Establishing a connection
To connect to proAIS2 you will need to select the relevant device (usually 'AIS Class B Transceiver' for Windows and 'AIS Virtual COM port' for macOS) from the drop down menu at the top of the screen before pressing the 'Connect' button. If there is no suitable device to select, please ensure the USB cable is securely connected and that the appropriate LEDs are illuminated to indicate it has initialised. If you are still unable to connect to proAIS2 after verifying the connection please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
You will need to populate these fields using the details from your ship license.
The MMSI number will be the same as the one issued for your VHF radio. If you have not been issued with an MMSI number you will need to contact your local authority. Please contact email@example.com if your MMSI number has already been configured and you need to change it. The remaining vessel data can be edited using proAIS2 once configured. Configuration of the call sign is not required if you do not have one.
Ship's Dimensions and GNSS Antenna location:
Enter the position of your GPS antenna (in metres) in reference to the four dimensions of your boat. If your unit is using its internal GPS antenna you will need to enter the position of your unit.
Configure Baud Rates:
This setting controls the speed at which data is output from the NMEA 0183 port(s). You will need to ensure it matches the baud rate of the connected equipment (for example, a chartplotter or VHF radio). Typically, chartplotters require 38,400 baud and VHF radios require 4,800 baud. AIS data should not be configured at baud rates lower than 38,400 - this is because messages may be dropped when travelling through areas of high traffic where there is a lot of data to process.
Output GNSS Sentences:
Tick the boxes as required to output the GPS sentences over the NMEA 0183 port(s). This will usually be defined by the external equipment you're connecting to, but if unknown RMC is typically required to provide position and SOG/COG. If you require GPS data (PGNs) to be output over the NMEA 2000 port you will need to tick the RMC box.
This setting controls the combinations of satellite constellations which are used to get a position fix. It is not supported by the B100, B300, or B330 as they use GPS only.
Long range broadcast:
This setting enables/disables the transmission of Message 27, used for long range detection. It's transmitted on a different channel (frequency) and typically received by satellites. This proAIS2 feature is supported by Class B SO products only.
Please note that any applied configuration will need to be saved by pressing the 'Write Configuration' button.
'GNSS Status' tab
Use this tab to check the performance of your GPS antenna. This is particularly useful if you're unsure where you need to mount your unit if it uses an internal GPS antenna. A good GPS fix is 30-40dBHz, although this may be difficult to achieve if your unit is using an internal GPS antenna and there's an obstruction interfering with the signal.
'Other Vessels' tab
This tab shows the vessels in range. The vessels can be sorted by selecting the appropriate parameter at the top of the field.
If your unit is fully configured and installed correctly every parameter should have a green tick against it.
This field displays software versions, serial numbers, and operational/performance data. You may be requested for this information if you contact em-trak customer support for assistance.
'VSWR' is Voltage Standing Wave Ratio, and is an indicator of VHF antenna performance. A good VSWR is 3:1 or less, and can be affected by factors such as length or quality of cable and type of VHF antenna connected. If it exceeds the threshold a red cross will appear against AIS Antenna in the checklist field.
'Power supply voltage' reports the voltage received at the unit. There may be a small drop in voltage between the battery / power source and the unit, depending on the length of cable. External power (12-24V) is required for the unit to receive and transmit.
Reflects the LED indicator status on your unit. Select the 'Silent Mode' button to enable / disable silent mode, where the blue LED will illuminate if enabled.
Displays the number of messages that have been received and transmitted.
Occasionally messages will be output in this field depending on the operational status of your product.
Class B/CS products routinely output 'CP busy' or 'TX attempt failed' messages; these are normal and relate to the way that Carrier Sense operates, where it needs to listen out for a free slot before it can transmit. You may also see a message relating to RX1 / RX2 and DSC; this is also normal and indicates when one of the receivers is monitoring the DSC channel on a regular, time-shared basis.
This field displays all active alarms. The alarm will be indicated with a corresponding red LED, either flashing (high VSWR) or solid (other hardware-related failure). If the conditions change and the alarm is no longer active, it will disappear from the list and the red LED will stop.
Use this tab to configure the W-Fi interface on your unit. The configurable parameters will differ between the B330 / B360 products and the newer B200 / B900 Series products; the specific details are covered in the product manuals. This tab is only available on products that support Wi-Fi.
As with the vessel data configuration, you will need to press the 'Write Configuration' button to save any changes.
'Serial Data' tab
Raw serial data is output on this tab. It can also be used to log the serial data to a file (which may be requested for diagnostic purposes if you contact em-trak for support), and there's a field to enter command(s), if you have requested a configuration that isn't supported directly by proAIS2.
Your position is automatically logged every time your vessel moves more than 10 meters, and this tab can be used to download that data from a selectable date range. The VDR feature is only supported on Wi-Fi products, and this proAIS2 tab is currently available for the B330 and B360 only.
If you have a question relating to proAIS2, and it isn't covered in this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org