One of the newest forms of marine electronics is AIS (automatic identification systems), and the latest unit to hit the market is the Koden KAT-100. Sold through Si-Tex dealers, the KAT-100 features an AIS transmitter with three AIS receivers and a 16-channel internal GPS receiver.
This unit is a bit on the hefty side and may seem like overkill for some recreational boaters (same goes for the price tag, at $2,899). But for those with boats large enough or who are well-travelled enough to justify transmitting AIS data as well as receiving it, a unit like the KAT-100 is in order. It’s ready to interface with the rest of your electronics suite with seven serial data ports (four bidirectional), and a PC serial data connection for programming, diagnostics, and connecting to external displays. The integral display is an LED backlit, high-contrast, 240 x 128 pixel LCD.
Like other AIS units, the Kat-100 transmits data including position, course over ground, speed over ground, heading, turn rates, your boats' MMSI number, vessel name and type, and voyage data when applicable. In short, it will fulfill the requirements not only of large recreational vessels, but also of SOLAS and sub-SOLAS boats as well as workboats. Naturally, it also functions as a full-featured receiver so you can get the same data being transmitted by other AIS-equipped boats and ships.
One of the most interesting things about the KAT-100 is the simple fact that it’s coming to us here in the US via a healthy dose of Si-Tex/Koden synergy. Si-Tex was “re-launched” in 2009 by a couple of company insiders, and has since announced several new products, expanded their facility, and continued the historic Si-Tex/Koden relationship (which includes manufacturing some Si-Tex products at Koden’s facilities in Japan). Back in May Si-Tex announced the agreement to sell, service, and provide customer support for Koden in the US of A. What will come next from this kind of international electronics cooperation? Stay tuned…