AIS Transponder on a Jet Ski

Jetski on Trailer

Earlier this year we were approached by Al Charles who was attempting to combine two of his favourite past times; fishing and jet skiing. Al was passionate about making his Jet Ski suitable for offshore fishing around the UK coasts and proceeded to squeeze a complete suite of navigation equipment in to his Seadoo Jet Ski.

Al managed to install one of our latest AIT1500 Class B transponders, which shared a single Shakespeare VHF antenna, with the Icom VHF by using our SPL2000 antenna splitter. The AIS data was then displayed on a Lowrance combo chart plotter and fish finder.

AIT1500+SPL2000 on JetSki

Lowrance AIS on Jet Ski

Al who did all of the design and installation himself, including the fibreglass fabrication, had to work hard to get everything to fit within the tight confines of the Jet Ski, but as you can see from the photos on his Facebook page ( the results are incredibly good. On numerous outings this season the installation has worked faultlessly, allowing Al to see exactly where all of the large vessels are while he is fishing and also transmitting his position while he concentrates on reeling in his next catch.

AISNET Plus – A powerful new AIS Base Station Receiver

AISnet+ is a new enhanced version of our popular AISnet AIS base station receiver.  Both models will continue to be available but AISnet+ features some new, unique interfacing capabilities.

Both devices are fitted with a network/RJ45 interface.  They are designed for installation on shore side facilities such as ports, marinas or platforms for connection to the internet via a suitable router.  Local AIS traffic decoded by the AISnet receiver can then be sent to AIS internet providers such as Marine Traffic and AISLive.

aisnet plus The new AISnet+ device brings new connectivity options with a sophisticated internal router allowing for Open VPN connections and wireless connectivity as well as via a LAN cable.  Like the AISnet receiver, it has also has a USB interface for a local PC or MAC.  Open VPN allows for secure AISnet to server communications for high reliability and security – its ideal for military applications.

AISnet+uses the very latest generation, high sensitivity dual channel AIS receiver for the best possible receiver performance.  Both Class A and Class B transmissions are fully decoded including ATONs, SARTs and other specialist AIS signals.  Indicator lights are now built in showing receiver and network status.

aisnet base station-01

AISnet+ ships with a 110/220V AC adaptor (with universal plug adaptors for global markets) and a simple to use configuration application/CD for both PC and MAC.  It can also be powered from 12V DC.  It is available now priced at £1000 plus VAT where applicable ($1600/EUR1400)

Overview of Digital Yacht’s Wireless NMEA Devices

Wireless NMEA Products New

Since 2011, when we released iAIS, the world’s first wireless AIS receiver, we have been gradually building up a powerful range of wireless NMEA products. All of these products allow NMEA data (the marine industry data standard) to be taken from your onboard navigation equipment and transferred wirelessly to your mobile devices; tablets, smart phones, computers, etc.

With nine different wireless NMEA products in our range, it can be confusing for customers to select the best product for their needs. This article provides a simple overview of our wireless NMEA products which will hopefully make it easier for you to choose the right product for your application.

Product Description
iAIS AIS Receiver with Wi-Fi
AIT3000 AIS Transponder with Wi-Fi
iNavHub Wireless Router that converts NMEA0183 data
NavLink Wireless NMEA2000 Converter
PilotLink Portable Wireless converter for Class A transponders
WLN10 Wireless NMEA0183 Converter for Instruments
WLN10HS Wireless NMEA0183 Converter for AIS
SonarServer Wireless NMEA0183 Converter for Navionics App
WLN20 Dual Input Wireless NMEA0183 Converter

All of these products transmit wireless NMEA data that is readable by most of the popular navigation apps for Apple and Android devices. For more information on the latest Apps, please have a look at our Best Marine Apps for Apple iOS Devices or our Best Marine Apps for Android Devices articles.

The Navionics Boating App, the most popular navigation App for both Apple and Android devices, has recently added support for wireless NMEA and will now read wireless Depth and GPS data from the boat’s navigation system. Primarily this is to allow customers to create their own bathymetric charts using the Navionics SonarCharts™ “Live” technology, but it also allows non-3G iPads and even iPod Touch devices, that do not have their own internal GPS, to now be used for navigation. Digital Yacht have produced a special, simplified version of our WLN10, called the SonarServer that works with the Navionics App, although all of our other wireless products are also SonarCharts “Live” compatible.

If you would like to breath new life in to your boat’s existing navigation system, by going wireless and running the latest Apps on your new tablet or smart phone, then check what NMEA0183 or NMEA2000 interfaces your system has, decide whether you want to add AIS or not and then select the Digital Yacht wireless NMEA product that best suits your needs.

Illuminated Silent Switch for AIS Transponder

AIT2000 Power + Silent LED

With more and more AIS Transponders being installed on pleasure boats, fitting and using a “Silent Switch” is definitely recommended and we should all do our bit to reduce chart plotter clutter by following the etiquette of only transmitting your position when crossing shipping lanes or in bad weather.

When an AIS transponder is in “Silent Mode” it continues to receive position/target reports from other vessels, but it no longer transmits its own position.

All Digital Yacht AIS transponders have the option of fitting a remote silence switch and we are often asked by customers if they can fit an illuminated Silent switch so that it is easy to tell if the transponder is in Silent or normal mode. The simple answer to this is “NO” you cannot fit an illuminated switch directly to our transponders as they are just sense lines and will not either turn on an illuminated switch or appreciate having the boat’s 12v supply connected to them through the illuminated switch.

There is a way to in-directly connect an illuminated switch to our AIS transponders though, by connecting it via an automotive relay. The image below shows how to wire the relay and illuminated switch to the White and Blue wires of our transponders that control the Silent mode.

AIT1000-3000 Silence Switch Relay

In this configuration, when the switch is illuminated the transponder is in Silent Mode and when the switch is off the transponder goes back to normal mode transmitting your position.


NavLink iOS App Gets Canada Charts

NavLink US is Digital Yacht’s popular and low cost charting app for iOS devices.  It utilises detailed NOAA Government charts for excellent detail and clarity of US waters.  Navigate in real time, create routes and waypoints and connect to your boat’s GPS and AIS system via any of Digital Yacht’s NMEA-WiFi servers for real time AIS overlays and reliable positioning.  Your iPhone or iPad is transformed into a powerful, simple to use, touch screen chart plotter.


AIS presentations are fantastic with vessel scaling and course prediction vectors – advanced visualisations that really enhance navigation safety.


Detailed Canadian Office CHS charts have now been added as a low cost (US$29.95) in app purchase.  To get NavLink US, simply visit the Apple App Store on your iOS device and download the app.  Contact us directly for details on our NMEA to Wireless devices for complete on board integration – details HERE

canada charts

AIS100 – Entry level AIS made easy…

At Digital Yacht, we’ve an AIS for just about every application but sometimes we forget to talk about our most simple AIS solution – the AIS100 receiver designed to interconnect with just about any AIS compatible plotter via a simple two wire NMEA 0183 interface.   Connect to a VHF antenna and you’ve an AIS enabled system that brings next generation navigation to your boat.

AIS100 Receiver (NMEA 0183)_optThe picture below shows your plotter before and after AIS

Without AIS


With the AIS100 installed your plotter will come to life with a display of local targets and drill down data on their identity, position and anti collision information.  If you want to learn more about AIS, then read our white paper HERE


With AIS


Despite its competitive price tag, the AIS100 has a sophisticated and highly sensitive dual channel receiver design allowing for reception of all possible AIS target types including AtoNs and AIS MOB SARTS as well as Class A and Class B targets.  Wake up your plotter today with an AIS 100 – more details HERE


VHF Antenna Options for AIS

Splitter v Antennas

One of the most common questions we are asked by our AIS customers, is “what antenna should I use for my AIS ?”, so we thought we would post a short article to provide an answer.

Basically there are two options; fit a second dedicated VHF antenna a suitable distance from the vessels main VHF antenna or use the main antenna for both VHF and AIS by fitting a special device called a “Splitter”.

Generally our recommendation for yacht owners who want to fit an AIS, is to use a “Zero Loss” splitter like our SPL2000. By utilising the main VHF antenna at the top of the mast, you will definitely get maximum transmit range, plus the ease of installation often makes it a cheaper option than paying for a second antenna to be installed.

However, for power boaters who do not benefit from the height advantage of using the main antenna at the top of the mast and for AIS receiver owners where the splitter can often cost more than the AIS receiver itself, it is often desirable to fit a second VHF antenna, particularly if you intend to save money by doing the antenna installation yourself.

We have already covered the issue of AIS antenna separation in another post, so we will not repeat this information again, but we will just touch on the issue of “AIS Tuned” antennas versus normal VHF antennas.

AIS operates on two dedicated channels within the marine VHF frequency range – 156.0 to 162.025 MHz. The two AIS channels are at the top end of this range namely; 161.975 and 162.025 MHz (channels 87B and 88B). Most VHF antennas are designed to give maximum gain across the whole VHF frequency range centred on Channel 16 (156.8 MHz).

Pretty much all of the antenna manufacturers now produce “AIS Tuned” antennas, which have their centre frequency shifted from Channel 16 to 162Mhz (exactly half way between the two AIS frequencies). If you are going to mount your AIS antenna on the stern rail of a yacht or radar arch of a power boat, then using an “AIS tuned” antenna to get an extra bit of gain to compensate for the antenna being effectively at deck level, is a good idea.

AIS Tuned Antenna Graph

The graph above shows how the tuning of the antenna to 162MHz gives it an extra boost in VSWR (gain) across the two AIS frequencies.

Which ever option you choose, having AIS on your boat will without doubt make your sailing experiences safer and less stressful in poor visibility or when crossing busy shipping lanes. Even a simple receiver with a small whip antenna at deck level will keep you informed of what ships are around you and which ones you need to keep an eye on.