Frequently Asked Questions

Receiver – General Questions

  1. What is the warranty on Shine Micro products?
  2. How should I mount my RadarPlus ® receiver?
  3. My receiver is working intermittently with my chart plotting software. What could the problem be?
  4. What AIS message types are supported by RadarPlus ® receivers?
  5. Can any of your receivers operate as a portable device?
  6. What is an MMSI Number, and how do I obtain one?
  7. How do I find or become a dealer?

Receiver – Connections

  1. I’ve installed my receiver and have connected it to my PC but I’m unable to view the data on the PC. What could my problem be?
  2. Is it possible to receive my AIS data in two locations?

Receiver – AIS Antenna

  1. What antenna is recommended for use with your receivers?
  2. When is a corner reflector a better choice than an omni-directional antenna for AIS?
  3. Do RadarPlus ® receivers require a dedicated VHF antenna or can I use a splitter?

Receiver – GPS

  1. What functionality does a GPS receiver provide for an AIS receiver?
  2. Can I bring any old GPS signal into your receivers, or is there something particular about the one you supply?
  3. Will your “puck” antenna plug straight into the laptop without going through the receiver?

Receiver – Network

  1. How is data sent over the Ethernet Interface of your SL161RGN or SM161R-2 Network Receiver?
  2. Who provides the network data?

Receiver – Power Supply

  1. What kind of power does a RadarPlus ® receiver need? If I’m going to take it around to various boats what kind of power hookup do I need in addition to the laptop power?
  2. Is the wall transformer needed on a vessel with 12 volt DC readily available?

Receiver – Repair

  1. Where can I send Shine Micro equipment for repair?

 


Receiver – General Questions

  1. What is the warranty on Shine Micro products?
    Shine Micro warrants its products to be free from defects for one full year from the date of purchase. Shine Micro will, at its sole discretion, repair or replace any components that fail in normal use. Labor and material costs for such repairs or replacement will be free of charge. This warranty does not cover failures due to abuse, misuse, accidents, or unauthorized alterations or repairs.
  2. How should I mount my RadarPlus ® receiver?
    The RadarPlus ® receiver is intended to be a table-top or shelf-mount device. A mounting diagram which illustrates the two holes available for bolting the unit to your desired surface is provided with your shipment. Another popular method for securing your receiver is adhesive-backed Velcro.
  3. My receiver is working intermittently with my chart plotting software. What could the problem be?
    The “auto-setup” feature of many software programs does not correctly locate and recognize the port connection of the RadarPlus ®, so first try configuring your port manually within the software. Manual port configuration instructions are provided with the serial interface documentation of your purchase. If problems persist, please contact us for additional support.
  4. What AIS message types are supported by RadarPlus ® receivers?
    The RadarPlus ® receiver carries all safety-related messages such as types 9, 12, 13, and 14; along with a superset of other new messages. For more information, please contact us for a full serial interface specification.
  5. Can any of your receivers operate as a portable device?
    Yes, a hand-held VHF antenna is available if you would like to be completely mobile without losing AIS reception. The part number is ANT-0003-162. It is a three-element aluminum antenna with a foam grip. The following items are recommended for portable operation:

    • Laptop running chart plotting software
    • RadarPlus ® SM161RG-2 receiver (includes puck GPS antenna with cable)
    • Straight-through serial cable from SM161RG-2 to your laptop
    • Handheld VHF antenna ANT-0003-162
    • VHF cable from SM161RG-2 to handheld antenna.
  6. What is an MMSI Number, and how do I obtain one?
    The acronym MMSI stands for Maritime Mobile Service Identity. Sometimes called a “DSC Number”, an MMSI is a 9-digit code that can be programmed into certain types of radio equipment, such as a marine radio with Digital Selective Calling (DSC). All INMARSAT satellite terminals use an MMSI number as the heart of their identification string, and the numbers are also used by 406Mhz EPIRB’s (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons). When programmed into marine radio equipment, an MMSI provides a unique, internationally standardized number to identify the vessel. Description provided by: marinecomputer.com
  7. How do I find a dealer?
    Click here to visit our Commercial Sales page.

Receiver – Connections

  1. I’ve installed my receiver and have connected it to my PC but I’m unable to view the data on the PC. What could my problem be?
    The most common reason for the inability to view data is the use of null-modem cable. The RadarPlus ® requires a straight-through serial cable for the receipt of data. If a null-modem cable is used from your PC to the SM161R-2 you will not be able view the data (as pins 2 and 3 are reversed versus straight-through operation). Please contact us to request a wiring pin-out if you would like to build your own serial cable.
  2. Is it possible to receive my AIS data in two locations?
    Assuming that the load for each of the display devices is relatively low, using a splitter cable to feed the output to two devices will work fine. We do not supply such a cable, but when you purchase your RadarPlus ® we will be happy to provide you with the DB9 pin-out to help you with making or finding one.

Receiver – AIS Antenna

  1. What antenna is recommended for use with your receivers?
    The Morad HD 159 omni-directional VHF antenna for AIS (Shine Micro P/N ANT-00HD-159) is recommended for most installations.
  2. When is a corner reflector a better choice than an omni-directional antenna for AIS?
    Some base stations are located on shorelines where it is only necessary to ‘see’ in one direction, and in fact ‘seeing’ in all directions would be noisy and result in shorter reception ranges. This makes a directional antenna a better choice. For example: a base station site on the 12th story of a 15 story building, with the antenna mounted to the side of the building. This may be a port authority, or the offices of a tug company perhaps. AIS is a robust tool for both navigation and security.
  3. Do RadarPlus ® receivers require a dedicated VHF antenna for AIS or can I use a splitter?
    Yes, our receivers require a dedicated VHF antenna tuned to the AIS frequency range of 161.975 to 162.025 MHz. If a splitter is used reception sensitivity will be reduced.

Receiver – GPS

  1. What functionality does a GPS receiver provide for an AIS Receiver?
    The integrated GPS is required for position accuracy and Time-of-Arrival information in RadarPlus ® receivers that utilize our Enhanced Signal Analysis software. In other receive-only applications it is not required, but is a convenient way to reduce the number of gadgets inputting to a PC (since the chart plotting software will need a GPS input.) If an external GPS already fed into the charting system then having one integrated into the receiver would be redundant; but if the number of available data ports is limited then it is a handy way to make the most of what you have.
  2. Can I bring any old GPS signal into your unit, or is there something particular about the one you supply?
    The integrated GPS is used for the benefit of your display device, not by the AIS receiver itself. It is a convenience factor to reduce the number of electronic devices you have cluttering your wheelhouse and is particularly useful to users with a limited number of ports into their display. If your display already has GPS inputting into it, it is not necessary to duplicate that by using an SM161RG-2 – you would receive all of the same AIS information with an SM161R-2. To clarify, if you have an external GPS you do not need to route it through your SM161RG-2.
  3. Will your “puck” antenna plug straight into the laptop without going through the receiver?
    The puck antenna supplied with an SL161RG has a male SMA connector on the cable; it can be used with any device that has a mating female SMA connector. Keep in mind however that the puck is just an antenna – not a GPS receiver. It would not supply your laptop with GPS input without being connected to a GPS device.

Receiver – Network

  1. How is data sent over the Ethernet Interface of your SL161RGN or SM161RGN-2 Network Receiver?
    The SM161RGN-2 (or previously the SL161RGN) is a modified SM161RG-2 AIS receiver that uses (and is powered through) an external Ethernet interface adapter. A serial interface specification is available upon request, and supplied with your purchase. To learn more about the Shine Micro Live AIS Network, click here!
  2. Who provides the network data?
    The network is currently facilitated by the voluntary participation of RadarPlus AIS Network Receiver purchasers. Network participants receive the entire datastream that powers what you see on the web, not just the images publicly available. Also, it is a requirement of the Shine Micro Dealer Program that each dealer around the world have a network receiver online – significantly increasing the scale of coverage.

Receiver – Power Supply

  • What kind of power does a RadarPlus ® receiver need? If I’m going to take it around to various boats what kind of power hookup do I need in addition to the laptop power?
    RadarPlus ® receivers run on 12 volt DC and comes with a standard “wall wart” transformer. A spare plug for mating to the jack on the receiver is also supplied should you chose to build your own power cable.
  • Is the wall transformer needed on a vessel with 12 volt DC readily available?
    No, our receivers can be hard-wired to your 12 volt power supply if you’d prefer; an extra plug that mates to the RadarPlus ® power connector is provided for this purpose.

Receiver – Repair

  1. Where can I send Shine Micro equipment for repair?
    The return of units for repair or replacement requires a procedural Returned Goods Authorization, or RGA. Please contact us and briefly describe the nature of the faults you are experiencing so we may be of best assistance. Please also reference the order number provided at the time of purchase. If a unit is determined to require return to our facility an RGA will be issued and instructions given at that time.