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Old 08-03-2014, 08:05   #16
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

I will try and clear up a few things from my organial post...No Way will i travel the ICW at night...not to fond of it in the daylight...and yes I am single handed and a greenhorn single handed at that...yes age is important as well ...74 when this trip begins...and yes i am planning on mounting it on the stern (someone earlier made and excellent comment....easy to get too....I dont plan on intergrating it into any other system...I want it to be a stand alone...I guess I am just to safety minded...to me the bennies out way the con's on this. Yes solar is being added along with a windlass...the darn thing will most likely sink with all i am adding...duh
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Old 08-03-2014, 21:27   #17
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

So DDodd in "Modern Seamanship" has a very good analysis of radar physics and their implications of where they should be mounted, how high and what range is desirable.

The upshot is that the curvature of the earth means that anything with a range in excess of 16nm is not going to be seeing anything but weather and high terrain. To see a low shore line at 16nm you would need to mount the antenna at 175'.

Generally you will be interested in where shorelines and small & medium craft close in and larger at some larger range. Because of the vertical beam with of the radar to see targets down to 100-150' you want the antennae 22-33' max above waterline, with a bear minimum of 16.5' due to pulse length. For safety you want the antennae at least 12' above the deck, no sense in frying the eyes and noggin.

Lets say you have your antennae at 18'. That means you can see a shoreline at 5.1nm max if it gives a decent return. If another small/medium vessel has a decent radar reflector at 20' you will see it 10.5nm. Large vessels with reflectors at 60' and 80' give returns at 14.4 & 15.8nm respectively.

If you are moving 5kt and a large target is coming head-on at 25kt that's about 32min they will show on the radar. If a small/medium target is coming head-on at 15kt you will still have about 30min on the radar assuming they are picked up a max range.

To get a return at 24nm the reflector on the other vessel would have to be at 248'.

Broadband vs traditional pulsed radar.
My reading indicates broadband gives sharper resolution of near targets (you are not more likely to see a target, but if 2 targets are next to each other you are more likely to see 2 objects rather than 1 bigger blob) and can detect targets at extremely close ranges. Also uses less power.
Pulsed radar gets better returns at longer ranges, sees weather better and is cheaper.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:17   #18
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

Heading south, put the money into a self steering vane and go outside. Single handing the ICW will be a very slow transit, powering much of the time, with a lot of PITA overtaking power boats. Head in to play around Charleston, Savannah or other places you may want to see.

If you were heading north, might want radar. Going south, will have very little, if any need for it and other toys will give you a much better return for the investment. Seems the bigger the boat the more people feel they need radar. Could it have something to do with excess capital for toys.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:32   #19
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

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Not having one at all is a perfectly viable option. Less cost, less power usage, less windage, less issues. Having one does not relieve you of the responsibility of keeping a good lookout. Save the money, spend it on coconuts.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:06   #20
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

It's amazing to watch how some people react to a simple question on this forum. The man asked two questions....advice on what kind of radar to buy, and where to mount it.

And we get these people coming back with You don't need a radar, or telling him what else to put his money into.

Perhaps you people should get someone who can read to go over the question with you until you understand it. Advising him to "put his money" into something competely different than a radar is indicative of some kind of drifting consciousness or something.
If you cannot answer the mans question, or help him with advice pertaining to his question, why answer at all?

From my own experience, I'd suggest considering whether you really want to jump on the multifunction display bandwagon, and whether you want max range or nearby resolution with the newer radar choices.
With a multifunction display, if you have a display failure, you lose everything. Navigation, radar, depth, wind, it's all gone. We're in the process of replacing a Furuno and making some similar decisions. I think I am going with dedicated displays or each instrument. As an alternative, I will consider a multifunction display as long as I'm sure I can quickly hook up a laptop to the sensor and work without the multifunction display when said multifunction dispaly craps out. And it will.

Also on the broadband and pulsed radar options...in my case we're definitely going with an option that gives us the best resolution of nearby objects. We've had the experience of bringing the boat into a strange marina ( Chub Cay) after a lightning strike with no lights, navigation, depth, depth, or radar. It occurred to me then how very valuable it is to be able to see pilings and buoys in the dark. And as for the big powerful systems with a lot of range....well, that's fine for supertankers that need five miles to stop or turn, but for our little boat....nobody yet every hit anything 20 miles away with their boat. But stuff fifty feet away is a clear and present danger.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:48   #21
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

I saw a new stand alone Sitex unit at the boat show that's similar to the Furuno unit, $1400 +-. I've had good luck with Sitex in the past. Personally I'd mount the dome on a pole.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:48   #22
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

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From my own experience, I'd suggest considering whether you really want to jump on the multifunction display bandwagon, and whether you want max range or nearby resolution with the newer radar choices.
With a multifunction display, if you have a display failure, you lose everything. Navigation, radar, depth, wind, it's all gone. We're in the process of replacing a Furuno and making some similar decisions. I think I am going with dedicated displays or each instrument. As an alternative, I will consider a multifunction display as long as I'm sure I can quickly hook up a laptop to the sensor and work without the multifunction display when said multifunction dispaly craps out. And it will.
Or, you can simply add another multifunction display. I have one in the cockpit and one at the nav station. They are networked but if one fails the other can function independently. So I have the benefit of having information in the cabin and in the cockpit, and redundancy.

Regarding which radar, I think that if you're going to spring for a radar you might as well get, within reason, the latest and greatest since the premium for it is pretty small. Radar is not a magic bullet, and I've had plenty of instances where I knew there was another sloop within five miles of me but neither of us showed up on the other's radar. Given that, I think shelling out for the best performing radar you can find/afford is a wise thing.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:07   #23
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

One of my concerns when I was considering pole mounted equipment was the amount of leverage a rigidly mounted pole can apply to the deck or transom.

I went with a deck mounted "H" beam with swivels at the base with 4 shrouds fore and aft. It supports radar, wind gen, 2 15w solar panels, 2 gps heads, AIS antenna and AT140 tuner.

Maybe I should put a hanging herb garden on it?

I keep spare turnbuckles and other standing rigging for it as these are intentionally kept small. (3/16)


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Old 09-03-2014, 12:26   #24
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

A few years ago West Marine had a store display, 24-mile, Furuno monochrome radar set on special sale for $1,000. The scanner I chose to mount on the mast using a commercially available stainless mount.

Buy quality. But watch for a deal.
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Old 09-03-2014, 13:26   #25
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

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Originally Posted by Cap Erict3 View Post
One of my concerns when I was considering pole mounted equipment was the amount of leverage a rigidly mounted pole can apply to the deck or transom.

I went with a deck mounted "H" beam with swivels at the base with 4 shrouds fore and aft. It supports radar, wind gen, 2 15w solar panels, 2 gps heads, AIS antenna and AT140 tuner.

Maybe I should put a hanging herb garden on it?

I keep spare turnbuckles and other standing rigging for it as these are intentionally kept small. (3/16)


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we used a quest pole and it has more than done the job - and we made it so it swivels to maintain a constant flat horizon
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Old 09-03-2014, 17:20   #26
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

wow,,,thanks gang for all the good info...there is a lot i dont know about radar and thanks to you all i am learning...Yes i do have an auto pilot and a garmin chat plotter plus a seperate system with maptech naviator on a extra lap top which has a external ant...pluse another hand held hooked up to my new radio with my new MMSI...and no i dont want it to be tied into anything else for the simple reason if the primiary system does out so goes it all.. And now for the bad news...If you haven't visited the Crusier's net and read the article on sholing that is going on in SC and Ga by the time i leave in Nov most likely some of that will be closed due to lack of dredging forcing me to go outsiden around SC and Ga therefore; the radar is now becomming very important. It appears there will be no maintenance money to the ICW in SC and GA dure to the lack of money from washingtion and we all know why . The main reason i was going down the ICW was the experience of it not for the speed...
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:30   #27
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

Have you considered a back stay mounting? Ous is there and I really like it....No wear on sails, (mast mount), and no concerns with a deck/transom mount. I installed it myself in a day and am very pleased with my choice. This may be the best option for you.
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Old 10-03-2014, 18:20   #28
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
It's amazing to watch how some people react to a simple question on this forum. The man asked two questions....advice on what kind of radar to buy, and where to mount it.

And we get these people coming back with You don't need a radar, or telling him what else to put his money into.

Perhaps you people should get someone who can read to go over the question with you until you understand it. Advising him to "put his money" into something competely different than a radar is indicative of some kind of drifting consciousness or something.
If you cannot answer the mans question, or help him with advice pertaining to his question, why answer at all?
I suppose you missed kindergarten so you should have someone read you the section of the forum rules that say "Play Nice".

On a forum such as this where there are many newbies asking questions it is perfectly reasonable to bring up issues beyond the scope of the question(s) asked. Newbies often don't even know the right questions to ask. Or they may be pursuing a course of action that fits circumstances or preferences of an instructor or adviser. In this case I would think it reasonable to wonder if the poster's situation really required radar, navigational skill, budget restraints and intended area of operations all impact this decision.
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Old 27-03-2014, 05:05   #29
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

So you'd be okay if you posted a question about the best way to tie up your boat in a cross wind, and I came back and started telling you that you don't need a boat in the first place?

I assume the original poster is an intelligent person who knows that he wants a radar and is asking what kind and where's the best mounting spot. I guess I don't have your ability to peer into his mind and see that he really is an idiot and doesn't know what he wants, and that we all need to question his motives and talk him into buying something else entirely.
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Old 27-03-2014, 05:30   #30
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Re: Radar (What do I really need)

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I suppose you missed kindergarten so you should have someone read you the section of the forum rules that say "Play Nice".

On a forum such as this where there are many newbies asking questions it is perfectly reasonable to bring up issues beyond the scope of the question(s) asked. Newbies often don't even know the right questions to ask. Or they may be pursuing a course of action that fits circumstances or preferences of an instructor or adviser. In this case I would think it reasonable to wonder if the poster's situation really required radar, navigational skill, budget restraints and intended area of operations all impact this decision.
Peace, brothers. Please no squabbling.

You're both right -- it's right to try to answer the original question precisely and the way it was posed. But it's also right to ask questions outside of the scope of the original question. Both of these approaches serve a useful function.

To address the question of whether you need radar at all -- everyone has to decide for himself of course. Can you live without it? Of course. Is it extremely useful in some situations? Yes! I would probably not need it if I'm rarely sailing at night or offshore. The way I sail, however, I think it's practically essential. It's now so cheap that the decision is not that hard for most people.

As to the type of radar -- I have the Simrad/B&G 4G radar, which works extremely well, but I don't think that it is dramatically better at short ranges (nor is it dramatically worse at longer ranges), compared to good pulse radar. At the lowest end of the price range, however, the 3G version, which just gives up a bit of long range compared to 4G, might be a hot ticket, as the low end of pulse radars might very well not have as much resolution. I recommend reading the tests done by Yachting Monthly in the UK -- very comprehensive comparisons of all the current types of radar.

As to MFD's -- with 7" displays costing $800 or $900 max, I don't see the downside. You can have a whole plotter/radar system nowadays for less than $2000. It wasn't so long ago that you couldn't even buy a decent plotter alone for that. Having radar and chart on one display has a lot of advantages -- radar overlay, space efficiency on a small boat, etc., etc., etc.
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