Broadband radar - living up to expectations?

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by expedition, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. expedition
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Panama

    expedition Thorwald Westmaas

    It's been over a year since broadband radar was introduced.

    So, does it live up to the expectations (hype)? Any user feedback?

    Or better stick to x-band for short -range for now?

    It's hard to find independent info online on this subject.

    Thorwald
     
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  2. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Stick to X band in your case.
    Although the broadband provides what is promised and I like to have one for the smaller range of boats. And at 2000$ one must not think much, that is 6% of a proper S band Furuno.

    Regards
    Richard
     
  3. expedition
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    expedition Thorwald Westmaas

    Yep.

    Too bad you can't get S-band with a 6 ft. antenna. Then we could at least see what's inside that rain.

    Thorwald
     
  4. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    On the other day watched a document about the Panama canal.. In those closed quarters every Panamax should have one $2000 broadband radar low on the bow to see the first 1/2 nm..
     
  5. expedition
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    expedition Thorwald Westmaas

    broadband radar during Panama Canal transits

    Yes, that's something I thought about too. We hope to be transiting the Canal up to 2x a month. I'll check with one of my neighbors who's a Panama Canal pilot. Of course, we're not exactly PanamaMAX :)
     
  6. powerabout
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    powerabout Senior Member

    we will all be on broadband soon as S band frequency has been given to the cell phone companies....
    https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=346660
    Lets face it the radar that civilians are allowed to use are about as good as the military had in 1950
    where's our flat array antennas etc?
     
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  7. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Nah, not really. Todays systems are quite good but of course you must look at the upper end of the price list (and in the Furuno catalogue).................
     
  8. powerabout
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    powerabout Senior Member

    True but even the top end has the same technology as they have all had for years
    Furuno , Kelvin Hughes, JRC all the same at the IMO approved level.
    if your antenna still goes round and round its old tech
    phased array is the way forward..military have been using it for years.
    Speak with a designer or techie who works on both, they will always say civilian/commercial stuff is decades behind the military stuff.
     
  9. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    The Military stuff is very, very expensive. A good phased array radar that doesn't spin cost more than all our boats combined. They have massive computers to make them work and multiple antennas being directed by them. Best thing is to have a short range and a long range radar. Yes, that cost more money
     
  10. capt_jack
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    capt_jack Junior Member

    This is why you see movement towards non RF type navigation and anti collision systems where each craft transmits a GPS location via digital band.

    Most of the air traffic control now relies on transponders and the next gen system is completely dependent on them. If its good enough for planes someone is going to decide it will work just great for boats as well eventually.
     
  11. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Of course, and luckily, there is always something "better" than the affordable.
    But with a good commercial Radar and a large open array scanner you can already see a beercan at some distance.
    I am fine with that.

    And BTW, that was a thread asking for experience with a broadband Radar!

    Regards
    Richard
     
  12. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    The basic technology of a pulse radar hasn't changed much, of course. What happens to that signal after it returns to the antenna is quite different these days from before- you know, all that digital signal processing jazz that makes the picture nicer and sucks the VISA card down faster.

    Yes, civilian radar technology is quite a few decades behind the military varieties. It's likely to stay that way for a while. Pulse radar remains relatively simple and relatively inexpensive to implement- the hardware's easy to make and you can do a lot of interesting stuff in software. FMCW is also relatively simple and, now that Navico is selling it for boats, others will follow.

    The fancier stuff, though? Nobody wants to pay for it. The current military stuff (phased array, SAR, AESA, whatever else they're calling the things lately) isn't one radar- it's a few hundred or thousand transceivers, all in one housing, interlinked through an elaborate high-powered computer control system. They cost more than all our boats put together. You could have one, if you had the money and the political/engineering connections (or just an insane amount of time to wire up and program one), but somehow I doubt you'd be any happier than if you just bought the marine-spec Furuno.

    Oh, back on topic:
    I've yet to come across anyone locally who has fitted the Navico FMCW radome. Yes, the published reviews do tend to weigh heavily in its favour (note glossy Simrad ads on nearby pages). Some of the less biased sources have mentioned that its quality does fall off considerably with distance, and that beyond something like 2-4 miles, it's not as favourable a competitor to conventional pulse radars.
     
  13. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I sell the Simrad unit. Haven't sold one yet. My understanding they are still working on software, it is impressive though. Range is limited good for navigating in fog and dark, not so good for finding birds. That is what I hear.
     
  14. undercutter
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    undercutter Junior Member

    So, if you were completly upgrading your electronics and network, would you spend the money to include this in your package.
     

  15. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    Funny, I dedicated my whole life to electronics, but wasn't aware of broadband radar until this thread.

    So I downloaded the Navico guide and did some quick reading....

    First of all the name is wrong. Broadband is something we associate with very fast communications, but they use it instead of Frequency Modulated Continuous Transmission because Broadband sounds better.

    I like the principle of continuous transmission and reception and calculating the distance from the frequency shift. Very clever principle, but quite a burden on the processor because with a spinning antenna there is not much time to calculate. It draws more current for calculating and displaying than for transmitting.

    The real problem however is in the radiated energy. That is less than a cell phone emits, so it must be clear to any of us that you cannot compare this with the 2 KW+ pulses from conventional radar thus you cannot expect a similar range. The reason they use so little power is twofold. First of all there simply is no cheap way to generate a frequency sweep in the designated band with more than a handful of milliwatts. Fixed frequency yes, variable no.
    The other reason is that even if semiconductors would exist for such a purpose, there are international rules limiting the amount of radiated energy. If lots of boats would have a radar unit throwing out 25 watts continuously, they would constantly blind each others receivers and nobody could use it for navigation at all.

    The Navigo pdf file shows some screen pictures that do not impress me at all, I prefer my stone age Apelco unit for close range navigation. The map overlays are nice, but you can get that with real radar also if you are willing to pay for it.

    To me it is more a gimmick than a technological breakthrough.
     
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