Marine News from the Great Lakes

Be Safe by Seeing, Being Seen!

Affordable NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 AIS Transponders from Digital Yacht for Every Recreational Boat

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Digital Yacht’s comprehensive range of AIS products aims to integrate safe, easy boating with low cost consumer devices, such as iPhones, tablets, PCs and Macs. They have introduced a range of affordable AIS Class B transponders intended specifically for easy installation and use at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems.

First up, the AIT1500 is an easy to install Class B AIS transponder with plug ‘n play NMEA 2000 interface and built in GPS antenna. As a transponder, it sends vessel data to other AIS users. Class B units require their own GPS in order to ensure accurate data transmission. The AIT1500N2K has a built in, highly sensitive GPS so it can be installed below decks on GRP boats eliminating the need for an external antenna. All that is required to complete operation is connection to a VHF antenna or suitable AIS-VHF antenna splitter such as the Digital Yacht SPL2000.

The AIT1500 comes with a USB interface for programming and for use with PC or Mac based charting applications. Digital Yacht also have an optional WiFi adaptor for the NMEA 2000 backbone to allow data transfer to a tablet, smart phone or iPad. “Many boaters see the huge benefits of AIS and want to embrace the technology but are put off by a difficult and costly installation. The AIT1500N2K could not be easier to fit – it even takes power from the boat’s NMEA 2000 network.” commented Paul Sumpner, CTO of Digital Yacht.

Next in line is the AIT2000 Class B AIS transponder which has multiple outputs to suit every installation and optional wireless solution. Three sets of cables are supplied with the device for quick plug ‘n play installation. There is also a second NMEA 0183 output with GPS data at 4800 baud which can be used to feed a DSC VHF. Additionally, with the built-in multiplexer and NMEA input, the instrument and AIS data can be aggregated into one output.

“We ordered 60 plus of the Digital Yacht AIS Transponders to equip our entire fleet of recreational fishing boats” said John Sedo, SVP of Operations at Queen Charlotte Lodge in Richmond, BC Canada “we think it is vitally important for our captains and crew to “see” and be “seen” when out on the water, and were very impressed with the quality of the AIS devices from Digital Yacht as well as the timely delivery and support from the Fugawi team”.

The AIT2000 transponder can be silenced but still receive AIS information with connection to a simple push button or toggle switch. The full internal diagnostics and four status LEDs on the AIT2000 verify even the status of the VHF transmission providing for a quick check up and peace of mind. The AIT2000 offers best-of-class power consumption of 2W as well as 12v and 24v DC operation to eliminate cost of voltage droppers on 24v systems and sailing applications with minimal battery drain.

The compact external antenna supplied with AIT2000 has an industry standard 1″ threaded base for mounting onto standard pole, deck or rail mounts. The cable has been designed to either exit from the side of the antenna or through the base and it can also be “puck” mounted. The 10m (33 foot) cable is terminated with a FME style connector which eliminates the need to drill large holes through the boat and comes with an adaptor to fit the transponder’s TNC GPS input.

“Thanks to technological advances over the last few years” said Robin Martel of Fugawi “boaters have high-quality and affordable choices to make themselves visible and see other boats around them. We are proud of our partnership with Digital Yacht to bring easy-to-install AIS technology to every boat regardless of the size”.

The Digital Yacht proAIS2 programming and diagnostics software works with PC and Mac and allows the transponders to be programmed with the USB connection without the need for external DC power. In addition, the SmarterTrack Lite AIS viewing PC software is included for free so a PC can also be used to monitor AIS traffic.

In addition, the optional WLN10 can fit into an AIT2000 transponder in seconds and adds WiFi connectivity for iPhones, iPads or tablets. Digital Yacht even provides a free iAIS app to turn an iPad into 10″ touch screen plotter. The WLN10 starts at USD $279 and supports multiple devices and is bi-directional so apps can control a compatible autopilot with a special version of AIT2000 firmware.

AIT1500 and AIT2000 transponders complete with GPS antenna start at USD $629 and $699, respectively.

tags: Electronics

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