QK-A026/024 Wireless AIS+GPS Receiver application - Quark-Elec

Quark-Elec Application Note
QK-A026/024 Wireless AIS+GPS Receiver
Features
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Two independent receivers monitoring AIS channels(161.975MHz &162.025MHz) and decoding
both channels simultaneously.
Sensitivity down to -107 dBm@30% PER
Up to 45 nautical miles receiving range
USB 2.0 powered (<270mA@5.0V)
NMEA-0183 message output through WiFi,USB and RS422
Optional build-in GPS to provide position data
Combine NMEA input, GPS and AIS messages and output as a seamless stream of data
BNC connector for 50 Ohm VHF antenna
SMA connector for 50 Ohm GPS antenna
Compatible with Windows XP,7,8,10,Mac OS X, Linux systems
Plug & Play connectivity with chart plotters and PCs
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Limited warranty
Quark-elec warrants this product to be free from defects in materials and manufacture for one
year from the date of purchase. Quark-elec will, at its sole option, repair or replace any
components that fail in normal use. Such repairs or replacement will be made at no charge to the
customer for parts and labour. The customer is, however, responsible for any transportation
costs incurred in returning the unit to Quark-elec. This warranty does not cover failures due to
abuse, misuse, accident or unauthorized alteration or repairs. A returns number must be given
before any unit is sent back for repair.
The above does not affect the statutory rights of the consumer.
Disclaimer
This product is designed to aid navigation and should be used to augment normal navigational
procedures and practices. It is the user’s responsibility to use this product prudently. Neither
Quark-elec, nor their distributors or dealers accept responsibility or liability either to the product
user or their estate for any accident, loss, injury or damage whatsoever arising out of the use or
of liability to use this product.
Accuracy of this manual
Quark-elec AIS receiver may be upgraded from time to time and future versions may therefore
not correspond exactly with this manual. The manufacturer of this product disclaims any liability
for consequences arising from omissions or inaccuracies in this manual and any other
documentation provided with this product.
Document history
Issue
Date
Changes / Comments
1.0
31-10-2016
Initial release
Order Information
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Part No
Description
QK-A024
Dual channel AIS wireless receiver without built-in GPS receiver
QK-A026
Dual channel AIS wireless receiver with built-in GPS receiver
Contents
1
INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................3
2
HARDWARE........................................................................................................................4
3
INSTALLATION & OPERATION.........................................................................................6
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
MOUNTING.....................................................................................................................6
POWER UP.....................................................................................................................6
USB CONNECTION........................................................................................................6
WIFI CONNECTION........................................................................................................8
NMEA CONNECTION.....................................................................................................9
4
WORKING WITH OPENCPN..............................................................................................9
5
ANTENNA...........................................................................................................................10
6
SPECIFICATION.................................................................................................................11
1 INTRODUCTION
The marine Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a location and vessel information reporting
system. It allows vessels equipped with AIS to automatically and dynamically share and regularly
update their position, speed, course and other information such as vessel identity with similarly
equipped vessels. Position is derived from the Global Positioning System (GPS) and communication
between vessels is by Very High Frequency (VHF) digital transmissions. There are a number of types
of AIS device, like Class A transceivers, Class B transceivers, AIS base stations, Aids to Navigation
(AtoN) and AIS receivers.
QK-A024 is a compact dual channel, VHF AIS receiver and is able to receive information from both
AIS frequencies simultaneously. It can also combine one external NMEA0813(4800kbps) data source
with GPS and AIS messages. This single data stream is then transmitted synchronously via WiFi,
USB and RS422. QK-A026 includes all of the features of the QK-A024 and includes an integrated
GPS module. Both of them share the same capabilities for most other features; therefore they are
covered together in this document.
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Figure 1 System diagram
Figure 2 QK-A04/026 Function diagram
2 HARDWARE
The QK-A026/024 is aimed at the small-commercial, leisure, fishing boat and vessel monitoring
markets. Connected to an on board PC running compatible software, or a chart plotter, AIS data
transmitted from ships within range can be displayed on the screen enabling the skipper or navigator
to visualize the traffic within VHF range. Using QK-A026/24 can enhance safety at sea by providing
proximity, size and directional information from other vessels, improve safety and efficiency in
navigation and help protect the marine environment.
Although QK-A026/024 comes with an extruded aluminum enclosure to shield it from external RF
interference, it should not be fitted close to generators or compressors (e.g. refrigerators) as they can
generate substantial RF noise. It is designed to be installed in a protected indoor environment. So
generally a suitable placement of QK-A026/024 is together with other types of navigation equipment
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and the PC or chart plotter that will be used to display the AIS data. The following figure shows an
overview of the QK-A026/024.
Figure 3 Overview of QK-A026/024
QK-A026/024 has the following electrical connections/indicators:

USB connector. A micro USB connector provides the power source for the product and also
outputs NMEA messages.
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NMEA 0813 input/output connectors. QK-A026/024 can be connected to other AIS compatible
equipment, like wind/depth or heading sensors, via the NMEA inputs. The NMEA 0183 messages
(4800kbps) from these devices can be multiplexed with QK-A026/024 received messages and
then sent out through WiFi, USB and NMEA outputs simultaneously.
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GPS antenna. Standard SMA female 50 Ohm connector.
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AIS antenna. Standard BNC female 50 Ohm connector.VHF antenna splitter is required if one
VHF antenna is shared by QK-A026/024 and VHF voice radio.
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LED lights. QK-A026/024 features three LEDs which indicate power, AIS and GPS status
respectively.
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Figure 4 USB and NMEA input/output connector
Figure 5 GPS and AIS antenna
3 INSTALLATION & OPERATION
3.1
Mounting
QK-A026/024 is designed to be securely mounted to a suitable bulkhead or shelf in an indoor
environment and needs to be placed where it is well protected from humidity and water.
QK-A026/024 is not supplied with a VHF antenna as the type of antenna and cable requirements
differ from vessel to vessel. A suitable VHF antenna should be connected before the receiver will
operate fully.
3.2
Power up
QK-A026/024 is typically powered by PC, laptop, tablet or other devices with 5.0V micro USB
connector. If USB data output isn’t required(data outputs through WiFi or NMEA output port), a power
bank or any 5.0V supply with greater than 500mA current power source can be applied.
3.3
USB connection
QK-A026/024 is supplied with a USB connector. This connector provides power supply and the NMEA
0813 data output through it. This USB connector can be linked directly to a USB port on the PC or
other mobile devices via the supplied cable.
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To enable the USB data connection of QK-A026/024 to other devices, related hardware drivers may
be needed dependent on system requirements.
For Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP, the driver can be found on the CD in the packing box or can be
downloaded from the Quark-elec website at:
http://www.quark-elec.com/drivers
QK-A026/024 registers itself to the computer as a virtual serial port.
No drivers are required on Windows 10. A new COM port will automatically show up in the device
manager after plug in.
For Mac OS X,QK-A026/024 will be recognized and shown as a USB modem. The ID can be checked
with the following steps:
--- After plugging QK-A026/024 into a USB port, launch Terminal.app.
--- Type ls /dev/*usb*
--- Mac system will return a list of USB devices. QK-A026/024 will display as “/dev/tty.usbmodemXYZ” where XYZ is a number. Nothing further needs to be done if it is listed.
No driver is required for Linux. When plugged into the computer, QK-A026/024 will show up as a USB
CDC device on /dev/ttyACM0.
The USB connection status can always be checked with a terminal monitor application like Putty or
HyperTerminal. Ensure that the COM port is set at 38400bps, 8, N and 1 as shown below using
HyperTerminal on Windows as an example to illustrate this process. Connect QK-A026/024 to the
computer, follow the instructions to install the driver if required. After the driver is installed, run the
Hardware Manager and check the COM interface number.
QK-A026/A024 is in COM5
Figure 6 Check COM port
Run HyperTerminal, ensure that the COM port is set at 38400bps, 8, N and 1.
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Figure 7 Setting on HyperTerminal
If all the above is set up correctly, similar AIS messages to the examples below should be shown.
Figure 8 Display on HyperTerminal
3.4
WiFi connection
15 seconds after QK-A026/024 has been powered up, the operator should be able to scan and find a
WiFi network (SSID) similar to ‘QK-A026xxxx’ using WiFi enabled devices such as computers, mobile
phones or tablets.
Connect the device/s to ‘QK-A026xxxx’ with ‘88888888’ as the default password. Set the protocol as
‘TCP’, IP address as ‘192.168.1.100’ and the port number as ‘2000’ in the chart software.
Item
Setting
SSID
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Similar to ‘QK-A026xxxx’
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Protocol
TCP
IP address
192.168.1.100
Port
2000
With the above settings, wireless connection should be set and the operator will be able to receive the
AIS messages through the chart software. the operator can always check the wireless connection
with TCP/IP port monitoring software as shown below:
Figure 9 TCP/IP setting check
3.5
NMEA connection
The NMEA0183 connector provides the links to a chart plotter and other instruments. It consists of
four wires, where two are RS422 standard differential output and the other two are differential input.
The output operates at a baud rate of 38400bps. The connected chart plotter should be configured at
this rate to receive the proper data. The input operates at 4800bps and are usually connected to low
speed NMEA format data instruments, like the heading sensor, sounder and wind/depth sensors.
The built-in multiplexer combines the input NMEA0183 data together with GPS and AIS messages,
mixing into a single stream and then sends out to NMEA output at 38400bps.
4 WORKING WITH OPENCPN
OpenCPN is free software that can be used to view concise chart plotter and navigation information, It
is available for use on both Windows and the MAC OSX system from:
http://opencpn.org/ocpn/download
The following is a sample setting for the OpenCPN plotter. COM2 was set as the QK-A026/024 input
and COM1 is used for a standard serial port GPS input (QK-026 doesn’t need extra GPS input).
Other software is available such as SeaClear, PolarNavy, PolarView. They all have similar settings.
http://www.sping.com/seaclear/
http://www.polarnavy.com/
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http://www.polarnavy.com/main/prod1
AIS input is in COM2
GPS input is in COM1
Figure 10 Serial port setting on OpenCPN
For Wifi connection, ‘Network’ rather than ‘Serial’ needs to be selected in ‘Connections->Properties’
and the following settings need to be input.
5 ANTENNA
Figure 11 Wifi setting on OpenCPN
AIS communication systems use frequencies in the maritime VHF band, which is considered to be
‘line of sight’ radio. This means that if the QK-A026/024 antenna cannot ‘see’ the antennas of other
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vessels, the AIS signals from vessels will not reach QK-A026/024. In practice, this is not a strict
requirement, a few buildings and trees between them will be fine. Large obstacles such as hills and
mountains, on the other hand, will significantly degrade the AIS signal
To have the best possible receiving range, the AIS antenna should be placed as high as possible with
a relatively clear view of the horizon. Large obstructions might shade the AIS radio communication
from certain directions, giving uneven coverage.
AIS communication system frequencies are close to the duplex channels used for marine
communication, so the antenna should be separated as much as possible(Ideally at least 3.0 meters)
from the voice communication VHF antenna to avoid unnecessary adjacent channel interference.
Best separation is achieved by installing the antennas over each other or on separate sides of the
mast. If an existing VHF transmitting antenna is used to receive AIS signals, proper separation
equipment(e.g., an active VHF antenna splitter) should be applied.
6 SPECIFICATION
Item
Specification
Frequency bands
161.975MHz &162.025MHz
Operating temperature
-25°C to +80°C
Storage temperature
-25°C to +85°C
DC supply
5.0V(+/-0.2V)
Average supply current (typical
quiescent)
Maximum supply current(during SMS
transceiver activity)
180mA
270mA
AIS receive sensitivity
-107dBm@30%PER
GPS receiver sensitivity
-162dBm
NMEA data format
ITU/ NMEA 0183 format
NMEA input data rate
4.8kbps
NMEA output data rate
38.4kbps
WiFi mode
Station mode on 802.11 b/g/n
Security
WPA/WPA2
Network Protocols
TCP(UDP maybe optionally supported by request).
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For more technical information and other enquiries, please go to the Quark-elec forum at:
http://quark-elec.com/forum/
For sales and purchasing information, please email us:
info@quark-elec.com
Quark Electronics (UK)
Suite 4, Intech House
34-35 Wilbury Way
Hitchin
Herts., UK
SG4 0TW
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