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Kannad R10 Personal AIS

Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by RBEmerson » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:44 pm

I'm intrigued with the idea of a personal AIS device in connection with a MOB event. Assuming the device works as advertised, the remaining question is still personal EPIRB vs. personal AIS

The pros for AIS come down to the MOB being visible on AIS displays in vessels in the area. If the person in the water is carried by a current, the AIS information will convey this situation. By comparison, if someone hits a MOB button on a chart plotter, etc., the only choice is to return to the plotted location. If the MOB is there, all is well (one hopes), if not, a search is the only option. Finding someone in the water, in the best of circumstances, is challenging, in stormy conditions or limited visibility... not so good.

The cons for AIS are several. "...the MOB being visible on AIS displays in vessels in the area." Reportedly, one can hope for a range of about 4-5 miles with an antenna near the water, and somewhat better with a mast-mounted antenna on a sail boat. If the MOB goes over more than (roughly) an hour before the alarm is sounded, the person in the water may be out of range. (It appears that some AIS receivers recognize the "SART Active" AIS message sent by devices like the R10, and will sound an alarm - not all AIS receivers, however, do this) In this circumstance, a personal EPIRB means there is a way for the MOB to signal the emergency with some hope of being located by SAR assets. OTOH, the MOB's vessel will not have this information unless contacted by [USCG, etc.].

The pros for the personal EPIRB are the ability to set off a beacon that can be "seen" by satellites and a report by sent to [USCG, etc.]. Whether the MOB's own vessel effects a rescue is mainly dependent on being advised of the EPIRB information.

The cons are tied to lack of information that can be acted on directly by the MOB's on vessel.

It would seem that a personal AIS is, therefore, the better choice. If it weren't for that pesky issue of the AIS beacon's limited range. That being said, I'm still inclined to go with the Kannad R10 personal AIS. Yes, I understand it's possible to have a personal AIS and EPIRB and a MOB alarm. However that solution simply not a financial option. So I can see only choosing one device. But I'm certainly open to input on the subject.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by stormalong » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:56 pm

Well, here is an opportunity for someone to market a dual function unit.

I would think that 4-5 miles would be very optimistic with an antenna at or just above the water. I would also be concerned about signal strength with a wet antenna. What have field testing results shown?
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by RBEmerson » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:45 pm

Beats me. While I've seen reports of the R10 in Palstek, a German sailing magazine, I haven't seen any meaningful reviews in the US press.

There's some talk of a DSC/EPIRB that would offer some of the personal AIS and person EPIRB functions in one package. Some plotters will accept sentences from DSC-capable VHF radios, giving an AIS-like result. And, of course, DSC includes the ability to sound an alarm.

I assume the personal emergency electronics scene will change significantly in the next few years.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by Auspicious » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:23 am

I assume you read Panbo's review http://www.panbo.com/archives/2012/04/k ... asily.html .

Did you look at Raymarine's LifeTag product? http://raymarine.com/view/?id=157

There is something to be said for the rapid alarm if someone is separated from the boat. I know of one cruising couple who stuck a life tag unit under the seat of their dinghy as a theft alarm.

Personally I have a preference for the PLB over either personal AIS or LifeTag. I'm hard-pressed to explain any rationale though. I do start to feel like I'm dragging half a bo'sun's locker around with me hanging from my PFD and getting caught on things. It may be easier to just "don't fall off the boat."
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by RBEmerson » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:38 am

Thanks for the lead on Panbo - I didn't see this article but found another, more general one.

I'll look into Lifetag, although,OWTW's electronics suite not withstanding, I'm inclined to avoid Raymarine.

It's the ability of the boat to return to the victim that really grabs me. I'm looking into whether or not Coastal Explorer (our laptop nav tool) sounds an alarm on receiving "SART active" AIS messages. Knowing that RPNS is pretty good on these issues, I'm hopeful it's already present or soon will be.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by stormalong » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:11 pm

Lifetag works on a different principal. It repeatedly transmits a short burst message. When the base unit can't hear the signal it sounds the alarm. Therefore, if submerged or the xmtr distance is too great the alarm sounds.

The Kannard however required the reception of a signal. This is where I am uncomfortable with the technology. If the antenna is under water or wet with sea water I would expect the signal to be very attenuated. It may require a conscious MOB to orient it properly to function. If it is manual activation only, it requires a conscious and clear thinking MOB to activate it.

PS. I agree with RBE about Raymarine. My experience with them causes concerns about their quality control and reliability.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by RBEmerson » Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:35 pm

I get the wet antenna / partially submerged antenna discussion. Maybe I'm just plain naive, but somehow it seems unlikely that a serious AIS SART device maker would release something that only works well on the beach or if the user holds the unit over his or her head while in the water. But then, as I said, maybe I'm just being naive.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by RBEmerson » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:37 pm

Further to all of the above and particularly the issue of having the R10 in or near the water, see the extract from this article below:
In communicating with [James Turner of Oriola Ltd. (formerly McMurdo Ltd., which owns the Kannad brand and manufacturers the R10)], he asked that I send along a photo of Oscar [test dummy], and after studying it he also provided an important critique of our testing procedure. The range of Oscar's R10 beacon, he noted, was likely degraded by the fact that it was well clear of the water and was not more horizontal. The beacon is in fact designed to operate while in the water, or in close proximity to it (the water helps ground it), and should be more or less horizontal (as it would be when worn by an MOB victim floating on his or her back) so that the antenna, which deploys at a right angle to the unit, is more or less vertical when deployed.

According to James, independent tests in the U.K. have suggested the R10 may in fact have a maximum working range of 6 or 7 miles when deployed in this manner.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by John Stevenson » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:46 am

It does seem that at least two of the 3 devices discussed provide a potential solution for one part the problem of recovering an overboard crew member.
1. Personal AIS provides a means to track the location of a crew member to bring the vessel to that person. Of course it does nothing if the crew member(s) on board are not aware that someone went overboard. If they are sleeping and do not wake for several hours they may be out of range of the AIS transmitter. Still a reciprocal course even after a couple of hours should bring the vessel back into range.
2. Raymarine LIfetag. This device provides an alarm within a few seconds of the person going overboard. I bought a pair of these devices in 2007 before heading back to the USA from Portugal. I guarantee that the alarm will wake anyone left on board. Although it works with a Raymarine plotter to generate a MOB plot, it's value is really as an alarm. IMO it is an effective device for crew member recovery even without an integrated chart plotter. I did look into having the SeaTalk message generated by the LifeTag base device converted to NMEA by a Brookhouse Mux, but that turned out not to be practical.
3. Personal EPRB. I looked into these before I purchased the LifeTag, and couldn't see any value in them, except for closure with the crew member's family. Without a means to receive the signal on board the vessel the only value I could see for this device was recovery of the body a day later (assuming the sharks hadn't gotten to it). That technology may have changed since 2007 and there may be a way to use this device for crew member recovery today. I viewed this device as something primarily for the military who can and do monitor the satellites.

So IMO the priority for crew member recovery on a small vessel.
1. Don't fall overboard as Dave suggested.
2. Have a means of notifying the off watch that someone has left the vessel. This could mean a device like the LifeTag or not having single person watches (not usually an option for me).
3. Have a means of tracking the over board crew member, such as a personal AIS, to effect a quick recovery.

I will likely look into those personal AIS devices for my next off-shore passage.

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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by Auspicious » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:19 am

I think John's summary is very good.

I do have a couple of supplementary thoughts.

PLBs like EPIRBs have a 121.5 MHz homing beacon. Direction finding (DFing) is pretty straightforward if a little geeky. My ham dual-bander has frequency coverage down to that point. I haven't tried to DF at 121.5 but I used to be active in radio fox-hunting on 2 meters and it is great fun, not hard, and not expensive IF you have a radio with the right frequency coverage. Oh - you probably need to be a bit of a geek and practice periodically.

Military and commercial tow vessels as well as USCG aircraft will have the ability to DF on 121.5.

The floating/waterproof Standard Horizon VHF Handhelds (HX-850/851) may have a role here also. As long as it is on and has battery life left it should respond to a DSC position request so would be useful even if the MOB is unconscious.

I have an 850 with a Boat/US MMSI (registered to the dinghy) so the MMSI is different than the FCC MMSI for Auspicious.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by RBEmerson » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:42 am

The answer to a question raised above (in a very thoughtful discussion - good on ya, John!) is unclear to me: how many current AIS display devices (be they MFD's, dedicated displays, computer apps, or "smart" VHF's) react with going into an alarm state on receipt of an active (that is, not a test) message from a personal AIS.

As best I can figure, the current situation is "some do, some don't". Based on my reading, this appears to be true of at least USCG, too (one wonders about other, similar entities elsewhere). With a bit of good fortune, it is possible to send a full emergency message and test a particular receiver/display combination and either decide the package (beacon and receiver/display) works fully, works to some degree (e.g., the MMSI shows 970xxxxxx and, possibly, a message 14 code), or not at all.

The remedies are forget a personal AIS, upgrade soft- or firmware (or revert to the first option), or smile 'cause it all works.

As to the scenario of "sailing on as the MOB waves from the water", it all hinges on "does a personal AIS beacon trigger an alarm". See above in this post.

- - - -

Dave, a big caveat about BoatUS MMSI's - they're meaningless outside of the US and, as the articles in Panbo and elsewhere show, some MMSI's actually convey data about the MMSI transmitted. That is, an MMSI starting with 970 indicates the source is an AIS SART (the remaining six digits are the manufacturer's serial number for the particular unit - yes, there is a finite, albeit very small, chance two devices with the same MMSI could fire in range of any given receiver; expect that you'll hit the power ball lottery first, though). I doubt BoatUS MMSI's say anything more than "freebie from BoatUS". Bottom line, IMHO, having this MMSI may be worse than nothing once in open water.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by Auspicious » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:05 pm

RBEmerson wrote:Dave, a big caveat about BoatUS MMSI's


Understood. I have a real FCC MMSI for Auspicious programmed into the SSB and fixed VHF. I use the Boat/US MMSI assigned to the dinghy for the handheld VHF. I think I understand the risks (small).

Interestingly in tests with the same MMSI in the fixed VHF and the handheld, the Icom M602 responded to DSC calls from a radio with the same MMSI but the SH handheld would not.
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Re: Kannad R10 Personal AIS

by RBEmerson » Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:54 pm

Roger, roger
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