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Old 26-03-2009, 16:40   #1
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Digital Radar Pros and Cons?

Hey all,

I'm considering getting a radar for the boat- I'd go with a Raymarine product just to match the other existing hardware. Question:

I see that digital radar is marketed as having "automatic operation" and better resolution than analog units. That sounds good, but has anyone had any experience using these? My fear is that with automatic operation, things with very small or intermittent returns may be culled by the processor(?) before it ever makes it to the display. Also, does the de-clutter function remove the capability to see squalls because it auto-adjusts? Can you override the auto-tune feature and manually declutter and adjust gain, tuning? It also looks like the analog uses less power, so I'm curious if people think the digital radar is worth the extra $$$ and power consumption.

As a sidebar, I think the super HD digital version comes in 256 color radar- sounds very fancy, but is this useful? Not that I'm considering this one- seems to fru-fru for me. Just curious if it brings anything helpful to the table.

Thanks for the experienced responses!

Frank
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Old 26-03-2009, 16:45   #2
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Auto Operation is a bad thing. I have found radar to be much less useful if you cant do the trimming yourself for sea state etc. If override is available you definitely want it.
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Old 26-03-2009, 19:29   #3
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Analog vs digital

Digital radars retain the manual "tuning" capability. They are, in fact, an "analog" of analog. In general, all digital filtering and processing must follow the same mathmatics that dictates analog filtering and processing. With good design you loose nothing when going to digital radar. You will enjoy several benefits.
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Old 26-03-2009, 20:54   #4
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I would agree with Rick. Radar takes a lot of time to get the most out of it. It's not easy to resolve in 3D what is displayed in 2D. Experience still counts. The nature of digital is not different in the technology that collects the data just the presentation. The lighter weight and lower power on the display end of the radar is great, but it does not make it any better but perhaps more usable.
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Old 26-03-2009, 21:07   #5
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Had the Raymarine / Northstar approx 6 months combination chartplotter radar 10inch screen Works very well I've done entire east coast of aus and would'nt be without for night sailing in shipping lanes.Colregs for ships big gives way to bigger.
cheers Steve
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Old 27-03-2009, 12:56   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Digital radars retain the manual "tuning" capability. They are, in fact, an "analog" of analog. In general, all digital filtering and processing must follow the same mathmatics that dictates analog filtering and processing. With good design you loose nothing when going to digital radar. You will enjoy several benefits.
That clears up the auto adjust question for me, thanks!
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Old 28-03-2009, 08:33   #7
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May I suggest you look at the Garmin HD...price and performance is exceptional and you are not locked into a product from a company that leaves customers in the dust when they make a change.
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Old 28-03-2009, 13:28   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoPowers View Post
I see that digital radar is marketed as having "automatic operation" and better resolution than analog units.
Frank,

I want to be clear on what you are asking. Are you asking about:
  • Digital dual range radar (e.g. a T-900)
    Quote:
    "Dual Range Radar function lets you view split-screen displays of both long and short-range targets simultaneously. Monitor a nearby buoy and a far off island at the same time"
  • Broadband radar
    Quote:
    transmits at “1/2000th the power of typical pulse radars.” ... " So…high target resolution, very low power draw, almost no dangerous radiation, and no tuning or warm up time needed…is this an interesting development, or what?"
  • Solid State radar
    Quote:
    prototype Honeywell gear “has a range resolution of 35’ at 5 nm and degrades to 62’ at 10 nm worst case vs 600' in most magnetrons using 1.2 uSec pulses at that range. Our system provides 145’ resolution at 20 nm when the standard radar is already at 600 - 700'. We can improve that substantially.”
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Old 28-03-2009, 15:08   #9
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I am going to wait till next year on a radar upgrade.
The broadband system looks great.
Compared to my 10 yr old RL70 anthing is an improvement. A couple of years ago Raymarine fixed it for me and freshened it up with the latest software so it works better than new.
I do have a problem with "bleeding edge technology" too often the bleeding is from my wallet.

Carl
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Old 28-03-2009, 18:52   #10
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Nobody answered your question about clutter. There are two types of clutter, Sea Clutter and Rain Clutter. I have used both analog radars and digital radars. All the radars are digital now. There is virtually no difference between rain clutter or sea clutter on a digital versus an old analog radar.

Overall the newer digital radars are easier to tune, adjust and to use. They also have a lot more features, like ARPA, that were not available on old analog yacht radars. The prices are also a hell of a lot cheaper than they used to be. They also use a lot less power. It still takes some practice to learn a radars abilities and its limitations. The AUTO settings on radars are not necessarily the best but if you have not had much practice then they are okay to use.

Also, your typical yacht radar does not give you any more RF than standing in the sun. The RF energy drops with the square of the distance from the antenna.
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Old 28-03-2009, 21:46   #11
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These are the two I was looking at since I would be going with Raymarine to match existing hardware (E-series):

Analog Radar (24 nm max):
Raymarine Marine Electronics - RD218 Radome Radar Scanner

Digital Radar (48 nm max):
Raymarine Marine Electronics - RD418D 4KW Digital Radome

Since there weren't any negative comments on power consumption, and the auto tune isn't a really a function of digital radar in itself, I'll probably go with the digital one. I looked through the on-line reference manual and yes, you can manually adjust the digital one if you want.

This, by the way, was the 256-color radar I mentioned:

Raymarine Marine Electronics - RA1048HD 4kW 48” HD Digital Open Array

I don't think raymarine has any broadband radars?

I've had plenty of experience using radar standing officer of the deck watch, but that ended over 5 years ago and I wanted to pick your collective brains on what digital radar brought to the table besides a blanket, "it's better, because it's digital" that the brochures seem to say.
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Old 30-03-2009, 10:59   #12
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anyone can share sample arpa radar log file?

Dear Friends,

For my own software project, I need arpa radar logfile full of NMEA sentences. The sentences I need ar $RATTM which indicate arpa radar tracks. I've searched the net but have not been successful in finding any sample logs. I have information about the sentence format however I need some sample log file to test if my software routines will be able to split and process the messages correctly.

Any help is appreciated,

Thanks in advance..
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Old 30-03-2009, 15:15   #13
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A friend gave me a NMEA file that includes the TTM messages. Here is one (of many):

$RATTM,03,1.474,336.45,T,0.000,180.00,T,1.474,-0.0,N,TGT 03,Q,,173837,M*6D

I have put the complete file up on my NavMonPc website if you want to grab it. This file is at the very bottom of the page, in the "Sample Files" section.
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Old 30-03-2009, 16:31   #14
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I thought digital radar was going to be something like this
PC Compatible

It's what I would like to be looking at (comments?) 1/2 a 22' LCD monitor with that and half with nav at the inside helm for night passages.

Sounds nice

Dave
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Old 31-03-2009, 00:57   #15
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Dear Paul,

That logfile is exactly what I need, I appreciate it.
By the way; I live in Turkey and own a project which is a GPS+AIS+ARPA(soon) supported PC navigation software to be used with S-57 format electronic maps. NOAA delivers them for free in the U.S. but in Turkey, we have been the first company to sign an agency agreement with the Turkish Hydrography Office. By this agreement, we will are able to distribute the ENC maps for the Turkish waters within our bundled software.

Our website is www.dogateknoloji.com and both the websites' and the software's english versions will be available by the end of April.

I would do my best to bring out a free trial of the software for the forum users.

Best Regards,

Mehmet Gurmen
Doga Teknoloji

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
A friend gave me a NMEA file that includes the TTM messages. Here is one (of many):

$RATTM,03,1.474,336.45,T,0.000,180.00,T,1.474,-0.0,N,TGT 03,Q,,173837,M*6D

I have put the complete file up on my NavMonPc website if you want to grab it. This file is at the very bottom of the page, in the "Sample Files" section.
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