32 Marine Electronics Journal March/April 2018
role as one of the all-star teachers in the
lineup. (Boughton is also a member of the
NMEA Board of Directors—Ed.)
An eight-hour classroom course has its
limitations. After all, it’s just not possible to
take a student from zero to hero in one day.
But that’s not the goal. Kevin said it best: “Our
goal as teachers is to use our historical knowledge and experience to help prevent new
installers from making mistakes. We are not
teaching students how to be electronics technicians. The advanced level courses are primarily designed to teach people how to select
and install new equipment.”
New content & AMEI
In 2017, NMEA undertook an effort to
revise and improve the AMEI course. It’s a
great challenge to create a curriculum that
dives deep enough to provide students with
a working knowledge of a topic but still fits
into an eight-hour session. The work was
completed by a two-person team under the
0183 networks proved helpful. N2K networks get a little less coverage now, but that
makes sense considering there are two other
courses dedicated to N2K.
Section 3: VHF, SSB and DSC Installations
Instructions for acquiring an FCC ship station license and an MMSI (Maritime Mobile
Service Identity) number are definitely helpful for the student who has not done this
before. Better explanation of ground planes
helps clear misunderstandings for us non-radio geeks. This section also has added detail
for radio test procedures.
Section 4: Antennas &
This section offers greater explanation of how
antenna size and shape control gain with
examples of how satellite dish antennas work.
This base knowledge is helpful when considering the reasons for the physical spacing of
antennas. Certain tips stand out as particularly useful, such as “cell phone transmission
can interfere with GPS reception if the antennas are in too close proximity.” Definitions of
satellite constellation geometry types proved
useful with examples from Inmarsat.
Section 5: Class A AIS Installations
It includes a better explanation of time division multiple access (TDMA) and what vessel
data is actually being transmitted in a single
slot. A very straightforward list of all the items
required for any AIS installation has also been
Section 6: Radar Installations
Radar gets much more detail on tuning, timing, alignment and testing.
Section 7: Non-Magnetic Sensor
Satellite compasses get deeper coverage with
an emphasis on how to avoid multipath interference.
Section 8: Autopilot Installation
The autopilot section increased its content
quite a bit. Component selection advice has
been added along with a better explanation of
the variety of drive and control units that are
available in the market. Coverage of rotary
and chain drive unit installations has been
added as well as a deeper dive into hydraulic
In a recent phone call with Mark Reede-
nauer, President & Executive Director of
New, expanded or reworked content was
found in all sections of the new AMEI course.
Here are some of the highlights.
Section 1: Marine Computer Installations
This section now covers video input and
monitor (display) types. Comparison of all
types of cables and connectors for both analog and digital video signals has also been
Section 2: Ethernet and
Coverage of modern networking topology
has been greatly expanded. This includes discussion around onboard Wi-Fi and also USB.
Emphasis is also placed on encryption and
security. Optimization techniques for NMEA
Instructor Kevin Boughton discusses details during an installer class, which includes both lecture time
and putting that knowledge to work. Boughton, who is Sales/Marketing/Senior Tech at Midcoast Marine
Electronics in Rockland, ME, helped revise the installer course curriculum. He also serves on the NMEA
Board of Directors.