JRC JHS-770S/780D, “Direct call by AIS”
Thanks to Sandy Daugherty over on the Forums, I now know that JRC has introduced a VHF radio series that can easily make direct DSC calls to AIS targets. They are most definitely big ship radios (see diagram below), and they do AIS calling in a way I hadn’t anticipated, but still…
Judging from the screen shot above and the specs, the JRC radios seem somewhat like the MKD displays on Class A AIS transponders. They receive all the target information via IEC-61162-2 (AKA NMEA 0183 high speed) and can list the targets at least by range, and probably other parameters. So JRC does the work of parsing out the vessel’s MMSI number and placing the DSC call on your chosen channel all within the radio. This is a different approach than, say, the Simrad AI50 Class B transponder, which let’s you select a target on screen and then initiate a DSC call on a “compatible” VHF radio that’s on the same SimNet (N2K) network. It’s also different than the MFD interfaces that I think will use N2K to accomplish the same end (but haven’t seen yet ;-).
There are many ways to skin this cat, but surely it’s going to get even easier for AIS-aware vessels to talk to each other. Of course we should all be aware that not all other vessels are AIS aware, even some that are carrying Class A transponders (because they only have an MKD). And I guess it’s possible, thanks to some charting software developers, that you’ll see Class B equipped vessels that won’t see your Class B because they’re filtering it out!
Incidentally, the new JRC radios also record, and can replay, 120 seconds of whatever last broke squelch, a feature that sounds very much like Cobra’s Rewind and the Last Call amplified speaker. The latter company may be defunct (and my sample broke), but this is an excellent feature that I wish other VHF manufacturers would incorporate.
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