Kagstrom's AIS Simulator, and good B news
Man, the AIS traffic was heavy out there in the Gulf of Maine! Actually I was using the very neat AIS Simulation software created by Mats Kågstrøm of Firma Mats Kagstrom. Specifically I was testing how many AIS targets a Raymarine E-Series can handle simultaneously, as I got a report from a user who says his resets randomly when more than 100 ships are within range. Well, I did see the test E slow down, even stutter a bit, but I was able to feed it the maximum number of targets the simulator can produce without causing a reset. That’s some 510 Class A targets (!), plus a Class B (which the E “saw”), and even SAR aircraft and ATON AIS target messages (which the E doesn’t seem to understand). You can see Kagstrom’s software in action below, and bigger here.
AIS Simulator is very thorough and is going to be terriffic for testing navigation hardware and software. But I’ll write more about later, because I don’t want to head back to my judging duties until I pass on the good news about Class B AIS. To quote one of the many cautiously optimistic emails I got on this subject yesterday (thanks, all!): “We heard from the FCC that it looks like the AIS Second Report and Order will be on the Commission's Agenda for the Feb. 26 meeting. There is a *chance* that the item will be voted on before that time.” Maybe our letters and emails helped, but I also know that the GMDSS Task Force, the USCG, and the RTCM have all been making their feelings known to the FCC. The latter even spoke with an FCC legal aid, very effectively too, as judged from this PDF documenting the meeting (also a good summary of the situation). Cross your fingers!