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Over the Horizon AIS - DataHub setup guide
Over the Horizon AIS - DataHub setup guide

How to enable Over the Horizon AIS in the DataHub

Matt Crockett avatar
Written by Matt Crockett
Updated over a week ago

How to enable Over the Horizon AIS

To enable this requires the following:

  • A PredictWind Forecast Professional subscription.

  • A DataHub.

  • A chartplotter connected via NMEA2000 or Wi-Fi, or navigation software running on a device connected to the DataHub via Wi-Fi configured to receive the feed.

  • DataHub Firmware version 4.0 or later, 4.08 or later is recommended.

  • Your PredictWind Forecast Account is validated in the DataHub.

  • Over the Horizon AIS is enabled in the DataHub.

  • An Internet connection is available for the DataHub.

To update your DataHub Firmware, please read this help article.

Ensure your DataHub is connected to the Internet

To enable this feature smoothly, your DataHub requires a high-speed Internet connection, e.g. Starlink, Wi-Fi Hotspot, 4G Router or USB Tether. Please check on the Internet Status page, WAN Interfaces, that at least one box is coloured GREEN with Status: Active.

Validate your PredictWind Forecast Account details in the DataHub

Upon reloading the DataHub with 4.0 Firmware or later, the initial landing page of the DataHub will be the Account Page to enter your PredictWind Forecast account username and password.

Please add your account username and password, then click SAVE & APPLY. You will be returned to the Internet Status page if your account has been validated successfully.

Click the top menu Account, and you will see your subscription level validated:

GO exec / Offshore Set up only - If you only have a GO exec connection available, so no other high-speed Internet is possible, please tick FORCE SETTINGS above to skip credential validation before you save. If your credentials are correct, enabling your Account will work when the GO exec next polls tracking. If your credentials fail, this page will update to Status: Invalid.

Enable Over the Horizon AIS in the DataHub

Next, click on the NMEA menu, then Internet AIS. Then click and enable these settings:

Click Save & Apply.

Over the Horizon AIS Settings description

Enable AIS to Internet - this sends your position and details, and any boats shared by your AIS receiver, with Internet aggregators to maximize your visibility and that of the boats around you.

Iridium GO - for each of To Internet and From Internet, this setting allows AIS messages to be routed by the DataHub via your Iridium GO! or GO exec.

Enable AIS From Internet - this enables Over the Horizon AIS from Ethernet WAN, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, USB tethered Internet connections, and Iridium devices if the Iridium setting is also enabled.

Use GPS - centres the query of the request AIS targets based on your GPS position. If you do not tick this, please manually enter a Lat/Long to receive boats within the range of that position. The GPS used is your NMEA, with a fallover to DataHub Internal GPS if enabled.

Mark AIS - this marks up received AIS positions with "DataHub", allowing you to easily differentiate those vessels received via your AIS transponder and those obtained via the DataHub.

Tag AIS - this marks up received AIS positions with "Internet", allowing navigation Apps to differentiate these vessels from those acquired over VHF.

By default, leaving the Range and Target Age at 25 miles and 45 minutes is recommended to avoid overwhelming your chartplotter or consuming excessive satellite data.

Range can be increased to a maximum of 300 miles. With time, you will learn what works for coastal cruising vs. offshore. When coastal, a smaller Range setting is recommended. When offshore, a more extended range is suggested; however, it's worth considering your speed and time to encounter a vessel located and your chart plotter's maximum supported settings. Garmin chartplotters will only display vessels within a 75-mile range and Furuno charplotters may only display up to 100 AIS targets.

As a general guide, 1000 vessels, updated hourly, would transfer approximately 307kb daily. 5000 vessels would transfer ~64kb of data via a GO exec on a 15-minute polling interval; this equals 6.14 MB per day. In practice, the data usage should be considerably less, with fewer surrounding boats, the default settings, and hourly updates.

Target Age can be increased unlimited or reduced to 0 to display all targets irrespective of acquisition time. The default of 45 minutes is based on Internet satellite-acquired targets being up to 30 minutes old and a polling interval of 15 minutes between AIS target collection sessions.

Restricting AIS targets to NMEA0183 only or a maximum number

From DataHub Firmware version 4.08 onwards, two new settings have been added which allow you to restrict the DataHub to publish AIS targets over NMEA0183 only and set a maximum number of targets the DataHub published over NMEA2000 and 0183.

NMEA0183 only - Transmits AIS data over NMEA0183 via Wi-Fi and Ethernet LAN. The DataHub will not place targets on the NMEA2000 bus. This setting prevents older Chartplotters / MFDs, that cannot handle many AIS targets, from being overwhelmed. Tablet, PC, and mobile navigation apps will still receive AIS data. This also reduces the load on the NMEA2000 bus.

Max Targets - Limits Internet-acquired AIS targets to the nearest Max Targets number of vessels. Leave blank to display ALL targets. This setting does not limit the number of AIS targets downloaded within the set Range and Target Age. However, it does set the DataHub to sort and publish only the closest targets up to the maximum target value.

Congratulations! You've now enabled Over the Horizon AIS on the DataHub. The DataHub will request and receive it via your Internet connection and share this via NMEA2000 or NMEA0183 through DataHub Wi-Fi. An example of Over the Horizon AIS displaying in OpenCPN from a land-based DataHub is below.

Connecting your chartplotter or App to receive Over the Horizon AIS

Please allow some time for targets to be acquired and presented in your charplotter or navigation App. Your first targets should appear within 1-2 minutes of the next update; however, new vessels may continue to appear for up to 45 minutes.

If your chartplotter is connected via NMEA2000 to the DataHub, the data stream will start automatically with the next update the DataHub receives, shared on the N2K bus network.

Software navigation Apps such as AquaMaps, OpenCPN or Navionics will require your device, e.g. laptop, iPad, or tablet, to be connected to DataHub Wi-Fi and their source for NMEA data to be set to the DataHub. Please see this article for specific instructions to connect your navigation App.

Frequently Asked Questions

Over the Horizon AIS is a fantastic new feature many customers are starting to use. We're hearing great stories about their experiences, including their feedback and many questions. We have summarized the common questions and answers in our Over the Horizon AIS - Frequently Asked Questions.

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