Navico NAIS-300 Class B, FCC certified!


Wow, the Class B AIS story is moving fast. If I’m understanding the FCC Equipment Authorization database correctly (select “AIS” from the “Equipment Class” drop-down list), last Friday Navico added one last submission to its NAIS-300 application—the photo above—and the unit was certified that very day, along with the Simrad AI50. The photo, full size here, not only shows a new warning label that’s apparently acceptable to the FCC (remember, it has changed its mind before), but also a Class B transponder I’ve never seen before. So we have two new questions: can an American buy either of these Navico transponders today, and what the heck is a NAIS-300?

Navico/Simrad has not yet answered my query about selling Class B in the USA, but they haven’t had much time! (Heck, everything I know about the NAIS-300 I just found at the FCC.)  I’d guess that they are scrambling to understand exactly what that warning label means, as I have been doing in the comments section of Saturday’s entry. One thing that’s clear is that the FCC and USCG mean business… as in a possible $25,000 fine levied against a Class B user with invalid static data, and/or against the vendor/installer who input the invalid data. How is that liability going to be managed? How will the data be validated? Will a document signed by the vessel owner stating MMSI, name, type, and dimensions  suffice? And exactly what is a valid Vessel Name anyway? When a manufacturer figures all that out, and gets an FCC certification, then we can buy Class B.
   And it looks like the Navico NAIS-300 is going to be an attractive option. It’s a black box Class B transponder that seems to have most every feature of the ACR Nauticast B, or the SevenStar SeaTraceR, or the True Heading B, or variants like Shine Micro’s. But that is indeed a SimNet port you see below, in addittion to the standard RS232 and RS485 outputs able to push NMEA 0183 HS data to plotter and PC. And there’s even an alternate NAIS-300–L model with a standard (instead of SimNet) NMEA 2000 port. I think that’s a big plus; though I’m still not sure if all AIS data can, or ever will, travel over N2K (or SimNet), it could still be very useful for DSC and own position data. There’s lots of info on the NAIS-300 at the FCC and at some European vendors, and more Panbo Class B entries to come.


Similar Posts:

Invalid MMSI numbers, a real problem
September 25, 2008

AIS Class B, really on the map
October 9, 2008

Class B AIS, finally the FCC Order
September 20, 2008

SeaVieweR, and more on Class B
September 26, 2008

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

15 Responses

  1. Boats says:

    Looks like a nice unit. I’ve been hoping for one in NEMA 2000 rather than 0183. Now what does it cost?
    With all this new Class B equipment coming out.. has anyone noticed a price reduction in AIS Receivers?

  2. richardb says:

    From the Simrad AI50 manual, page 79 AIS PGN’s DO travel over NMEA2000 (Simnet cables). The AI50 communicates with the Simrad radio’s like the RS-87, using NMEA2000 (simnet cables) for things like buddy calls.
    Anyway the manual for the AI50 is here
    Am currently involved in a cool project networking Simrad AI50, RS-87, AP-25 to Raymarine E-120’s, ST70’s using a Raymarine STNG backbone. According to the documentation and documented NMEA2000 sentences it SHOULD all work. Though we need to wait for a E-120 firmware update, and the E-120 to STNG cable to be released before actually knowing it will all work. If it does not everything is backed up with Actisense NMEA and NMEA to NMEA 2K convertors.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ha actisense those converters that have been supposed to be released back in 2006

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Richard! I looked at that manual and see a long list of standard NMEA 2000 AIS PGNs, which is promising. But I also saw a handful of proprietary SimNet PGNs, which include “65323 Group Setup Message” and “130842 AIS & VHF Message Transport”.
    I don’t think Simrad is trying to a keep an AIS feature to itself, but rather that certain AIS related PGNs haven’t been written into the standard yet. The NAIS-300 manual doesn’t show those SimNet PGNs in its spec sheet, don’t know why.
    Please show off your project when you’re ready!

  5. marinate says:

    At the last count there was no NMEA2k PGN for Class B Static Data (vessel name etc.). I hear the spec is being updated as we type and the next issue will include one. The Simrad unit must therefore use SimNet PGNs for this at the moment…..?

  6. Sandy says:

    I’m confused. Some AIS B transcievers have 2 VHF receivers, others only one. How will this play out? I checked Seatracer and Trus Heading, they advertise two receivers, while the Navico NAIS-300 and the ACR Nauticast B have one. I thought they were using the same board!

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sandy, I’m 99.5% sure that all Class B transponders are true dual channel receivers, by regulation. I think the problem is that we haven’t come up with a solid nomenclature to describe that.
    PS I’m also 95% sure that they are all using the same Software Radio Technology AIS B board.

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hot diggitty! The ACR AIS 300 (aka Nauticast B) and the SRT-MTB-OEM (aka True Heading AIS-CTRX, Shine Micro RadarPlus AIS-BX, Digital Yacht AIT250 AIS, and some others) all received FCC Certification this morning.
    I’ve also been in long email discussions with the USCG and, while sometimes it feels like we speak different languages, I think the Vessel Name issue was mostly a misunderstanding. More to come.

  9. Norton Rider says:

    What makes Class-A AIS units so expensive compared to Class-B ones? Are the technologies and certification requirements for Class-A really three to five times more costly than those for Class-B?

  10. Seajet says:

    I was an early buyer of the AIS-CTRX and it was programmed by the vendor in Europe, using my US MMSI and other details. So, now, upon transmitting, I am showing the vessel name, along with the other static information. So, is this OK? Or do I have to go back to the vendor to have the AIS-B reprogrammed to show my MMSI number instead of vessel name?

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    You’re fine, Seajet; it was mostly a misunderstanding. Now it appears that the only vessels that may have to use their registration numbers as Vessel Name are commercial ones that aren’t documented or FCC Licensed yet are still mandated to carry AIS in new regulations that will take a two years to become mandatory anyway.
    How has the AIS-CTRX worked for you? (Also, didn’t you install a Fusion marine stereo?)

  12. demery says:

    any suggestions as to a dealer in USA or elsewhere that might be selling the NAIS-300
    found the manual!
    plenty of info here note:two models available re 2000, 0183, and simnet comments

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Shine Micro announced today that it’s ready to sell its Class B AIS-BX, and mind you it’s the only company that can also supply you with an MMSI (and program it right in).

  14. Peter says:

    Can anyone clarify the RS232 port on the unit??On mine
    the label under the 3 terminals reads…. out -,grnd ,and +.
    which doesn’t make any sense to me.I am assuming it should read out+,grnd,in+??

  15. Peter says:

    I have access to the NAIS-300 now…terminals were like I thought but with TX and RX reversed on cable supplied.
    Simnet plug and play works very well…turned on the NSE and it was showing AIS targets.

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