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Old 12-06-2014, 06:02   #1
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Why Not A Better Radar Reflector?

We have airplanes that are invisible to radar, why don't we have better radar reflectors?

I grew up thinking that that funny aluminum ball, when properly deployed, would make me seen. However, it would seem to be the general consensus these days is that these prove to be at best marginally effective in most circumstances. Or maybe I have it wrong?

I seem to remember a mast mounted type that had three separate right-angle-return balls contained within a plastic fairing but it's been awhile and I am not sure how much more effective they were.

So what gives? I think it's great to see technology provide solutions like AIS, but transponders don't come cheap and they don't work when there is no power. Where is the low tech solution that always works? Where's the radar-reflective paint for your mast?
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:16   #2
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Re: Why Not A Better Radar Reflector?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
...

I seem to remember a mast mounted type that had three separate right-angle-return balls contained within a plastic fairing but it's been awhile and I am not sure how much more effective they were. ...
Like this? Have no info on their effectiveness, however.



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Old 12-06-2014, 07:14   #3
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Re: Why Not A Better Radar Reflector?

I'm not sure if this is what the picture the other poster put up as it's not coming through on this computer. I got the kind that is in a plastic tube with silvery metallic reflectors at all angles inside. They hang from your stays and work great. My friend hailed a cargo ship over 20 miles out from him in Lake Michigan, asking if he was clearly visible on their radar. They said they had a very clear return on him. Anecdotal I know but it's what I've got.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:03   #4
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Re: Why Not A Better Radar Reflector?

For a comprehensive study see the following.

http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources...s%20report.pdf

It is clear that an active transponder (the Sea Me) out performs all the passive reflectors. I run a Sea Me at the masthead and a Davis Echomaster (in catch rain position) at the upper spreader. Belt and braces!
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