LCD versus CRT, range, fixing in out
of the way locations, requirements.
If you want to get an argument going, just ask about radar. Everybody has
their own ideas. Here are mine for what they are worth.
There is only one thing scarier than being in the fog without radar; a breaking
wave about 20 feet tall, coming your way?
LCD screens can generally not be seen from an angle. If there is anything
which needs to be easily seen from anywhere it is the radar. I prefer CRT
screens, but the display heads are bigger and require a little more power.
Since the radar has lifesaving potential, this not a place where I would use
second best. I have heard that the latest generation LCD screens can be seen
from a long way and at a large angle. I have not seen one of these yet.
A small radar (12 mile) that is well made is a lot better than a 24 mile
unit that isn't.
Furuno radars are used on fish boats world wide. Try to get a Raytheon fixed
in French Polynesia?
Use closed radomes on sailboats.
Short range radars don't need to be mounted very high. On most boats under
50' with 12 mile radar, 10 feet is high enough; with 24 mile, 15 feet should
be very adequate.
Chart accuracy in much of the world is not accurate enough for good safety.
Radar will find reefs, rocks, boats, ships and even birds that your GPS is
not remotely aware of. You use it to verify your GPS position, not the
other way around!!
Any vessel that is sailing "short handed", which generally means you can't
keep a strict 24 hours a day constant watch, needs a radar like they need
another crew member. Radar can be bought, crew are much harder.
If you can't spare the electricity to keep it on all the time, try the "wake
up mode", where it turns on every so often and runs for 10 or 20 sweeps and
turns off again. You set an alarm ring at 2 miles or whatever and hook up
a bell to the radar and if something is coming your way, you will know about
it. Furuno OP23 is the remote alarm and the 1721 uses 1 1/2 amps at 12 volts
to operate standby; when operating after wake up, the amperage is about double
Small radars usually have about 2(kw) kilowatts of output power. 4 kw is
better in that you can punch thru rain and interference a lot better. The
Furuno 1831 is a 4 kw set.
The fancy features for displaying charts on the radar, doing target aquisition
and making coffee are completely secondary to providing a first class picture
of what is around you.
I think the JRC and Sitex radars are not bad units, but I can't vouch for
their repairability in out of the way places.
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Copyright 2003. Captain Michael P.
Maurice. All rights reserved