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Author Topic:   Montauk 170: RADAR?
strain posted 08-28-2004 11:43 AM ET (US)   Profile for strain   Send Email to strain  
This year I started fishing frequently in the Pacific Ocean just outside the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. What goes along with this is heavy FOG. I'm looking for advice on what radar products you guys are using and where and how you are mounting it. My console is already full with GPS, Sounder and Compass.
Barney posted 08-28-2004 11:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
This Furuno would fit on the console if you buy the GPS and sounder accessories listed.
Barney posted 08-28-2004 12:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
This Furuno is the model below and has a smaller dome and area of reception.
strain posted 08-28-2004 12:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for strain  Send Email to strain     
thanks for the quick responses Barney.
Camuyano posted 08-30-2004 09:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for Camuyano  Send Email to Camuyano     

I have done some research on this. Integrated radar/plotter/sounder systems seem to be the way of the future. In addition to the Furuno unit that Barney mentioned, Raytheon has the C-series displays, which can display radar, sonar and charts when coupled with the appropriate sensors. Garmin has a new unit that will be radar-capable (3006C/3010C) but this capability is still under development.

I have heard that Raytheon does not provide the capability for route planning on the PC. In my opinion this is a major deficiency. The Garmin unit can display satellite weather info via an XM radio link, which is cool, but Garmin, unlike Raytheon and Furuno, is new to the radar market.

Please keep us updated on how this project goes and post some pics, if possible. Even if I don't get a radar I would like to install a radar arch for hanging lights and to use as a wakeboard tower. I know other members had also expressed an interest on radar arches on the 170 Montauk.


gimcrack225 posted 08-30-2004 11:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for gimcrack225    
Why do you want radar? GPS will give you position. To see other ships or aids to navigation? Am I going that fast that I am in danger of hitting another vessel? Probably not. Or is it to warn you of ships (bigger that you) in your vicinity that may not see you on their radar? Probably.
I was ready to buy the Raymarine integrated package with radar overlay for about $4000 but still the problem was how do you mount the radome? Everybody seems to love a big macho radar arch but thats an expensive, heavy and high windage piece of hardware on a small boat. I never saw a low windage light weight arch with just radar, perhaps one has been designed.
What I came up with was a sailboat radome mast mounted up against the console with a support strut going aft. I further considered making it removable, but this leads to other issues. It would seem to me that the radome should be mounted as close the the center of balance to minimize movement. No matter where you mount the radome on a small boat, its going to bounce around alot.
The other issue is radar range is related directly to radome height. This question I never solved. The higher the mast the greater the range but the more whipping around of that radome. At this point, I decided that radar was not important enough to justify the expense, layout issues and installation. With the Raymarine it also is necessary to purchase an additional flux gate compass to provide accurate overlay of radar and charts because the GPS azimuth is not resolved fast enough. This radar business can get expensive.
I purchased the Garmin 2006c GPS (no radar capability) Chartplotter with sounder for about $1500. The new replacement model 3006C supports radar overlay. I am pleased with the unit.
If you have everything else and just want radar probably one of the stand-alone digital radars would be the cheapest way to go. Call up Raymarine and Furuno and ask them for advice on mounting radomes on a small boat. Get the biggest color display you can.
If you want chartplotter overlay, where the radar image is superimposed on the chart display, you will have to start all over again. Whichever way you go figure out the radome mounting first - its going to be a custom job.
Also, don't overlook the addition of a good quality radar reflector perhaps on a stowable lightweight mast. Give the big guys a better chance of seeing you.
Good luck
andygere posted 08-30-2004 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I took my Outrage 22 Cuddy under the Golden Gate for the first time during yesterday's NorCal Whaler Salmon Tournament. It was a good day as the Gate goes, with high fog but generally decent visibility and light wind. I had my radar unit fired up, and watched it as closely as any of my other instruments. There was a lot of boat traffic heading out in very confused seas. Considering the amount of fog this place sees, I think radar is a wise purchase for anyone who passes through the 'Gate with any frequency.

This is an incredibly difficult piece of water to navigate: Extreme currents, big ground swell, strong winds, thick fog, major navigation hazards and very heavy recreational and commercial (as in tankers, tugs and freighters) traffic. I gained a healthy respect for this beautiful but dangerous place.

As for the original question, I have an older Furuno 1620 16-mile LCD unit, which works quite nicely. It's about 5 or 6 years old, and I recently had to have an electronics board replaced in the dome which was pretty expensive. The tech at Furuno as much as told me that there was a design problem with this particular unit, and many were repaired under warranty. Otherwise, it is a fine unit, and I am amazed at how well it is able to pick up small targets (e.g. fiberglass boats).

My boat has a small T-top, and the radar dome is mounted on top of that. The display hangs down from the bottom of the electronics box that is integral to the T-top. On a Montauk, I think a mast mounted in front of the console, or a very small arch above the console would be the best bet. If you mounted on an arch, the display could hang down below it. I find this location to be excellent, because you can easily glance at the instrument while still keeping an eye on the water ahead.

I never thought I'd really want to have a radar unit, but after owning one and learning to use it, I wouldn't want to be without it in our fog prone waters. There are a lot of unsafe boaters out there, and the radar at least gives you a fighting chance of seeing them before they run into you.

handn posted 08-30-2004 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for handn  Send Email to handn     
We had a Furuno 1622 (Furuno's cheapest, basic monochrome 16 mile radar) on our 23 foot Conquest. It didn't fit on the dash but did fit in the compartment built in the t-top.
Powered down to four miles or lower, we could "see" other boats, even small ones, and land masses. During fog or at night, we used it constantly.
It is a useful accessory if you can find a place to put it.
erik selis posted 08-31-2004 04:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     

I am also a 170 Montauk owner who is interested in a radar arch. I think it would be a very practical addition to my boat for several reasons. Antenna mounting, radar reflector, rod holders, anchoring sign, radar dome, additional electronics enclosure, lights, something to hold on to while standing...

I doubt if we would be able to find one off the shelf for the 170 though.

What I haven't seen mentioned here is that radar also reveals the buoys. I think together with , VHF, GPS and depth registration, a radar is a sensible piece of electronics to have on board if you are boating/fishing in big waters or large, busy rivers.


Camuyano posted 08-31-2004 11:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Camuyano  Send Email to Camuyano     

Funny you mention detecting navigational aids with radar. I am currently taking an electrical engineering class about radar and read on the text that one of the applications was to detect aids to navigation; however, I don’t know how well this works in practice on recreational vessels. Now that I think of it, I remember seeing some big buoys and towers that I’m pretty sure have radar detectors on them. It would be interesting to hear from members that have radar in their boats if they can pick up any of these.

BTW: I remember you mentioning that you wanted an arch in your boat. Karl makes a good point about the weight and the windage. Another consideration would be how to mount so that it doesn’t mess up the fiberglass after a while. I wonder if some kind of pylon in the stern near the splashwell or behind the RPS would work better, even if it’s not as visually appealing as an arch with a nice angle. I’m thinking of something like what is on many police and military boats behind the driver. I’m thinking of making some drawings but haven’t had time.

Another option to reduce weight would be a composite arch like on the speedboats from the eighties. (Think “Miami Vice”.) I’ve seen this arrangement on homemade workboats. The only problem is that it may look somewhat out of place in a stout little center console like a 170 Montauk. There’s something about a labyrinth of tubing on a Whaler that gives it a nice utilitarian look.


erik selis posted 08-31-2004 01:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     

Many buoys over here have a radar reflector mounted on them. All buoys with light signals have radar reflectors. Some even have a radar beacon that transmits a signal. This signal contains information about the buoy. They are called RACON buoys. On charts they are marked with purple circles around them.

A radar arch would be a really nice feature IMO. If well built I don't think the weight would make much difference nor would the wind. I think a bimini top will have more influence from the wind than a radar arch. When I have some time I will also make some drawings and post them here to get some feedback.


prm1177 posted 08-31-2004 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
One thing to remember. A Radar's accuracy and the reliability of its image depends on the stability of the platform to which it is mounted. Radomes are adjusted for a specific horizon and angle. The smaller the boat, the more the roll, pitch and yaw action will affect the target accuracy.
Divedog posted 08-31-2004 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Divedog  Send Email to Divedog     
You may want to look at the following site for radar arch ideas:
Louie Kokinis posted 08-31-2004 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Louie Kokinis    
Guys, lot of great points.

It is true that range is restricted on small boats, and that pitching and yawing will not produce the best results. But it is still better than running blind!

I had a custom arch made and installed my antennas and outriggers on it. The VHF radios get better range because of the increased height, it gives me an extra place to hold on when its rough, and I've mounted my outriggers so that are they are completely out of the way. It is fully collapsible, very sturdy, and think something like it would be very functional on a Montauk.


tully_mars posted 08-31-2004 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for tully_mars  Send Email to tully_mars     
Hi all,

I am a very big fan of radar, and I have been much more pleased with the JRC 1500 than I ever was with my Furuno 1622. I think the larger radar antenna gives it an edge on picking up the weaker echoes in long range.

Regardless of brand, be sure you know how to use your radar well. Some of the first rules of the road are to navigate at a safe speed based on conditions. Just because you have radar doesn't mean you can run fast in any condition. There are false echoes and tuning that you have to deal with based on the weather conditions to get an accurate picture of what is out there.

Also, if you are in an accident, you will have an extra repsonsibility for justifying why you didn't avoid the other boat since you have radar. The main rule of the road on the water is to avoid a collision regardless of the other "rules". If you are not using your radar you can be held negligent by maritime law.

Capt. Tully Mars

gimcrack225 posted 08-31-2004 06:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for gimcrack225    
That is a nice radar arch! Can you tell us more about it? Where to get one?
Louie Kokinis posted 08-31-2004 06:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Louie Kokinis    
Tully makes some excellent points.

The radar should also be aligned to match the boats running angle (at the speed you intend to drive) in near low visibility. This is very critical in a small boat! Make sure the fabricators come on board with an inclinometer to verify the running angles before the tower is made. (This is tough to do on the trailer.) Shims will only adjust so far, and they look tacky.

I would also recommend you know where the microwave beam will be in relation to you and your guests. My boat is setup to operate with people under 6’ anywhere around and aft of the console. People taller than 6’ are asked to stay behind the leaning post when the radar is operational.


PS Tully’s recommendation for higher power is right on! Anything under 24 mile will not give good separation in dense fog or heavy rain.

Louie Kokinis posted 08-31-2004 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Louie Kokinis    

I had lots of help from the folks at Whaler CPD and Zodiacs commercial division.

It took me over a year to have it designed and built, but feel it was worth it.

We had it built with anodized aluminum vs powder coat because I don’t like powder coating. I’ve been running a test for over a year now and I’m going to have the cleats, rails, and tower painted with Imron (2 part epoxy) this fall.


chopbuster posted 08-31-2004 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for chopbuster  Send Email to chopbuster     
CABELAS sells a basic radar arch/T-top.
OzWhaler posted 09-01-2004 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for OzWhaler  Send Email to OzWhaler     
I am having BIG problems getting Louie's site and the radar arch JPEG - would really like to see it... has anyone else been having the same problems ???
strain posted 09-01-2004 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for strain  Send Email to strain     
the link works fine for me.
OzWhaler posted 09-01-2004 09:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for OzWhaler  Send Email to OzWhaler     
OK Folks - thanks - problem solved ! - works on IE not on Netscape for me...
Tom2697 posted 09-01-2004 09:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
I recommend radar for any boat that might get caught in fog. I've navigated from 16 miles out (the range limit of my JRC 1000) in zero-zero and arrived exactly between the inlet bouys. I just used the tallest building on the island as my marker (20 story hotel). My line-of-site distance is only about 3.5 miles at sea level but most objects float above the surface so I can detect them further out (shrimp boats and oil rigs can be spotted at the 6 and 12 mile settings).

I've also used my radar to navigate the Intracoastal waterway when my spotlight crapped out on me 30 miles from home. I used a mapping GPS as backup. I could pick up every channel marker at the 1/4 mile range, the can bouys at the 1/2 mile range, and any bouy with a radar reflector out to 1.5 miles. I never tried a further range since I was running blind on that trip.

My radome is mounted on a 1" diameter thick-walled stainless mast using railing fittings and starboard to connect the two. The mast is mounted to the floor of the console and runs up through it using an existing hole in the top of the console for additional support. This worked fine in calmer water (up to a 2 foot chop in an '89 Outrage 18 - sorry about bringing up a classic in this section!) but I added wire cables with turnbuckles connected to the corners of the console for added support (think spreader wires on a long outrigger pole). This holds the unit more stable in MUCH rougher conditions. I cut the mast to be about 6'6" from the floor and I can still raise my bimini if need be...

I don't have a photo of the mast with the wire cables but I can email a picture of the mast using more tubing as struts if you want. I didn't like the tubing struts as they rattled too much for my taste....


erik selis posted 09-02-2004 04:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
Thanks for the info Tom. Could you please e-mail me the photo's?



Camuyano posted 09-02-2004 08:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Camuyano  Send Email to Camuyano     

I would also like to receive the pictures. With your permission I could post them to my pictures page for everyone's benefit.


PeteB88 posted 09-05-2004 10:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Interesting discussion re: small boats and radar. IT is true you can plot course w/ GPS - mounting radar on a 17 seems challeging. I was talking w/ my brother-inlaw today about similar issues w/ radar on open ocean crossings and tricky nav areas and small boats. He is a world class sailor spending many years, fulltime, crewing big sailboats and as captain of his own. Many, many Trans Pacific and Atlantic trips, lived in Bahamas, 33 ocean capable boat still there.

He said they, as well as many small boats, carry Radar Detectors for cars mainly to pick up microwave signals from large vessels to avoid collisions. Certainly not the bonus plan but worked as a primary for a small boat or backup for a real sailor. He tends to avoid depending on electonics based on real time experience.

Barney posted 09-07-2004 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
Here is an thread on a RADAR dome installation for an older Montauk:

Barney posted 09-07-2004 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
Actually it's on an 18 foot Outrage. Jim
Barney posted 09-07-2004 05:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
Ok and it's Tom's Outrage.

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