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Old 08-31-2016, 06:52 AM   #1
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To Doppler or not?

So, American Tug is about to begin building our boat. We have picked colors, options, finishes, equipment and we are well on our way. One thing left for us to decide on is the electronics package. As I am developing a heavy bias toward Furuno, this question involves their radar.
Furuno has recently introduced a dome type solid state radar with Doppler technolodgy. That tech is not available in their open array Ultra High Definition Digitsl radar.

So all things being equal, say 4 kW units, which unit is going to offer the "best" performance? I like the idea of the Doppler where targets change color with relative direction but what is the downside? Doesn't the narrower beam width of the open array make for a superior signal and better target definition?

Just curious,
Bruce
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:52 AM   #2
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New tech..always a gamble jumping on the bandwagon.

Broadband was touted for its great definition and low power...as other radar threads bring up....yes and no. I am happy that I stuck with the now many years old digital radar from Raymarine. Inexpensive, better than I was used to, clearly understand it's fine tuning and limitations, etc....

If doppler is clearly better and can do something old tech can't do, then it should be a no brainer.....but is it? I don't have any experience with it so my thrust is even if you don't get it, most radars on the market today (unless that model or line is having issues) are so superior to radar from just 15 years ago, fallback isn't a bad thing.

Things like ARPA are nice, but it is an automated feature, not a difference in return quality...so some improvements are only in add ons, not superior radar.

Reading the literature sounds impressive...if it works that we'll and is easy to get those features first time, every time.

Unless someone here you really trust has had one and cruised it for awhile, I would try and gets some real world hands on time as advertising definitely was off in my mind for broadband.
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:54 AM   #3
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Yes the open array should give you better performance.

But IMO, the reality is that these days the dome units are more than good enough for what most people are going to use their radar for.
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:57 AM   #4
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New tech..always a gamble jumping on the bandwagon.

Broadband was touted for its great definition and low power...as other radar threads bring up....yes and no. I am happy that I stuck with the now many years old digital radar from Raymarine. Inexpensive, better than I was used to, clearly understand it's fine tuning and limitations, etc....

If doppler is clearly better and can do something old tech can't do, then it should be a no brainer.....but is it? I don't have any experience with it so my thrust is even if you don't get it, most radars on the market today (unless that model or line is having issues) are so superior to radar from just 15 years ago, fallback isn't a bad thing.

Things like ARPA are nice, but it is an automated feature, not a difference in return quality...so some improvements are only in add ons, not superior radar.

Unless someone here you really trust has had one and cruised it for awhile, I would try and gets some real world hands on time as advertising definitely was off in my mind for broadband.
So...
You suggest the tried and true. Am I correct in my assessment of open array vs a dome? I'm thinking the 4 kW open array, "older" technolodgy although it is more expensive. It's like twice the money.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:01 AM   #5
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Yes the open array should give you better performance.

But IMO, the reality is that these days the dome units are more than good enough for what most people are going to use their radar for.
I will say that with the last Raymarine upgrade on our current boat, we had to replace the radome due to the fact that the old one wouldn't work with the new plotters. I remember liking the new digital HD color radar when we installed it.
It clearly worked better with fewer strange moments that the otherwise functioning analog unit that preceded it...

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Old 08-31-2016, 08:05 AM   #6
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Not really suggesting much more than if you have the chance, gets some real life hands on.

The broadband has great close in performance,average mid range and not so great distance performance....

So my question for the dpller is, are you giving anything up to go doppler?

As far as open array versus dome, I am with Capt Bill unless you are going bigger than 4KW. Even then, some domes are pretty big now, some as big as some open arrays...so look at bar length and the beam angles to compare. Even that doesn't guarantee better definition.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:10 AM   #7
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Ben Ellison on Panbo is gushing about the Furuno Doppler radomes and speculated to me that open array is likely their next step. I agree with capt bill that a dome will probably suit our needs nicely and plan to install one of these in the next two months--along with a TZTouch2 MFD.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Testing Furuno DRS4D-NXT solid-state Doppler radome, "Radar Redefined" most definitely
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:20 AM   #8
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Simrad just introduced a sort of broadband/pulse hybrid radar called Halo that is touted as the best of both. Of course you would have to go with all Simrad electronics.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:24 AM   #9
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Not really suggesting much more than if you have the chance, gets some real life hands on.

The broadband has great close in performance,average mid range and not so great distance performance....

So my question for the dpller is, are you giving anything up to go doppler?

As far as open array versus dome, I am with Capt Bill unless you are going bigger than 4KW. Even then, some domes are pretty big now, some as big as some open arrays...so look at bar length and the beam angles to compare. Even that doesn't guarantee better definition.
Interesting. We've had more than our share of really foggy passages under radar guidance and when it is needed, you want everything you can get. I remember a particular trip coming back from Maine a few years ago. We'd left Tennants Harbor and made a run for the Cape Cod Canal. We transited the canal in a light fog and decided to push through to Cuttyhunk. As we chugged down Buzzards Bay the fog got thicker and thicker. By the time we got to Cuttyhunk at about 2 in the morning, we couldn't see the bow of the boat!

Now, when it is great visibility, I'd noticed that our plotter used to plot us over land when we were in the middle of the channel. It is a fairly narrow channel so we were well within the margin of error for WAAS GPS so it never really bothered me. Same thing happens when we enter our marina, the tracks show us as going across land sometimes...

Anyway, we know we can't go in strictly by plotter, visibility is ZERO and radar is working perfectly. I always tune my radar for peak performance too. Auto is great for a starting point but I am continually tweaking gain, sea clutter etc.

As we got to the Cuttyhunk channel entrance we slowed to a crawl. Target definition was barely enough to get the job done. That nice high rocky breakwater should have provided a great target (and usually does) but the rain and fog really was too much for our system. We figured it all out, very slowly and made our way in safely but I swore that if I ever had an opportunity to get a system that would work better under those circumstances I'd do it.

This new boat is that opportunity and I'm trying to learn as much as I can before making my decision...
Thanks,
Bruce
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:39 AM   #10
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I am not a radar expert, but Doppler technology has been around for a long time, especially by the military.

The Furono, Nxt, Doppler looks very impressive, both in the articles I have read and feed back from the few users that have them.

It appears longer term, all radars for recreational use will be solid state, and the high output magnetrons will be phased out. I am sure there will be folks on here that will disagree with that statement.

I am doing an upgrade early Q1, and going with the Simrad Halo open array. I realize it has some shortcomings, like any system, but for a combination of short and long distance, low rad, and good user interface with the MFD, it's the package I like the best.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:51 AM   #11
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Kw for kw open array will always give you a better image due to the physical size of the antenna. Less back shadow. IMHO
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:56 AM   #12
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Kw for kw open array will always give you a better image due to the physical size of the antenna. Less back shadow. IMHO
Ok, what is "back shadow" exactly?
Learning cap on...
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:08 AM   #13
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For the kind of cruising we do on Magic, open array vs. dome makes no difference. We have had both on this boat. The dome we have now works perfectly fine for our needs and cruising area (Garmin HD). No matter what you chose, it will be outdated within a couple of years with a new "latest and greatest."

On our previous boat we had a Furuno 1721. It worked perfectly and always brought us home safely. It was installed in 1997 and was still in great shape when I sold the boat in 2011. Some say it is one of the best dome Radar units ever.

The difference between a $3,000 computer and a $1,200 computer is six months. Just sayin'
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:09 AM   #14
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Back shadow means that the radar will show a elongated shadow when in fact the object is a round navigation marker. Or it will show two small objects close to each other when in fact it is one vessel or object.
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:33 AM   #15
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In my teaching experience, often recreational radar owners really aren't very good with either adjustments or interpretation.

It is mostly practice but being shown the ropes opens a few eyes to some.

Bottom line, radar just needs to be able to show you whether there is clear watrcahead, or there is an object there. One, two, twenty two or the shoreline...... you really don't want to hit something no matter what it is.

It's radars that don't show you something out there that aren't acceptable.
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:57 AM   #16
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Open array vs dome radar.

Open Array Wins.

http://www.thehulltruth.com/marine-e...ome-radar.html

http://www.raymarine.com/view/?id=208

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Old 08-31-2016, 11:09 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angus99 View Post
Ben Ellison on Panbo is gushing about the Furuno Doppler radomes and speculated to me that open array is likely their next step. I agree with capt bill that a dome will probably suit our needs nicely and plan to install one of these in the next two months--along with a TZTouch2 MFD.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Testing Furuno DRS4D-NXT solid-state Doppler radome, "Radar Redefined" most definitely
It does sound and look very impressive.
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Old 08-31-2016, 11:30 AM   #18
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Well, perhaps open array won ten years ago.
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Old 08-31-2016, 11:42 AM   #19
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There are always the exceptions to the rule..or apples to oranges arguements.

Broadband in close supposedly beats open array...so as I posted before...what do you want your radar to do best or what it MUST do in all circumstannces.
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Old 08-31-2016, 11:52 AM   #20
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Personally, I'd call Furuno and chat with them about it. They are typically very straightforward. My opinion is that radar is the best piece of electronics to splurge a little on, if you plan on doing any cruising for extended periods of time. Next best is depth finders, VHF and then chartplotter.
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