AIS Transponder Comparison between Icom, Black Box & WatchMate 850

Our desire to make AIS information easy to use has lead us to develop the very unique WatchMate range of AIS displays that are unequaled when it comes to filtering the AIS clutter from displays and eliminating unwanted alarms that only add frustration to your boating experience.  See this in action by watching this video.

The AIS Transponder comparisons below takes the WatchMate 850, the ICOM MA-500TR and compares these to a generic “AIS black box” feature set.

 

WatchMate 850

ICOM MA-500TR

*Black Box Transponder

Dedicated self-contained AIS display

Yes

Yes

No

Filters targets when operating in busy areas

Yes

No

No

Highly customizable alarm controls help eliminate false alarms

Yes

No

No

Graphically depicts future crossing situations

Yes

No

No

CPA & TCPA target prioritization to order by risk of a collision

Yes

No

No

Organizes alarm & filter settings with multi "profile" selection (Anchor, Harbor, Coastal, Offshore)

Yes

No

No

Display CPA on the target list

Yes

No

No

Anchor Watch features

Yes

No

No

Send mayday safety message

Yes

No

No

Displays magnetic bearings

Yes

No

*Varies

Identify friends or vessels in your fleet with a special icon

Yes

No

*Varies

Computes bearing, range, CPA and TCPA

Yes

Yes

*Varies

Displays AIS Aids to Navigation

Yes

Yes

*Varies

Alerts you if your GPS loses signal or fails

Yes

Yes

*Varies

Ability to enter manual waypoints

No

Yes

*Varies

Silence transponder (receive only mode)

Yes

Yes

*Varies

Multiplexes NMEA data and provides combined output

Yes

No

*Varies

NMEA 0183 interface to optional chart plotters and computers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Allow vessel to vessel DSC calls

Yes

Yes

No

Internal high-performance parallel two channel AIS receiver

Yes

Standard Only

Standard Only

Optional external alarm/buzzer/indicator control

Yes

Yes

Yes

Water proof, can be externally mounted

Yes

Not connectors

*Varies

Built-in GPS receiver

Yes

External only

*Varies

Built-in GPS patch antenna

Yes

No

No

Screen resolution for clear viewing

320x240

128x128

*Varies

Power supply, 12 or 24 volt option

Yes

12V only

*Varies

VSWR meter to show antenna system quality and aid installation troubleshooting

Yes

No

No

Water proof USB port 

Yes

No

No

MOB button to set waypoint

No

Yes

*Varies

Power consumption

Very Low (3W)

High (8.4W)

*Very High

Power save mode reduces consumption even further

Yes

No

No

There are many other features AIS Transponders might include however we believe these are the critical ones that will maximize your investment and enable the full safety benefits of AIS to be realized.

* A "black box" requires a display such as a chart plotter, MFD or computer so features and power consumption will depend on the display being used.

Please Note: This information has been gathered from public sources. To the best of Vesper Marine’s knowledge it was correct at the time of publication (updated 2014). We want to keep this up-to-date, so if you see anything missing or incorrect, please let us know so we can update this information.