3,574
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
Are you sure were talking apples/apples? Last time i looked, ais reception is included in a lot of the new radios, transmitting is still a costly option.
 

walt

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Jun 1, 2007
3,369
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI, Capri Coronado 15 Denver, Colorado
Are you sure were talking apples/apples? Last time i looked, ais reception is included in a lot of the new radios, transmitting is still a costly option.
Good question.. I dont know but will read the manual. Maybe someone else knows.

Radio is the Standard Horizon GX2200
 
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Aug 1, 2011
3,574
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
Not claiming any in depth knowledge, there are two class of transmitter, A and B.
A quick search on defender shows a transmitter as an add-on and they are around a grand.
I have a GX2150 and it has a receiver. It will tell you about the ferry that you're about to get clocked by in the fog, but they won't know you're there.
 
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AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
363
Catalina 22 9874 Breezy Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
Not claiming any in depth knowledge, there are two class of transmitter, A and B.
A quick search on defender shows a transmitter as an add-on and they are around a grand.
I have a GX2150 and it has a receiver. It will tell you about the ferry that you're about to get clocked by in the fog, but they won't know you're there.
The GX2200 is also receive-only. IIRC, the 2200 is essentially the same as the 2150, with the addition of an internal GPS receiver (so you don't need to connect a separate chart plotter or other source of GPS info via NMEA). I'm happy with my 2200, but yes - AIS transmission would be even better. Maybe someday... (@jssailem is a good source when you have questions about AIS transceivers).
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
363
Catalina 22 9874 Breezy Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
The GX2200 is also receive-only. IIRC, the 2200 is essentially the same as the 2150, with the addition of an internal GPS receiver (so you don't need to connect a separate chart plotter or other source of GPS info via NMEA). I'm happy with my 2200, but yes - AIS transmission would be even better. Maybe someday... (@jssailem is a good source when you have questions about AIS transceivers).
A little more background: not long after the GX-2200, Standard Horizon promised another VHF, the GX-6500, with an integrated Class B AIS tranceiver (transmitter as well as receiver). But that unit has been vaporware ever since. Rumor has it that it failed FCC type approval; that might not be true, but regardless it's never made it to the market.

Vesper has their own all-in-one unit on the way. That one's still vaporware too, but at least it hasn't been idling as such for years now. And apparently Sail magazine got their hands on one, because Nigel Calder picked it as one of his top gear picks in the issue that arrived the other day. So there must be at least one working one in the wild. :)
 
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walt

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Jun 1, 2007
3,369
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI, Capri Coronado 15 Denver, Colorado
Just a follow up and thanks as this thread was very useful to me.

This boat is a 1990 Mac 26S with the Laz and outboard well / transom and I finally settled on the spot in the picture for mounting the RAM trying to minimize the risk of breaking the socket/ plug off while sailing or loading something in the Laz, stepping on the mic, accidentally snagging the cord or losing some seat space. Still a compromise..

The RAM seems to very nicely solve all the problems I had in the first post. The RAM speaker volume is plenty loud to be heard while Im running the outboard. I can almost completely control the radio from the RAM, even turning it on and off. The volume control of the RAM is independent of the radio volume control which is something I was hoping for. The AIS screen on the RAM is small.. but at least without ever actually using it, seems large enough to be useful.

I also mounted the radio in the cabin under a section of the deck that almost certainly has a plywood core. I haven't discovered if the radio has a GPS signal strength screen.. but the GPS seem to work just fine. So, add another data point that the internal GPS antenna is likely adequate for a trailer sailor.

Thanks again! I enjoyed the project and am happy with the results.

RAM1.jpg
 
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