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Old 03-02-2016, 10:40   #1
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Broadbans vs conventional radar

I'm looking to replace the electronics on my boat within the next year and am very interested in broadband radar.
Does anyone here have experience with broadband radar setups and if so what were the good and bad things about them.
I'm leaning toward Simrad, since they seem to have an edge on the rest of the makers but I'm open to other brands, I'm not stuck to one brand since I'm replacing the whole setup.
The only one I'd shy away from is Garmin, my experience with Garmin in the past was mediocre, has that changed?
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:15   #2
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

I have B&G 4G Radar.
My take is my old Garmin HD was awfully good and that Garmin's real strong point was ease of use, the whole Plotter, not just Radar.
My Zeus and 4G may be "better" but not hugely so, but it is a whole lot more difficult to use, just not so intuitive, plotter more so than Radar.

Power consumption of both is very close I believe, but what intrigued me was the extremely low RF output of the 4G, if Simrad can be believed, it has a lower RF output than a cell phone.

My Radar is pole mounted on the stern, and I have never been comfortable with irradiating myself with microwave energy, but this is the one thing I guess than most people don't have a concern for as I never hear of it
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Old 04-02-2016, 23:12   #3
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

I have both a Garmin HD and a Simrad 4G radar. While the Simrad is new and not sea tested yet, I have been playing with the controls at the dock. I use OpenCPN with the Simrad and find the controls much easier to use than the Garmin with my GPSMap 4008.

With the right chart plotter you can actually have two different ranges displayed concurrently. With the right chartplotter (the expensive one, of course) you can get MARPA support with the Simrad. The Garmin supports it with most of the 4000 thru 8000-series of plotters.

Note that you will need to add a heading sensor if you want to use any of the radars with chart overlay.

Cheers, ....Erik.
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Old 05-02-2016, 01:39   #4
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

As far as I found out there are two Broadband radars available for yachts. The one being the B&G/Lowrance/Simrad (all the same) and the Raymarine Chirp. The last being the new kid on the block.
When I asked the Raymarine sales-rep on how they position the new model he said there are advantages and drawbacks (like anything in life)
Pro:
- Better (more detailed) view close by
- Less power consumption
- Less RF radiation
Con:
- Less good view at distance especially in fog because of signal degradation
- Racon buoys not visible (at least not the active echo these buoys emit)
- Some PLBs have radar echo build in. Does not work for broadband

I asked the question if it was a sensible replacement for my current Raymarine HD dome, the response was that I should stick to the HD dome.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:21   #5
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

This has been much discussed recently, so looking through the archives will be rewarding.

I have been using a Navico (B&G/Simrad) 4G broadband radar for 3 years and more than 10,000 miles.

It works well and I am very happy with it in most respects.

However, I don’t think that it is revolutionary in any way. It has very good target definition, especially at close ranges, but not different in a revolutionary way from the current HD pulse radars.

Nor does it perform poorly at longer ranges. I don’t see any difference in power at 10 to 15 miles from my old 4kW pulse radar set. It doesn’t see birds or weather quite as well, though.

Power consumption is not noticeably different.

Broadband radar is instant-on, so if you like to leave it off and switch it on only to have a look at something specific, then this is an advantage of broadband. But I don’t use radar that way, so no advantage to me.

The Navico broadband radar has a neat dual range function, so you can set up two different windows with the radar set up differently on each window, not just range but separate MARPA targets, alarms, etc., etc. I don’t use this function much, but it’s a cool function for someone, probably, a real power user.

Another advantage of Navico broadband radar is that the data stream is understood by a free plug-in for OpenCPN, so you can use it on your PC. Could be very cool. I use OpenCPN but have not used this function yet.

A disadvantage of the Navico radar sets, at least the generation from three years ago which I’m using, is that MARPA works poorly – fails to maintain a good lock on targets and fails to come up with stable calculations of CPA/TCPA etc. Not that big a deal because nowadays 99% of targets where you need accurate CPA are broadcasting AIS, which is inherently far more accurate than MARPA/ARPA. For the odd target not broadcasting AIS, I'm fairly happy just using the EBL to understand the crossing. Since such targets are never large ships on very steady courses, the usefulness of precise CPA calculations is doubtful in any case. "Trails" are also very useful for understanding crossings with targets not broadcasting AIS.

I don’t have experience with Garmin radars, but Raymarine and Furuno radars are also very good. I would not choose the system just based on the radar. I don’t think you can go much wrong with any of the current HD or broadband radar sets.


One advantage of broadband radar which could be actually a killer advantage, is the low rate of false returns. This makes radar guard zones much more effective -- because it greatly reduces the number of false alarms. I don't have enough experience with the current HD pulse radars to know if this is true of them or not. Certainly it was not true of my old Raymarine Pathfinder 4kW pulse set, which could not be tuned to eliminate false returns, which meant that the radar guard zones were of somewhat limited value. The new HD pulse radars have much better signal processing, so they are bound to be better, but how much exactly I don't know.
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:26   #6
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

Thanks for the feedback.
Some of the points raised are important for my comparison shopping needs. We'll be hitting a couple shows in the near future so I can pick the vendors brains with some of these questions.
I'll be buying a complete system, so incorporating the chartplotter and radar is important, also being able to share other sensor information will be a must, I would also like the system to be able to share information with a laptop or pad.
My feeling is the more flexible it is the better I can set it up to my needs.
Of course every manufacturer claims to have the latest and greatest but in the broadband radar end it appears Simrad has the edge right now, but I'm sure that may change before I purchase a system next fall. In the meantime I'll take all the feedback I can get from other users, it appears every user has a particular need and many raise good points I may not have considered.
The radar units I've had up until now were simple sets, with basic options, but even those were extremely helpful when I needed them. The unit that came with the boat is an older CRT screen unit, the one in my previous boat was a more modern radar (Furuno) which I was very pleased with, so I've had and used units from several different makers, of course they were of vastly varying vintage, so I'd be comparing apples and oranges if I were basing my opinons on that.
There's one more thing I'm curious about here, for the most part the service support in the US has always been acceptable, with B&G being the most responsive in my case, but how is the service support on a worldwide basis for the different manufacturers? Anyone with experience from a service perspective in a far flung area?
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Old 06-02-2016, 18:11   #7
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

Quote:
There's one more thing I'm curious about here, for the most part the service support in the US has always been acceptable, with B&G being the most responsive in my case, but how is the service support on a worldwide basis for the different manufacturers? Anyone with experience from a service perspective in a far flung area?
Hard to answer globally, but I've noticed that everywhere we've been so far there are fishing boats with Furuno radar sets. Not the case with B&G, not at all.

Jim
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Old 06-02-2016, 18:42   #8
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

We have Simrad NSE-8 with 2G Broadband. It is great. In fog last year we thought something was wrong with it. We were seeing seagulls on the water and flying past. Low power use and excellent resolution in close where you want it. We see large targets out to about 15 miles. Installation was simple. Plug in & turn on - align the flux-gate compass so the radar image fits with the chart overlay.
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Old 06-02-2016, 18:50   #9
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

I installed a B&G 4G radar and Zeus2 chartplotter this year, along with a compass and some other equipment. I have never owned a radar previous, but I can say that this was pretty much plug and play. It does a beautiful chart overlay, and is very sensitive. I only have a few hours operating the radar, all of that time in fog on the ICW, and it was fantastic being able to see traffic, etc. We were able to identify the location of a swing bridge by seeing it move on radar. Ditto with traffic. Very happy with the setup. I have not looked into all of the things this radar can do, but we have an upcoming four-month cruise that I suspect will give me that chance.
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Old 06-02-2016, 19:16   #10
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

Have a look at the commercial fishing radars as mentioned by Jim. Much better sets than the pleasure market... might not integrate; why should they? provided you can get a heading marker and position into them from NMEA. Cheaper better... I have quite a lot of hands on with Raymarine HD and really don't like it. A nice picture but Raymarine and others get this nice picture by tuning out vital info because the default settings turn down the gain. The big difference between the pleasure boat targeted sets and the commercial ones is that a commercial set has controls to tune it up; the pleasure market targeted sets are dumbed down as the operator is assumed to know nothing

Me I have a basic monochrome 7" LCD Furuno.

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Old 07-02-2016, 09:17   #11
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

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Originally Posted by Littlechay View Post
Have a look at the commercial fishing radars as mentioned by Jim. Much better sets than the pleasure market... might not integrate; why should they? provided you can get a heading marker and position into them from NMEA. Cheaper better... I have quite a lot of hands on with Raymarine HD and really don't like it. A nice picture but Raymarine and others get this nice picture by tuning out vital info because the default settings turn down the gain. The big difference between the pleasure boat targeted sets and the commercial ones is that a commercial set has controls to tune it up; the pleasure market targeted sets are dumbed down as the operator is assumed to know nothing

Me I have a basic monochrome 7" LCD Furuno.

Chris
Do small commercial radars have different controls from ours? I doubt it - gain, sea clutter, rain clutter - what else is there?

US Navy nuclear submarines use the Simrad 4G radar for close-in work, by the way. Not fishing boat radars.

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Old 07-02-2016, 09:34   #12
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

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Do small commercial radars have different controls from ours? I doubt it - gain, sea clutter, rain clutter - what else is there?

US Navy nuclear submarines use the Simrad 4G radar for close-in work, by the way. Not fishing boat radars.

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Not different controls but they are accessible. You don't have to delve into menus and fiddle with touchscreens when your hands are wet, puffy and cold.

Let's face it generally the commercial stuff is designed to be used unlike the stuff aimed at the pleasure market that is designed to look pretty.

I suspect the subs want something that is small and portable and easily mounted when they are on the surface. Harbour work only.

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Old 07-02-2016, 13:25   #13
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Do small commercial radars have different controls from ours? I doubt it - gain, sea clutter, rain clutter - what else is there?

US Navy nuclear submarines use the Simrad 4G radar for close-in work, by the way. Not fishing boat radars.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlechay View Post
Not different controls but they are accessible. You don't have to delve into menus and fiddle with touchscreens when your hands are wet, puffy and cold.

Let's face it generally the commercial stuff is designed to be used unlike the stuff aimed at the pleasure market that is designed to look pretty.

I suspect the subs want something that is small and portable and easily mounted when they are on the surface. Harbour work only.

Chris


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I l have a old furuno unit on our small commercial shrimp boat but have a new Garmin radar on a trawler my parents have. I used it briefly. The Furuno does have all controls for gain, sea and rain.

I can say that I think you are confusing commercial use vs commercial units. The radar sets you are seeing on fishing vessels are no different than what we use for recreational boats. So 9 times out of 10 when you see a fishing boat with radars on them they probably have the recreational line of products. Unless it's a 150' or bigger fishing boat like a poggie boat or something they probably have commercial line equipment for regulations purposes.

The difference in recreation and true commercial is the units inside, so unless you can fit one of these screens in your boat it's probably just a regular radar antenna with a recreational line display. this is the bridge of the 300' OSV I am currently sitting in. All Furuno.

The difference is the size of the screen and sure there are more features on ours but we're trained to use them fully. I find the recreational stuff is less archaic and easier to use. The commercial stuff is unchanging, it's the same display and menus that have been in use for years the screens are just now getting better, resolution wise, on the new stuff. The radar antennas are all the same, you just dot think it because most recreational boats can't fit a 25kw 12' open array radar spinning on someone's sailboat. And most commercial vessels need more than 2-12kw.

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Old 08-02-2016, 11:27   #14
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

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I l have a old furuno unit on our small commercial shrimp boat but have a new Garmin radar on a trawler my parents have. I used it briefly. The Furuno does have all controls for gain, sea and rain.

I can say that I think you are confusing commercial use vs commercial units. The radar sets you are seeing on fishing vessels are no different than what we use for recreational boats. So 9 times out of 10 when you see a fishing boat with radars on them they probably have the recreational line of products. Unless it's a 150' or bigger fishing boat like a poggie boat or something they probably have commercial line equipment for regulations purposes.

The difference in recreation and true commercial is the units inside, so unless you can fit one of these screens in your boat it's probably just a regular radar antenna with a recreational line display. this is the bridge of the 300' OSV I am currently sitting in. All Furuno.

The difference is the size of the screen and sure there are more features on ours but we're trained to use them fully. I find the recreational stuff is less archaic and easier to use. The commercial stuff is unchanging, it's the same display and menus that have been in use for years the screens are just now getting better, resolution wise, on the new stuff. The radar antennas are all the same, you just dot think it because most recreational boats can't fit a 25kw 12' open array radar spinning on someone's sailboat. And most commercial vessels need more than 2-12kw.

See more @ redemptiverepair.com

Nope not confusing anything. I have moonlighted on work boats for many years, as crew and coxswain. Think pilot boats etc.,

There is a big difference in the ergonomics if the gear e.g. There are rotary knobs for gain, sea clutter etc.

I am also a professional high-latitude charter skipper and those boats tend to be equipped with pleasure industry gear as they are sponsored by various manufacturers ( think the big R etc..)

The workboat (commercial) gear by Furuno, JRC etc is by far the easiest to use and easiest to view.

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Old 08-02-2016, 17:24   #15
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Re: Broadbans vs conventional radar

What happened to JRC?
I had one years ago, it was an awfully good Radar.


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