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Old 17-04-2011, 07:15   #1
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Radar: Best Bang for the Buck

I am in the process of shopping for a radar set for a 40 foot boat and i am totally confused by all the techno speak in the adds. The boat is intended for coastal nav with limited offshore. Are the prices I see for the radome only or do they include the screen as well?
I realise that this may start a war, but who has the best system at the best price? I don't have deep pockets so I am not looking for something with all the bells and whistles that never get used anyway.
Gird up your loins and let the discussion begin.
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Old 17-04-2011, 07:20   #2
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

I do like Garmins offerings. THere prices are always pretty good when compared with RayMarine.
However I would like to draw less power (power is expensive) so the so called "Broard-Band" RADAR from Lowrance / Simrad is a very tempting offer. The chap on the boat next to us has just installed it. We are going to play this weekend.

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Old 17-04-2011, 07:23   #3
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

Furuno has by far the best after sales service. And their product are simple to operate and quite good.

But in your budget give a LAAARGE place to the installation costs any way. Unless you are doing it yourself.
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Old 17-04-2011, 07:39   #4
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

I think the answer depends on your budget and what other electronics you are planning to install or already have installed. In practice, you'll find that radars from any of the major players (Furuno, Raymarine, Garmin, Simrad) work very well. In general, Furuno is considered most bullet-proof. For coastal cruising, the "broadband" (FMCW) radar from Simrad has the advantages of low power consumption and best resolution. I personally came to dislike the Raymarine line of electronics due to their confused networking architecture (seatalk, seatalk2, seatalkng, seatalkhd, NMEA--they're products are not even compatible with themselves let alone anyone elses!) and lack of support for older models, but others swear by them.

Maybe you could describe your circumstances and requirements in a bit more detail?
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Old 17-04-2011, 07:40   #5
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alecadi View Post
Furuno has by far the best after sales service. And their product are simple to operate and quite good.

But in your budget give a LAAARGE place to the installation costs any way. Unless you are doing it yourself.
I do all my own stunts and installations and screw ups.
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Old 17-04-2011, 07:53   #6
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

The cruising area in question is the inside passage off the coast of B.C. from Vancouver to Haida Gwaii aka The Queen Charlottes. Fog, traffic and narrow passages.
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Old 17-04-2011, 08:20   #7
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

What are your current electronics?
ie, Do you have a chartplotter that can handle radar input?
Are you planning on getting said plotter?
You only use paper charts and need a stand alone radar?

I want a standalone radar for the same area, as I have a PC plotter and
dont intend to get a multifunction plotter, radar ,depth sounder, coffee
maker.
The Furuno 1623 is probably what I will get, unless I can find a decent
used radar at a good price.
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Old 17-04-2011, 08:26   #8
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdempsey View Post
What are your current electronics?
ie, Do you have a chartplotter that can handle radar input?
Are you planning on getting said plotter?
You only use paper charts and need a stand alone radar?

I want a standalone radar for the same area, as I have a PC plotter and
dont intend to get a multifunction plotter, radar ,depth sounder, coffee
maker.
The Furuno 1623 is probably what I will get, unless I can find a decent
used radar at a good price.
Currently there are zero electronics on board so the plan is to fit it out from scratch once only cause we want something that won't become obsolete before we drop dead. We aren't that young.
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Old 17-04-2011, 08:31   #9
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

For that area, you might favour a newer broadband radar because of the lower power draw. You could have it on intermittantly during the entire trip if the fog settles and the traffic's dense.

So you will rarely need the 24 mile range...more like four miles down to 1/4 mile. That means resolution is important. Digitals are supposed to have a little trouble with very short distances (like a pot buoy 100 feet ahead), but I haven't actually seen evidence of this, and at those short ranges, the installation has the greatest effect. You'll need to decide whether 20 feet up the mast or 10 feet up a pole off the stern or 15 up the backstay (plus the expensive gimbal) makes sense to you, so you'll have to learn more. I would suggest making friends with someone who already has a radar and going out with that person...offer them a 40 of their favourite rum in return for working their radar. That will help.

As for brands and types, the smaller radome would likely suffice, and I like Furuno, Garmin and a commercial brand, Koden. I too prefer the stand-alone radar that feeds into a PC based plotter when selected. I also think that in heavily travelled, somewhat constricted waters like yours (in the sense that there's plenty of rocks, plenty of islands and plenty of wind and tide to push you off position), the use of AIS is pretty obvious, as it compliments radar so effectively: the blob you see 15 miles ahead on a possible intercept is given a name, a bearing, a SOG and an ETA with you should you continue to barrel along. Oh, and an MMSI so you can ring 'em up on the VHF.

Those and a paper chart on a dark and foggy night would reassure me a great deal in those waters.
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Old 17-04-2011, 08:45   #10
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

Based on your cruising area, I would suggest a helm-mounted MFD with a broadband FMCW radar like Simrad, Navico, or Lowrance. I believe they are all based on the same electronics, so you can select based on the user interface and price. Whatever you select, make sure its network is NMEA 2000 or at least compatible with appropriate adapter plugs. The other consideration is the charts used.

I would stay away from a PC as the only display. For coastal sailing you will want to have the display visible from the helm. If you go with a PC based display, I think you will spend a lot of time configuring a the system to make it waterproof, compact, and reliable in the cockpit. A PC interface below in the navstation would be a fine addition, if you felt inclined to undertake the project.
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Old 17-04-2011, 08:46   #11
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Re: Radar: best bang for the buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by perchance View Post
I am in the process of shopping for a radar set for a 40 foot boat and i am totally confused by all the techno speak in the adds. The boat is intended for coastal nav with limited offshore. Are the prices I see for the radome only or do they include the screen as well?
I realise that this may start a war, but who has the best system at the best price? I don't have deep pockets so I am not looking for something with all the bells and whistles that never get used anyway.
Gird up your loins and let the discussion begin.
If you are interested in low power draw, the broadband radar (BR) is the best option. The simrad broadband radar I installed, with an 10" Northstar screen draws truly low power compared to my previous installation, plus this BR radar has better target resolution (plus "instant on", which is great in narrow waters) then my previous set. I think there are several HD radars with equal or better resolution the a BR radar, however not with the same low power draw. For the area you are sailing (BC) your focus should be on the short range (1 to 6 miles), that is where the broadband radar as well performs best.
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Old 17-04-2011, 09:17   #12
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Re: Radar: Best Bang for the Buck

Now the next question is: Where do you have the radar repeater (the screen)? Near the helm or down below at the Nav. station? Or both?
When I have my choice, the repeater will be where the helmsman/woman can see it. And on a swivel so that when I'm above decks I can see it, when having a trainee on the helm.
What do you think?
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Old 17-04-2011, 09:20   #13
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Re: Radar: Best Bang for the Buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by boasun View Post
Now the next question is: Where do you have the radar repeater (the screen)? Near the helm or down below at the Nav. station? Or both?
When I have my choice, the repeater will be where the helmsman/woman can see it. And on a swivel so that when I'm above decks I can see it, when having a trainee on the helm.
What do you think?
Display near the helm, unless your budget is very limited.
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Old 17-04-2011, 09:22   #14
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Re: Radar: Best Bang for the Buck

Near the helm as the boat is a centre cockpit with a hard cover
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Old 17-04-2011, 09:58   #15
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Re: Radar: Best Bang for the Buck

Best bang for the buck, simple, compatible and reliable....Garmin.

Expensive but the best stuff made and the best customer support....Furuno

Most problems discussed in this forum....Raymarine.
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