ACR Electronics introduced the Nauticast AIS Receiver, a receiver-only AIS that is about the size of a box of matches and costs less than $250. This AIS connects to the VHF antenna and chart plotter, and it displays all of the commercial and recreational vessels in the vicinity that are transmitting over AIS. The display identifies the sending station by name and type of vessel, and its position, course and speed.
This model does not send an AIS signal. Other nearby vessels carrying AIS send-and-receive transponders will not see you on their plotter or laptop, but you will see them on yours.
It connects with a USB cable to make it easier to integrate the system PC charting software, and the standard output means it will interface easily with most AIS-enabled chart plotters.
The device is particularly good as a navigation aid in fog, the company says. It receives data from Class A and Class B AIS systems.
The device uses 12- or 24-volt DC power. The marine-grade, water-resistant housing mounts below deck or in an electronic box, the company says.