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SimonGH

AIS Transponders

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I have a Beneteau 41.1

It currently has a AIS receiver via a B&G V50 VHF radio.  I would like to add a Class B transponder.

I've been looking at the digital yacht units, obviously B&G makes one, etc.  They basically all seem to be the same ultimately, as they all transmit the same AIS Class B information.

I came across the Vesper Marine WatchMate XB-8000 which advertises "SmartAIS".  Has anyone used one of these?  The anchor alarm intrigues me, but just wondering if the added features are actually useful and worth it.

Interested in hearing peoples experiences.  If ultimately the "smartAIS" isn't worth it, is it safe to assume they are all basically the same (provided they are rugged for marine use, etc).

Thoughts?

Simon 

 

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I have the Vesper and love it. It's very high quality, unlike a lot of AIS units on the market. Support has been excellent to, with lots of features added over the years via firmware. They even sent out a hardware upgrade in the form of an alarm and reset switch. All free and unsolicited.

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I have the E-Trak B100 S100 combo and like it. Old model, I know. It has an switch input to go stealth in race. Integrate well with my B&G stuff.

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Vesper. Bluetooth out to ur phone with complete control. Lots of great features. Can output data to bigger displays/chartplotters

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Plus one on the vesper, I did have the n2k output fail on ours, but their support was good.  It is one of the best functional units as far as putting all your network data out very easy.  The app function makes a great super low power at anchor monitoring device.

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I have the vesper and like it.  I don’t use all the functionality of it but it is pretty user friendly and does the job.

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Vesper Watchmate on our boat ran continuously for 2+ years with no issues at all. Easy to operate and

comforting to use anchor watch that displays position trail for long periods. Very easy to interpret what

has been happening when awakened by new noise in total darkness. Integrated easily with radar, DSC VHF,

and wifi for nav tablets. Best tech we have onboard for full time use.

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I have two of the Vesper 8000, one for each boat. I wouldn't buy it for the "smartAIS" functions, though they do work. I'd buy it for quality, support, and well thought out interfaces. If you want to spend some dosh, get their new VHF with class B + transponder integrated in. 

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I have the Vesper XB8000 and it's great. Another benefit is that you can hook it up to your nmea0183/2k networks and then it will echo all sentences from each onto wifi. I've got opencpn on a laptop as my backup chartplotter that has all of my network data just by connecting to the vesper wifi.

A friend has the new Vesper Cortex AIS/VHF and he loves it.

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I don't think Garmin Icom or BG need splitters, but the quality and features are lacking.  I would be leary, have had friends with name brand ones with internal splitter that had VHF transmission or AIS transmission issues. Our old Garmin was ok but lots of $$ for minimal features.

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12 minutes ago, woodpecker said:

Anybody know anything about Em-Track AIS?  Does not need a splitter.

https://www.milltechmarine.com/B921

This unit doesn't have an integrated splitter. 

Regardless, Em-Track is a pretty sketchy company. They're very aggressive about bad mouthing their competitors with questionable veracity. Vesper's business practices are much more to my liking. That may or may not be important to you but I always like to reward good corporate behavior with my dollars whenever possible.

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20 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

I don't think Garmin Icom or BG need splitters, but the quality and features are lacking.  I would be leary, have had friends with name brand ones with internal splitter that had VHF transmission or AIS transmission issues. Our old Garmin was ok but lots of $$ for minimal features.

the B&G V60B needs a splitter unless you have a dedicated AIS antenna, in which case you can run directly from the back of the unit to the AIS antenna. I used a splitter because I wanted the added reception the masthead antenna gives me.

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FYI the vesper splitter is tiny and cheap when included in the package deal.  After we got zapped I am on the fence about using a splitter vs a dedicated antenna if used in areas with lightning. I never replaced the ariel at the top of our main mast, trying to keep things a little lower now. I would guess a AIS antenna on a radar pole on the stern is probably as effective as a masthead on most sailboats.

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Another +1 for the Vesper.  I have their stuff end-to-end (transponder, splitter, and dual-band antenna at the masthead)

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Another +1 for the Vesper XB-8000.

I'm also using it as an NMEA 2k to 0183 bridge. I wish I could control which sentences it would relay, but very nice. Very baffled why the previous owner didn't take the extra 20 min to wire it up when he got it installed it.

The anchor alarm works great. It went off when the wind shifted, we dragged 10-20' and then reset - was nice to know. However, identifying when it's setup or not is a little annoying in the app. 

 

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The app has a nice function of changing your zero really like that.  In Android it's pretty easy to see the status of what's what.

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The app - and all like it - would gain 100% in usefulness if it added sectors to the fence. Almost all of these have a circle. They also need pie segments, because just after the importance of leaving the circle, is how much have I swung - at least in crowded anchorages. It would be trivial to add to these apps, yet no one seems to take the effort. 

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You guys are awesome.  Thanks for all the great comments.  it's on my wish list to keep an eye out for deals over the winter :)

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2 hours ago, SimonGH said:

You guys are awesome.  Thanks for all the great comments.  it's on my wish list to keep an eye out for deals over the winter :)

if you wait until March, Defender has a 'tent sale' with decent markdowns. That's not too far from you.

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I think vesper had big upgrade from the one I have. May be able to get a older model for less. Unfortunately these guys usually have almost no markup on electronics due to internet sales

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