AIS FA-50

AIS FA-50

Postby Davem » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:25 pm

I have a FA-50 with the tx led blinking amber, no alarms, receive is ok, no errors, transponder test is ok. went into service did a transmitt test with power out at about 2 watts and a little less than 1/8 watt reflected. On a 5 watt scale reflected and 20 watt scale forward. tried 3 different antennas and made a new cable. any thoughts?
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Re: AIS FA-50

Postby Johnny Electron » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:44 pm

Ensure the unit isn't in silent mode.
When you say you tried other antennas and cable, did this include the GPS antenna? If the GPS antenna isn't functional, the AIS will not transmit.
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Re: AIS FA-50

Postby Davem » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:23 am

gps ant was bad, passed ok in the test. thanks
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Re: AIS FA-50

Postby Johnny Electron » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:16 am

The GPS self test is only for the internal GPS module in the FA50, not the antenna. To test the antenna you can get a rough idea of health by using a multi-meter but it is normally best to just try one with clear view of the sky. Glad you found it.
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Re: AIS FA-50

Postby Sinewave » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:52 am

Hello:

I have a somewhat similar issue/question:
I recently acquired an FA-50 AIS transponder (s/n 3559-5522) with GPA-017 GPS antenna as a result of a vessel refit.

I am having no success in “seeing” data from the FA-50 on other AIS receivers/plotters. I operate a land-based AIS monitoring station for MarineTraffic and have direct access to the receiver (Comair SLR350Ni) but no data is being received from the FA-50.

Following is a summary of config settings, observations and tests I’ve performed on the bench:

- Entered MMSI and vessel data (MMSI is through Boat US)
- Transponder and GPS Tests report OK
- Confirmed silent mode works (can toggle to get blinking Orange light) and is set to off (“normal”)
- Performed manual Tx test from web browser screen, and with S2 switch on PCB: Blue light on, frequency counter reports 161.975MHz @~2WATTS
- Performed Internal GPS test: reporting correct LAT/LON – GPS-3D
- All Device Tests (service mode): pass except COM port (not yet connected)
- I have not yet viewed receiver data (COM port not yet connected) but see RX light blinks intermittently and received stations are reported in Receive Test window
- Blue Xmit light comes on intermittently, but lasts less than ½ second


The antenna for the VHF is a 6db VHF fiberglass marine antenna. Is that acceptable for the FA-50? What is the optimal antenna impedance/load required?

Looking for suggestions as to what other diagnostics or settings should be tried toward getting data transmission.
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Re: AIS FA-50

Postby Johnny Electron » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:33 pm

The antenna for the VHF is a 6db VHF fiberglass marine antenna. Is that acceptable for the FA-50?


Normal VHF whips are not acceptable because most offer high VSWR on the AIS transmitted freq. You must ensure the antenna is rated for AIS. VHF whips are okay for receive only units like the FA-30 but not for transmitting units like the FA-50.
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