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Old 10-01-2016, 06:21 AM   #1
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Used ships radar for personal trawler

During my conversations with shipbreakers I've been wondering about installing a ship's radar instead of a typical new-gen retail radar. These units are generally about 7-8 years old, 23inch LCD screens, AIS/ARPA, keyboard, 10kW, 6ft antenna. Power source 220v 5 amp (max load). Prices are about 6-7k USD. The modification that I see would be to remove the console, mount the screen on the bridge and place the high power electrical components several meters away from the compass.

Perhaps Lepke on that giant Wheeler, or other commercial guys can comment - is the difference in performance just the case of a bigger screen (23" versus 10") versus a typical Garmin and Furuno, who all sell 10kw radars (24vdc).
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:16 AM   #2
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I'm a big fan of dedicated radars, assuming you have the screen space and panel space for control console. Having dedicated knobs and buttons for control functions is really handy, and the track balls work really well in rough conditions where a touch screen is utterly useless. Wire the radar back to your chart plotter and the TTM message will show ARPA targets on your chart plotter.

But calling a radar "commercial" can be pretty ambiguous. They are either part of an integrated MFD/BB suite, or dedicated devices. The MFD/BB approach is a necessity in smaller boats with limited space for screens etc., but seem to bring with them a wealth of problems. And they are an all-or-nothing solution forcing you to buy the key components (chart plotter, radar, sounder) from a single manufacturer. If you decide you don't like the performance of one part, or want to upgrade one part down the road, you have to stick with the same vendor, or upgrade everything.

With dedicated components you can pick best of breed for each device, and integrate (though to a lesser degree) via industry standard interfaces. You also get control panels tailored to each device for quick and reliable access to key functions without hunting and pecking through menus.

So, for example, say you want to acquire an ARPA target on your radar. With an MFD touch screen you need to touch the target, hopefully hitting the right spot. if you are off an hit a neighboring AIS or ARPA target, the popup screen will be info on the target, not an Acquire menu. Once you finally hit the right spot, a menu pops up. Once again, you need to touch the Acquire Target menu item. Try doing this in rough conditions and you find it often takes a couple of tries.

With a dedicated radar, you brace you palm on the track ball frame. That stabilizes your hand relative to boat movement, and you getting thrashed around. You position the cursor over the target, then with your thumb you press the dedicated ACQ (Acquire Target) button and you are done. It's pretty much 100% successful every time, regardless of conditions.

The other things you will find different in dedicated radars is their certification for commercial use, and this might be what people mean when they say "commercial". There are various levels, and I'm frankly not familiar with them all other than IMO. The benefit of certification is that the radar has been tested against a set of performance requirements and shown to meet them. These include target detection, as well as ARPA acquisition time and accuracy of target tracking. My original Simrad radar system would never have passed the target tracking tests. But other non-certified radars (furuno for example) perform just as well as the dedicated radars.

You might want to check out Furuno's new FAR line. They are a re-vamp of the FAR2xx7 line and include a bunch of their new target tracking features, including fast target acquisition. A friend recently installed one and is very impressed with it. It also looks like the cost has dropped significantly and you might be able to get one new for close to the cost of a used JRC. Another thing to consider when looking at a used radar off a commercial ship is that those radars run all the time for years on end, so might be near EOL for the magnetron. If buying one, I would factor the cost of a magnetron replacement into the cost.
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:29 AM   #3
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A daylight viewable screen is really nice. That is what drives the costs up on a Garmin, Furuno etc. A 23" LCD does not compare and in our case renders the radar less than useful on a bright sunny day. Of course on a sunny day who needs radar.

As an aside, I've a friend who has been baffled as has his very good instrument tech by a previous owner installed Furuno setup. Whatever you do insure the instruments, cabling, wires etc are understandable with documentation and labeling.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:56 AM   #4
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Good points. I'll price out a magnetron replacement and see if it still makes sense.
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Old 10-01-2016, 12:33 PM   #5
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I would imagine a radar like that uses a dedicated watchstander.

I would guess that a more recreational radar would have an "easier" User Interface to learn and set. A big set like that, might be a distraction in the wheel house.

Of course, if you have the skill set, then go for it.

I did, but don't now. Had the training, but no real experience.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:20 PM   #6
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My ship radar experience is old. The radar of my ship time was powerful for picking up mountain tops at 200+ miles, but weak at picking up small contacts close by. We had a small boat radar mounted just for finding small targets in a heavy sea clutter. Large commercial sets of several years ago can be expensive to repair and require large antennas. Range is also determined on how high the antenna is mounted. 100 mile radar is wasted if your antenna is ten feet above the sea. On a smaller boat, pitching and rolling have an impact on picture.
On the other hand, as a commercial fisherman, tug operator, nothing could beat Furuno. Especially picking out targets in clutter.
Many ships have nothing more than high end radars available to yachts. That's what I would look at.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:32 PM   #7
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I can't get the picture out of my mind of a large radar antenna standing still with a small trawler spinning slowly and deliberately beneath it.
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:44 PM   #8
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On my radar, ships show up as big blogs, and most others as tiny dots. Many boats like kayaks, rowboats, and other small boats don't show up at all. One must rely on one's eyes. I don't boat at night (yet), but if I did, I'd make sure to show enough lights (well beyond the minimal navigation lights) to make my existence known.
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:51 PM   #9
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Having lots of lights on at night sounds good....
What about YOUR night vision?
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:35 PM   #10
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Don't let all the stuff on the screen scare you. 90% of the features are identical across all radars. There is very little variation. Target tracking, trails, bearing lines, range rings, ARPA, AIS, display modes, etc. all work the same across different radars, whether a giant stand along console, or a 7" consumer MFD.
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:12 AM   #11
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Just received an email from technical support at JRC. They corrected me in that ALL components of the radar, even the screen, must keep an 8ft separation from the magnetic compass in order to avoid interference.

My plan was to remotely locate the magnetron and other components away, but the screen would be on the bridge dashboard.

I suppose if I decide to join the 21st century and steer by a digital compass with a remote sensor then that problem goes away. Hmm
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Old 10-19-2016, 11:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makobuilders View Post
Just received an email from technical support at JRC. They corrected me in that ALL components of the radar, even the screen, must keep an 8ft separation from the magnetic compass in order to avoid interference.
Really?

My JRC screen is located just inches from a magnetic compass (the compass has been relocated to that spot after I upgraded my AP, to bring the very pretty compass of the old Wagner AP out where it can be a decorative addition to my dashboard).
This has caused no change whatsoever in the operation of the Radar, which has no issues.
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Old 10-19-2016, 01:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koliver View Post
Really?

My JRC screen is located just inches from a magnetic compass (the compass has been relocated to that spot after I upgraded my AP, to bring the very pretty compass of the old Wagner AP out where it can be a decorative addition to my dashboard).
This has caused no change whatsoever in the operation of the Radar, which has no issues.
Small lcd screen? As opposed to large ship type setup?
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Old 10-19-2016, 01:17 PM   #14
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koliver, their comment was in regards to the large ship radars with the 23" screens. I doubt that type of separation would apply to the 10" and 7" radars designed for the recreational market.
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Old 10-22-2016, 11:06 AM   #15
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I solved my "small screen" problem when I upgraded my Raymarine radar to a Garmin 18xhd that displayed on my 4208 by adding a second remote monitor that was in view on the dash. I also ran a cable to my TV that is on the sun deck of my aft cabin.



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