Just took about 10 hours to install a new VHF radio with AIS. Our old VHF radio was a little questionable so it was prudent to upgrade it. Standard Horizon makes a VHF with an AIS receiver built in.
AIS? Automatic Identification System. Every commercial ship is required to have this. They transmit their name, position, speed and other info. Our new radio receives this info and best of all...I can send it to our chartplotter at the helm where it is overlaid on the chart.
Here is our chartplotter screen with the AIS window on the left, opened to a selected target. The target is the red triangle in the center of the right side of the screen. You can see the ship name (Cape Venture), type, size, speed, etc.
I'll be able to see targets around the bend of rivers or at night out at sea and be able to hail them by name to establish their intentions and plan accordingly. I'm already using an AIS ap on my Android. But the ap works only in 3g data areas, not out at sea and it's not real time either. Even so, it has come in handy several times which is why I saw the need to go to this system.
A nice safety upgrade.
This radio also has an automatic fog horn I'll be installing. Press a button and it will blast out appropriate fog horn signals.
Also on this radio is DSC, Digital Selective Calling. Once I register the radio with an MMSI number (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) pushing the red distress button automatically sends out our position and hopefully the Coast Guard is paying attention!! It's more elaborate than that but you get the general idea.
On to the next project...