Cape St. Elias AIS Antenna Installation

Cape St. Elias Light located at 59 degrees 47'54" North latitude and 144 degrees 35'56" West longitude at the south end of Kayak Island in the Gulf of Alaska is 85 feet above the water. The light is shown from a white square tower at the corner of a rectangular building on the SW end of Kayak Island, providing an excellent location to install an AIS vessel tracking receiver. The Marine Exchange obtained the permission and support from the Cape St. Elias Lightkeeper's Association to install a solar powered AIS system on the lighthouse grounds to expand the vessel tracking network that aids safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound maritime operations.

Marine Exchange personnel are shown approaching the south west tip of Kayak Island in a helicopter on September 9, 2010. Equipment and tools had already been flown out to the location by charter helicopter previously.

The install crew consisted of the Marine Exchange's Executive Director Captain Ed Page and Assistant Technical Officer Steve Lanwermeyer.

The installation crew constructed footings for the structure that will support the solar panel array, AIS receiver antenna and satellite internet used to send the data to Juneau by digging post holes and forming concrete footings. The solar panel array is supported by an aluminum frame assembled and bolted together on site.


The outside installation is shown completed here. The four solar panels provide up to 500 watts of power which is stored in batteries located in the shop building behind the installation. The AIS antenna is the white shaft atop the pole on the right. The AIS data received is sent to Juneau by the Hughes Net satellite dish atop the installation on the left.

Steve Lanwermeyer makes final adjustments to the power bus for the AIS radio inside the boat house. His left hand rests on the battery box for the AIS antenna installation.

The completed installation looks out over the Gulf of Alaska and is picking up vessels over 400 miles away expanding the Alaska maritime safety net.

Captain Ed Page prepares to depart the site of the installation. A closer inspection and reading of the T shirt he wears would reveal what has become the Marine Exchange's unofficial motto, "JUST DO IT!" Pinnacle Rock, at the tip end of Cape St. Elias, is in the background. The new AIS receiver's increased coverage for the reception of AIS signals from marine traffic in the Gulf of Alaska is depicted in the screen shot below. The Marine Exchange appreciates the cooperation of Toni and John Bocci of the Cape St. Elias Lighthouse Keepers Association without whose cooperation the AIS antenna installation would not have been possible. For more information on this organization visit their web site at Kayak Island.