AIS Class B Transponders: Recent USCG Approvals

VHF Marine Band radios, protocol, radio communication theory, practical advice; AIS; DSC; MMSI; EPIRB.
jimh
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AIS Class B Transponders: Recent USCG Approvals

Postby jimh » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:18 pm

In the last two months the USCG AIS testing division has been busy. They have given approvals to a number of new Class-B AIS Transceivers. Here is a list of USCG approval numbers (with hyperlinks), dates of approval, and manufacturer-model names:

165.156/34/0: March 16, 2018; SRT Marine Neon II+ Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class B SO

165.156/33/0: March 16, 2018, SRT Marine Neon II Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class B SO

165.156/32/0: March 16, 2018; em-trak B360 Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class B SO

165.156/31/0: March 16, 2018; em-trak B350 Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class B SO

165.156/30/0: March 16, 2018; em-trak B330 Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class B CS

165.156/29/0: March 16, 2018; em-trak B300 Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class B CS

165.156/28/0: March 16, 2018; em-trak Marine Electronics Ltd. em-trak B100 Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class B SO

165.156/27/0: February 8, 2018; Raymarine AIS700 Class B SO

There are EIGHT new approved devices. I suspect that perhaps there has been a backlog at the USCG testing center created by so many devices being submitted for testing and approval.

Note that test approvals do not intrinsically mean the devices have been approved for sale in the USA. These approvals are preliminaries to testing for FCC certification. AIS devices must first be approved by the USCG for their operational characteristics and compliance with IMO regulations, then subsequently tested for FCC certification for radio-frequency emissions and radio signal modulations.

Regarding certification of AIS transmitters, in June 2002 the FCC gave Public Notice, entitled "Applications For Equipment Authorization Of Universal Shipborne Automatic Identification Systems To be Coordinated with U.S. Coast Guard To Ensure Homeland Security." This notice said, in part:

...the FCC Laboratory will coordinate review of applications for certification of AIS equipment with the United States Coast Guard to ensure that the equipment meets all applicable international standards...


The Commission later (in c.2004 and then amended in c.2009) adopted these final rules in 47 CFR Part 80:

--

80.275 Technical Requirements for Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) equipment.
    (a) Prior to submitting a certification application for an AIS device, the following information
    must be submitted in duplicate to the Commandant (G-MSE), US. Coast Guard, 2100 2nd Street, S.W.,
    Washington D.C. 20593-0001:

      (I) The name of the manufacturer or grantee and the model number of the AIS device;

      (2) Copies of the test report and test data obtained from the test facility showing that the device
      complies with the environmental and operational requirements identified in Section 80.1 101 of this Part.
    (b) After reviewing the information described in paragraph (a) of this section, the US. Coast
    Guard will [provide] a letter stating whether the AIS device satisfies all of the requirements specified in
    Section 80.1 101 of this Part.

    (c) A certification application for an AIS device submitted to the Commission must contain a
    copy of the U.S. Coast Guard letter stating that the device satisfies all of the requirements specified in
    Section 80.1 101 of this Part, a copy ofthe technical test data, and the instruction manual(s).
--

This means that as part of a certification procedure to permit the FCC to authorize the AIS transmitter, the USCG must first approve the device as meeting the applicable maritime regulations.

To browse the list of USCG approved devices, you have to begin a search for particular categories, in this case AIS Class-B.

jimh
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Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
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Re: AIS Class B Transponders: Recent USCG Approvals

Postby jimh » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:38 am

Testing and approval of AIS Class-B transceivers is done by the Systems Engineering Division (CG-ENG-3) under the "Navigational Equipment Technical Section." (See below for an organization chart and links to home pages.)

Navigation equipment technical requirements and testing is described in

NAVIGATION AND VESSEL INSPECTION CIRCULAR (NVIC) NO. 8-01, CHANGE 3

In the above publication, AIS CLASS B devices are referenced under an "Approval series" designator "165.156" (see below) and are described as having to conform to the following standards:

  1. IMO Resolutions A.694(17) and MSC.74(69) Annex 3
  2. IEC 61162 (applicable part)
  3. IEC 62287-1 (for CSTDMA)
  4. IEC 62287-2 (for SOTDMA)
  5. IEC 62288
  6. ITU-R M.1371-4 or ITU-R M.1371-5

The publication also notes:

    "This equipment includes a radio transmitter which is regulated by the Federal Communications Commision...and requires FCC type-certification before such equipment may be marketed, sold[,] or used in the United States."

"Approval series" is a numerical string which is used to compose the first six digits of a number assigned by the Coast Guard to the approved equipment.

In the organizational structure of the USCG, the "Navigation Equipment Technical Section" is located in this hierarchy:

The Commandant of the Coast Guard
---> Deputy Commandant For Operations (CG-DCO)
------> Assistant Commandant for Prevention and Policy (CG-5P)
---------> Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards (CG-5PS)
------------> Office of Design and Engineering Standards (CG-ENG)
--------------> System Engineering Division (CG-ENG-3)
----------------> Navigation Equipment Technical Section (part of CG-ENG-3)

jimh
Posts: 5712
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Re: AIS Class B Transponders: Recent USCG Approvals

Postby jimh » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:15 pm

The most recent USCG approval for a AIS Class-B transponder was issued April 10, 2018, Below is USCG approval number (with hyperlink), date of approval, and manufacturer-model name:

165.156/35/0, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, SRT Marine Technology Ltd., SRT Iris Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class B SO