Nasa AIS- Engine or Radar

jonic

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I'm going to get one of the two, what experience do people have? My dilemma is which one.

I like the idea of the RADAR (as they call it) and would have put it in the cockpit next to the ST50's but from what I can see from the NASA site, the display is not waterproof. Space at my chart table is very limited so I thought about getting the engine instead..but my chartplotter won't display the data (i think) as it's a Raymarine RC435, so it would have to be for the laptop.The problem I have here is I don't like to rely on a laptop, but if I did go down this route what exactly is the charting software that comes with it? Are basic charts included and adequate, or can it read my Navioncs Gold charts?

Apart from the above, are there any significant advantages that the engine has over the display version?

Thanks
 

Talbot

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personally dont like the "radar" cause its too small, and doesnt give you the data you really need. I (and a number of other forumites) use the software from www.shipplotter.com as it not only displays the AIS information. It can also display it onto a chart or a callibrated satellite picture of the area.

But the most important reason, is that it uses the AIS position reports to work out CPA on yourself, and there is a facility to set off an alarm for any vessel approaching a given distance within a given time. Thus, if you get an alarm sounding, you know there is a potential problem, even if the vessel is more than 10 miles away. It is a great tool, but remember that most fishing vessels dont have it, and a number of merchant vessels dont have it working!
 

jonic

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Thanks Talbot. I will have a look at the software, and CPA is something I would like, is this not on the "RADAR" version?

Understood about the limitations, I intend to use it to supplement my existing RADAR.
 

Ifraser

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This has been raised before but be very careful about the distinction between the NASA AIS "Radar" and a proper radar. AIS is not RADAR. RADAR will show you everything that is out there subject to knowing how to use and various other things that can affect it. AIS is a transponder system that will show you big ships ( if they have it switched on ) and some ( very few ) small craft that have it fitted. If I had the money I'd have a proper radar every time. AIS will not show you the 60' motor boat in fog or the panamanian registered freighter that forgot to turn on the AIS. A properly used RADAR will show you these things along with the coastline etc. AIS is useful but IMHO NASA are confusing the issue calling it a RADAR.... cheers Iain
 

jonic

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Agreed, the name is confusing, I guess it's because it's a RADAR style display but it does wroingly imply that it may be more than a transponder receiver.
 

Talbot

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[ QUOTE ]
CPA is something I would like, is this not on the "RADAR" version?

[/ QUOTE ]

To quote from NASA website:
The display, with ranges of 1,2,4,8,16 and 32 nautical miles shows AIS carrying vessels in a format normally associated with conventional radar. A trail of previous positions clearly chows the relative track of all the targets on the screen. A box to the right of the screen displays the speed over the ground, the vessel name, mmsi number and the latidude and longitude of any target selected by the user.

So no CPA!
 

johnphilip

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Here we go again. Every now and again the forum get on their high horse about AIS Radar being inferior and not worth having. It has 2 great advantages. 1) Without any training it automatically displays to any member of the crew which ships are on a collision course. 2) It draws virtually no power and can be left on all the while when at sea.
No it may not be Radar but it is not subject to the vagaries of whether your laptop is in a good mood and is a great aid for those who don't feel like fitting full radar. I have used NASA AIS Radar for a couple of seasons including one trip in fog and am well pleased with it.
 

doug748

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Yep, there are lots of good reasons for not fitting radar but I can't think of many for not fitting the Nasa job. Too late for me this season though, perhaps next winter. By the way, in good viz, do you notice many large ships not running AIS as they should?
 

jb2006

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I can't think of a lot of good reasons for not fitting radar - unless on small boat, cost is the primary factor. However I have used a NASA AIS radar in the last 2 seasons and (accepting it's limitations) it has been brilliant - we could see boats altering course to avoid us before we had them visually and used it to get the name of a large vessel that was coming too close in good vis and hailed them on the VHF, whereupon they confirmed that they would pass astern of us.

I haven't used the AIS engine on a pc - but it sounds good - I don't think the AIS plotting software will display your Cmap (or was it Navionics) charts without the proprietary charting software and card reader from the chart manufacturer. It will allow you to overlay the AIS data on your existing chart display.

Please correct me if this is wrong. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

Ifraser

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Its hardly about getting on my high horse...I was just making sure the original poster was not confusing the AIS RADAR with a proper RADAR...which it turns out he was not. If you read it my post recognises that AIS is useful...its just that because of the name people who don't understand the difference can be confused about what they are getting. AIS is very useful but its not a RADAR and I think NASA are confusing the issue by using that name....thats all its not a high horse...just a little one!! Iain
 

iacle

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I have just fitted a Nasa AIS engine. It came with a cd which contains Seaclear & Software on Board charting software. I don't know about Seaclear, but for SoB, as you say, you would then need charts & a card reader to overlay the ship info on a pc. In my case, the engine is connected to a Standard Horizon CP180 & displays the ship info on the C-Map chart, so I just need a card reader for the pc. For another tenner, Nasa sell software to display the radar image on a pc - I don't know why they didn't throw that in, it's probably more useful than the Seaclear/SoB cd.
 
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