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AC Marine AIS antennas are best in test

The American company, Shine Micro, INC., has conducted a test of four different AIS antennas in order to determine which of these is the best. Two AC Marine AIS antennas were compared to antennas from Morad and Digital Antenna and turned out to be best in test in terms of performance, ease of installation as well as overall quality.  

Shine Micro has existed since 1980 and is known for their designing of microprocessor-based electronics. Furthermore, they are considered the industry leader within the field of AIS-technology. 

Since a radio is only as good as the antenna it is connected to, Shine Micro’s main purpose of conducting this test has been to determine which antenna, to which it is connected, would give the best result when coupled with one of their AIS products. 

About the test
The test was conducted on the basis of some criteria that Shine Micro found to be taken into account by the end-users of their products when purchasing antennas. These criteria will be covered during the article. 

In order to compare the performances of the different antennas, Shine Micro used the RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) for the local AIS traffic and the channel noise floor as the basis of the measurements. 

They mounted each of the four antennas at the top of an identical 20ft tower for a total elevation of 40ft above water. Thereafter the antennas were connected to a single Shine Micro SM1680 “Octopus” receiver and rotated among four different positions in order to log the necessary measurements

In the table, you will find the test results within the category of performance. 
The table shows the four antennas’ gain in dBi. 
As you can see, the AC Marine antennas are ranked as a 1st and 2nd place, respectively. 
Isotropic refers to an antenna that has the same value when measures in different directions. 

Normalized Average Deviation in Signal Strength

Ease of installation
“When it comes to the installing of the antennas, we had the best experience with the AC Marine antennas. The primary reason for this is that these two have the ability to accept both 1”-14 bases as well as more robust 1.25”-11 bases”, Shine Micro writes in their report.

Since neither of the other antennas was capable of this, Shine Micro ranks the AC Marine CX4AIS as the best and the AC Marine CX3 5/8AIS as the second best.

Overall quality and final conclusion
“The quality and robustness of the included mounting hardware on the AC Marine antennas, were definitely the best. Furthermore, one of the stand-out features of the AC Marine antennas is their use of the larger 1.25”-11 base thread that has become the new standard in Europe due to its increased strength compared to 1”-14 sized bases. For this section, the two AC Marine antennas are therefore tied for 1st”, Shine Micro states in their evaluation on the overall quality of the four antennas.

In the table below you will find the overall ranking and scoring of the four antennas in each category. 

AC Marine’s antennas are ranked as the two best in test, and cost is the only category in which AC Marine does not have the highest score. However, since cost and quality often goes hand in hand, they cannot be seen as two entirely separate categories. High quality products are simply more expensive to produce, but will be better, more robust and capable of withstanding all kinds of weather as this test clearly indicates. 

CONCLUSION (the lowest score = the best)

CONCLUSION (the lowest score = the best)

Shine Micro testing the four leading AIS antennas on the marketSee the full report here >