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Old 23-02-2014, 14:01   #1
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Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

I'm looking at Lowrance 3G Broadband radar for my blue water cruise in May. Is there anyone who has positive or negative feedback on this unit? Thanks!
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Old 23-02-2014, 14:21   #2
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

I installed ours 2 seasons ago and we like it very much. Installation was straightforward. It is on an Eastern 22 fishing boat, with an HDS Gen 2 7. We use it in Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound, areas prone to fog.

Our sailboat came with a functioning analog Raymarine radar. I plan to add a multifunction unit of the Lowrance/Simrad/B&G variety at some point, and then when the Ray dies, replace it with either the 3G or 4G. My husband is very tall, and I'd prefer not to fry any of his brain cells with the radar, which is on an arch, not the mast.
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Old 26-02-2014, 08:58   #3
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Thanks for the feedback. I've heard good things about it so we bought it today!
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Old 27-02-2014, 08:04   #4
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Please voice your thoughts here once you've gone through the fog at night, i.e. used it in situations of maximum need. Particularly if you have an AIS receiver and can contrast the radar output.

Compared to Garmin and Furuno and Raymarine, Lowrance is not written about as much as a radar brand, and I tend to rely on end-user reviews more than, say, Panbo.com to find out about gear that is less popular...but maybe objectively good.
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Old 27-02-2014, 09:03   #5
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

I have the 4G version of this and like it.

My experience is rather different from what I've read about it, however.

For me it has performed quite like a good conventional radar -- not such a dramatic improvement in close-range resolution as I expected, and not such a dramatically shorter range than I expected.

Short-range resolution is very good, and the lack of a main bang is also a plus. But the latest conventional radars look quite similar in my experience (both 4G and latest conventional radar with digital signal processing IS, however, dramatically better than older analogue radars). And the range is more than adequate for my purposes -- you see everything in great detail out to about 12 miles, and good targets like the sides of ships out to 20, even 30 miles.

It just works very well and I'm happy with it, but I don't think it is different enough from, say, a Furuno conventional radar to make it worthwhile dumping a whole Furuno system and switching to Navico just for the sake of the radar.

Now that's the 4G radar, which has better signal processing and apparently more range than the 3G. I have not used the 3G so can't comment.
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Old 27-02-2014, 09:14   #6
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Please voice your thoughts here once you've gone through the fog at night, i.e. used it in situations of maximum need. Particularly if you have an AIS receiver and can contrast the radar output.

Compared to Garmin and Furuno and Raymarine, Lowrance is not written about as much as a radar brand, and I tend to rely on end-user reviews more than, say, Panbo.com to find out about gear that is less popular...but maybe objectively good.
Lowrance is Navico, so precisely the same radar as the Simrad and B&G continuous-wave radars.

So it's not "less popular", at all -- a very popular, on the contrary, product, this new type radar from Navico.

I've used mine for a season now, including in fog, during night crossings of the English Channel, etc.

It works very well, much better than the analogue Raymarine Pathfinder set which it replaced. But probably not dramatically better than the new Raymarine HD radar or other digital conventional radars.

One thing which does dramatically improve usefulness of radar is accurate heading data. This cannot be overemphasized. With a conventional fluxgate compass like I used to have, radar overlay is nearly useless, and MARPA doesn't work. I now have a much more precise stabilized compass (an Airmar H2183) which makes a huge difference -- MARPA is now very useful, and the radar overlay on the chart is precise enough to be really useful.

Accurate heading data is also essential for the overlay of AIS data onto your radar display. This is important in order to be sure which radar target corresponds to which AIS target.

The moral of the story is you really need to have really good heading data, if you want to use your radar to its full potential. A regular fluxgate compass is not nearly good enough.
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Old 27-02-2014, 09:27   #7
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

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Lowrance is Navico, so precisely the same radar as the Simrad and B&G continuous-wave radars.

So it's not "less popular", at all -- a very popular, on the contrary, product, this new type radar from Navico.

I've used mine for a season now, including in fog, during night crossings of the English Channel, etc.

It works very well, much better than the analogue Raymarine Pathfinder set which it replaced. But probably not dramatically better than the new Raymarine HD radar or other digital conventional radars.

One thing which does dramatically improve usefulness of radar is accurate heading data. This cannot be overemphasized. With a conventional fluxgate compass like I used to have, radar overlay is nearly useless, and MARPA doesn't work. I now have a much more precise stabilized compass (an Airmar H2183) which makes a huge difference -- MARPA is now very useful, and the radar overlay on the chart is precise enough to be really useful.

Accurate heading data is also essential for the overlay of AIS data onto your radar display. This is important in order to be sure which radar target corresponds to which AIS target.

The moral of the story is you really need to have really good heading data, if you want to use your radar to its full potential. A regular fluxgate compass is not nearly good enough.
Good to know. I have an KVH AC103, but have been considering something like the Airmar or the Maretron compass for when I update to a radar, and a black-box AIS unit.

I can see this being most critical where you are in the Channel, which is the stretch of water, save perhaps for the Malacca Strait, most like a highway.
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Old 27-02-2014, 09:32   #8
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Good to know. I have an KVH AC103, but have been considering something like the Airmar or the Maretron compass for when I update to a radar, and a black-box AIS unit.

I can see this being most critical where you are in the Channel, which is the stretch of water, save perhaps for the Malacca Strait, most like a highway.
The English Channel is the busiest seaway in the world. Crossing it has been compared to being a squirrel trying to scurry across an autobahn, and I'm here to tell you that it is really like that. I have been in close quarters with three ships at the same time -- terrifying.

If you read up on the specs, you'll see that the Airmar compass is quite a bit more accurate than the Maretron one -- I highly recommend it. Besides radar functions, a really good compass makes a dramatic difference in how your pilot works -- but I'm sure you know that.

You will have heard this before, but once you have AIS, you will be amazed how you ever lived without it. It transforms (for the better) collision avoidance. Since all ships broadcast AIS, your radar suddenly becomes much less important for colllision avoidance. I now rarely use MARPA for anything, although I play with mine constantly just to stay in practice. You get far more precise and continuous data from AIS, than you can get from MARPA.
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Old 28-02-2014, 06:49   #9
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Quote:
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The English Channel is the busiest seaway in the world. Crossing it has been compared to being a squirrel trying to scurry across an autobahn, and I'm here to tell you that it is really like that. I have been in close quarters with three ships at the same time -- terrifying.

If you read up on the specs, you'll see that the Airmar compass is quite a bit more accurate than the Maretron one -- I highly recommend it. Besides radar functions, a really good compass makes a dramatic difference in how your pilot works -- but I'm sure you know that.

You will have heard this before, but once you have AIS, you will be amazed how you ever lived without it. It transforms (for the better) collision avoidance. Since all ships broadcast AIS, your radar suddenly becomes much less important for colllision avoidance. I now rarely use MARPA for anything, although I play with mine constantly just to stay in practice. You get far more precise and continuous data from AIS, than you can get from MARPA.
I consider AIS and RADAR to be complementary and (strangely enough, I suppose), I'm going to be picking up my first AIS-equipped VHF either today or tomorrow. The AIS on that will be secondary to a stand-alone AIS outputting to a PC-based plotter.

I will check out the Airmar product; having a steel boat, even with a decent if elderly fluxgate compass, I am very aware of the problematic nature of getting decent heading numbers.

I am liking the new Vesper XB8000 black box AIS at the moment, with the Digital Yacht AIS200 (I think?) the only other under consideration. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 28-02-2014, 08:29   #10
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
I consider AIS and RADAR to be complementary and (strangely enough, I suppose), I'm going to be picking up my first AIS-equipped VHF either today or tomorrow. The AIS on that will be secondary to a stand-alone AIS outputting to a PC-based plotter.

I will check out the Airmar product; having a steel boat, even with a decent if elderly fluxgate compass, I am very aware of the problematic nature of getting decent heading numbers.

I am liking the new Vesper XB8000 black box AIS at the moment, with the Digital Yacht AIS200 (I think?) the only other under consideration. Thanks for the tips.
There are also black box AIS transponders from Comar and Sitex. I chose the Sitex black box transponder and like it very much -- the GPS is built in and sensitive enough to use below decks without an external antenna (it is required by standards that AIS has its own GPS, and does not take position data from the network). The Sitex outputs NMEA2000 which works flawlessly with my Zeus plotters -- not all NMEA2000 AIS transponders give data which is usuable on all plotters. It also directly outputs data by USB to use for a laptop or other on-board computer.

As to steel boats and compasses -- this is out of my knowledge, but I believe you need to have the compass above decks, don't you? You might really want to think about a satellite compass for a steel boat -- not sure a magnetic one has much of a chance of being really accurate. They are expensive, but even still much better than stabilized compasses like the Airmar.
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Old 28-02-2014, 09:14   #11
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
There are also black box AIS transponders from Comar and Sitex. I chose the Sitex black box transponder and like it very much -- the GPS is built in and sensitive enough to use below decks without an external antenna (it is required by standards that AIS has its own GPS, and does not take position data from the network). The Sitex outputs NMEA2000 which works flawlessly with my Zeus plotters -- not all NMEA2000 AIS transponders give data which is usuable on all plotters. It also directly outputs data by USB to use for a laptop or other on-board computer.

As to steel boats and compasses -- this is out of my knowledge, but I believe you need to have the compass above decks, don't you? You might really want to think about a satellite compass for a steel boat -- not sure a magnetic one has much of a chance of being really accurate. They are expensive, but even still much better than stabilized compasses like the Airmar.

Dutch steel motorboats mount the compass UL beside the anchor light about 3 feet above the wheelhouse

Dave
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Old 28-02-2014, 09:41   #12
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
There are also black box AIS transponders from Comar and Sitex. I chose the Sitex black box transponder and like it very much -- the GPS is built in and sensitive enough to use below decks without an external antenna (it is required by standards that AIS has its own GPS, and does not take position data from the network). The Sitex outputs NMEA2000 which works flawlessly with my Zeus plotters -- not all NMEA2000 AIS transponders give data which is usuable on all plotters. It also directly outputs data by USB to use for a laptop or other on-board computer.

As to steel boats and compasses -- this is out of my knowledge, but I believe you need to have the compass above decks, don't you? You might really want to think about a satellite compass for a steel boat -- not sure a magnetic one has much of a chance of being really accurate. They are expensive, but even still much better than stabilized compasses like the Airmar.
Yes, the fluxgate of the AC103 is mounted on the aluminum pilothouse roof. Comparing known bearings to GPS and bearings taken to landmarks confirms that (at least in this hemisphere and with the known variation) that the KVH and my compensated Ritchie Globemaster are correct to within 2 degrees with only a slight deviation.

That could change out of my home waters, of course.



I have considered this ComNav satellite compass unit, which I could at least mount within reach, unlike the Airmar, which would probably go up the mast. Or maybe on a stern pole.
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Old 28-02-2014, 10:04   #13
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Yes, the fluxgate of the AC103 is mounted on the aluminum pilothouse roof. Comparing known bearings to GPS and bearings taken to landmarks confirms that (at least in this hemisphere and with the known variation) that the KVH and my compensated Ritchie Globemaster are correct to within 2 degrees with only a slight deviation.

That could change out of my home waters, of course.



I have considered this ComNav satellite compass unit, which I could at least mount within reach, unlike the Airmar, which would probably go up the mast. Or maybe on a stern pole.
Enough of that porn! Aaaargh!

And it only costs $1800! Anybody want to buy a nice used Airmar H2183?

That looks like the absolute killer app for heading data. I didn't know about that. I would absolutely go with that if I were you, Alchemy. Why bother with a magnetic compass in a steel boat, when you can buy something like that for only $1800? Dynamic heading accuracy 0.5 degrees!!!
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Old 28-02-2014, 16:50   #14
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Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

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Enough of that porn! Aaaargh!

And it only costs $1800! Anybody want to buy a nice used Airmar H2183?

That looks like the absolute killer app for heading data. I didn't know about that. I would absolutely go with that if I were you, Alchemy. Why bother with a magnetic compass in a steel boat, when you can buy something like that for only $1800? Dynamic heading accuracy 0.5 degrees!!!

As I may have mentioned before I have the oem version of that device ( without the case) sitting on the lab bench. They are killer heading devices

Dave


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Old 28-02-2014, 17:03   #15
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Re: Any Lowrance 3G radar feedback?

Mine has only ONE G. we were first in line. I like it fine, easy to use and does a fine job.
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