Thank you for the reply:-)
I was thinking of purchesing the NASA A.I.S reciver and the Shiptrax software. Airnav, Have you done a comparison of your hardware to an A.I.S reciver to see if the reciver matches the shiptrax hardware?
Also if i was to buy the NASA hardware would all i need be in the NASA box? or would i have to buy cabels? etc.
I've got the NASA AIS engine, although as I live a long way from the sea, I haven't used it a great deal!
However, I have tested it with the COAA ShipPlotter program and it works just fine with that. The NASA receiver is best described as "cheap and cheerful" rather than as a nice bit of kit. The NASA engine comes with a 9-pin "D" type serial lead - this is the first problem, as none of my laptops have serial connections as these have all been replaced by USB - so the first cost hit was a USB to Serial adaptor for the laptop. Also, although there is a power lead, it doesn't have a plug of any type and there is no included mains power supply. The AIS engine requires a nominal 12 volts, although I think that it will work a bit above and below this. I used ShipPlotter and the receiver mobile in the car, so I had to put a standard car "cigar lighter" plug on the lead - second cost hit!
The NASA engine has no indicator lights at all, so it's difficult to know when it's working. I fired up the laptop, connected the AIS engine and plugged it into the cars 12 volt socket - and nothing happened! Was this because there were no ships, was the antenna no goood, or maybe the receiver wasn't talking to the laptop! It became a case of trial an error to change the settings in ShipPlottter until I got some ships plotting.
The AIS engine does come with a trial version of Souls on Board - again a bit of a nightmare to set this up - but it does have a window that shows the raw data from the receiver so you can see if the data is flowing. If it's not, it's usually a Com port issue.
So, I'm tempted to go for the complete AirNav solution of software and hardware, as at least the two should talk to each other and hopefully there will be some indicator lights on the receiver like the RadarBox hardware. Also, as I believe that the connection will be USB rather that Serial (although I think that Serial will be an option) then it should be easier to set up. If you think it's difficult to set up USB drivers, then you should try USB to Com port drivers! I have no idea what the performance of the AirNav receiver will be compared to the AIS engine, but I have had reports of the AIS item being a bit deaf - it's a cheap receiver, so you can't expect the world. Maybe somebody here uses one more regularly and can pass comment.
I hope to mostly use the Network function of ShipTrax, but I do want the receiver for those trips to the coast - I'm really looking forward to the release, it can't be too far off now!