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Old 27-02-2007, 14:11   #1
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Radar Training

Hello all:

recently returned from working on my boat in BC about 900 miles away. Its hard to be so far from the ones you love. LOL I relaized that I don't know anything about using a radar. Does anyone have any experience with any of the Radar Simulation software available? If so what brand was it and did it help your understanding of radar as a navigation tool.
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Old 27-02-2007, 17:30   #2
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School

A poor instructor will teach you more in a standard RADAR course than the software will teach in a month. Bite the bullet and take a certified RADAR course. Radar has become so sophisticated that the ordinary person will be overwhelmed by the complexity.
I don't know where you are located, but there are many independent schools such as Sea School, Mass. Maritime, SUNY, Pacific Maritime Institute, Landfall Navigation and many others all around the country.
If you are using the RADAR to its fullest, for navigation, educate yourself.
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Old 06-06-2007, 15:21   #3
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I will vote on the side of software; StarPath is a good course. Why software? Well I find with software based courses with a good book, I can not only take it, and review it every couple of years, but I can also have friends that sail and take and active interest in radar also learn it. If you're like me, after about one year I've forgotten much of whatever course I have taken; if it is something like Radar I want refreshers without paying more money.

One time I did have a question about a radar image so I jumped in the car and drove to my local coast guard station and asked there. The gal there was more than happy to help me out.
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Old 06-06-2007, 15:33   #4
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Once you decide what education track you desire, start turning on your radar all the time and watch it and learn to see on the screen what you also see with your eyes. Don't wait for foul weather to get used to using it.
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Old 06-06-2007, 15:52   #5
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Humm Radar, I installed mine about a year ago and the day after I installed it I needed it badly on the NW coast of Spain a big heavy fog rolled in wile offshore-it was like magic, I had never used one before and it really helped, a boat was on a collision course and must have been asleep at the wheel or something as I had to change coarse to avoid the other boat. I think the newer ones must be much easier to understand than the older ones I have a Ray marine "E"
I turn it on and study it all the time and seem to understand it quite well with out any training and its works in a very practical way for me. It really helps at night and in fog, I just cruise with out hesitation it seems to be very user friendly!!

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Old 07-06-2007, 10:02   #6
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Just Use It!

I second the notion of turning it on and getting used to what it shows you. Learn what sea clutter looks like; spot clouds, ships & land masses until you get a "feel" for how your radar presents these objects. Adjust the gain / sea clutter (filters) and observe at what levels the "real" targets start to be obscured.

IMHO unless you plan to do some precise radar navigation you really don't need to take a training class. And after all... how precise can radar navigation be on a small craft in pitching seas anyway? Be honest now...

To be completely accurate you'll have to factor in antenna height, beam width, heel angle (if the radome is not gimballed) etc. Then just like consulting the Light Lists, you'll need to know the height of the land mass in order to calculate the point where the land meets your radar horizon, etc.

Radar should help you avoid collisions with big objects and keep you in the channel during periods of low visibility. It can be used for precise navigation but from a small craft that will be difficult. So use it to support or question a position obtained by other means.

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Old 07-06-2007, 10:58   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markpj23
Just use it!
Ditto!

I learned how to use one while standing bridge watches in the Navy many years ago. I'm sure theyv'e changed a bit but the best thing it to get to know what is what. Using it is the best way to understand what's on the screen.

The instruction booklet should be able to ID what shows up. If not, try to find out what is, then note it in the booklet.

On small boats in rough weather they don't do so well but the feature I like is the contact alarms. You can cruise along fairly relaxed and if something shows up in range, it'll let you know.

When I had one I think the only times I use it was in the fog or at night. Now, I lean more on the GPS and AIS. But the fog, I still have to be cautious. Fog it not that common here in the PNW so I haven't justified it yet. Now Southern Calif. (SD) in the spring, it was a daily event......................_/)
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:00   #8
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Alarm ehh Del ... well, thats nice. I have the 1980's version with huge CRT and the wonderful Green Screen. Lots of analog adjustments to fine tune, and just blips and blobs to interpret. And you know what? It works just fine and it appears to still be in calibration. Measuring the range rings and scale setting confirms distance to land (among other things).

I'll keep my "green eyes" mask creating radar and try and not need it to pick my way along in a dense fog. It works, so I'm not 'fixing' it.
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Old 07-06-2007, 13:20   #9
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Originally Posted by S/V Elusive
... I have the 1980's version with huge CRT and the wonderful Green Screen. ..
Ditto - I have a green screen Furuno early 90's model that is fantastic. It is definitely staying aboard...

But for low power consumption while sailing offshore at night the JRC LCD unit is also good. Guess I'll just have to keep them both.

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Old 07-06-2007, 13:52   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpj23
Ditto - I have a green screen Furuno early 90's model that is fantastic. It is definitely staying aboard...

But for low power consumption while sailing offshore at night the JRC LCD unit is also good. Guess I'll just have to keep them both.

It must be nice to have that extra 9 feet of length and extra beam, along with all those extra bucks to afford that! :P
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Old 07-06-2007, 14:09   #11
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Uh-oh Thomas... not another "How Big is Too Big" thread... please!!
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Old 07-06-2007, 16:40   #12
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ahhhh.. come on Mark ... YOU are the one carrying that 'big rack' on top of your head. :::running and ducking:::

But to keep this somewhere on track - Someone above had an EXCELLENT idea - use your radar in IDEAL conditions. Compare what you see on the screen with what you see with your eyes. You'll get the correlation quickly enough - play with the refinements (clutter, rain, etc) and you'll be competent very quickly.
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:31   #13
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Thanks for the comments:

I agree that using it is the best solution but I don't get as much time on the boat as I would like. I thought that if there was a good software program out there I could practice on the computer and therefore be more profcient when I "need" the radar. I have an 80's vintage Furuno with the green CRT. It was a high quality unit when new and still works fine I just like the idea of practicing when at home where things are not critical. After all the screen isn't going to be much different.
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Fair Winds,

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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 14-01-2008, 21:49   #14
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Charlie, why not ask ex-calif? He's a commercial pilot. Uses radar all the time.
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Old 14-01-2008, 22:28   #15
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Rez:

Good point I will PM him and invite him to comment.
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Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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