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Adding AIS to a mature vessel
Several friends have asked about adding AIS-B and WiFi to boats that have existing electronics that they're generally happy with - they're hoping to not replace an MFD. So far I've suggested two options:
(1) B&G V60-B (aka SIMRAD RS40-B) + Vesper antenna splitter + Yacht Devices router/gateway
(2) Vesper 8000 + Vesper antenna splitter + external GPS antenna
Anyone with another idea?
Both those options would work well. There are other AIS transceivers with WiFi built in that would give you the same basic performance as option 2. Those include products from ACR and Em-Trak. Any of the AIS transceivers with WiFi built in may or may not translate all the data available from either NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 and make it available to a mobile device.
Options like the Yacht Devices NMEA 2000 Router or similar converters and WiFi products from Digital Yacht and Actisense can potentially convert the output of older, disparate electronics and give you a single stream of data with AIS, depth, wind, location and other information all bundled together.
Also, if your friend's boat cruises at over 14 knots of if they are often in AIS congested waters, they should probably get the newer form of Class B AIS called SOTDMA or B/SO or B+. Explanation here:
The Si-Tex MDA-5 is a good example of a Class B/SO with WiFi and antenna splitter built in, but there are many choices.
And I highly recommend Milltech Marine as a great source of AIS information as that's all they sell and they carry many brands:
Entry level AIS receiver from Quark is also a good choice. QK-A026 works well on my tablet with Navionics