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Old 15-06-2024, 08:03   #1
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Radar for fishing / open boats

Bigger boats mostly have AIS

At night, it's small boats I want to detect / alert for, often wooden fishing boats or open boats.

My Raymarine Quantum 2 will see them, but you have to tune it every time, and tuning it requires you know they are there, to find them amongst sea clutter. Meaning it's near useless.
Good if you see a light and want to confirm what you are seeing. Not good if you want to detect or even better, MARPA alert.

Have any of you had better success with the HD version, or Furuno or whatever, at the 1-3 mile range, reliably differentiating small vessels that you don't see?
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Old 15-06-2024, 08:15   #2
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Re: Radar for fishing / open boats

In general, bigger radars (open array rather than dome) will have better horizontal resolution, which may provide some advantage in picking out a small boat from surrounding sea clutter. But if the sea state is significant enough that the small boats are being hidden by waves at times, picking out waves vs boats will be a challenge for any radar, particularly if you don't have someone to dedicate as a radar operator in challenging conditions.
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Old 15-06-2024, 08:37   #3
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Re: Radar for fishing / open boats

I have had a Navico 4G CW radar for the past 11 years; to be retired this year and replaced with a Halo24 combined pulse compression/CW radar.

I liked the 4G OK other than the terrible MARPA implementation; it was good enough at everything including even weather at long ranges. Not outstanding but good enough.

Where it was really outstanding was (a) resolution and detail at short ranges (meaning, literally 30 meters out to a couple of miles) (no main bang); and (b) signal processing, which made it easy to tune. This superlative signal processing meant that radar guard zones are extremely useful with vanishingly few false alarms.

A radar of this type is what you want to see small targets close up. I haven't installed the Halo24 so can't report but for close ranges it uses CW (continuous wave) like the 4G, so I would hope it's no worse, and in addition has a decade of development time on the already excellent signal processing, and plus the antenna is 24" vs 18" so I have high hopes.

For sea clutter and effectiveness of tuning, the signal processing is the main thing. So, for your purposes, that's a recommendation of sorts.

My 4G radar would pick up not only open and wooden boats, but kayaks, dinghies and even fishing floats, provided the sea is not up too much (obviously if the waves are much higher than the targets, no amount of tuning will help). You can often even make out the shape of the target, which helps a lot in identifying what you are seeing.


I was once terrified when navigating in a narrow channel in a pea soup fog I suddenly got a group of 7 or 8 sharply defined targets moving fast towards me. Until the birds got close enough to hear.
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Old 15-06-2024, 08:42   #4
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Re: Radar for fishing / open boats

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I have had a Navico 4G CW radar for the past 11 years; to be retired this year and replaced with a Halo24 combined pulse compression/CW radar.

I liked the 4G OK other than the terrible MARPA implementation; it was good enough at everything including even weather at long ranges. Not outstanding but good enough.

Where it was really outstanding was (a) resolution and detail at short ranges (meaning, literally 30 meters out to a couple of miles) (no main bang); and (b) signal processing, which made it easy to tune.

A radar of this type is what you want to see small targets close up. I haven't installed the Halo24 so can't report but for close ranges it uses CW (continuous wave) like the 4G, so I would hope it's no worse, and in addition has a decade of development time on the already excellent signal processing, and plus the antenna is 24" vs 18" so I have high hopes.

For sea clutter and effectiveness of tuning, the signal processing is the main thing. So, for your purposes, that's a recommendation of sorts.


My 4G radar would pick up not only open and wooden boats, but kayaks and fishing floats provided the sea is not up too much. I was once terrified when navigating in a narrow channel in a pea soup fog I suddenly got a group of 7 or 8 targets moving fast towards me. Until the birds got close enough to hear.
I'd expect good performance from the Halo. From every bit of info I've seen, the Halo24 and Furuno NXT 24" are pretty much as good as it gets for dome radars currently on the market.
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Old 15-06-2024, 08:47   #5
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Re: Radar for fishing / open boats

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
I'd expect good performance from the Halo. From every bit of info I've seen, the Halo24 and Furuno NXT 24" are pretty much as good as it gets for dome radars currently on the market.

Fingers crossed. I will install it next week.


I am heavily dependent on radar -- I feel blind without it. So this is important for me.
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Old 15-06-2024, 09:28   #6
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Re: Radar for fishing / open boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I have had a Navico 4G CW radar for the past 11 years; to be retired this year and replaced with a Halo24 combined pulse compression/CW radar.

I liked the 4G OK other than the terrible MARPA implementation; it was good enough at everything including even weather at long ranges. Not outstanding but good enough.

Where it was really outstanding was (a) resolution and detail at short ranges (meaning, literally 30 meters out to a couple of miles) (no main bang); and (b) signal processing, which made it easy to tune. This superlative signal processing meant that radar guard zones are extremely useful with vanishingly few false alarms.

A radar of this type is what you want to see small targets close up. I haven't installed the Halo24 so can't report but for close ranges it uses CW (continuous wave) like the 4G, so I would hope it's no worse, and in addition has a decade of development time on the already excellent signal processing, and plus the antenna is 24" vs 18" so I have high hopes.

For sea clutter and effectiveness of tuning, the signal processing is the main thing. So, for your purposes, that's a recommendation of sorts.

My 4G radar would pick up not only open and wooden boats, but kayaks, dinghies and even fishing floats, provided the sea is not up too much (obviously if the waves are much higher than the targets, no amount of tuning will help). You can often even make out the shape of the target, which helps a lot in identifying what you are seeing.


I was once terrified when navigating in a narrow channel in a pea soup fog I suddenly got a group of 7 or 8 sharply defined targets moving fast towards me. Until the birds got close enough to hear.
I can be looking straight at a fishing boat (wood, with cabin and racks) about 1 mile out, and the radar will only show it every 2-4 scans, and it won't show up from clutter in any automatic mode.
Manual tuning will show it, but that only works with that specific sea state, so overnight on a varying passage, that's worthless.
RM Quantum 2 (doppler etc)
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Old 15-06-2024, 11:56   #7
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Re: Radar for fishing / open boats

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Originally Posted by nfbr View Post
I can be looking straight at a fishing boat (wood, with cabin and racks) about 1 mile out, and the radar will only show it every 2-4 scans, and it won't show up from clutter in any automatic mode.
Manual tuning will show it, but that only works with that specific sea state, so overnight on a varying passage, that's worthless.
RM Quantum 2 (doppler etc)

Such a radar is not fit for purpose, in my book. Are you sure it's set up right?
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I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me;
We must have a turn together . . . . I undress . . . . hurry me out of sight of the land,
Cushion me soft . . . . rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet . . . . I can repay you."
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Old 16-06-2024, 05:22   #8
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Re: Radar for fishing / open boats

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Such a radar is not fit for purpose, in my book. Are you sure it's set up right?
Played more this morning with the Quantum 2.

When range set for 4 miles, open wooden boats w outboards / RIBS (Malta atm) below the skyline approx 0.5-1 mile out don't show up reliably in 1ft waves.

They show up when range set for 1 mile or less.

I'm working with default modes as tuning means knowing something is there to find.

Jetskis show up well due to doppler, but boats crossing your path don't show on doppler at <5knts.

So if you are sailing at night and someone is on a 3hp yacht tender or fishing boat, unless you have the range set short, you won't reliably detect them in any sea state. If the range is set to 1 mile, they start to show up well.
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