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Old 16-12-2009, 12:13   #1
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Radar System vs Radar Detector

I was talking with a friend last night and the subject came up about Radar, He was telling me that some boaters just buy a car Radar detector and in some way I feel like this is all that is needed.

I would like to know if any of you have used one in lue of a Radar system that cost around $2,000 to $3,000.



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Old 16-12-2009, 12:22   #2
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You would want to check which portion of the radar spectrum that car radar detectors detect. My guess is that car radar detectors tune out marine radar frequencies otherwise they would be broadcasting a bunch of false alarms every rime they got near a boat with its radar on. If they did work, I dont know how well they might hold up in a marine environment.

There are marine radar detectors specifically for boats. They also read out which quadrant the detector is sensing a marine radar. Just for safety's sake, I would be inclined to go with the radar detector specifically designed for a marine application.

Don't think that a radar detector is a substitute for a good radar. Radars do more than detecting other vessels.
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Old 16-12-2009, 12:38   #3
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I think alot depends on where you boat too.

Radar is probably indispensible in Places like Maine, Cape Cod and the Islands, Block Island. If you are further south it might be less of a necessity...

You might consider an AIS Transponder /Reciever if you didn't want to spend money on radar. It only picks up the big ships right now, but it's expanding. You don't want to hit anyone, but it's the big tankers and tugs that, you really want to avoid.
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:31   #4
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Another thing:

Don't think for a minute that all ships, even large commercial vessels, have their radars on at all times... they don't! We have called such ships on the VHF to ask what sort of return they were getting from our boat/radar reflector, only to have them say "hang on, we'll turn it on and see". I suspect that they may be a bit better with AIS...

Cheers,
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:42   #5
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I wouldn't trade my radar. Not only can you see boats on radar long before you can visually see them, but you can see boats that don't have radar or radar on. Radar receivers like the CARD and others only work if the other boat is using radar. Not always the case. I agree with Jim Cate that not all large ships use radar and many smaller ships.

The second thing is the weather. We spotted and tracked many a storm cell and avoided them (or tacked up to them for the wind shift).

The price of radars is under 800USD for basic units. Not a big price for all of the uses.
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:43   #6
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We like to see where and what they are from 20-30 miles away and then give them a wide bearth if we need to.

Try getting into Halifax NS in a thick fog witout real radar.

A secondary use in Florida is seeing the rain and thunder squalls comming an getting around them.
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Old 16-12-2009, 15:42   #7
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Radar detector might be a good proximity alarm (not failsafe, since as was mentioned, a lot of collision risks don't have radar running all the time), but no kind of substitute for radar, which has a hundred other uses.

Radar needn't cost you $2000 or $3000. If you are somewhat handy, you can pick up a last generation (or generation before last) Raymarine radar for peanuts, or for free, and install yourself. Every time a new generation of radar/chartplotter equipment comes out, a lot of people dump their old gear for the latest and greatest. The old gear is not necessarily so bad (it was itself the latest and greatest not too long ago).

Beware of bad magnetrons on used radar sets, however -- don't buy one which you can't see working, or which has a guaranty.
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Old 16-12-2009, 15:46   #8
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Radar detector

IMHO, a radar detector is basically nothing more than a toy. Most smaller boats do not have radar, and just because a boat has radar, doesn't mean they have it turned or, or even know how to use it. Depending on your area and sailing grounds has a lot to do with whether on not you need a radar. The 2 to 3K figure you have is way out of of reality for a dependable radar for a sailboat. You can easily find a good, dependable radar for 1K, and possibly less if you shop around. You do not need a high dollar, 48 mile unit on a sailboat. A good 16 mile unit should do you fine.
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Old 16-12-2009, 16:00   #9
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Thank you all very much, I will be getting the Radar, Raymarine has one for $1800 and my life and my wifes life is not something I want to be cheap about.

It was just a thought I wanted to put out there.


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Old 16-12-2009, 16:10   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnar View Post
Thank you all very much, I will be getting the Radar, Raymarine has one for $1800 and my life and my wifes life is not something I want to be cheap about.

It was just a thought I wanted to put out there.


Dutch
fyi: I had others tell me they can't see me on their radar (when I was
within a mile), so don't depend on it. But navy ships have located me
from 10 miles away.
Tom
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Old 16-12-2009, 16:27   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnar View Post
Thank you all very much, I will be getting the Radar, Raymarine has one for $1800 and my life and my wifes life is not something I want to be cheap about.

It was just a thought I wanted to put out there.


Dutch
I would have a look at new and used Furuno's and Garmin's as well. Raymarine may be going out of business.
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Old 16-12-2009, 16:43   #12
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Would have to agree with David M, both Furuno and Garmin are very good units and will be staying in business (as much as anyone can predict the future).
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Old 16-12-2009, 16:52   #13
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There's now actually a rather limited offer of standalone radar systems as the manufacturers attempt to force their overpriced plotters upon you.

I've used the (standalone) Furuno 1623 on a charter yacht before, it's ok and quite affordable.

Having said that, I am also considering operating without radar and investing the profit into a good passive radar reflector combined with an AIS transceiver. This should have me showing up on the screens of radar-equipped and AIS-equipped SOLAS boats (mandatory for everything large, commercial and/or fast) and have me seeing the latter type as well.
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Old 16-12-2009, 17:31   #14
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go to a boatshow and check out the various models in the flesh. You can learn more that way than reading stuff on line. It is what I did and ended up getting a Garmin HD unit. Not too expensive (as these things go) and truly amazing resolution.
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Old 16-12-2009, 17:51   #15
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Using a car radar detector to detect marine radar, would be like using an AM radio to get FM broadcasts.

Ain't gonna happen. The frequencies used are totally different.

(Yeah, I kjnow the analogy is technically incorrect, anyone who knows that already knows why so that's a moot point.)
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