Panbo

AIS news, Class B and more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 7, 2007

USCG SRT approval

So while I’m wondering if anything is happening Class B AIS wise, the U.S.C.G. was type-approving its first Class B device! Not surprisingly it is SRT’s OEM transponder, also first in Europe, which means finished units branded by the likes of Comar, SevenStar, and Trueheading. But first they need FCC approval. A representative told me last October that they would grant at least provisional approvals quickly, but now I’m not so sure. (Confirmed later in the day; the FCC is concerned about “the control and allocation of MMSI numbers.”)
  Meanwhile, at least two major brand AIS receivers will be introduced at the Miami Boat Show, and while both apparently have some unique features, just the names on the boxes are going to be significant in terms of AIS awareness amongst recreational boaters. And there will be at least one other major brand electronics company showing a demo model of a Class B transponder that it designed itself. I also noticed that Shine Micro recently put up specs on its interesting, but not yet approved, hybrid AIS receiver MURS transceiver, which may be useful for tender tracking or I’m-not-sure-what. And, finally, Fred Pot reports that the novel “Safe Pass” method of displaying AIS targets will soon be incorporated into Y-Tronic’s plotting software. It’s all good.

By the way, I was glad to see “transponder” used in the USCG approval, as nomenclature is an AIS issue (for instance, I was wrong to use “duplex”). I understand that transpond is not precisely what these things do, but I think it works.

PS. And here’s an interesting tidbit gleaned from SRT’s news page: “New Brunswick Technologies in the USA” became a licensee in December. I’m 99% sure they mean Brunswick New Technologies. Hello Northstar Class B AIS?

Comments

The FCC is correct to be concerned about the management of MMSI numbers. A system as important as AIS (and DSC for SAR) should not be dependent on the generosity of BoatUS.

Right now BoatUS manages my MMSI numbers, the FCC manages my ship station license (SSB marine frequencies) and ham license (SSB ham frequencies) as though I was two entities with two radios, and the Coast Guard keeps track of my EPIRB numbers (in a very concientious and diligent manner).

Am I the only one who thinks this situation is begging for some attention and clean up?

MMSI numbers should probably be managed by an organization like ICANN, but with the CG's diligence and professionalism.

Posted by: Russ at February 7, 2007 10:46 PM | Reply

You're not alone, Russ! But I'm glad you brought it up. There are all sorts of issues, like the fact that the FCC won't let you move your BoatUS MMSI to your Station License (which should have included its own MMSI), making it hard for a boat to get all gear under one number, like it should be. The MMSI databases are also not well coordinated, I'm told. Will do entry on all this by-and-by.

Posted by: Ben at February 8, 2007 7:54 AM | Reply

Wow! If they're going to have Class B AIS units in Miami then I'm bringing my checkbook!

Dan
S/V Lionheart

Posted by: Dan Gingras at February 8, 2007 6:56 PM | Reply

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