Would you believe it? An AIS Class B transponder from Skagerak Marine Electronics AS (Comar Systems in English)costs close to 12.000 kroners ( a little less than 2000 dlrs.) including antenna! That is more or less what I have to pay for a complete small radar.

Why do everybody have to overcharge so much?

A small transponder can’t cost that much to manufacture – not even in Norway.


And what is AIS? AIS is short for Automatic identification systems, which are designed to provide information to other ships with receivers/transponders and to the coast guard – and you if you have one. In short – at sea you can check your chart-plotter or PC and find the name, destination, size, speed, course and other interesting stuff of all larger ships around.

Better deal

If I have to pay a few more kroners for a complete radar, as far as I understand – a radar still has to be a much better deal. The radar is able to warn me of ships coming close, as does the AIS. The radar can’t tell me the name of the ship, but I don’t need to know that to avoid it. Besides, I can use the radar in fog and darkness to feel my way back home.

To compete AIS transponders should be relatively cheap and easy to combine with a computer and chart program. At least they should not cost more than 4-times the price of the best Norwegian chart-program for yachts, complete with GPS antenna and charts.

AIS in Norway

If you are as ignorant of AIS-technology as I am – check out this AIS showcase-connection. It will show you AIS in realtime from Stavanger. You can check out ships with transponders as far a way as south of Eigersund, you can check the ships in Oslofjord and as far north as Haugesund and Kårstø. That is really something!

Yeah – and if you insists on checking out your homeport – check this zite – but it might cost you money after a while.

I you are still thirsty for inforamtion – her’s facts about the AIS from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Help me out

Does anybody have any experience with AIS transponders?

I’d like to combine an AIS transponder with a PC-chart software – any experience with that?

Come on – help me out! Give me a clue!

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside