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Thread: Small boat radar

  1. #1
    NBS Extreme Angler JackC's Avatar
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    Small boat radar

    I need to get a small radar for my little 20 Maritime. Has anyone used the Lowrance Broadband Radar? (Very low power unit and easy to install.) It appears to be the unit I should get for my little boat. Unfortunately I will need to get a Lowrance GPS to support the unit since you need to interface it with one of their units. (I have a Garmin chart plotter that is fine but of course not able to interface with this unit - and I don't think it interfaces with a Garmin Radar either.)







    Jack
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  2. #2
    "Possum"   Brad's Avatar
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    I haven't used the Lowrance unit, but I can say, with 100% confidence, that the Furuno 1623 is about the best value you can get out there. Function and reliability are simply excellent.

    Marine Radars: Furuno 1623 radar at The GPS Store, Inc.

    "NO CACHE" 2002 Carolina Skiff 238 Semi-V w/Mercury 125 HP


  3. #3
    AlloyToy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Possum View Post
    I haven't used the Lowrance unit, but I can say, with 100% confidence, that the Furuno 1623 is about the best value you can get out there. Function and reliability are simply excellent.

    Marine Radars: Furuno 1623 radar at The GPS Store, Inc.

    Couldn't agree more Had two of them over the years on two different boats, and the customer support is incredible Furuno usually has a rebate program during boat show time.

    "You can trust the government, just ask the Indians"

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JackC View Post
    I need to get a small radar for my little 20 Maritime. Has anyone used the Lowrance Broadband Radar? (Very low power unit and easy to install.) It appears to be the unit I should get for my little boat. Unfortunately I will need to get a Lowrance GPS to support the unit since you need to interface it with one of their units. (I have a Garmin chart plotter that is fine but of course not able to interface with this unit - and I don't think it interfaces with a Garmin Radar either.)

    Jack
    Jack, I would not buy a radar with a 15" dome which is the one recommended by some of the NBS members! When you throw out a question like this everyone is going to tell you what they have had, and what you really want is a broad look at what is out there. The problem with a 15 " dome is resolution. The beam pattern is wider than what would be obtained with a larger dome. For example, suppose you see two targets at approximately the same range that are approaching each other. You will see two distinct targets until they merge into a single blob. Should a neighboring vessel near you look at that same blob with a larger array, they would not see a single target but two distinct targets. The ability to distinguish two separate targets is resolution. Would you be happy with a radar that has poor resolution, I do not know. It is almost like asking the exact same question of what transducer you should use with your fish finder. Most members would say go with the higher power array type transducer, and of course they are more expensive. Rarely it is the added power that makes the difference. The improved performance is due to the physics that the array transducers, which are larger, have a narrower beam pattern. There are really only two ways for you to proceed to find out which radar would be the most suitable for you. Get out on a friends boat who has what you are interested in and use it. Then go out with someone who has a more capable system and use that. You have to make up your own mind in the trade off in performance versus cost. The other way to proceed is to read an independent review of current radars by those who know what they are testing and how to conduct a proper evaluation. There are several sources out there and I happen to like Practical Sailer, but I think you get my drift. Asking a non technical community for a evaluation of a very highly technical piece of equipment could easily lead you astray. The question of marrying a radar to your Garmin chartplotter is easy. Tell me what model you have and I can give you an answer.
    "Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go" by William Feather

  5. #5
    "Possum"   Brad's Avatar
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    Scup,

    I am not sure what you are referring to (and I typically am right on board with your analysis of these things), however, I have never had multiple targets show as a single blob on the Furuno 1623 unit, and the resolution is exceptional for a radome of this nature, married to the display. I pick up lobster buoys at 150-200 yds with this unit (when seas allow). Blobbing has never been a problem for me with the 1623 (nor have I ever even seen it occur on this unit, even at a mile out.

    These small units are not designed to spot flocks of birds working fish a mile away. Your summary of the radome physics is spot on, but that is rarely an issue with current technology in close range (1.0 mile of less).

    My opinion is based on functionality, reliability, and usability, compared to numerous other units I have utilized, either on my own craft or on other boats. The resolution of targets on the 1623 screen has never let me down.

    An open array is simply not the most viable on a 20' boat, nor is it needed.

    I pick up distinct targets of concern at a mile out, without problem, however, rarely would I ever really need that when leveraging my radar. I typically have it set for a 1/4 mile view, as I use it for navigating foggy conditions. Now I will say, when it rains hard, forget it, but that is true of most units.

    Now, as for the question, I encourage JackC to look around and find exactly what he is looking for, and not simply take opinions (experience) of those who post up in this thread. Larger, more expensive units with bigger radomes or open arrays definitely give much improved granular resolution, but the question must be asked, what is the usage profile going to be for the skipper's vessel? We are talking a 20' boat hear, and quite honestly, a 36" open array is not really viable on a CC such as this.

    Lastly, one has to weigh in how often it will be used, along with the purpose it will be used for.

    I stand by my recommendation of the Furuno 1623, based on other units I have used and seen on other boats, for the purposes I need it for, which is fog navigation collision avoidance. It is an excellent unit and serves the need for most small boat operators.

    On that note, keep looking and doing the research JackC, we all have our distinct needs.
    "NO CACHE" 2002 Carolina Skiff 238 Semi-V w/Mercury 125 HP


  6. #6
    Senior NBS Member Lucky Lou's Avatar
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    i have a furuno 1623 and love it. my boat is a 23 cc. i already had seperate gps and sounder that are not capable of interfacing with radar. i beleive furuno is the only one making a stand alone unit these days. i am still not a fan of combining every thing on one unit. or the price tag of doing so. i have never seen a fancy, color, high def unit in action, and im sure they are awesome but i do know my little furuno works fine and i am comfortable and confident when using it. it has helped me return safely in fog and navigate at night many times. and once, fog at night it is safety equip! good luck. and remember any unit is better than no radar at all
    Sportfishing Forums | Saltwater Fishing, Deep Sea Fishing, Big Game and Sport Fishing Reports; for the serious Sportfisherman.

  7. #7
    AlloyToy's Avatar
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    Brad I've been able to spot large flocks of birds feeding around whales on Stellwagon with our unit......pretty neat to see

    May I add power consumption is a big issue with Radar units also.....just another consideration

    I have mine pitched at 4 degrees, and it drastically improved my LCD display view off the bow. I have it inter phased to my SH CP1000 CP. My CP sends Speed, Lon/Lat, and compass info to he Radar LCD unit.

    My 1623 has saved my ass many times especially with tugs towing barges in the fog, while underway en route to the Mud Hole spotting dragger's ect...

    "You can trust the government, just ask the Indians"

  8. #8
    NBS Extreme Angler seahunt202's Avatar
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    Jack,just to throw my two-cents in, Brad makes an excelent point about "what are you using it for?". I have a JRC1500 which sports an 18" radome on my 20ft. c.c. boat, angled at 5deg. I only use it for fog and night conditions. I pick up lobster bouys, seagulls flying by, and everything else that's in concern. Together, with my color chartplotter, navigation is very comfortable in challenging conditions. Don't forget to sound your horn when you pick up another boat, just because you "see" him, doesn't mean he can see you. Good luck searching for a unit! You may want to check out the JRC 1500, it's around $200.00 less than Furuno, and has a bigger antenna. Either way, I'm glad to hear you're lookin' to be safe.
    Here's to swimmin' with bow-legged wimmin'.

  9. #9
    Senior NBS Member Reel Irish's Avatar
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    Jack I went to cabellas to play around with chartplotters for the new boat. I'm gonna go with lowrance hds-8 for sure. The unit is incredible. I tried out garmin, and raymarine also but I was much more impressed with lowrance. I'm still gonna keep my jrc 1500 radar but If I were in your position I'd go with lowrance. Go to cabellas and play around with them and scroll the plotter to 6 mile or southwest. You'll be very impressed. I haven't heard any negative about furuno but if upgrading the chartplotter you might as well go with lowrance. Good luck with it. Mike
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  10. #10
    NBS Extreme Angler JackC's Avatar
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    Radar reviews

    Thanks for the feedback. I was looking or a good unit for a small boat the Furuno may fill the need. (It will be cheaper than the Lowrance unit since I need to add another chart plotter). In general I like separate units as well but with a small boat combo units are nice (except when they break).

    I've been boating since I was 5 yo (I'm 52 now). Never had a radar in one of my boats (all small boats under 25 feet). I'm fine at navigating in the fog with a chart plotter but collision avoidance is what I'm shooting for. I typically do not go out in "pea soup" but always get "fogged in" after going out. All my buddies with bigger boats have Furuno units.

    Broad band radar is the "new thing" in radars, low radiation, low power draw, they are offered by Simrad, Northstar, Lowrance but you need to interface them with a small selection of new chart plotters. The actual broad band units are made by another manufacturer but labeled by the above 3.

    I have come in during the dark and fog with just a chart plotter (Clinton Harbor gets mighty interesting during those circumstances).

    Jack
    Sportfishing Forums | Saltwater Fishing, Deep Sea Fishing, Big Game and Sport Fishing Reports; for the serious Sportfisherman.

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