Ask Sail: VHS/GPS Interface Woes - Sail Magazine

Ask Sail: VHS/GPS Interface Woes

I just bought a new 25-watt VHF radio with a built-in AIS receiver. I began seeing AIS targets right off the bat, but got no graphic or numerical information as to their location in relation to me.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Ben Hall of Chicago, Illinois, asks:

I just bought a new 25-watt VHF radio with a built-in AIS receiver. I began seeing AIS targets right off the bat, but got no graphic or numerical information as to their location in relation to me. A call to the manufacturer revealed that my new radio needs to know where it is before it can display data on where local targets are in relation to my position. Makes sense, but neither the VHF nor my current fixed-mount GPS have a common magic plug to export GPS output to the radio. Is there no standard plug for making these connections?

Gordon West Replies:

“There is no agreed industry-wide standard wiring interface,” comments the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services to the National Marine Electronics Association, so I recommend that you turn the job over to a professional NMEA marine electronics installer. You could also dig out both instruction manuals and they will show you the NMEA output data wires from the GPS to the NMEA input on the VHF. In NMEA wiring terminology the GPS is dubbed “talker” and the marine VHF is called “listener.”

The Coast Guard wonders why the majority of DSC distress alerts it now receives through its Rescue 21 system come with no imbedded GPS data. No mystery here. Until the NMEA can get all manufacturers to make this important VHF/GPS connection via a simple common plug, we will continue to see thousands of VHF transceivers that don’t send position info with a DSC data burst.

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

PICTON CASTLE under sail with stunsls WV7 compressed

Picton Castle Seeks Crew

The Picton Castle is set to begin its eighth circumnavigation this spring under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland. A professional crew of 12 will guide up to 40 trainees at a time as they learn about all aspects of sailing the bark, from steering to lookout, ...read more

DSC_0013

Ask Sail: Keel Attachments

Q: I have an early ‘70s Catalina 27. The keel bolts look pretty good. My question is, why not glass over the keel to bond to the hull rather than changing the bolts if, or when the bolts are too far gone? I haven’t seen anything on this, so could you discuss? Full-keels are ...read more

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more

Photo-by-Adobe-Stockpics721-2048x

Webinar: Navigating Post-Dorian Abaco

On Thursday, October 22 at 6 pm ET, Navigare Yachting presents a webinar on what to expect from Abaco post-Dorian. The event will feature the authors of The Cruising Guide to Abaco, Steve Dodge and his sons Jon and Jeff.Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco in early September of 2019 and ...read more

LunaRossaBoat2

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Christens “Boat 2”

Hot on the heels of the UK’s Britannia and the United States’ Patriot, Italy’s new AC75 Luna Rossa, formerly known as Boat 2, was christened in Auckland, New Zealand, this morning. As the moniker suggests, it was Team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s second design. In his christening ...read more

m7803_DSCF6698-1

Challengers Christen Britannia and Patriot

October 16 proved an exciting day for America’s Cup fans with the christening of both the UK’s Britannia and America’s Patriot. Britannia will be helmed by four-time Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie. Olympic Gold medalist Giles Scott will serve as ...read more

HookPromo

Defender Product Spotlight: Lowrance Hook Reveal

Defender product expert Alex Lyons explains the benefits of HOOK Reveal’s new FishReveal technology: “DownScan sonar uses high frequencies to provide a picture-like image of the sea floor. The traditional sonar’s lower frequencies are best suited for locating fish in the water ...read more