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PAPERBACK WRITER 04-12-2012 11:56 AM

ais engine
We've fitted an ais engine separately to run through the computer. Now we're trying to get our heads round a software package. What we want to do is have C Map running through Sea Clear so that we can then convert the function to run on our Raytheon chartplotter. Can we do this? Does anyone have any charts available we can use to check this out?

redbopeep 04-12-2012 06:52 PM

you can download free NOAA Charts to work with here Nautical Charts & Pubs

An easy, cheap way to work with your charts and ais data is PolarView --so cheap it might as well be free :)

PAPERBACK WRITER 04-13-2012 02:09 PM

Thanks for that. Will look into those although Polar Navy doesn't mention using AIS. We navigate by dedicated chart plotter. We decided to use the pc for AIS - off down through the Striats of Dover shortly. The prospect is pretty daunting and the cost of some software purely to run the AIS is frightening.

redbopeep 04-14-2012 04:27 AM

Well, the Polar View charts will take a NMEA AIS signal in. You might look that route as it is very inexpensive at $49.99 for the chart software license.

We were quite budget minded when getting AIS on our boat. We decided on getting the Standard Horizon GX2100 VHF radio (Here) which has an AIS receiver built into it. It actually does a great job with a tiny display on the radio which you can customize with your desired alarm distances, etc. The radio itself including AIS was less expensive than a good antenna splitter required for the AIS engine we were considering purchase of. With no splitter required since it is built into the radio--we thought that was win-win. Since we needed a new marine VHF radio, we felt we couldn't go wrong--and we were right. Also--that one has an accessory remote "smart mike" which you can buy which gives you the ability to see the entire AIS target scene on the mike--of course it is an even smaller screen but it is very functional outside in the cockpit should you install the radio inside as we did. The radio puts out the standard AIS signal for export to an existing chart plotter or a computer as well.

However, already having your AIS engine--it seems you're in search of experience which I really don't have. I will keep my fingers crossed that someone happens along with the answers for you.

Fair winds,

edsailing 04-17-2012 11:32 AM

I use a NASA AIS engine with OpenCPN (a great program) and CM93 charts - works great. I have used this for 20,000 miles or so.

PAPERBACK WRITER 04-17-2012 11:57 AM

Now that is interesting. We've downloaded Opencpn and someone gave us a dongle with the CM93 charts. The programme downloaded fine, but I can't open the charts. I keep being told to purchase windows winzip. Did you have any problems like that?


Originally Posted by edsailing (Post 33227)
I use a NASA AIS engine with OpenCPN (a great program) and CM93 charts - works great. I have used this for 20,000 miles or so.

edsailing 04-17-2012 12:54 PM

I think I used 7-zip (free) to unpack mine - they are almost certainly compressed if you are getting a message like that.

PAPERBACK WRITER 04-23-2012 12:16 PM

Thanks for that. Got it. Now I'm trying to work out how to transfer the CXM93 charts onto opencpn. I've got them stuck in libraries/documents and can't work out how to get them into a directory that I can then download as I need them. And that man overboard - I've got about five at the moment all in the North Sea. Excuse my ignorance. This is all a new learning curve - never used computer navigation before. Hoping to get it all sorted by the time we leave Ipswich in two or three weeks time. Thanks in advance for any help. The wifi here is pathetic!

edsailing 04-23-2012 03:03 PM

Once you have them in a directory you just need to open the toolbox (the icon with the spanner) and go to the charts tab. Locate the highest level directory that your chart files are in and click Add selection. OPenCPN should then build a database of the charts (if it doesn't, check the box 'force database rebuild')and does all the work from here on by automatically load ing the appropriate charts - you don't need to do anything.

You should be able to delete the MOBs by moving the curser to each one and right clicking and then delete from the properties box that should open.

Fair winds

PAPERBACK WRITER 04-23-2012 03:29 PM

Dear EDsailing. You have been most helpful. My problem is working out how to store it in a directory. At present it'ssimply downloading from the C drive. How do I create a directory? Thanks about the mob. Maybe bump into you some time.

edsailing 04-23-2012 03:35 PM

OK..... everything is normally on the C drive. Directories are just folders that may themselves contain more folders. You should see folders with names like 'My Documents', 'My Pictures'. What do you have on the C drive that holds your charts - this is the 'directory' you need to tell Open CPN to go to.

Does this help?

edsailing 04-23-2012 03:52 PM

Just re-read your earlier post. I suggest you do the following.

1. go into 'My Documents'
2. In an empty space right click - properties box will open, select New > Folder and when the new folder appears Type the name charts into the box below it.

3. Right Click on the folder that you have the unzipped cm93 charts in, choose copy.

4. Double click on the new folder, Charts, to open it. Right click in it once it opens and select copy. Your charts should now copy.

Once they have copied, open the charts tab in OpenCPN. At the top you should see the folders available - look for My Documents and if you don't see Charts underneath it, click on the + sign - this should reveal 'charts'. Click on that and then on the 'Add Selection' button.

Let me know how you get on

PAPERBACK WRITER 04-23-2012 05:20 PM

Very helpful. and thanks again. For some reason I'm not seeing Documents when I open the documents tab. Somehow the charts have come up though through the C drive. Will let you know how we get on - might be up all night, but will break for food - and a drink! xj

edsailing 04-23-2012 05:33 PM

If C drive is showing, there should be a + sign to the left of it - click on that and it should show documents atc

redbopeep 04-23-2012 05:57 PM

edsailing--thanks so much for your posts and help! It is good to see you back here on Cruiserlog. Do you have adventures to report? Please give us an update in the appropriate forum(s) here :)

Fair winds

PAPERBACK WRITER 04-24-2012 01:28 PM

opening cm93 charts
Ed, many thanks indeed. Everything OK. Brilliant in fact. I owe you a meal should we ever meet up in our travels. I should have known this - I've been using computers long enough! An age thing!

edsailing 04-24-2012 01:34 PM

Glad you got it fixed. I'm based in Exeter so I'll be able to wave as you past down the channel. Have a great time and don't be afraid to ask if you get stuck for anything.

PAPERBACK WRITER 04-24-2012 04:40 PM

Wrinklies on tour! No house, no base, just an old Oyster and a load of stuff from our previous boat waiting for us in Malta - where it's sunny - so I'm told.

edsailing 04-24-2012 07:02 PM

Understood - I've had my bus pass for a couple of years now!

Enjoy the sunshine.

haiqu 06-16-2012 01:52 PM


Originally Posted by edsailing (Post 33227)
I use a NASA AIS engine with OpenCPN (a great program) and CM93 charts - works great. I have used this for 20,000 miles or so.

Hi Ed,

Nice bit of kit, although dated now. The average desktop PC might still have serial ports but I haven't seen a laptop with anything except USB for years.

The OpenCPN site suggests this one:

Radar Gadgets - AIS marine radio receiver - Virtual Radar

which is cheaper, smaller and runs off the USB power.

Personally I already have one of these:

FUNcube Dongle | A radio that's out of this world!

and since it can receive anything from 50MHz to 2GHz I'll be writing an NMEA0183 interface and AIS decoder for it. I already wrote the main interface about a year ago, so the extra work won't be much effort. Should be a useful device aboard a yacht for many purposes.

By the way, I would never use USB for a critical application usually, but in this case there isn't much option. My GPS unit, for instance, has a Compact Flash interface and plugs in via a CF to PCMCIA adapter. A solid physical connection is therefore made at all times.



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