Mailport May 2013 Issue

Mailport: May 2013

RADAR SHOOTOUT

In response to your December 2012 broadband radar comparison: I switched from a Simrad BR24 broadband unit to a 4G after eight weeks. I just never developed the radar trust needed to run to the tuna grounds through Nantucket Sound and Great Pollock Rip in the fog/dark at 25 knots with the 3G BR24. We trust the 4G with our lives.

Your review only briefly mentions the fluxgate compass. In my experience, it is a critical addition to the system, allowing the radar returns to be overlayed onto the chart, as shown in the screen shots you featured. Too bad you did not get to test the split-screen 4G radar. It is a big improvement, but the fluxgate is required to get the most out of it.

We run a half-screen setup in the dark, with radar only on one side, fast scan-beam sharpening, ¼-mile range, and we can mark lobster gear buoys. The other half of the screen is radar overlaid on the chartplotter with routes and waypoints displayed, 2.5-mile range; we can look for boats and navaids and watch our cross-track through high currents and rips.

The red radar overlay can sometimes mask red nav aids on the chart display, if the radar returns’ opacity is set too high. The only alternative color is an alarming magenta.

Final thought: Although the gray/white 4G antenna may appear to have some built-in “wedge” to it, the antenna sits parallel to the base mounting plate inside the dome. Simrad 4G radar antennas come with very specific instructions for mounting heights above hard tops to prevent beam masking. I had to raise the antenna 8 inches and add 4 degrees forward pitch to get the best performance.

Bruce Pfund

Special Projects consulting,

www.bpspecialprojects.com

Westerly, R.I.

Next: CORRECTION

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