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Old 20-06-2013, 18:46   #1
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Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

I've been following the radar threads but can't seem to come to a decision on which radar to buy.

At first I was going to go with the Simrad 4G system but the problems I've read are bad customer service and its ability to see weather fronts.
Also, I've considered the Furuno 1835 or maybe the 1715 due to the height of my mount which is self-leveling at about 12' above the water (18" above the boom on an arch).

Since I'm heading across the Pacific and down around the Philippines, the real question is which would be the best for this environment. I don't plan to add any bells/whistles, I just want to keep it independent from other devices (GPS, AIS, weather satellite, SSB, VHF).

But a contact alarm and day time visibility is necessary. I'd like to hear from those who actually use their radars frequently, or at least familiar with radar systems. I'm a bit dated, the last one I owned was an old Furuno back in 1982 with the peek-a-boo goggles. At least, I didn't have to buy paper rolls for it.
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Old 20-06-2013, 18:52   #2
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

I've got an older standalone furuno model, no viewing hood though. Not sure the model but it's definitely not one of the fancier ones. I can pick out large-ish vessels and cliffs fairly easily. I tend to have to noodle with it quite a bit to see smaller echoes in chopped up sea.

I hear great things about the fancy new ones, including ones that will pick up pangas, but I guess I don't really see how that's possible in a normal chopped up seaway.

The max range I find fairly useless. The idea of watchman mode is sound but I've never really seen it work as advertised.

I leave it in standby a lot, and then flip it to transmit when I actually am looking at the screen.
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Old 20-06-2013, 19:08   #3
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

I use a Furuno MFD BB on our larger research boat and a Garmin radar on one of our smaller research boats. Both are really nice radars but I would tend to go with the Garmin for your situation. The Furuno system I have is very expensive and might be on the overkill side for most budgets. Garmin systems are better bang for the buck and are still reliable.

I wouldn't be frightened off by the integrated systems. In my experience they are pretty reliable. Integrating your chart, radar returns and AIS contacts onto one screen is very useful.
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Old 20-06-2013, 19:27   #4
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

Hi David! That "sheet bend" knot that is pictured in your avatar...out of curiosity, what size braided line is that? 1/2 inch thick? A friend of mine needs to buy a 3-5 feet remnant, so that she may practice knots tying; she is green to sailing. Thanks!

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Old 20-06-2013, 19:27   #5
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

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I use a Furuno MFD BB on our larger research boat and a Garmin radar on one of our smaller research boats. Both are really nice radars but I would tend to go with the Garmin for your situation. The Furuno system I have is very expensive and might be on the overkill side for most yachts. Garmin systems are better bang for the buck and are still reliable.

I wouldn't be frightened off by the integrated systems. In my experience they are pretty reliable. Integrating your chart, radar returns and AIS contacts onto one screen is very useful.
I do have a Garmin GPS at the pedestal. But I haven't heard too much about their customer service. I don't mind integrating as long as all devices are not relying on one screen.
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Old 20-06-2013, 19:34   #6
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

You won't find too many foggy days in the tropical south pacific.

I used a Furuno 1715 for about 5 years, and it did everything I wanted to and the price and power consumption were right. However, if I was spending most of my time in Maine I would buy a more powerful unit.
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Old 20-06-2013, 19:41   #7
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

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You won't find too many foggy days in the tropical south pacific.

I used a Furuno 1715 for about 5 years, and it did everything I wanted to and the price and power consumption were right. However, if I was spending most of my time in Maine I would buy a more powerful unit.
It's not so much the fog I worry about, but the squalls and the unlit small boats that fish at night that might keep me scanning the horizon. I'm willing to spend up to $6K for the right unit.

Yeah, I should have mentioned power consumption. But it seems all the new stuff are pretty good nowadaze.
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Old 20-06-2013, 19:56   #8
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

You will probably be happy with any of the newer units, they are much better than the old ones. The 24 inch 4kw models have a lot higher target resolution then the 18 in units - for little more cost. The 4kw units can help see through storms better too. I have a Furuno. I like marpa feature - but it requires a good compass.
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Old 20-06-2013, 20:11   #9
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

I have the same interests as delmarrey.
I have looked for some good youtube vids or manufacture video tutorials but to no avail.
Any video recommendations?
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Old 20-06-2013, 20:16   #10
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

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You will probably be happy with any of the newer units, they are much better than the old ones. The 24 inch 4kw models have a lot higher target resolution then the 18 in units - for little more cost. The 4kw units can help see through storms better too. I have a Furuno. I like marpa feature - but it requires a good compass.
Those are pretty cool, it's just hard for me to part with the $4K plus the days of crawling around installing cables. But from what I've seen they do look terrific.
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Old 20-06-2013, 20:36   #11
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

This can be a real hard one ! Ive used Furuno for over 25 yrs ~! never had a problem, always worked, when the last one I had was set right it would show birds!! On our new to us boat, we have Simrad equipment , everything GPS, Plotter,Radar, all seperate units, The radar is about 3 yrs old and has a bunch of stuff Ive never had before ! But man it see's stuff ive never seen show up on a radar before ! not only birds but wave tops,but pangas, if it's got an engine hanging on the back it see's it ! The things like stand by mode it starts and sweeps when ya set it for! Heck it doe's so much stuff most of which I have not learned to use yet ! but Im reading the manual now LOL To me for the cost, this is a great unit, have not had to try out service as yet. Others may have some input on that ! But I will say Im impressed with all the Simrad stuff I got with the boat ! Just a thought
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Old 20-06-2013, 21:21   #12
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

What I really like about the Simrad stuff is the cabling. It just takes a single cable with a 1" round plug. The furuno has more then one flat plug, which makes it difficult to wire the thing up on an already built boat.
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Old 20-06-2013, 22:12   #13
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

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Hi David! That "sheet bend" knot that is pictured in your avatar...out of curiosity, what size braided line is that? 1/2 inch thick? A friend of mine needs to buy a 3-5 feet remnant, so that she may practice knots tying; she is green to sailing. Thanks!

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That's a bowline which I copied from Google images...so I have no idea what diameter line it is.
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Old 21-06-2013, 00:03   #14
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

On the note of sailing in the Philippines, one of the greatest navigation hazards (other than reefs, hello US Navy), is the small unlit fishing platforms made up of tied-up oil drums that fisherman leave to float sometimes 50nm+ offshore (fish gather under the platform shade). Have sailed passed a few at night - not comforting at all.

Would any of the new gen radars pick up a 10x10ft steel floating platform that sticks up ~2 ft above water in flat seas? If so is 4G the way to go?
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Old 21-06-2013, 00:29   #15
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Re: Which Radar? Offshore/S. Pacific

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On the note of sailing in the Philippines, one of the greatest navigation hazards (other than reefs, hello US Navy), is the small unlit fishing platforms made up of tied-up oil drums that fisherman leave to float sometimes 50nm+ offshore (fish gather under the platform shade). Have sailed passed a few at night - not comforting at all.

Would any of the new gen radars pick up a 10x10ft steel floating platform that sticks up ~2 ft above water in flat seas? If so is 4G the way to go?
How big are they? Even on my crummy old one I can spot flat surfaces fairly well. They stand out against the clutter with the trace on.
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