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Old 14-12-2013, 11:24   #16
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Re: Opinions on radar

So what I am reading, is that Ray, Garmin, Furuno, are all about the same, assuming they are all Broad Band 2-4kw. It only gets down to, how user friendly and personal preference. ...and of course price?

It would be nice to find a marine electronics store, with knowledgable staff, where I can physically compare.
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Old 14-12-2013, 11:35   #17
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Re: Opinions on radar

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
All radars described as HD , SHD or UHD are simply a base radar unit of a particular horizontal beam-width but using digital signal processing to enhance the image.
No. Solid State radars do not have a magnetron.



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Old 14-12-2013, 11:47   #18
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Re: Opinions on radar

What I did was go to the boat show">Annapolis boat show where all the manufacturers had display units and played with them all. Garmin won but that is just me. Go play with them if there is a show nearby and you will also have the benefit of a guy there who will know the answers to your questions. Also boat show pricing!
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Old 14-12-2013, 11:51   #19
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Re: Opinions on radar

Real good point. I missed the Annapolis boat show, and want to have the unit installed, before I make the passage from St. Thomas to Kent Island in May. Going to plan a straight shot to Norfolk and up the bay.
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Old 14-12-2013, 12:01   #20
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Re: Opinions on radar

The newer digital radars can display on OpenCPN. That means no need to buy a display!
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Old 14-12-2013, 12:13   #21
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Re: Opinions on radar

All of the major players radar's are very good and they keep trying to leap frog each other. Garmin just announced a new set of radars. I expect Simrad, Raymarine and Furuno all have new ones coming.

But I use radar much less than I used to. That's because a chartplotter is a much better way to avoid running into something that's not moving like a buoy or an island.

And AIS is a much, much better way to avoid colliding with a moving boat. It's always been easy to use a radar to spot a 300ft tanker but less clear what you do to avoid a collision. AIS gives you a reliable closest approach distance to decide if you need to change course (you can try this with radar using MARPA but it's very inaccurate).

Of course some boats don't transmit AIS but these days they are small boats that are also very hard to spot on radar (thus the need for radar reflectors). Naval ships also don't always transmit AIS but they'll let you know if they want you to turn

Radar guard zone alarms are very hard to use to spot small boats (the kind that might lack AIS). It's quite hard to tune a radar so the alarm will reliably go off for a fiberglass fishing boat but not go off for a bigger than average wave. Eventually you get sick of the false alarms and turn it off. Most chartplotters have alarms for AIS that are quite good.

I tried to use my radar last year to spot lobster buoys in Maine in dense fog. I could do it about 50% of the time (which isn't enough to rely on), but it took 100% concentration so my wife had to steer. It was easier and more accurate to go slow and stand on the bow.

If you don't already have an AIS transponder, I'd install that before radar.
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Old 14-12-2013, 12:36   #22
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Re: Opinions on radar

Having AIS is in the plan. Another reason I want the radar, is that I don't want to get caught off guard at night, in the event a squall rolls through. 1700NM is a pretty good haul, and I will want some reefing notice. Appreciate your thoughts on that.
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Old 14-12-2013, 12:46   #23
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Re: Opinions on radar

Spotting rain squalls far offshore at night is one of the remaining good uses of radar. For offshore work, you may care about the power draw. Less than it used to be but still significant if you plan to leave the radar on. The Simrad units have a new technology that draws less power - but I've heard that they may be less good at longer range for things like spotting rain squalls.

A nifty new feature in radars that you might want to look for is the ability to display two ranges at the same time. I believe that Furuno and Simrad already have this. The new Garmins will too.

Panbo is a great place to read about marine electronics. He displays pictures of the same scene on different brands of radar.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub
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Old 14-12-2013, 13:04   #24
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One other thought that has been reflected in past radar threads. Tuning it and understanding the tuning before it's needed is still valuable. Though it is much easier these days.
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Old 14-12-2013, 13:15   #25
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Re: Opinions on radar

One more thing to be aware of ...

I'm not sure exactly why, but the Broadband/Solid state/HD radars are more susceptible to interference from other radars. Maybe just because they are more sensitive.

The way it manifests itself is that you can tell if you have an aircraft carrier sneaking up on you because you'll see an x-mas tree shoot off in the direction of the ACC when its radar beam hits you. The only time it is a real issue is if you are in a busy harbor with a bunch of coastal tugs in poor visibility and they are all running high power radars.

In reference to the power draw, I think our now-older Simrad HD draws under 1 A for the radar.



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Old 14-12-2013, 14:05   #26
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Respectfully, I disagree with several points that CarlF made. Specifically, radar is mentioned in the colregs for collision avoidance. AIS is not. Why? Because with proper interpretation using the Radar's tools, such as the VRB, you can easily derive a closest point of approach. Further, using the echo trail feature, you can quickly determine which boats are stationary, and which pose a risk. And you can see the many, many floating objects that do not have AIS installed. This past August, a small open lobster launch came at me doing at least 15 knots in dense fog in a narrow channel. He had no AIS, of course, and my baby Furuno was all that saved us both from a very bad day. Given a choice, I'll take radar over AIS any day of the week. However,... It is probably best to consider them complementary. By the way, I have the basic Furuno 1623, which has a tiny radome. Effective range, maybe 6 nautical miles for your basic ship, and about 2 for a lobster boat or a cruiser. My point is that any radar will give you 90% of the functionality of the best radar. I recommend buying a good book on marine radar before you buy a unit. You might be surprised about what features are really important, and which are fluff.
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Old 14-12-2013, 14:39   #27
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Re: Opinions on radar

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Originally Posted by Mainebristol View Post
Respectfully, I disagree with several points that CarlF made. Specifically, radar is mentioned in the colregs for collision avoidance. AIS is not. Why? Because with proper interpretation using the Radar's tools, such as the VRB, you can easily derive a closest point of approach. Further, using the echo trail feature, you can quickly determine which boats are stationary, and which pose a risk. And you can see the many, many floating objects that do not have AIS installed. This past August, a small open lobster launch came at me doing at least 15 knots in dense fog in a narrow channel. He had no AIS, of course, and my baby Furuno was all that saved us both from a very bad day. Given a choice, I'll take radar over AIS any day of the week. However,... It is probably best to consider them complementary. By the way, I have the basic Furuno 1623, which has a tiny radome. Effective range, maybe 6 nautical miles for your basic ship, and about 2 for a lobster boat or a cruiser. My point is that any radar will give you 90% of the functionality of the best radar. I recommend buying a good book on marine radar before you buy a unit. You might be surprised about what features are really important, and which are fluff.
All excellent points. Until the day comes when all vessels, small and large, are equipped with AIS transceivers, AIS will not be a substitute for radar.
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Old 14-12-2013, 14:46   #28
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All excellent points. Until the day comes when all vessels, small and large, are equipped with AIS transceivers, AIS will not be a substitute for radar.
I'm not so sure even then, there are still lots of bouys etc to hit. One of the best uses I have had for mine is to see if there is heavy rain over the horizon headed my way. Stuck in fog, I have used it to pick my way through a familiar channel, it's tell you there is a bridge ahead as well. One of the things I like about mine is it will overlay the Radar image over the chart plotter image
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Old 14-12-2013, 14:54   #29
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Re: Opinions on radar

Two really good pieces of advise. Learn to use the unit during nice days, and getting a good book. Also the panbo site is great!
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Old 14-12-2013, 15:21   #30
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Re: Opinions on radar

I did a quick search and the Garmin 740s, with the radar package can be had for about 1800 usd at West Marine's web site, and there is an optional "Marpa" which gives you CPA and TCPA, for up to 10 targets. It is also a sonar, so if you have a 50/200 transducer you can use the depth finder feature also. Pretty complete package for a nice looking chart plotter. I have no experience with this unit, but I like the specs. I think, I'll ask Santa to put that on my gift list.
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