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Old 19-10-2009, 20:35   #1
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Location: California's High Desert, Yucca Valley, CA
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Looking for Input on Radar / GPS / Chartplotter

Like many of us I started sailing just over 50 years ago. I sailed off and on for 20 years and then took a 30 year vacation flying airplanes, being a Marine officer and by skill an Air Traffic Controller. Now I'm back to sailboats. When I sailed GPS was pie in sky, INS was a reality that required a mortgage on the house, LORAN was real, but only if you could give up a pilot berth for all of the equipment. So I learned how to use a sextant. However, as I fit out my Ingrid 38 project I'm looking hard at radar, and a GPS chartPlotter.

Here's where I'd like some help from those who have trodded this path already. I'd like to have a Radar that I can overlay on the cockpit GPS. In either case I have no interest is a system that will also call home, bake cookies and entertain me with idle chatter. I've already sorted out the USB antenna to the laptop for the charts that I have there. That's a backup. Now remember, I spent 25 years in the Marine Corps, so the KISS principle applys. What is a reasonably priced GPS that I can overlay the Radar on and what interface bells and whistles are required so that a reasonably intelligent conversation can take place between the two systems? I would prefer not to have to route them via the computer.

Simple is the key phrase here.

Glen
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Old 19-10-2009, 22:18   #2
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Originally Posted by 04 Marine View Post
Like many of us I started sailing just over 50 years ago. I sailed off and on for 20 years and then took a 30 year vacation flying airplanes, being a Marine officer and by skill an Air Traffic Controller. Now I'm back to sailboats. When I sailed GPS was pie in sky, INS was a reality that required a mortgage on the house, LORAN was real, but only if you could give up a pilot berth for all of the equipment. So I learned how to use a sextant. However, as I fit out my Ingrid 38 project I'm looking hard at radar, and a GPS chartPlotter.

Here's where I'd like some help from those who have trodded this path already. I'd like to have a Radar that I can overlay on the cockpit GPS. In either case I have no interest is a system that will also call home, bake cookies and entertain me with idle chatter. I've already sorted out the USB antenna to the laptop for the charts that I have there. That's a backup. Now remember, I spent 25 years in the Marine Corps, so the KISS principle applys. What is a reasonably priced GPS that I can overlay the Radar on and what interface bells and whistles are required so that a reasonably intelligent conversation can take place between the two systems? I would prefer not to have to route them via the computer.

Simple is the key phrase here.

Glen
This is my observation on radar overlay plotters. The radar overlay is a radar image that is made simi transparent so you can see the chart, but the transparency level that is used can cause you to not see some smaller, fainter targets. So far I have not found a way on my particular unit to adjust the transparency level, so I find it a little lacking. Another thing that I find much harder to do is making manual adjustments to the radar, because plotters with radar overlay are software menu driven. It is much easier to make manual adjustments with a stand alone radar (knobs and switches), than working through software menu adjustments. On my unit the default for the radar is 'auto' mode, and much information can be lost staying in this mode. Things change often on the water, and the ability to compensate for these changes rapidly is desireable...overlay plotters do not make this process easy. This is not to say I do not like the overlay aspect, but if I was to do it over again I would have to separate units that I could adjust at the helm...with manual adjustment for the radar.

Just my opinion.
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Old 20-10-2009, 01:35   #3
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Well, pretty much any modern manufacturer of digital radar has a chartplotter you can pair with it.

Get one of the Raymarine plotters and a raymarine radome and you're set. You didn't mention budget, so it's hard to recommend a model. I think anything from the $1000 c series plotters to the $10,000 high end models will big fancy touch-screens (Raymarine E-Series Widescreen with HybridTouch New Product Preview). Just make sure it supports radar input on the specs.

Most of these will do both overlay as well as range-matched side-by-side views, which is a probably more useful view for most things.

Good luck with that!
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