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Old 29-04-2018, 08:10   #1
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Most affordable radar for coastal use

I have sailed 40+years with hardly any electronics, not a caveman as I do have noaa charts in my gen1 iPad
With AIS and radar prices coming down, I would like advice on getting affordable radar. My trips are quite coastal around south Florida, Keys, and Bahamas. In Miami where I live, is very active with all kind of boats and freighters, so you could argue radar will be crowded, but the feature I like to use is all about storm clouds as they will form quickly here and comes with short but intense wind periods
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Old 29-04-2018, 08:19   #2
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

There is a guy on Cruisers Forum selling a used Garmin radar and chartplotter combination for maybe $1000 - this is a great deal for the combo. The radar he is selling is one update newer than mine and I like mine a lot. It doesn't take a lot of fancy features to make a radar invaluable.
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Old 29-04-2018, 08:50   #3
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

In general a given brand of radar is only compatible with the MFD of the same brand, so you buy them together. Keep that in mind.

All of the big brands are for the most part equivalent in terms of value for the dollar. They all have different features and strengths, but in the end there are no "budget" brands.

Your least expensive option is going to be buying used, maybe a generation or two old, from someone who needs the "latest and greatest".

Your next least expensive option is going to be remanufactured last generation...essentially clearance of remanufactured units that are available when a new line of products comes out. Defender.com sells these quite often.

AIS you'll buy separately and network to your MFD. Some VHF units have built in AIS, but those that are NMEA 2000 are few and expensive.
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Old 29-04-2018, 09:47   #4
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlosproa View Post
I have sailed 40+years with hardly any electronics, not a caveman as I do have noaa charts in my gen1 iPad
With AIS and radar prices coming down, I would like advice on getting affordable radar. My trips are quite coastal around south Florida, Keys, and Bahamas. In Miami where I live, is very active with all kind of boats and freighters, so you could argue radar will be crowded, but the feature I like to use is all about storm clouds as they will form quickly here and comes with short but intense wind periods
I think this is a very good decision indeed. Radar is fantastically useful if you do anything besides day sailing in good weather. Not just collision avoidance and weather but also pilotage and giving you a way to double check your plotter. I wouldn't want to be without it, personally.

If you care about tracking squalls, then you will probably prefer a normal pulse radar set over a CW set like the Simrad 4G.

Furuno is probably the best, and the small ones are quite inexpensive. You can buy a wifi version which doesn't need a dedicated screen, but you will want the dedicated screen in bad weather.

This one is only $1500: https://www.defender.com/product.jsp...797&id=4161055

Then you could buy a used NavNet TZ Touch screen for it, which is also a good plotter.
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Old 30-04-2018, 06:01   #5
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

The most affordable radar that will serve your purpose would be the Furuno 1715. However the Furuno 1815 is an amazing radar for a few hundred more.

These are stand alone radars. They come with a dome and display and will not require a MFD.

Don't forget the installation cost as well. Manufactured radar mounts are not cheap.
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Old 30-04-2018, 07:05   #6
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

The cheapest are the used ones, on sites like eBay. Sometimes these are dead cheap at 500 Euro, sometimes they are just dead ;-)

For buying new the cheapest solution would be to use the Ipad in a bag as the display. The Furuno DRS4W which streams the radar to your ipad is round 1200 Euro. No clue if it works with 1st gen Ipad.

Cheapest radar with dedicated black/white LCD screen is the Furuno 1715, about 1800 Euro.

Modern radar with a color MFD is 1300+ Euro for the radar antenna plus a few hundred / thousand for the MFD of your choice.

If you like to tinker with electronics: Raspberry Pi running OpenCpn and a Garmin radar antenna. Maybe 1500 Euro all included.
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Old 30-04-2018, 08:17   #7
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

HI,
I took my radar off the boat at the end of the last season.
I race the boat in a protected area, so I just don't use it.
I would be glad to sell it at a reasonable price.
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Old 30-04-2018, 08:22   #8
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

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Originally Posted by armbruster100 View Post
HI,
I took my radar off the boat at the end of the last season.
I race the boat in a protected area, so I just don't use it.
I would be glad to sell it at a reasonable price.
Bill Armbruster
What brand and model? I'm looking for a Garmin dome to link to my Garmin plotter.
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Old 30-04-2018, 08:46   #9
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

Take a look at this JRC JMA-2343 10" Marine Radar (4kW) I like to keep things independent especially things like radar. Means if your chart plotter fails you don't loose everything. Being CRT instead of LED means a much bigger display butalso great detail. Small commercial radars are much cheaper than leisure ones for what you get. Things to look out for are power and scannar size. 4kw 24" gives good target discrimination and enough power to punch through haze or rain. The other really important feature for me is stabilization. Being able to link to GPS and heading sensors means the picture does not jump around as the boat changes heading (set to head up it will compensate for heading changes up to about 10deg either side without targets moving) This makes it much easier to plot targets and you can get a GPS position for a target so you can plot things like the center of a storm cloud and see if you will miss it. You may now be able to get the same feature on an LED set, haven't looked recently, which means less bulk and lower power.
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Old 30-04-2018, 09:01   #10
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

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Originally Posted by KeelMe View Post
The most affordable radar that will serve your purpose would be the Furuno 1715. However the Furuno 1815 is an amazing radar for a few hundred more.

These are stand alone radars. They come with a dome and display and will not require a MFD.

Don't forget the installation cost as well. Manufactured radar mounts are not cheap.
I just bought an 1815 and a Scanstrut gimballing mast mount. Total cost: about $2,900 U.S. I bought it specifically because we are going offshore, but also because I like to see squalls approaching and we have enough battery capacity to run it as long as we want. Coastal work? I might go favour the newer "digital" radars because they give (generally) more detail at shorter ranges, but they also are less power-hungry, which might be an issue on a coastal boat.

A comment here if you are in an area with lots of commercial traffic: AIS and radar work hand in glove and an AIS-receiving VHF feeding over NMEA AIS targets into the radar (or both radar and AIS into a plotter) gives you excellent situational awareness against confusing or overly bright looms of shoreline lights, when it can be hard to see the freighter bearing down.

But a stand-alone radar and a lot of training on it to ride the gain/clutter controls effectively is also a great investment.
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Old 30-04-2018, 09:03   #11
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

I wasn't aware that there is still any manufacturer for CRTs around at all, regardless of application. Last time I've seen a CRT was in a museum.

The one you linked is certainly not the most affordable but at least it has MARPA.
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Old 30-04-2018, 09:50   #12
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

I just purchased a B&G Vulcan 9/radar bundle from West Marine on sale for $1,849. Regular price $2,289. (yeah, I know, West Marine) But I had been watching this bundle at 6 other marine online sites and West Marine beat all the other's prices, on sale or not.

Was told that they will also have the Vulcan 7 chart/radar in a bundle shortly. And both the Vulcan 7 and 9 units will be discounted during their 4th of July sale.

This B&G unit is replacing a 20+ year old Furuno unit that served us well. (We keep things that work as long as they do and do not trade up to be trendy) My other instruments are all B&G so it was the logical choice.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 30-04-2018, 11:48   #13
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

Quote:
Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Take a look at this JRC JMA-2343 10" Marine Radar (4kW) I like to keep things independent especially things like radar. Means if your chart plotter fails you don't loose everything. Being CRT instead of LED means a much bigger display butalso great detail. Small commercial radars are much cheaper than leisure ones for what you get. Things to look out for are power and scannar size. 4kw 24" gives good target discrimination and enough power to punch through haze or rain. The other really important feature for me is stabilization. Being able to link to GPS and heading sensors means the picture does not jump around as the boat changes heading (set to head up it will compensate for heading changes up to about 10deg either side without targets moving) This makes it much easier to plot targets and you can get a GPS position for a target so you can plot things like the center of a storm cloud and see if you will miss it. You may now be able to get the same feature on an LED set, haven't looked recently, which means less bulk and lower power.
That radar has been out of production for 15 years, as far as I know!

There has been huge progress with digital signal processing since those days. What is sold as "digital radar" is radar where the output from the magnetron goes through DSP, and it makes a huge difference in how well the radar works, particularly false alarms in guard zones.

The OP definitely does not want an old fashioned radar.

The two main types of radar available these days are called "pulse radar", the traditional type which sends discrete pulses of energy via a magnetron, and "CW radar", which sends a continuous signal which varies in frequency. That's the Navico BSR, 3G, and 4G systems.

I have a CW set and I am pretty well pleased with it, but I think the OP will want a pulse set as these do a much better job on squalls and weather. The Furuno pulse radar sets are particularly good with a totally superior ARPA implementation. The newest ones now have doppler signal processing which can show relative motion of targets. Something like that is what I would recommend.
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Old 30-04-2018, 12:55   #14
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

You are probably advantaged by the MFT u already would have
but since you dont have one

As I understand it many are now wireless, but can be connected to a wireless device via a multiplexer running the same baud rate

This because manufacturers perhaps understandably are running backbones which communicate with their products, and all of them cost money.

By example Zaya isnt so fortunate to be equipped under the Greenacres 'money is no object plan' so Ive been interested in adding devices to my stand alone Clipper sounder and Raymarine chartplotter.

The bad news is I dont have the answers you want, the good news is that ppl seem to keep finding workarounds.
In that light ... run your radar from a laptop? ...Yes we can ..

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Old 09-07-2018, 12:32   #15
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Re: Most affordable radar for coastal use

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
I just bought an 1815 and a Scanstrut gimballing mast mount. Total cost: about $2,900 U.S. I bought it specifically because we are going offshore, but also because I like to see squalls approaching and we have enough battery capacity to run it as long as we want. Coastal work? I might go favour the newer "digital" radars because they give (generally) more detail at shorter ranges, but they also are less power-hungry, which might be an issue on a coastal boat.
I am thinking about gimballed scanstrut - how are you finding it? In a big confused sea does your radar slam around?
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