Practical Boat Owner Test AIS Share

David Berry from Practical Boat Owner shows how to make an AIS receiver with an Android Phone or Tablet and a dongle. He use AIS Share to stream data to Boat Beacon a very popular chart navigation app. See the full article on

See also

AIS Receiver Shopping Guide

USB OTG cable

Depending on your device you need an USB Micro or USB C cable.
A USB Y has normally less quality but it allow you to keep your device charging at the same time as using the RTL SDR-dongle.

Amazon Deutschland

International Shipping (Aliexpress)
(Budget store – shipping take up to 3 weeks)

Note to all links: As an Amazon Associate and Aliexpress Affilate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Note for Y cables:
It is important that you connect the power and the RTL-SDR dongle to the Y cable first before connecting it to your device otherwise it won’t charge the device – there is a video about this here:-
Note: This is not working on all devices

DVB-T Stick / RTL-SDR Stick

Search for RTL2832U / 820T / 820T2 USB stick.
I recommend high quality dongles which are more expensive but PPM is fix and stable around 0 or 1 . (0,5 PPM TCXO)
Please note: The antenna delivered with some dongles is more or less only for testing. Don’t expect a good reception

Amazon Deutschland
(all high quality with 0.5 ppm)

International Shipping (Aliexpress)
(Budget store – shipping takes up to 3 weeks)

High quality Aliexpress

Cheap price , but PPM is individual -Aliexpress

Note to all links: As an Amazon Associate and Aliexpress Affilate, I earn from qualifying purchases. .



AIS Share

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases


You can build your own antenna see or

or you buy a profesional one (expensive in my mind)


RTL SDR AIS App and AIS Share App


It is an Android app that decodes AIS messages transmitted by vessels , ships, over radio using a cheap USB DVB-T /RTL-SDR stick.

AIS messages are transmitted over VHF.
Channel A: 161.975 MHz
Channel B: 162.025 MHz.
The app decodes both channels simultaneously.
This app needs no internet connection, it decodes the real time received messages.
This is a truly standalone full featured AIS receiver.

The received messages will be translated into NMEA0183 strings which can be forwarded then via UDP or TCP streaming to third-party apps, PC programs or other devices.
Such Apps can display the received AIS data for example on a map along with information about the received objects.

Please note: The app needs additional (very cheap) hardware to receive the radio signals.


  • Cheap AIS dual channel AIS receiver
  • Low power consummation
  • Easy to install
  • Receive VHF AIS radio signals via DVB-T / RTL SDR USB Stick
  • Decode AIS messages into NMEA0183 strings ( !AIVDM )
  • Send this messages via Network (UDP/TCP)
  • Device location (GPS,Network) translation into NMEA strings
  • location NEMA forwarding via Network (UDP)(GPGSV,GPGSA,GPZDA,GPRMC,..)


Typical cost about ~ 15 -35 €
You need

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