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Author Topic:   Radar and Radome installation questions
Tsuriki BW posted 10-14-2001 09:09 PM ET (US)   Profile for Tsuriki BW   Send Email to Tsuriki BW  
Here in the Seattle area we are blessed with lots of areas to go boating and fishing. Puget Sound, Lakes Washington and Sammamish are just a few. However they all, especially Puget Sound, can get real foggy real quick. The Sound also has a lot of vessel traffic, container ships, fishing vessels, tankers, and ferries. I do a fair amount of salmon fishing in the Sound have experienced some real bad times.

We have an upcoming salmon tournament, Tengu, on each Sunday in Nov and Dec. Besides launching in the dark, the fog can be bad. Last year a 100 x foot barge almost ran over several tournament boats in a fog bank. All they had were a couple of guys on the front of the barge and those guys were not sounding any warnings. I moved out of the way of the barge and sounded my horn to warn the other boats. Luckily the fog was not completely solid so everyone got out of the way. It still scared me.

So, I have decided to get a small Radar unit for my Dauntless 14. I have been looking at installing a 16 – 24nm LCD unit. LCD because of limited space on the CC. The radome for this size unit weighs only about 10 – 25lb. I am thinking of mounting the radome on an aluminum pole just in front of the stern well. I thought about installing where a bow seat can be mounted, but I think it would interfere with the bow fishing position. I am installing a removable 4x5 mini T top (project got delayed because of my travel, work and family schedule) so a mount above the CC would probably be difficult.

I want the radar for safety and navigation during dark hours and in foul weather.

What I would like to ask is what units any of you would recommend, reasons, experience, and ideas on mounting the radome.

Thanks

Tsuriki

Contender25 posted 10-14-2001 09:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Contender25  Send Email to Contender25     
no offense Tsuriki but you are crazy :)

I do alot of sailboat racing and many of the boats I sail aboard use the radar solely for delivery from port to port. when they arive they literally pop them off.

the Radars are mounted on a pole (carbon or alum) in the aft of the cockpit. The pole is fitted in a female socket in the deck with a pin through the socket and then pole. Remove pin and pole w/ radar comes down. The radar has a connector, undone and off you go.

Now on a 14 dauntless, what about utilizing some sort of rod holder as your socket? Perhaps mounting some fitting in the deck. None the less havng it mounted aft on a pole will interfere with fishing but with the config described above you could take it off and put it..... maybe a telescoping pole and then store it along the console?

How about a bigger boat? Then you can get a real t-top and put everything on top of that.

reelescape1 posted 10-14-2001 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for reelescape1  Send Email to reelescape1     
Read the manufacturers comments on mounting as far as "line of sight" goes.....you dont want the signal bouncing off of yourself or passengers! Mount it high enough to be above anyone in the boat.
Tsuriki BW posted 10-14-2001 10:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
C25, crazy...maybe.. Maybe have to spend time in Seattle in winter and be passionate about salmon fishing to understand. Have heard of "removable" masts, and am looking for more info on them. Bigger boat is not in the budget and the boat now is great for not only salmon fishing but also bass/trout especially 1 man operation. In the future....???

realescape1. Know about the height requirement. ( also Ground Navaids in the AF). But thanks for the reminder.

Any comments on unit recommendations, experience??

Thanks

Tsuriki

Contender25 posted 10-14-2001 10:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Contender25  Send Email to Contender25     
I have had Raytheon and Furuno in the past. I think the Raytheon unit was the R40X and the Furuno I have now is a 17?? open aray something yada yada. I had to send the Ray unit back and the furuno has been bullet proof. I am now a diehard furuno guy but I think brand loyalty in Marine Electronics is alot like American trucks... Furuno vs. Raytheon Chey vs. Ford etc etc. They are all pretty good.

I have heard and agree only after seeing, that ray units are easier to see in bright sun light. Personally I do not need a radar in bright sunlight, but to each their own.

One unit to check out would be the JRC LCD's one of those units has a really small dome. It would seem to fit your application perfect.

Dick posted 10-14-2001 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
I would consider mounting using the smalest dome possible mounted on the console rail with a lay down mount.
It would be forward, out of your way, it could be high enough for range even with the "T" top and could be folded down when necessary.
Tsuriki BW posted 10-14-2001 10:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
Units I have "looked at" are the Furuno 1712 (new design) and the Raytheon RL70 (only brochure). They seem to be good, the Ray a bit bigger LCD unit. Not a big problem, I think. Radomes would be 18" and, as far as the Furuno, weighs 10lb. Can't find the weight on the Raytheon in the catalog, West Marine said about 18lb, which seems high.

I know JRC from my ICOM days. Good company. I may have to hit the "commercial" marine dealers to find more info on them. Maybe a good option. Anybody else have experience with them?

Any info on a mfg of a "tilt" or a removable mast?

Thanks

Tsuriki

bigz posted 10-15-2001 06:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
SiTex, the T-175 12.4" dome, screen head unit 10lbs. -- would be an excellent choice for your use Greg -- http://www.si-tex.com/html/t-175.html

Chuckle -- might as well add an autopilot while your at it --- ;}

bigz posted 10-15-2001 08:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Oops found this tidbit which sort of blows away Si-Tex radars -- http://www.4marine-electronics.com/raytheonradartest.html

These folks might be of help with a radar post mounting system

http://www.stainlessspecialties.com/marine.htm

Have fun -----

Dick posted 10-15-2001 10:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
For the mounting system check out www.tannermfg.com. He is in Bellingham and his work is beautiful.
Tsuriki BW posted 10-15-2001 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
Tom, Thanks for the link. The JRC unit looks very interesting. Went to their site. Not much help on the unit, but found out they have a branch office here in Seattle.

Does anyone have any experience with the JRC 1500?

Still haven't ruled out the Raytheon SL72 or the RL70. Lots of features and with the RL70 giving the ability to "upgrade" the scanner if/when I get a bigger boat.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these units?

As far as the Furuno, thanks to Tom's link, the 1622 is now out. But the 1712 is still interesting. Would like to find some reviews on this new unit. They also have a branch office in Seattle.

Does anyone have any experience with the 1712?

Dick, thanks for reminding me (again) about Tanner. Checked their web site and will give them a call. Being "local" is a plus.

Hope to hear more about the units mentioned above.

Tsuriki

Louie Kokinis posted 10-15-2001 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Louie Kokinis    
Tsuriki: I bought Radar for the same reasons – too many close calls with freighters in Juan de Fuca. It’s real tough to describe just how ugly the fog gets in the Pacific Northwest, especially this time of year. After doing an awful lot of research, I concluded that a 4KW dome was the way to go. The fog and rain around here get pretty ugly - more power ensures better visibility, especially in heavy rain - 1 mile warning is better than none.

I’ve since changed the 4KW antenna to a 2KW because of space constraints (I need the room for VHF, GPS, lights, etc), but highly recommend staying with a 2 KW or better antenna. The other problem that I faced was collapsing the entire unit (we park the boat in our garage and only have 3” clearance with the windshield off) which creates other problems.

The Raytheon engineers warned me about playing around (or cutting) the antenna cable. The 30’ cable is not supposed to be cut (unless the unit is recalibrated), it is also not designed to be bent each time the unit is used. If you decide to leave the monitor on the console and collapse the antenna, make sure there is plenty of slack on the wire so your not bending a small section each time the antenna is retracted.

Our solution is to run power wires up to an electronics box, leaving the antenna wire coiled and fastened up top where it will remain secure. My unit should be built sometime this winter, and will post pics when it’s (finally) mounted to the boat.

Louie

Louie Kokinis posted 10-15-2001 12:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Louie Kokinis    
I forgot to mention that it’s a good idea to add another battery - we’re going from 2 to 3 batteries.
Tsuriki BW posted 10-15-2001 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
Louie,

It does get ugly here and can get that way quick, doesn’t it. I would love to have a 4 – 6KW radar with a 4’ open array antenna, but on a 14.5’ boat it would be “challenging”. But with the newer units offering 2Kw power, we do have some nice options. I would not consider less than 2Kw.

I also park the Dauntless in the garage and have, like you, just a few inches of clearance, The VHF antenna comes down (the windshield and rail stay) and the Mini T-top will come off as well.

Thanks for the info on the cable. I still haven’t figured out the mounting, but will take you advice seriously in mind. Also about from 2 (which I have now) to 3 batteries.

Again, thanks for your comments.

Tsuriki

Tsuriki BW posted 10-15-2001 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
Per Dick's suggestion, I talked with Mark at Tanner Mfg. Real nice guy, builds lots of stuff for Whalers and is going to come up with a removable/tiltable mast for the radome.

Now all I have to decide on is which unit to go with.

I would still like to hear from anyone who has experience with the JRC 1500, Furuno 1712 or the Raytheon SL72 or RL70.

Any input/comments would be appreciated.

Tsuriki

SuburbanBoy posted 10-15-2001 11:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
This is slightly off topic, but... As I recall a discussion from my spring Power Squadron class. The instructors stated that there are some steps you can do to increase your radar presence. Unfortunatly, I did not take note of them. I did make a promise to not travel in commercial shipping lanes with my little 15'.

If traveling in commercial lanes in dense fog (at least here on the Great Lakes) you are taking a huge risk to travel without enhanced radar presence and your own radar (along wiht a flashing light, horn etc).

sub

Tsuriki BW posted 10-16-2001 02:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
SuburbanBoy..

In Puget Sound, that is many, many miles long there is a shipping lane right down the center. It goes from the entrance of the Straits of Juan De Fuca at the “mouth” of the Pacific Ocean all the way down past Seattle to the port of Tacoma (and maybe even farther) Don’t know how far in miles, but it is a long, long way. (might take a full day in my boat WOT).

There are thousands of fishing places along both sides of the Sound. Some require going from the “Seattle” side to the “Olympic Peninsula” side. This requires crossing the shipping lanes. The Seattle area also has one of the highest per capita number of boats in the US. Lots of commercial and recreational boats going back and forth. Add to this the ferry system that crosses and you have a challenge even in clear weather, let alone in fog.

Weather can be great, then change and be “less than desirable” quickly. Fog can settle in quickly in Fall and Winter, yet we are still able to fish most all year long.

Increasing your radar presence is a good idea, but, unfortunately, not done by a most pleasure boats here. Basically I think it is a lack of knowledge of the need or the desire to do what it takes. Also many of the typical pleasure boater doesn’t usually go out if the weather is marginal, but is still OK for fishing.

When the fog suddenly rolls in, and it does, is when I want to have radar on my boat. Horn blasts and lights are also necessary to let other boats know where you are, but radar can give you a better picture of what is going on around you.

Getting info on the available units, then deciding which is best for by application/budget, is what I am trying to get through now.

Tsuriki

Tsuriki BW posted 10-20-2001 03:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     
I talked with Mark at Tanner Manufacturing regarding a mounting mast for a radar unit for my Dauntless 14. He checked out the BW specs and has come up with a tilt- able/removable mast with braces that will not interfere with fishing. Not cheap, but high quality custom stainless steel solution to my needs. I am meeting with him at the BW dealer in Seattle in Tuesday to take final measurements on my boat.

Next thing was which Radar unit to get. I was looking at the Raytheon SL72 or RL70, the Furuno 1712 or the JRC1500. After checking out a lot of sites, reports, I was confused and frustrated. Cost wise, the JRC, feature wise the Raytheon, reliability wise, the Furuno. These are the basic indications I got. I had spent a lot of time alone with the units and talking with a knowledgeable sales person at Boaters World. I thought I would try to do the same, and check prices, with someone at West Marine.

To get initial information, I decided to call the local Bellevue store first. After 3 calls, waiting for 15 – 20 rings, no answer. I called the main Seattle store and they said they used the same telephone number to call store to store and the local Bellevue store was not closed. I called again. 20 rings with no answer, I called the main store again and the same guy said he was sorry and offered to switch to their own electronics section. I said, thanks and he transferred me. After 7 minutes listening to the NOAA weather forecast, I hung up. I called back to the same guy and told him the situation and that West Marine needed to do more training for customer service and/or to fix their phone system. I was nice but firm. I now have no desire to buy from West Marine.

I was frustrated. Then, on a fluke, I thought about ICOM. I knew they made one of the best marine radios (I worked for them for 8.5 years) and they had introduced a GPS line of products, so I thought I would give them a call. My call to my friend who is the government contact was unsuccessful. I called the president, whom I know, and asked him if ICOM was going to make a marine radar unit. As it turns out they have one that is soon to be introduced, the MR-570R. It is a monochrome LCD unit with a 4kw 24” scanner (36nm). I know ICOM quality and their service center is only 20 minutes away. I have decided on the MR-570R. The scanner is a bit bigger than I would like but the 4kw power is nice.

I also have decided to purchase their FP561 color GPS/Plotter/Sounder and connect to the radar. So, I will have some Garmin, Furuno, Humminbird units for sale soon.

I am not just trying to promote ICOM, and I don’t work for them. (I am still a big Garmin and Furuno fan). I am just letting you know the progress of my radar installation on a small Boston Whaler. Progress reports and pictures will follow.

Tsuriki

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