Looking for a cheap AIS receiver for laptops or tablets with a USB connection or NMEA 0183 output? I supply complete and ready to use AIS receivers for my navigation laptops with an antenna included. They are ready to use for $200! I also have units which add an NMEA 0183 output for an extra $50, which allows you to share that signal to other devices. Any questions? Please contact me.
Cheap AIS receiver vs transponder (transceiver)
AIS receivers, such as the one this page, which I supply for my navigation laptops, only receive positions of other boats. They do not send out your position to others. Many of my commercial fishing clients like seeing where other boats are, but do not wish to give away their own location 🙂 An AIS receiver also doesn’t require any registration, and can be taken from one boat to another. It does not require an MMSI number. Receivers are more economical and don’t even require permanent installation. Many of my clients move the system from one boat to another, and take the receiver with them
Can I use my existing VHF antenna with the AIS receiver?
I supply the AIS receivers ready to use with antenna, therefore this is not a must. However, you can share your VHF radio antenna. Using an antenna mounted high up will maximize the range, of course. However, you need an appropriate signal filter for the VHF & AIS to peacefully coexist. I’ll list some options below.
- Quark-Elec A015-TX Active VHF Splitter around $200
- AMEC CUBO-162 VHF-AIS-FM ANTENNA SPLITTER around $200
- Vesper Marine AIS / VHF / FM Antenna Splitter (SP160) around $230
As you can see, they aren’t exactly budget friendly. If you decide to forego a splitter, make sure the separate antenna you get is compatible. The AIS frequencies are: 161.975 MHz and 162.025 MHz. In practice, something “close enough” usually works.
Why use a navigation laptop or tablet as a chartplotter?
My navigation laptop systems can be much more affordable than Garmin, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Furuno, Humminbird, Raymarine, Si-Tex. They make fancy expensive MFD’s, but not everyone needs that. I will also support the GPS laptop you purchase forever. Furthermore, I believe that some of the commercial chart plotter brands gouge their customers. Large companies force you to upgrade by no longer supporting older units with chart and software updates. In addition, they charge outrageous fees for simple things like a larger screen size. I don’t do any of these things, and never will – guaranteed. In addition to these, please take a look at other advantages as well. A GPS laptop can offer a compelling alternative to major brands!