by Dom Wiseman

All Sat Communications launched two new AIS transponder units from the UK safety equipment manufacturer, Ocean Signal. The brand new units have been designed with both commercial and recreational boaters in mind.

Ocean Signal are well-known in the industry for their rescueME man overboard device range, EPIRBs and electronic distress flares. The AIS transponder unit range comprises the ATA100 Class A transponder, a combined SOLAS and inland approved solution for superyachts and commercial vessels, and the ATB1 Class B unit for recreational boaters.

The ATA100 transponder is a Class A transponder. It is the only unit to be rated to the IPX7 waterproofing standard and features a large 7-inch full-colour display, large illuminated keys, integrated wi-fi and versatile mounting options.

The ATA100 transponder offers coastline map and radar views which have various orientation display options. Customised information about nearby vessels can be easily obtained using the standard target list display. If an emergency should occur, the AIS message-sending functionality means that safety related messages can be quickly delivered or received by the user. An instant message and alarm function will alert you immediately if there is any threat of potential problems or hazards.

The integrated 99-channel GPS receiver means that you can receive stacks of relevant data quickly. Important data such as location, speed over ground and course over ground can be easily obtained. Static and voyage related data such as MMSI, call sign and identity, type of ship, destination and ETA is programmed into the AIS transponder via an intuitive menu interface. Supplied with pilot plug and suitable for flush panel or free-standing mounting, the ATA100 can be installed in almost any position.

“The ATA100 combines our proven technical know-how with the fluid product design Ocean Signal’s customers have come to expect to create a fully compliant, single unit solution which is easy to use and install on a wide range of vessels,” said Neil Jordan, Ocean Signal managing director. “It has been meticulously designed to allow operators to access and interpret the information provided by AIS to simplify navigation and improve safety, with intuitive operation and features such as the large clear display, versatile mounting options and easy-to-grip jog stick.”

The ATB1 Class B unit was designed for recreational boaters. The system uses Self Organised Time Division Multiple Access (SOTDMA) technology, which means boaters have a high strength system at an affordable price. With the ATB1, boaters will be comfortable knowing that their device will aid them in avoiding any collisions and relieve the stress in high traffic areas or poor conditions.

Ocean Signal proudly promote that the ATB1 offers a faster reporting rate and higher output power than standard CSTDMA (Carrier Sense TDMA) Class B units, sending AIS transmissions every five seconds instead of the CSTDMA two transmissions per minute. The unit’s 5W output power, also allows the transmissions to reach further.

The ATB1 unit has 99 acquisition channels and 33 tracking channels and the internal multi-GPS receiver continuously updates vessel information, including position, speed, course and heading, for accurate global positioning. Additional data like identity, call sign, type and dimensions, and MMSI will be uploaded via wi-fi directly from Ocean Signal’s mobile app or website. The ATB1 comes with an external mount GPS antenna and ready to upload vessel information using your mobile phone, tablet or PC.

“The ATB1 provides leisure boat owners with a valuable new tool to improve their safety and situational awareness,” said Neil Jordan. “The unit’s increased power and transmission frequency and use of the SOTDMA scheme open up the exceptional capabilities and benefits of AIS technology to more people, offering a level of transmission reporting priority only previously available with a Class A AIS unit, enabling leisure boaters to see and be seen for peace of mind, especially in low visibility or congested areas.”

Whether you have commercial or recreational use in mind, the ATA100 Class A transponder, and the ATB1 Class B unit are the friends you need in your boat and will offer peace of mind in any situation.