2-Channel AIS Receiver with RTL-SDR and GNUAIS

September 12, 2013 admin

Blogger OZ9AEC has written a post on his blog showing how he made a 2-channel AIS receiver using the RTL-SDR, GNU Radio and GNUAis. AIS is a radio protocol used by boats to broadcast their position and speed which is then used to create a type of radar system to help avoid collisions. AIS signals are transmitted periodically on one of two channels. Two channels are used to improve capacity and help avoid interference if two signals from different boats are broadcast at the same time.

Before this, most AIS receiver implementations we’d seen that used the RTL-SDR received only on a single channel. OZ9AEC’s GNU Radio program receives on both channels simultaneously like a commercial AIS receiver does and is thus a better receiver. He eventually plans to get this receiver to run on a Beaglebone.

See his post for instructions and to download the GRC files.

Update: Another AIS decoder known as gr-ais is also capable of 2 channel AIS, and bristromat from Reddit has written a tutorial on setting it up and running it with OpenCPN.

Two channel AIS Block Diagram

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