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Old 07-10-2010, 17:47   #46
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Where the heck are you sailing? Newfoundland or something I would guess.

I have never seen 70 knot squalls over open water. Not that I have not been.

My experience with using radar to predict squalls tells me it is a waste of time with small units unless there is a lot of rain in the squall.

And when there is, I can see the squall coming.
Long Island and Block Island.

You can see them coming when its dark?

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Old 07-10-2010, 18:32   #47
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Thanks. I also introduced myself to the "Search" function and got lots of good info.

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Old 07-10-2010, 23:20   #48
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How do you want to use your RADAR?
If you only want a RADAR and a RADAR display with no chart overlay then you have a simple problem as I dont' think they make many of these any more. ;-)

If you want to use your RADAR with a cockput chartplotter and overlay the RADAR on the charts then you are evaluaing both the RADAR and the displays. If you have a chartplotter already, you HAVE to pick the RADAR which works with it.

If you are also planning to buy a chartplotter and you also use a PC as a second chartplotter then you need to evaluate not only the RADAR and the Display, but the navigation software which worth that RADAR\Chartplotter combo as the PC Software and the RADARs are tied together you can't mix and match vendors.

That doesn't answer you question, but hopefully it helps you see the entire scope of the decision you're about to make.

Best of luck!
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:22   #49
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I see a number of posts here about analogue and digital radar. People also claiming that they understand radar and I have added a reference to broadband radar.

Perhaps a few words to ensure people understand what is being discussed.

Older radars emitted a single frequency stream of pulses from a magnetron, received a corresponding stream and were able to send the information to a cathode ray tube where it displayed the blips - this is frequently known as an analogue sysytem (although the term is not strictly speaking accurate for the overall system, it does describe the CRT)

Newer radar using the same single frequency stream of pulses undergo a limited amount of digitising before displaying on an LCD display. If the system is linked to a tracking system such as MARPA, there is another level of digital processing. The processing can add colour which does help to resolve the display. Some people refer to this as a digital system and indeed this is a closer description of the overall system.

The latest small boat radar is a totally different technology and uses a broadband low power pulse and then significantly more processing in order to resolve the picture. It is much better at minimising sea clutter and rain clutter, and thus giving you the information on contacts. Because it does not need to use a magnetron, the power overhead when switched to standbye is MUCH less, and the time to transmit is much quicker. These new systems are known as broadband radars.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:13   #50
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One thing to consider is service with each company. While someone above mentioned problems with Raymarine- I have been at least treated fairly by them. They don't have enought techs but they atleast try.
Si-tex not so. I sent my SSB receiver to them for repair and they sat on it for some time. A month later I finally got a human on the phone that new about my item. He (suppossedly the service manager) promised me a call by the end of that week. Two weeks later I called them back and he informed me that he couldn't fix my receiver so they tossed it in the bin. He was "so kind" as to not charge me for the repair. Then click. No further calls were answered. That was the last Si-tex product I'll ever have.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:23   #51
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For reliability and "not having to fix the damn thing" I love Furuno. Of course, I have the big open array unit and a CRT screen but it has never failed in almost 20 years. Now that is stuff I like.
- - There are plenty of non-plotter radars available as fishing fleets, large and small ships all use them and do not have chart plotters.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:08   #52
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Originally Posted by Jimbo2010 View Post
Long Island and Block Island.

You can see them coming when its dark?
I can.

I do not claim being as far sighted as a radar. But I can see a squall early enough to bear off and avoid getting slammed.

As I have said above, I do not find the standard boat radar with its small radome a tool enough for chasing the squalls, unless they are rainy ones in otherwise clear environment. And then these can be seen by the naked eye too (from a much closer distance). I think it makes much more sense to stay aware of whatever is happening around me and simply keep eye on the sails and on the adjacent patch of the ocean.

I think the most potentially dangerous squall scenario is when it is relatively light (say below 15 knots) and then you get a squall which is 30+: the boat has a lot of canvas up and even if you bear off you can get overpowered and break something (unless you have junk rig or else you sail with two jibs poled out, etc. - and can simply spill off the excess wind).

In fact, the only actual damage from a squall we ever suffered was when crossing the ITCZ off Brazil. I have never had any accident related to squalls in mid-latitudes: when it is clear the canvas are up, when it is iffy we will sail already set up for any possible weather niceties.

When visibility is less (like e.g. at night) we will sail slightly under-canvassed anyway - so when we do get a blow, we will most often simply ride it out, then decide if we have too much canvas or is it OK to continue as it is.

My attitude may be seriously biased by the fact that we do not really hurry up when making any extended passage. We just let the boat go on, without pushing or pulling. We are not breaking any records here, only trying to have fun sailing and make a safe passage.

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Old 08-10-2010, 09:05   #53
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Many years of radar experience. The new broadband radars are a different technology to their older cousins. They consume much less power, but provide a better picture for shipping etc. What they are not so good at, is detecting cloud formations (particularly squalls).

Using a 4kw radar continuously is a significant power consumer.
The feedback on broadband is that its very good close in like 100-500 yards, but not good at 2 miles+, I really think the juries out if its a good system

As to power comsumption a 4Kw radar transmits for a fraction of a second, hence the average power consumed from your batteries is a lot lower and theres little difference in battery comsumption between a 2Kw and a 4Kw.

The other thing thats been mentioned is analog versus digital. To some extent all modern radars are digital, that is the incoming signal is digitised, cleaned up and displayed on a computer screen ( chartplotter). To confuse the picture, manufacturers have started calling newer radars HD and xHd ( SHD etc). Typically they are radars where the processing is done in the radar unit and purely digital signals are sent to the chartplotter. Also newer HD models do more DSP to teh signal and can use digital filters to remove moise and improve target resolutiom ( or seemingly so).

In defence of radar I use it a lot to track squalls with rain in ( useful to know ehen to out on the oilies, and also in my experience squalls with rain in tend to be more windy and its useful to know.

Again I find MARPA a two edged sword, its often so inaccurate as to be misleading on a small boat.

My advice , if you can get a radar with sub 2 degree horizontal resolution ( usually thats an open array), Id buy better resolution before HD or xHd etc.

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Old 08-10-2010, 14:52   #54
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Originally Posted by Jimbo2010 View Post
Isn't the 3210 an older unit?

On a search this unit has a lot of complaints, most prefer the 4000 series.

What I don't like about Garmin is the proprietary mapping software.

THe more I bang this around the Standard Horizon 180 or 300 with the Sitex is getting my interest. Of course when I go to the show I may learn more about the others.
I haven't hear about any complaints, and I don't any complaints about the unit. I was just trying to tell you about my experience between overlay and stand alone radar.
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Old 08-10-2010, 16:44   #55
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Originally Posted by Jimbo2010 View Post
Hi Doug now that was super helpful and non bias.

Thank you.

Mini Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (or MARPA) is a radar feature for target tracking and collision avoidance. Targets must be manually selected, but are then tracked automatically, including range, bearing, target speed, target direction (course), CPA (closest point of approach), and TCPA (time of closest point of approach), safe or dangerous indication, and proximity alarm. MARPA is a more basic form of ARPA.

Is that a function of the dome or plotter?
MARPA/ARPA is generally done in the display on dedicated units and most likely done in the dome on multifunction displays. Manually selecting the target is no problem as it allows you to decide which target(s) are of most concern to you.
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Old 08-10-2010, 16:55   #56
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If I have a preference of any manufacturer I would choose Furuno. If that is a bit too expensive, stop by the Simrad booth and talk with them. They make a great unit at much less than the Furuno. The biggest difference between the 2KW and 4 KW is that the 4KW will punch through the rain a bit more. If that is important to you than go for. The Broadband, IMO has too many issues and limitations at this point and needs more time for development. Chuck
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Old 08-10-2010, 17:59   #57
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You might consider a Garmin 3205 or even the 3206 of which there should still be some left overs available and a GMR 18HD dome. Together you are looking at about $1676.00 for the 3206 plotter and the HD dome.

I have owned Furuno, Raymarine & Simrad. The Garmin GMR 18HD is the cleanest best performing 18" dome I have owned. While it is technically a 4KW dome the beam width is not quite what I would consider a 4KW beam but still it is sharp and yields excellent returns. All this despite the crappy location I have it in, on a stern pole.

Of course when I originally bought this, Raymarine and Furuno did not have their HD domes out. I would guess they now perform about as well but are usually much more expensive. I used a Furuno NavNet w/HD dome this summer and it was good but over 5k. Used to use Furuno when fishing commercially and it was reliable but the Garmin has been too.

GMR 18HD $997.00 (LINK)

Garmin 3206 Plotter $679.00 (LINK)

When our boat was hit by lightning this summer I had no desire to change or "upgrade" from the Garmin 3200 series plotter and the GMR 18HD dome. Oh and being from Maine I use my radar a LOT. I have thousands of hours working radar in the fog in Maine and the Maritimes.

I LOVE Garmin's "proprietary" software and the Blue Charts are excellent in fact I switched from a full Raymarine C-80 system over to Garmin because I disliked the charting software so much as well as the piss poor user interface of the Raymarine plotter when compared to Garmin.

I actually much prefer the discontinued Garmin 3200 series over the new ones. Also the 740 does NOT do radar overlay...

Very pleased with the performance adn reliability..

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Old 09-10-2010, 09:53   #58
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Ok after 7 hours walking around the boat show and hearing all the pro and cons.

I settled on the Sitex mds-8 a 4kw dome at $1100 best price and a cp180 for $360= 1460

My wife then said with spending that much why not get the cp300 bigger easier to read and at $650 not that much more percentage wise.

So now I'm ready to spend $1750.

I then go to Defender at the show, they have a special "mds-8 and a Sitex Ec-7". I was told the Sitex are more $$ than the cp300 so I never demo'd it.

Back to Sitex booth.
Standalone Chartplotter with Radar and Fishfinder Capability.

Sitex introduces its new 7” High Definition, combination plotter/sounder units. The EC7 is available with or without an internal 600W fishfinder or add an external black box fishfinder putting out 500/1000 watts of power. The bright 800 x 480 high resolution screen provides a great picture whether looking at the chart, optional fishfinder or optional MDS radar dome. Combine the ability to hold 10,000/marks, 50 routes of 50 waypoints and a tracklog of 10,000 points to everything in the EC7 and you have a solid plotter/fishfinder that will last years and keep track of all your hidden spots.

Chartplotting and NMEA Interfacing
The ultra-fast processor of the Sitex EC7 quickly goes through screen redraws while showing highly detailed C-Map’s Max charts. Additional functions can be added to the Sitex EC7 like AIS, Radar and fishfinder. By using NMEA 0183 data from the included power data cable you can interface your VHF radio to send your coordinates through Digital Selective Calling (DSC), or just use the optional DSC VHF radio for Buddy Track Capability, you can also link to an EPIRB so search and rescue will have your coordinates when the signal is received. The Backlit soft keys, and an easy to use on screen menu system, make the EC7 a powerhouse unit that is affordable.

Chartpotting Solution
For value and flexibility the Sitex EC7 fits the profile, offering expandability with the addition of optional sensors, a 7” Daylight Viewable high resolution screen that is large enough to split, and still make out the detail for viewing on both sides of the screen. The EC7 offers solid chart plotter functions that the newest or most experienced navigators will find easy to use and provide the directions to port or that special spot where the fish are biting.
Normal street price about $875

Back to the demo, it was great too many bells & whistles, real nice and intuitive.

In stead of paying 1100 + 875 it was $1499.

So less than the combo with cp300.

So that was it, oh except we found a great pub across the street to celebrate our hard work.

I also bought a Ray SX-5 auto pilot
Harken roller furler.
Plastico lift sling

and bunch of other great deals, I kept to our goal don't go over $4,000.

Well a little bit.
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:08   #59
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Somebody mentioned JRC that the japennese radio company quite a big outfit they make lots of radomes for many OEMs including garmin And furuno


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