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Old 04-18-2014, 07:49 PM   #1
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Koden & Simrad 4G Radar at same time?

Hello Electronic gurus

I have a Koden radar for my PC based Chartplotter and am considering installing a Simrad 4G radar with their NSO evo2 plotter. I have seen conflicting comments about running two radars at the same time. Since they are different technologies - what say those who know?

Cheers,
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:07 PM   #2
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Why run two at the same time? Today's radars can run on split screens at different scales. Is the second radar Broadband, if so they are cheaper too and not such a power hog.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:46 PM   #3
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I believe they both run in the same frequency range. They would probably interfere with each other.

Personally I'm not such a huge fan of broadband radar. Its not the technology that bothers me, its the lower transmit power ratings.

In my opinion you cannot change physics. Power out gets reflected back. The smallest reflection you can resolve is based on the noise floor of the receiver.

More power out means a bigger reflection back.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:18 PM   #4
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Hello Electronic gurus

I have a Koden radar for my PC based Chartplotter and am considering installing a Simrad 4G radar with their NSO evo2 plotter. I have seen conflicting comments about running two radars at the same time. Since they are different technologies - what say those who know?

Cheers,
Having mostly Simrad electronics, I can say that they would be my last choice in the future. Not that they make bad equipment, in fact it seems quite good. However, when they decide to replace one product with another, they throw away all spare parts and cease any support for the product, even if you happened to have purchased it within the last year or so. This happened to me with my Simrad radar, and the vendor, Anacortes Marine Electronics was unable to get Simrad to diagnose or replace whatever ailed my unit and prevented it from powering up, nor were they interested in providing any assistance.

I spoke with a former employee of Simrad who told me they loaded up a dumpster with the service parts I needed when they brought out a new model radar, leaving even those customers still under warranty holding the bag if they needed service. Never again.
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:38 AM   #5
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So long as consumers would rather have "new" features, all electronics are going the way of cell phones and lap top computers. I love Simrad products. The original question was answered by ksanders. The Navy vessels I worked on (as a radarman) all utilized multiple radars separated by frequency. My G3 broadband is pretty poor compared to the radars on Navy ships, but it does show me the anchorage in the dark or rain, and the ferry overtaking me at three times my speed. I would go with an open array radar if I really needed it or used it regularly. It does see ice bergs close up in flat water :-)
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Old 04-19-2014, 11:09 AM   #6
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So long as consumers would rather have "new" features, all electronics are going the way of cell phones and lap top computers. I love Simrad products. The original question was answered by ksanders. The Navy vessels I worked on (as a radarman) all utilized multiple radars separated by frequency. My G3 broadband is pretty poor compared to the radars on Navy ships, but it does show me the anchorage in the dark or rain, and the ferry overtaking me at three times my speed. I would go with an open array radar if I really needed it or used it regularly. It does see ice bergs close up in flat water :-)
All true. My point was not that Simrad makes poor products - they don't. My point was that if you are going to buy a new product, why do so from a company that cares so little about their customers that they eliminate any effective means of maintaining the product you buy from them?
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Old 04-19-2014, 12:45 PM   #7
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All true. My point was not that Simrad makes poor products - they don't. My point was that if you are going to buy a new product, why do so from a company that cares so little about their customers that they eliminate any effective means of maintaining the product you buy from them?
12 years ago when I worked for a marine electronics firm you could see the same thing happening...the bottom of the line stuff for the average rec boater was definitely taking a dive and little was being done to alter that slide. The wel paid company rep at all the boat show dinners he treated us to even agreed. If you were in the big fishing fleet world...different story...

I am sure the merge with Lowrance (at the time had one of the worst reputations for reliability and support) was to shore up the rec boat line of electronic...which it seem like it has a bit...but I'm still suspect of the whole company and it's way of doing business.
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Old 04-19-2014, 12:59 PM   #8
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Allusions, aspersions, and opinions :-) Nowhere but in marine electronics right? When I bought my electronics I installed it all myself, no experience at all. When complete it all worked except the autopilot, and the "net" could see the autopilot but not operate it. When I went to an electronics outlet with technicians, they would not help me and told me I was "months" away from them being able to service me. One phone call to support, and one box checked in the MFD, and I was in business. Who wants to deal with technicians anymore? They would have cost more than the equipment, made me wait forever, and were jerks to boot. The money saved will go towards my next... anything but electronics technicians. Boy did we hijack this thread!
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:18 PM   #9
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Not sure what you are referring to...but you are correct that systems installation and troubleshooting has been on the track of owner installs and troubleshooting for quite awhile now.

Not everyone want to install or troubleshoot so I doubt the local marine electronics store is going away....but many are struggling more than ever is some respects.

But that doesn't really answer whether one brand is what over another...and only those that install and troubleshoot a variety are really in a position to answer that today...I'm not ....but I do see the actual products and the hardware /software which gives me a decent idea of where I'm spending my money on electronics.
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:55 PM   #10
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Companies with technicians aren't happy with just doing the install, they want the sale of the hardware, or they mostly won't do the install or service it. When you can cut 20% or more off the "retail" price, they are already behind the curve. Some of that is self inflicted, they need to restructure their hourly service rate, not depend on the sale of the equipment.
Almost every manufacturer touts their "plug and play" equipment which needs minimal professional installation. The lack of technician service forces the owner to do the troubleshooting whether they want to or not, unless you are willing to wait, and wait. The worst of the equipment out there has a success stories, and the best has horror stories. Sometimes it just comes down to luck...
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:56 PM   #11
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In every field of endeavour you're going to get good and bad. We have had very good service from Seacom Marine in Campbell River; from recommending good solutions, through installation, to followup, they have been excellent.

One of their techs has always been anti Simrad due to exactly what has been mentioned here, poor support. However, in the last year or so he has completely turned around; he has had excellent support from Simrad in the few times he has needed to call them. It suggests that Simrad has a different philosophy these days.
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:06 PM   #12
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I believe they both run in the same frequency range. They would probably interfere with each other.

Personally I'm not such a huge fan of broadband radar. Its not the technology that bothers me, its the lower transmit power ratings.

In my opinion you cannot change physics. Power out gets reflected back. The smallest reflection you can resolve is based on the noise floor of the receiver.

More power out means a bigger reflection back.
It's not about power, target detection is based on energy, where energy is power * time. Pulsed radars have to be high power because you want a short pulse. FMCW radars, like Simrad, have low power outputs that are more or less on continuously.

It's kind of like your house battery. If your energy rating on your battery is 200AH, you can take out 200A for one hour, or 20A for 10 hours. The amount of work produced is the same in both cases, but first one requires a lot bigger cables.

I like my Simrad 4G because of how well it works at very short distances which, as a coastal cruiser, is what I care about the most. Pulsed radars generally can't display close-in stuff because you have to wait for the high-power pulse to stop transmitting before you can listen for a response.

FMCW radars transmit and receive at the same time. The radomes are taller because doing this cheaply requires two antennas; one for transmit, and one for receive.

As for operating both pulsed and FMCW radars at the same time on the same boat, I don't think this would work well. The one problem with FMCW radars is that they do listen all of the time, so they do suffer from interference from pulsed radars on the same frequency. I sometimes see the ferry radars as a radial line. Not often, but it does happen.

I would guess the pulsed radar might also suffer. That said, there's quite a bit of isolation between the two if they're vertically separated. The radars will probably have different rotational rates, so the antennas will point the same direction at a rate equal to the difference between the update rates. This is when they'd most likely interfere with each other.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:53 PM   #13
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In every field of endeavour you're going to get good and bad. We have had very good service from Seacom Marine in Campbell River; from recommending good solutions, through installation, to followup, they have been excellent.

One of their techs has always been anti Simrad due to exactly what has been mentioned here, poor support. However, in the last year or so he has completely turned around; he has had excellent support from Simrad in the few times he has needed to call them. It suggests that Simrad has a different philosophy these days.
It's not a question of quality of gear - mine is commercial grade Simrad - or their support personnel. It is the decision to throw away all spare parts for the equipment they sold rather than spend a few $ maintaining an inventory. You can still get a water pump for a 58 De Soto. If De Soto had been a Simrad company, when the 59 model came out you've better hope the pump never failed if the new didn't fit the old.

When we called Simrad with the simple question of why the unit would no longer turn on, we not only did not get an answer, we did not get them to even address the question since they said they no longer supported the unit. When we asked if we got a diagnosis done by a third party whether we could get needed replacement parts, they said, no, such parts were destroyed when the new model came out 2 years after I bought mine. This was confirmed to me by a former employee of Simrad.

Based on this, I can't recommend their products, so if the OP has a choice, go with another vendor.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:44 PM   #14
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It's not about power, target detection is based on energy, where energy is power * time. Pulsed radars have to be high power because you want a short pulse. FMCW radars, like Simrad, have low power outputs that are more or less on continuously.

Sorry but I believe that is factually incorrect.

Power gets sent out. Some power is reflected and returns.

You cannot get more power (detectable power) to return just by sending it out for a longer period of time.

Every receiver ever made has a low limit of RF energy it can measure. Less power to the receiver means less to measure.

We need to remember, and I've read articles on broadband radar myself that there is some serious disagreement amongst RADAR professionals regarding broadband radar. That could be why some big names have not embraced the technology as being as effective as traditional pulsed radar.
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Old 04-19-2014, 11:30 PM   #15
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When we called Simrad with the simple question of why the unit would no longer turn on, we not only did not get an answer, we did not get them to even address the question since they said they no longer supported the unit. When we asked if we got a diagnosis done by a third party whether we could get needed replacement parts, they said, no, such parts were destroyed when the new model came out 2 years after I bought mine. This was confirmed to me by a former employee of Simrad.

Based on this, I can't recommend their products, so if the OP has a choice, go with another vendor.
I certainly hope that they have changed their ways. Given that they have apparently significantly improved their product support, it would make sense that they also improved their replacement parts approach. But in any event I'm going to take it up with the local supplier and get his feedback. It is certainly in his best interest to be able to provide replacement parts for years to come.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:24 AM   #16
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Sorry but I believe that is factually incorrect.

Power gets sent out. Some power is reflected and returns.

You cannot get more power (detectable power) to return just by sending it out for a longer period of time.

Every receiver ever made has a low limit of RF energy it can measure. Less power to the receiver means less to measure.

We need to remember, and I've read articles on broadband radar myself that there is some serious disagreement amongst RADAR professionals regarding broadband radar. That could be why some big names have not embraced the technology as being as effective as traditional pulsed radar.
This really isn't the forum to get into information theory, so I'm going to leave my day job out of this. There are many websites that teach basic radar theory, this one doesn't explain why energy is important, but it supports my statement. Or you can read the section on pulse width in wikipedia

There are pros and cons to both technologies. I've used both, and prefer the Simrad FMCW (I don't work for them, BTW). For my needs, it works much better than the Furuno radar I had before. I will say the Furuno had fewer software issues. Simrad is falling into the trap of trying to put more features in the software and seems less concerned about the quality of the software.

If power was the only factor, then it's difficult to explain how Simrad can build a 24 mile radar using only 0.165W of power, while pulsed radars are rated in kilowatts.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:59 AM   #17
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This really isn't the forum to get into information theory, so I'm going to leave my day job out of this. There are many websites that teach basic radar theory, this one doesn't explain why energy is important, but it supports my statement. Or you can read the section on pulse width in wikipedia

There are pros and cons to both technologies. I've used both, and prefer the Simrad FMCW (I don't work for them, BTW). For my needs, it works much better than the Furuno radar I had before. I will say the Furuno had fewer software issues. Simrad is falling into the trap of trying to put more features in the software and seems less concerned about the quality of the software.

If power was the only factor, then it's difficult to explain how Simrad can build a 24 mile radar using only 0.165W of power, while pulsed radars are rated in kilowatts.
Bob, everybody has preferences. You are alluding that your day job somehow involves RF, heck you might be a radar engineer for all I know.

I am not one, but I am in a closely aligned field, close enough to read and understand the math and the RF theory behind what people are now touting as "4g radar", or broadband radar.

So, I can't speak as a Subject Matter Expert in that field. What I can and do point out is that the technology isn't all that new, and that actual radar engineers are not all in agreement that it is the end all do all for recreational boating.

What it does appear to do is fill a nitch need for a , shorter range product with a lower power output, making placement less an issue in terms of RF energy exposure to the boat occupants. It also appears that it will end up lowering the price point of entry radar units making deployment more palatable for some.

I hope it sells. I hope that people that normally would not buy a radar buy these and deploy them. I hope that for the marine electronics industry, and for safety, because I think radar is a safety tool in limited visibility conditions.

I do not think it will replace long range pulsed radar technology in the near term. It might in the longer term and that would be great, but the technology isn't there yet.

Remember when we read technical papers, and I have to be careful of this myself... Technical papers are generally written by people promoting or selling something. Because of that they are written with a bias towards their product or technology. The papers on broadband radar I've read, all sound like sales brochures to me.
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:47 PM   #18
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Bob, everybody has preferences. You are alluding that your day job somehow involves RF, heck you might be a radar engineer for all I know.

I am not one, but I am in a closely aligned field, close enough to read and understand the math and the RF theory behind what people are now touting as "4g radar", or broadband radar.

So, I can't speak as a Subject Matter Expert in that field. What I can and do point out is that the technology isn't all that new, and that actual radar engineers are not all in agreement that it is the end all do all for recreational boating.

What it does appear to do is fill a nitch need for a , shorter range product with a lower power output, making placement less an issue in terms of RF energy exposure to the boat occupants. It also appears that it will end up lowering the price point of entry radar units making deployment more palatable for some.

I hope it sells. I hope that people that normally would not buy a radar buy these and deploy them. I hope that for the marine electronics industry, and for safety, because I think radar is a safety tool in limited visibility conditions.

I do not think it will replace long range pulsed radar technology in the near term. It might in the longer term and that would be great, but the technology isn't there yet.

Remember when we read technical papers, and I have to be careful of this myself... Technical papers are generally written by people promoting or selling something. Because of that they are written with a bias towards their product or technology. The papers on broadband radar I've read, all sound like sales brochures to me.
I would agree that FMCW is not a new technology. However, what is new is the amount of signal processing that can be applied to radar returns. What Navico should be applauded for is providing us with a choice of technologies, and with lighting a fire under the big companies you alluded to in an earlier post. Those companies appeared be be somewhat complacent. After the FMCW radars appeared on the market, the other players started adding terms like "HD" to their marketing material as they scrambled to add more signal processing and improve the performance of their pulsed radar technology.

I can't imaging there's a ton of money to be made off of recreational boaters, so it's a good thing that we now have a choice in the technologies available to us. That's why I had to jump into this conversation. Focusing on power, or even maximum range as the money spec driving purchasing decisions is wrong-headed. More power does not mean better radar, especially when considering how it will be used.

The Simrad radar I own has more than enough range for coastal cruising and has unbelievable resolution for close-in work. Most people I spoken with are like me, they almost never use their radars on the longer ranges. So why focus on max range in the buying decision?

I don't know that the FMCW radars are inherently safer. Which hurts more, quickly passing your finger though a candle flame, or holding your had over the flame for a longer period of time? The FMCW radars are lower power, but again, its the amount of energy that's absorbed that's probably more important. I would treat both technologies with respect.
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Old 04-20-2014, 08:33 PM   #19
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Our Simrad open array interferes with our Simrad 3G Broadband.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:58 PM   #20
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Our Simrad open array interferes with our Simrad 3G Broadband.
Would you be willing to post your observations about the two radars? You're in a unique position to be able to operate them side-by-side under different conditions.
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