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info wanted: how to use radar

Discussion in 'Boat Electronics' started by new guy, Sep 6, 2003.

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  1. new guy

    new guy Guest

    I have checked the internet repeatedly and can find no information about
    using small boat radars. It is the most complex device with the least
    information about its' use we can buy for a boat. Does any body know where
    i can get 'tips' and suggestions for using radar safely and effectively?
    The manufacturer Si-tex/Nobeltec don't have anything beyond the most basic
    how to turn on and make minor adjustments.
    New guy
  2. Ric

    Ric Guest

    For a few weeks use it in daylight and good visibility. Then you will have
    an idea of what it can see, and what it can't, when the visibility is bad.
  3. For example

    For example Guest

    Targets behind and to the side may well be threats, especially in a
    slow-moving sailing vessel. You need to watch the progress of a target
    (either electronically or by some plotting method), if it stays on a
    constant relative bearing - ie runs down a line from the centre of the
    display to its first detection point, then it will hit you. Many sets
    without MARPA allow you to put an electronic bearing line (EBL) on 1 or more
    targets to monitor this. Of course this also applies to rocks; 'will I
    clear that headland ?' is really the same question as 'will that ship hit me
    I would add that radar can be a great navigation tool. It gives a very
    accurate range (less accurate bearing) which allows you to identify features
    on land and produce an instant fix by drawing circles on the chart with
    centres on the features and radius their distance off. The same procedure
    will allow you to confirm the identity of a doubtful feature given a known
    position or known features. You can also set up an electronic range ring in
    advance of a tricky bit of pilotage and use it to stay a known distance off
    land. Just remember that the return from a bit of land does not neccesarily
    come from the point where the colour changes on the chart; at a long range
    you may be seeing high ground miles inland. At closer range it may depend on
    tidal height.

    A responsible navigator uses every piece of information at his disposal.

  4. Keith

    Keith Guest

    Hey, don't laugh. I tracked something one day that had to be either a bird
    or a UFO. Although I'd have preferred to see the latter, I have to believe
    it was a bird.


    Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that's
    how dogs spend their lives.
  5. JV

    JV Guest

    I've heard the air defense radars follow easily crows and other reasonable
    size birds. And that it isn't nice for the birds - somehow they can detect
    it and tries to dodge.

  6. Keith

    Keith Guest

    Try turning up your gain manually as much as you can without obscuring the
    screen. Some of the fishing boats around here can see flocks of birds
    feeding, indicating fish.


    A critic is a man who knows the way, but can't drive the car.
  7. Bzzzzzt, Wrong answer, Would you like to try again, or go for what is
    behind "Door Number 2"?

    Xband Radar Transmissions will reflect of any surface that is flat and
    over 4 wavelengths square. It doesn't matter what the material is as
    long as it isn't some type of Stealth Carbon Composite or the like. Wood
    & plastic boats show up just like steel ones do, given the same size and
    surface area. Modern Commercial Marine Radars have excellent Log
    Receivers, and I have painted "Single Seagulls" sitting on the water
    of Lake Union in Seattle, Wa. with a Furuno 448, and that was 20 years
    ago. What makes a "Great" Marine Radar is the Antenna Gain and
    Horizontal Beamwidth. The higher the Gain, and the smaller the
    Beamwidth, the better the radar. 40 years ago we needed 20 or 40 Kw
    just to paint Mountain Tops out at 48 miles, now that can be done with 6
    or 7 Kw and units now only have one tube. (the Magnitron)

    US Power Squadran has a course on the Operation and Use of Small Boat
    Radars that might be of interest to the original Poster. Also there are
    a number of schools that teach Radar Navigation and Radar Observer
    courses for "USCG Six Pack Masters License preperation".

    Bruce in alaska
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