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Raymarine E120 and AIS options, VHF upgrade
Posing a couple of questions to the experts: My Boat is a 2007 Hunt Yachts Surfhunter 29, Volvo D6-435 with a MJP Jet Drive. Present electronics; Raymarine E120, Raymarine RD424, Simrad AP28; ICOM 504. All equipment is original to the boat. I’m not sure upgrading an entire navigation suite is worth the money at this time or in the budget.
I also have 2 iPad’s with apps that I have been using for primary navigation along with the E120. So far that has worked well.
I would like to install an ICOM 506 with AIS; will it talk to the chart plotter? The electronics shop at home base is not sure and will not guarantee it will work.
Would it be better to install a stand alone AIS transmitter/receiver that will work with the E120, obviously with a separate antenna(how close can the antennas be)? What manufacturer AIS would be recommended and Install ICOM 506 w/o AIS. If upgrading navigation suite in the future I would probably use Garmin or Raymarine. I had a new Garmin 7610xsv installed on my Hunt Harrier 25, it worked very well and was easy and intuitive to use. A couple of summers ago I cruised the Hunt 25 from Portsmouth, RI., to Bradenton, FL. The Garmin and iPad worked very well together. Suggestions to equipment are welcome. I will continue to use the ICOM radios since it fits well in the panel. Although home-base is Atlanta, I cruise every few months. This summer will be the Chesapeake and possibly Maine or southern New England.
For Icom 506, connecting to an open 0183 port on the E120 that can be set to 38400 bps should work fine, AIS receive only.
Raymarine AIS700 might seem obvious if you want a transceiver. If you dig in the docs you'll find E120 has to be connected to AIS700 0183 anyway and the bigger problem is you cannot upgrade the AIS700 firmware without having a much newer Raymarine plotter, even though the manual say you can use the USB port.
I think a better choice for your situation may be a Garmin AIS800 since you are leaning Garmin in the future. Not sure if AIS800 firmware can be upgraded without a Garmin plotter.
Also Raymarine AIS700 is external antenna only, Garmin AIS800 has an internal antenna with an optional external antenna.
Decided to keep current Nav suite. Not worth the upgrade at this time. Navigation Apps offer a ton of great information. I’ve been using Aqua Map since it came out and Navionics too. So the choice is the Raymarine 700 or Garmin 800. Garmin has a built in antenna, Raymarine uses spitter for a shared antenna. Any opinions which will work better with my E120 which has been upgraded as far as it can go and I understand the AIS will be able to upgrade with the older system
Both Raymarine AIS700 and Garmin AIS800 have built-in VHF splitters. Garmin unit has internal GPS antenna and optional external GPS antenna. You won't be able to upgrade the AIS700. Not sure how Garmin does upgrades, I think it is from a big file with everything from a Garmin plotter.
There are other options, Digital Yacht has a comparable unit where it looks like they have not needed to issue a firmware update but it's likely done with a Windows PC since they don't sell plotters.
Whatever you pick, you don't want to be stuck having to ship the unit out for firmware upgrades.
Thanks for the digital yacht link. This might be a great option
Although the range is limited, in low visibility like I had from Block Island to Stonington I was concerned about traffic that was 1-3 miles away. The portability is very appealing too. Opinions are very welcome
Ordered the Digital Yachts Nomad this morning after talking with them. Until the end of the month they are offering 20% off on orders, use promo code Spring19. They also said Defender Industries will offer a special. It should work well with iPads etc. I will upgrade my VHF. But the required Raymarine cable R08004 is not made anymore that works with a classic E120–found one new on eBay.
Raymarine and ICOM techs were very helpful today, as was DY.