On the top right you can see my setup war-driving at the Seattle waterfront as my lab is too far from the coast to receive anything. The LaunchPad sits on the dashboard with a white USB cable connecting to the notebook computer in the foreground.

The AIS receiver is Chicken's entry into the Project of the Month Contest. For those who are hearing it for the first time, AIS stands for Automatic Identification System, which is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites.

dAISy (do AIS yourself) is a very simple AIS receiver that I developed from scratch. It is built around the Silicon Labs EZRadioPRO Si4362 receiver, using a Texas Instruments MSP430G2553 MCU for processing and the MSP-EXP430G2 v1.5 LaunchPad as development platform.


In the setup, the MSP430 talks SPI to the Si4362 radio and serially to a chart plotter known as OpenCPN. Chicken goes into excruciating detail on how he packages data from the receiver, processes it in the MSP430 and then transmits it serially in NMEA  to OpenCPN. The Si4362 radio is a tiny 20-pin QFN chip for which he had PCBs OSH-Parked @ $5 for 3 copies.

His build thread has alot of detailed information with schematics and code. Be sure to visit his page for more information. If you have a project in mind for the POTM, January 31st is the last day for submissions.