Email us:
Phone: 0409 270 862

Brisbane, QLD, Australia

How to chose which AIS model I need

A "Dummies Guide to AIS"

Decided you want AIS on your boat, but don't know where to next? This article will run you through considerations for chosing the Em-trak B100 Class B AIS transceiver/transponder, including why it is the best choice for most boaties.

B100 front 210

Step 1:

Decide between Class A or Class B

For the majority of recreational and even small commerical vessels, class B is the way to go.  Class A is designed for large commercial vessels and essentially has a more frequent update period as well as transmitting more vessel information over a larger distance.  Class A devices also require their own VHF AIS antenna.   Class B is designed for recreational use.  Don't be concerned though, Class A enabled AIS vessels can all still "see" Class B AIS operating within range of them. 


Step 2:

How do I know if my chart plotter is compatible?

The Em-trak B100 Class B AIS transceiver / transponder is compatible with *all* chartplotters that have AIS display capabilities.  The Em-trak B100 has both NMEA-0183 and NMEA-2000 interfaces which means it can connect to your chart plotter via either connection.  It's even compatible with PC charting software that can display AIS.

NMEA-0183: This is the most common method to connect to your chartplotter and also ensures that all AIS functionality works.  Sometimes, due to the nature of NMEA-0183 networks on boats, some minor re-wiring is required to integrate AIS with your chartplotter.  The Em-trak B100 includes its own built in multi-plexer for NMEA-0183 which ensures it remains compatible with existing equipment on board.  AIS over NMEA-0183 also operates at a faster speed "baud rate" than existing equipment and this needs to be adjusted in the chartplotter after installation.  Again, an easy thing to achieve.  We are happy to discuss any wiring changes that may need to be completed with your trusted marine electrician who may be fitting the equipment for you.  
NMEA0183 Terminal

NMEA-2000: This is the new interconnection method between later styles of chartplotters.  You may already have an existing NMEA-2000 network onboard and in which case you can simply tap into the back bone of the network and add a new dropper cable to the Em-trak B100.  This single cable will provide power and communications to the AIS unit.  Some older Raymarine chartplotters either require a firmware update or are not compatible with AIS over NMEA-2000 networks.  For this reason, it is recommended to utilise the NMEA-0183 connection for older Raymarine equipment.  Talk to us if you are unsure and would like further information on this.


Step 3:

What else is needed?

The Em-trak B100 Class B AIS comes complete with its own GPS antenna and lead.  There is a requirement that the AIS device must derive its own GPS position, rather than utilise the existing GPS position within your chartplotter.  

Em trak GPS

The AIS unit also requires either its own marine VHF or Marine AIS antenna.  If you do not wish to install another VHF antenna on board for the use of the AIS, you must use a suitable VHF antenna splitter.  The Em-trak VHF splitter (S100) is recommended for use with the Em-trak B100 transceiver and provides zero loss of performance to either your VHF radio or the AIS.  The Em-trak VHF splitter also includes the ability to split out the FM signal for use with onboard FM radios.

Finally, you will need to program the Em-trak B100 AIS with your MMSI, Vessel name and dimensions so that it can transmit this information.  These details are all programmed to the unit prior to install utilising the supplied software with USB cable connection to the device.  Once programmed, you are unable to change these details yourself.  If a change is required, or you are re-locating the hardware to another vessel you will need to contact us to clear the programming for you.  


Step 4:

Why Em-trak AIS?

Em-trak are the retail arm of SRT (Software Radio Technology) in the UK who are the OEM hardware manufacturers and suppliers of AIS hardware to brands like Raymarine,  Si-Tex, OceanSat, Comnav, Transas, Hummimbird, and Digital Yacht to name a few.  This means that once the brand name guys get a hold of the gear they put it in their own enclosures and adjust the price accordingly.  
This means the Em-trak equipment includes all the functions and functionality of the brand name gear at a vastly cheaper price.  Added to this is Em-trak's ability to offer a 3 year warranty on the equipment, giving you long term piece of mind.  

Emtrak logo aus1