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Old 22-05-2012, 05:14   #1
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Visiball Radar Reflectors

I got my mast down and removing bits to get it ready for a paint job .
3/4 way up the mast there is a Visiball Radar Reflector. Somebody in the marina told me they are a waste of space. I have no idea, can somebody tell me more about them?
Question two...I have a furuno radar on the mast to and had to have a look inside . Found a little plastic belt that drives the scanner unit and it looks old and loose. Do I replace that too?
one more question do I replace my Tricolour light with a LED version? I have been told they( LED's) interfere with radios?
What else should I do while the mast is down?
Thanks
Reiner
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Old 22-05-2012, 05:28   #2
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Re: Visiball Radar Reflectors

Don't know about the LED issue interfering with radios. Check your standing rigging very closely, replace as required. See link for info regarding reflectors.


http://www.theradarreflectorsite.org...PassiveRTE.pdf
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Old 22-05-2012, 09:15   #3
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All led tricolor lights i have seen tested that are mounted close to a vhf antenna cause varying amounts of RFI. Best reported so far that i have seen is the Lunasea unit which i have installed. Even it creates some RFI, but not a lot in my installation.

Chip
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Old 22-05-2012, 13:45   #4
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Re: Visiball Radar Reflectors

http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources...s%20report.pdf

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/Rada...tor%20test.pdf

See if there is anything on yours or a similar design.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 22-05-2012, 14:03   #5
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Re: Visiball Radar Reflectors

A bit of a story so hope I don't bore you. I worked as a radio operator on oil rigs in the Timor Sea, back in the 80s. We did wildcat holes so weren't in the traditional area of rigs. There was a race from Darwin (can't remember if it was to Ambon - think it was) that would have yachts coming close to us. Now we had 7 anchors deployed, all marked with drums which were unlit. I advised the yacht club and gave them our working frquencies so they could contact us if they needed. One yacht called me up one night and asked if we could see them as they had installed a radar reflector. As a yachtie (and building a boat at the time) I asked the mate if we could use the radars on the bridge to see if we could see them. We fired up 2 radars - we could actually see the masthead light of the yacht so had bearings, but do you think we could see them on radar? No way... it was a good sobering thought for me and I have always assumed that large vessels do not see yachts, and I certainly would not rely on a radar reflector. Instead I have never been shy about radioing these vessels - often on night watch they are bored, so love an excuse for a chat. As a single hander I probably got more responses when they realised I was by myself, but in any event it was a peace of mind knowing they had heard me. Always provide lat and long when calling these vessels, and I would not recommend in a crowded seaway, but certianly passes some time in the open ocean. Now this was in the 80s and I know there is a lot more technical 'stuff' out there (bit scary actually) however I would still never trust anyone seeing me with a radar reflector, or any other electronic aids. Use good old common seamanship and work on the principle they do not see you.
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Old 22-05-2012, 16:03   #6
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Re: Visiball Radar Reflectors

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Originally Posted by bevcory View Post
A bit of a story so hope I don't bore you. I worked as a radio operator on oil rigs in the Timor Sea, back in the 80s. We did wildcat holes so weren't in the traditional area of rigs. There was a race from Darwin (can't remember if it was to Ambon - think it was) that would have yachts coming close to us. Now we had 7 anchors deployed, all marked with drums which were unlit. I advised the yacht club and gave them our working frquencies so they could contact us if they needed. One yacht called me up one night and asked if we could see them as they had installed a radar reflector. As a yachtie (and building a boat at the time) I asked the mate if we could use the radars on the bridge to see if we could see them. We fired up 2 radars - we could actually see the masthead light of the yacht so had bearings, but do you think we could see them on radar? No way... it was a good sobering thought for me and I have always assumed that large vessels do not see yachts, and I certainly would not rely on a radar reflector. Instead I have never been shy about radioing these vessels - often on night watch they are bored, so love an excuse for a chat. As a single hander I probably got more responses when they realised I was by myself, but in any event it was a peace of mind knowing they had heard me. Always provide lat and long when calling these vessels, and I would not recommend in a crowded seaway, but certianly passes some time in the open ocean. Now this was in the 80s and I know there is a lot more technical 'stuff' out there (bit scary actually) however I would still never trust anyone seeing me with a radar reflector, or any other electronic aids. Use good old common seamanship and work on the principle they do not see you.
Thanks bevcory that was not boring at all. Very interesting in fact. I been told pretty much the same by sailors around here saying assume they don't see you is the only way to go. I think the smart thing to do would be find the best reflector they make today but still assume nobody is going to see you.
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Old 22-05-2012, 16:17   #7
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Re: Visiball Radar Reflectors

Quote:
Originally Posted by reiner View Post
Thanks bevcory that was not boring at all. Very interesting in fact. I been told pretty much the same by sailors around here saying assume they don't see you is the only way to go. I think the smart thing to do would be find the best reflector they make today but still assume nobody is going to see you.
G'Day Reiner,

While I agree that assuming that one is unseen until proven otherwise is the best operational policy, our experience is that usually ships have seen us somewhere around 8 nm away from them. IF, that is, someone is actually looking for small targets on the display. If one thinks that there is a trained radar op scanning the screen 24/7 on merchant ships... think again! When you call them and ask for a radar-return report, then someone usually will go have a good look, and usually see you, but this is a poor representation of SOPs.

Still, having a good reflector can't hurt one's chances! I have never heard of your model, Reiner. From the name, I suspect that it is a Lunenborg (sp?) lens type, some of which have had good reviews -- they seem to work better when the boat is heeled than the Davis or Blipper types do.

We'll be headed North soon, and will look you up when we get to Moreton Bay.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 22-05-2012, 17:43   #8
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I am baffled how they could not be seen.years ago with a Furuno I could come into anchorage and had very positive input on boats at the moorings. With my newer HDR unit I pick off nav buoys and all the moored boats. I am actively tuning the display. Also I know I should be seeing response. So that aids in my tuning.I assume I am not seen but if a tech is working the gain why am I missed when my radar has such finite clarity.
Having damn near been plowed under once. I don't trust I have been seen ever. Ais is great as an aid. I can call a ship by name and explain my intentions.
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Old 22-05-2012, 19:44   #9
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Re: Visiball Radar Reflectors

Much depends on the sea state and a bunch of other factors as to whether or not you are going to be seen. You can't make a blanket statement of yes or no, because the answer is "it depends". The safe answer is don't assume they see you until they say they can see you. Anything you can do to make yourself a larger radar return to them then the better off you are.
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