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Old 18-12-2012, 13:57   #1
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how robust are gimbaled radar mast mounts

I have recently purchased an 1987 Gulfstar/CSY sloop and am doing a major refit. I am adding a new radar unit to be mast mounted and am interested in how robust gimbaled mast mounts have been found to be. I am concerned about the vulnerability of a radardome on a gimbaled mount to being snagged and torn loose by wayward halyards, sheets, blown out sails, etc.

I would appreciate any real world experiences with this that you might think would be helpful.

Thank you.
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Old 19-12-2012, 14:51   #2
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Re: how robust are gimbaled radar mast mounts

Everyone I've talked to down here in the Caribbean who has one hates them for a variety of reasons. I had considered one for my second radar, but they were too pricey and now I'm glad I didn't spend the bucks.
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Old 19-12-2012, 15:23   #3
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Re: how robust are gimbaled radar mast mounts

The design matters a lot: it needs to be critically damped, or nearly so, such that the scanner responds to a roll quickly without swinging wildly. If you do go this way, get recommendations about the specific product.

I had a manually controlled tilt fabricated on my stern radar post. On the one hand it is clear that the radar performs a bit better when it is level rather than shooting half the signal up in the air and half down into the water. OTOH modern radars do a great job of compensating for the different levels of return. After a while the performance improvement wasn't enough to motivate me to climb back and adjust the tilt, so it isn't that big a deal in my book. YMMV

Probably the biggest problem with gimballing is what it does to the cable. The old analog scanners had 15-20 small wires in the cable, which of course started to break after continually flexing at the gimbal. The newer digital scanners often only have a heavy duplex power cable attached to an ethernet or USB data cable. This should be more robust, but still the data cable contains small wires. At least it would be a lot easier to repair in the field.

Greg
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Old 19-12-2012, 15:42   #4
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Re: how robust are gimbaled radar mast mounts

I've nothing bad to say about mine. I know nothing of the manufacturer. I picked it up from a Hunter owner with the Furuno for $600 total and it's done very well for many years. Of course, as mine is mounted on my mizzen, it's less subject to problems.

I keep a fairlead ring part way down my mizzen that tames my mizzen halyard and I've always been careful enough with my mizzen staysail halyard.
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Old 20-12-2012, 06:10   #5
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Re: how robust are gimbaled radar mast mounts

Thanks for the input.
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