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Old 02-12-2013, 10:59 PM   #21
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The admiral-to-be and I were having a discussion about the value of radar ... I said that if we were fortunate enough to buy a new boat that did not have radar installed, I would consider not having it. She heartily disagreed.
...given my parameters (and I know there is always the unexpected), what you you experienced folks think...
You are definitely getting radar.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:54 AM   #22
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You are definitely getting radar.
How did we all miss that? He's getting radar, enjoy!
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:15 AM   #23
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The admiral-to-be and I were having a discussion about the value of radar under those conditions. I said that if we were fortunate enough to buy a new boat that did not have radar installed, I would consider not having it. She heartily disagreed.
Like most of the posters on this thread I believe radar is an extremely valuable tool even if you don't plan on boating in the fog or at night.

I have never boated the east coast so I don't know if the conditions I have encountered in Washington, DC, Virginia and the Carolinas can occur on the coast, but I have visited my friend at Virginia Tech and rented a plane to take him up in and when we got off the ground we couldn't see squat because of the heat haze or pollution or whatever it is that happens there. If this kind of thing occurs along the coast, even if the sky is blue straight up the haze could obscure your distance vision across the surface. Radar will help you know what's out there.

We have found that boating is a never-say-never sort of thing. We said we'd never run at night because of all the stuff in the water here, but we have miscalculated currents or were late leaving our spot in the islands and ran the last hour across Bellingham Bay to our marina after sunset. Radar was invaluable then.

We do get fog here so radar is an obvious benefit there.

Ray made a good point earlier about the value of radar--- assuming the set can let you do this--- in figuring out closing angles and distances and whether you want to try to cross in front of something or go behind it. Yes, this is pretty easy to judge close-in but if you boat in an area of ship traffic and constricted waterways it can help to figure out your plan well in advance.

And, as you get more experienced in this kind of boating you may want to start expanding your horizons. You might want to travel north to places where fog is more common. Or you may get to the point where you want to travel at night or at least finish the run home after dark.

So no, radar is not essential to boating successfully. We don't know many people who don't have it, but the few we do know go everywhere we go and more and have no problems. But unlike some kinds of electronic do-dads you can load a boat up wtih, I think radar is as valuable as a GPS plotter.

If we had to pick just one, it would be tough but we would pick the plotter. Our smaller fishing boat has no radar but it has a very good plotter and this is invaluable up the north end of Vancouver Island in the maze of islands and channels where we fish. The way we use this boat radar would not be of much value.

But it is extremely valuable to the way we use the GB, every bit as much as the two big plotters. We have our radar on and monitor it the whole time we are running the boat even if it's a nice clear day with excellent visibility. It keeps us in practice for when it's not a nice clear day, which up here is most of the time.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:18 AM   #24
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Been on many trips on boats with radar, but seldom has made a difference. On one boat trip we had a commercial radar. That makes you undersand how weak the radar units are on most pleasure craft.

Brings up a question on the new 4G radars. Any experience with these? Since we currently do not have a radar I am considering one.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:29 AM   #25
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Been on many trips on boats with radar, but seldom has made a difference. On one boat trip we had a commercial radar. That makes you undersand how weak the radar units are on most pleasure craft.

Brings up a question on the new 4G radars. Any experience with these? Since we currently do not have a radar I am considering one.
No personal experience yet but I have had mixed reports from very good friends..one's a marine electronics store owner/installer with ton's of experience through big ship radar who said the 3G was marginally better than HD radar and from an 2 experienced captains with many years of party/whale watcher/personal boat experience who said it was night and day....in close where us smaller guys usually need it most.

So I'm holding out till at least fall to make my decision...maybe after another summer of reports I'll have a better picture.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:31 AM   #26
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I never leave the dock planning to need my radar but I usually turn it on anyway. There's only been a few times when I absolutely would have been hooped without it but I end up using it most trips anyway. Its great for figuring out just how far away another vessel is and as Marin pointed out, for figuring closing angles. I usually set mine for 4 miles which is roughly 3/4 of an hour travel for us. At that range it is surprising the number of times when a vessel will appear on it that I haven't seen on the water, even though I think we have good visibility that day. Particularly tugs will often blend into the water or background islands and not be immediately visible without binoculars. The radar gives me a heads up for that situation and it also serves as a rear view mirror. I wouldn't want to be without it and on those days when the fog rolls in and I can barely see the Sarca on the bow it would be dangerous not to have it.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:49 AM   #27
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You are definitely getting radar.
Probably better get two or at least 2 displays. One for him, and one for her.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:55 AM   #28
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This would not be used in the ICW, but I have not seen MARPA mentioned. MARPA is mini-automatic radar plotting aid. My radar will keep up with up to 10 targets. When offshore it is great for tracking direction and speed of other vessels. This allows you to determine if a crossing situation is developing. Good weather or bad it is a valuable aid.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:17 AM   #29
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Been on many trips on boats with radar, but seldom has made a difference. On one boat trip we had a commercial radar. That makes you undersand how weak the radar units are on most pleasure craft.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:38 PM   #30
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This would not be used in the ICW, but I have not seen MARPA mentioned. MARPA is mini-automatic radar plotting aid. My radar will keep up with up to 10 targets. When offshore it is great for tracking direction and speed of other vessels. This allows you to determine if a crossing situation is developing. Good weather or bad it is a valuable aid.
Don, I believe we have the same plotter/radar; Raytheon RL 80CRC. Mine has the HS1 and I believe yours is HS2. I have used MARPA many times to track other boats up and down the ICW mainly just to keep in practice and to watch their speed in no wake zones.

The RL 80CRC plotter is so difficult to use and the route line so difficult to see, I got a 7" Garmin touch screen that I love. So I rarely use the plotter but do use the radar. I'm thinking of either adding radar to the Garmin unit or completely upgrading my navionics to a larger screen with digital radar. I think the 7" Garmin is a little small for radar display.

I headed to the Miami boat show Monday to see if any deals can be had. I'm assuming the new digital radar have MARPA or something similar.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:10 PM   #31
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Tim that is correct. I do have the 2 big 10' displays right in front of me. The one not seen is on the left, and I run radar on it. The one visible is on the right, and I run the chart plotter on it. I can put the chart on the left for radar overlay. I can also run the same chart at two scales. That really comes in handy for the ICW to see large scale close by and what is coming up at a distance. I know that this technology is a couple of generations behind, but it works so well I don't feel the need to upgrade. The radar is 72 mile. Really good for tracking thunder storms and weather fronts.

You should recognize the location. By the way check the SOG 25.5 knots. We must not have been in a hurry.

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Old 02-13-2013, 03:31 PM   #32
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Back to the original question ... It's not just fog you have to worry about on the ICW, the following were taken in Georgia. most of the "land" shown on the chart was inches under water, showed up on the radar but couldn't see it from the wheel.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:41 PM   #33
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That's a new one on me...whenever the "marsh" is under water and there's no grass showing...usually there's no RADAR return....anything special you tweek?
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:11 PM   #34
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Nothing special, short range low FTC, high STC, higher than usual gain.

I've taken shots like this several times. here are two more ...
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:55 PM   #35
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are you bouncing off a bit of grass I don't see in the pictures?
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:05 PM   #36
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If you have big deep full pockets, radar is a must have.
If you have empty pockets, radar is a luxury.
If you don't have any pockets, radar is a waste of time.

It's all relative.

For us bottom feeders, a little common sense goes a long way and the increase in safety (and/or convenience) is infinitesimal compared to the cost. It's like I'd have to reduce my time on the water by 90% to be 1% safer with radar.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:14 PM   #37
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Here's one of an approaching storm.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:47 PM   #38
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are you bouncing off a bit of grass I don't see in the pictures?
It may be picking up a little grass but the beam also penetrates the water to a very small degree and that is the bulk of the signal you are seeing. Throw in a little chop on the water or some rain and there is a good chance the signal would significantly degrade or perhaps disappear.

In perfect conditions like the photo below I have picked up pop cans and floating birds. Once you have radar and understand it I don't think anyone would ever want to be without it again.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:19 PM   #39
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It may be picking up a little grass but the beam also penetrates the water to a very small degree and that is the bulk of the signal you are seeing. Throw in a little chop on the water or some rain and there is a good chance the signal would significantly degrade or perhaps disappear.

In perfect conditions like the photo below I have picked up pop cans and floating birds. Once you have radar and understand it I don't think anyone would ever want to be without it again.
I've been using it weekly at least for the last 35 years and always thought if it reflected of tiny little waves...that and ice particulates ....and that it certainly wouldn't penetrate the water surface...otherwise everyone would use it to detect deadheads, containers, etc..etc...

I'm still amazed and would love the tech explanation because all the research I'm doing says it can't yet you pics shows it can...
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:28 PM   #40
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I've been using it weekly at least for the last 35 years and always thought if it reflected of tiny little waves...that and ice particulates ....and that it certainly wouldn't penetrate the water surface...otherwise everyone would use it to detect deadheads, containers, etc..etc...

I'm still amazed and would love the tech explanation because all the research I'm doing says it can't yet you pics shows it can...
It can be done but in very limited conditions, Think about a radar reflector under your flying bridge coaming, some of the beam will get rhough and back. Think about X-ray at the airport being able to detect metals and different densities (bags of cocaine) being hidden inside liquid baby formula.

Radar is either X or K band in other words ... an X-ray. I would not be without one and have used it to enter very narrow break walls when you could not see out the windshield due to the ice.
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