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post #1 of 10 Old 12-17-2008 Thread Starter
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Radar on the Mast Track??

I've been thinking about the mast track that I have. I could conceivably mount the radar above the deck light and adjust it for the height that I want. And if that height doesn't work (e.g. too high for close-in), I could adjust it until it's about right.

Does anyone ever use the mast track that's intended for spinnaker poles, for mounting their radar?

I would think they are strong enough considering the forces that spinnakers put on their poles.

Here's a picture showing the mast track right there, but unused.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-17-2008 Thread Starter
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Come to think of it, the mast track would be a good place for mounting other useful things.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-17-2008
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You're right that the loads imposed by a spinnaker pole are likely to exceed those of the radome. The track pictured looks like the extruded form (ie part of the mast section itself rather than bolted on) which should be plenty strong enough. Finding fittings to match the extrusion and lock in place securely might be tough to find, and of course you'll need to do some adapting to the mount of the radome itself.

As far as adjustability goes, I doubt the difference of a few feet here or there is going to make a huge difference to the usability of the radar unit.
I think you'll get differences in performance if you can vary the height of the radar from say, 20 feet above water to 30+, but being able to slide it up or down 5-10 feet may not make a substantial difference.

Finally, how are you going to handle the cable entry? If you want the adjustability then you're going to end up with extra cable exposed, depending on where the unit is set. Even if you just want to find the "sweet spot" for a permanent fixture, that's where the cable entry should be in the first place... and to prove all this you'll need to have the unit powered up and operating....

Ron

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post #4 of 10 Old 12-17-2008
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You will lose the ability to store your pole on the mast..maybe a good idea..

Clever thought...

But...would the conveninece of the radar be justified by having to store the spi pole on deck??

Besides, I belive the radar will wiggle with such small track support and move left to right, eventually breaking appart. The track cars need clearance to move, and hence the lose fitting you would get.
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-17-2008 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post

... Finally, how are you going to handle the cable entry? If you want the adjustability then you're going to end up with extra cable exposed, depending on where the unit is set. Even if you just want to find the "sweet spot" for a permanent fixture, that's where the cable entry should be in the first place... and to prove all this you'll need to have the unit powered up and operating....

I could test everything with the cable running outside the mast. (And I could play with the radar and display without having to wait for the installation to be complete, just plug and play, so to speak.)

Then I could put the cable entry at the highest point that works for close-in reflections.

Last edited by Bene505; 12-17-2008 at 08:10 PM.
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Originally Posted by Giulietta View Post
You will lose the ability to store your pole on the mast..maybe a good idea..

Clever thought...

But...would the conveninece of the radar be justified by having to store the spi pole on deck??

Besides, I belive the radar will wiggle with such small track support and move left to right, eventually breaking appart. The track cars need clearance to move, and hence the lose fitting you would get.
The radar would be above the deck light, so it would be well out of the way of the spi pole. By the way, I don't have a spi pole since I have an asym.

For permanent mount: Isn't there such a thing as "track stops" that get screwed tightly against the track? Either way, I'd make it so it would be very securely in place using tightened screws. And BTW, it could be an elongated mount with several of these tighteners and incorporate a triangular brace.

I know I could make a sliding mount that would not wiggle port and starboard.

Want to be my tester when I prototype this? You could lower it for racing and raise it for cruising!
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-17-2008
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Sorry Bene..no mast tracks on my boats..nothing personal, ok?
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-17-2008 Thread Starter
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No problem. They would probably slow you down.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-18-2008
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I’ve been thinking about your radar mounting idea and I have a couple of thoughts that you might want to consider. I’m not sure that having a xmitter that you can raise and lower is that important. The transmitters are pretty maintenance free and the likelihood that you would need to service on a regular basis is practically non-existent. I can raise and lower my stern pole, but I do it mainly so I can easily wax the raydome. Whereas a spinnaker pole is places a sideways compression load on the track, a raydome will not, and be subject to back and forth “sway” forces. The permanent mounts brace for this by being mounted on the side of the mast and not in front. I have not heard of any off-the-shelf T-track type mounts that you could use so you would have to do a custom installation. Probably more money than it is worth. I had a mast mount on my old boat and one thing that was really good was a SS guard. I was amazed at the number of times our 135 would try to get caught between the dome and mast. Saved my bacon (or was it my radar) on more than one occasion. (I even knocked off a loud hailer horn that was mounted under the guard once.)
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-19-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks George, good thoughts.

I'm been thinking about this a lot. I think have a design that would allow for raising and lowering the radome and yet lock the whole mount very firmly in place.

It actually opens up more possibilities, like a wind generator mounting for when you are at anchor. Or a place to temporarily mount a high powered spotlight when doing deck work. What about an extra platform to stand on when doing mast work? All these seem possible if there was a utility platform that could lock securely onto the mast track.

For now, I'm looking at radar.

Regards
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