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Old 05-07-2008, 22:04   #1
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Radar Detector. Why?

Hey,

I saw this: Merv, the Mer Veille radar detector on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

and as I am new to sailing, what is the purpose of a radar detector on a sailboat? Just curious.
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Old 05-07-2008, 22:43   #2
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Hey,

I saw this: Merv, the Mer Veille radar detector on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

and as I am new to sailing, what is the purpose of a radar detector on a sailboat? Just curious.
There are times when you may need some help in finding out if there are any other vessels in your vicinity (fog, fatigue, not paying attention, singlehanding, etc). Most ships run their radar 24/7, so a detector will let you know it's nearby. In limited-visibility conditions many fishing boats also run their radar.

It's no guarantee, and at least for ships I would prefer an AIS receiver and/or my own radar, but the radar detector may give you that critical bit of information that makes the difference. Radar detectors have the advantage of consuming very little power, at least compared to a radar.
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Old 05-07-2008, 22:43   #3
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what is the purpose of a radar detector on a sailboat? Just curious.
So you can detect a radar (i.e. another vessel). Some units will even return a signal &/or set off an audible alarm, others will give you data of a rough direction of the signal. Some of these units also have very low power consumption.
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Old 05-07-2008, 23:34   #4
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Actually if I recall correctly all vessels equipped with radar are required to have it on 24/7 in us waters anyhow.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:02   #5
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Actually if I recall correctly all vessels equipped with radar are required to have it on 24/7 in us waters anyhow.
I recall the same thing, but I know for a fact that some do not comply. On the (non-U.S.A.) high seas, I've asked a ship for a radar check (wondering if they could see me on their radar), and their answer was "Give me a minute while I turn this thing on." Once the set had warmed up, they saw me.

This is one reason I prefer an AIS receiver to a radar detector. For that matter, my reflector is also no good unless the other ship is running their radar.

I guess that's why we stand watch!
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:04   #6
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Probably fewer radars on than you think

This was a test of a radar enhancer.

From:
1998 USNA Radar Target Enhancer

In the second to last paragraph:

"It's also interesting to note that during the transatlantic, an alarming number of vessel's contacted to evaluate our radar return, responded willingly but said, "please wait while I turn on the radar!""
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:22   #7
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"Give me a minute while I turn this thing on." Once the set had warmed up, they saw me.
You'd think that if they're that concerned about wearing 'em out, then they'd run 'em on "watchman mode", although I dunno if that's possible for the really large units (I'd have to look up sperry's site etc).

Quote:
I guess that's why we stand watch!
I intend on running the radar in "watchman mode".
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:06   #8
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Actually if I recall correctly all vessels equipped with radar are required to have it on 24/7 in us waters anyhow.
I have been looking at 41' er's and was planning on installing radar. Considering power consumption, (gesh spellling), I might need to reconsider this.

Is there a size of ship factor in this mandatory opperation of radar or is this mandatory for any and all vessels equipt with radar?
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:25   #9
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Is there a size of ship factor in this mandatory opperation of radar or is this mandatory for any and all vessels equipt with radar?
The Colregs (rules 5 and 7) imply that if the radar is fitted and operational, then it must be used. However, there is room for interpretation in the rules - one could make the argument that if one is sailing, then one simply doesn't have the power available to operate the radar continuously. This argument would be enhanced in excellent visibility, daytime, minimum traffic, where one is maintaining a continuous watch by all other means appropriate in the prevailing conditions. In other words, don't get into a collision and you'll be alright.

Kevin
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:13   #10
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My Raymarine radar uses very little juice when I set it to sweep every 5 or 10 minutes. Wouldn't want to be without it in low viz conditions!
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:20   #11
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Our radar unit is in use offshore at night, while tracking storms anytime they are near, in fog or light rain, heavy rains make it pretty much useless for small targets, and the rest of the time it is off. Even offshore at night with lights, autopilot, electronics etc. we don't have battery issues. You need to size your banks accordingly to allow for these situations.
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Old 07-07-2008, 14:54   #12
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You need to size your banks accordingly to allow for these situations.
Chuck,

You are right!

However, batteries can fail. So I've installed a low power set of backup navigation tools. They consisting of a handheld GPS, in hull depth sounder, simple autopilot on the backup rudder, handheld VHF, and C.A.R.D radar detector. That way I can turn off the radar/chartplotter, fish finder/chartplotter, computer/AIS plotter, VHF, and hydraulic autopilot in a power crunch and still have basic navigation tools available. In the near future I will be adding a tablet PC to add chartploting and AIS ploting to the backup system. I also agree that an indepentent AIS receiver/plotter is a better choice then a radar detector.

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Old 07-07-2008, 14:58   #13
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i've got a super low power navigation tool, it's a set of paper charts, dividers, ruler, handbearing compass and 31 pencils, with sharpener.
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