Originally Posted by sylph
That sounds interesting. I have a stand alone AIS receiver which I like because it consumes minimal power and I do not rely on having a computer on 24 hours a day. Also installed a second VHF antenna figuring it would make a good emergency antenna in case of a dismasting. But very much like the idea of an integrated VHF radio and AIS with inbuilt display. Can you recommend a model?
The one we have is Standard Horizon GX2100
but there may be others out there like it. The street price when we purchased it was $220. One of the really nice accessories is the remote mike which you can purchase for it. You can place the radio inside the boat and the remote mike at the helm--nice thing about the particular remote mike
is that it does everything the radio does--including show you a tiny view of the AIS targets. You can scroll through them to see particulars, as well. Very useful little add-on gadget. Street price is a little under $100. You don't need it--it's just a nice little thing. We didn't have one for the first year we had the radio. That particular radio is pretty amazing in numerous ways--you can set waypoints on it and watch your bearing and distance to the waypoint on the mike or radio. Means you don't even have to have a computer/chartplotter turned on. Just your paper charts, a log book and the radio w/gps for easy tracking. We seldom have the computer on--we have a tiny chartplotter on a Nokia N810 (an old PDA w/gps loaded with something called Mameo mapper) and this radio.
Extra VHF antenna. Yes, that's a good idea to have a spare. We keep an extra antenna stored under the cockpit which we can install if needed. We have wood masts so our main VHF antenna is a dipole made out of coax cable which hangs inside the foremast near the top (above the spreaders and anything with a lot of metal) That antenna was inexpensive to fabricate and works better than any external antenna we've ever had. If you've got a wood mast without a whole bunch of other wires going through it, it's worth doing. Our steaming light, spreader lights are below the antenna; our anchor light is on the other mast (main mast aft on a schooner). It's all good. Always figured that the antenna was better off inside the mast than outside of it. My biggest worry is that someday the braided rope holding the antenna up in place will chafe through. Shoulda used something like Amsteel...
I'm sort of hijacking this thread with this AIS topic...sorry.