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post #1 of 35 Old 03-15-2009 Thread Starter
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Radar - Stern Mount or Mast Mount

So as I'm fitting out our new boat, the most hotly debated question so far has been where to mount the radar. Wasn't expecting that one, as I've always thought it was six in one, half a dozen in the other. But I'm told its very different in terms of range and clarity. So Sailnet, help me decide. Below, I've mentioned pros/cons of each approach. What does your boat have that works best for your and why.

Radar I have: Raymarine RD218 2kw Radome


Mast Mount
  1. PRO: Better range
  2. PRO: Less cluttered cockpit
  3. CON: Need more cable extension - provided 15 meter wont be enough, so minimum of 5 meter additionally needed
  4. CON: Will need to buy a mast mount and climb up on bosun chair to install
  5. CON: Will often catch on 140% Genoa when tacking

Stern Mount
  1. PRO: Will be able to mount wind generator on stern pole above radome
  2. PRO: No interference on tacks at all
  3. PRO: Less cable needed to wire it, provided 15 meter should be plenty
  4. CON: Less range than mast mount
  5. CON: Cluttered stern, will throw balance with that much weight 10' high up
  6. CON: Will need to buy stern pole mount or have one fabricated by stainless steel guy
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post #2 of 35 Old 03-15-2009
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I like mine up on the mast. It is out of the way. Buying more cable and having to climb the mast are not really valid reasons to be against placing it up there, it is a one time job. You have to buy some sort of mount either way. I don't use a 140% so don't know about that. The more stuff you have on the back of the boat the less clean air you have for your wind vane steering and the less real estate you have for other stuff that you can't mount up your mast. Shades your solar panels when stern mounted.
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post #3 of 35 Old 03-15-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightyhorton View Post
Buying more cable and having to climb the mast are not really valid reasons to be against placing it up there, it is a one time job. You have to buy some sort of mount either way.
I'd have to buy a stern pole anyway for my wind generator (looking at a KISS right now, wife is from Trinidad and will bring it back for me). But I generally disagree with that statement above.

The Radome cost me less than $900 new from West Marine on sale. With a mast mount, you're talking about a mounting bracket/contraption ($300) and an extra length of cable from Raymarine ($200 again). Then going up the mast is a rare treat - fraught with risk of its own. It may be one time costs, but then an extra 50% in parts is a tough pill...not to mention the difficulty in diagnosing something when it goes wrong. The stern pole would be much easier to issue diagnose/repair too.
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post #4 of 35 Old 03-16-2009
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Both approaches obviously work... I'd argue that the extra range from a mast mount is not a significant advantage at the speeds and the conditions that we use our radar - I've never had it on max range anyhow.

Ours is on a stern post, it's integrated into the stern railing so certainly doesn't clutter the cockpit - but my primary reason was to be able to mount the display unit at the helm, where it makes more sense to me, than below.

With a small unit like ours the post will likely weigh more than the radome, but we've had no issues with our 2" SS post fabricated by a welder/machinist friend.

We have friends with a Passport 40 currently cruising in Mexico, and a larger radome on a gimballed mast mount. For reasons not exactly clear last month the welds on the support tubes failed and the radar was barely hanging on and significantly askew. Whether this was due to the drag of the tacking headsail, or simply the motion and mileage of long distance cruising we're not sure.

Ron

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post #5 of 35 Old 03-16-2009
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We have a post mount on the stern. Have never really had any issues with space, clutter, range or any of the others "cons" mentioned. I did have to extend the original cable when I relocated the display but that doesn't influence the choice.

I had a mast mount on my previous boat and had three different occasions while on a trans-ocean voyage where the drive belt on the scanner array jumped off (almost new unit). Never did discover why but once went up the mast at sea to fix and twice decided I could live without the radar until the next anchorage. It's also why I'll never have another Furuno.

As said, I have no issues with the pole mount at all and would probably do the same again next time round.


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post #6 of 35 Old 03-16-2009 Thread Starter
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Does anyone with a stern pole mount have a wind generator attached to it as well? Care to share the pictures of the installation??!

After a standard gasoline generator (Honda EU2000), I'm planning on fitting out with a Kiss wind generator on the pole as well, followed by two 80 Watt Kyoceras on top of the bimini.
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post #7 of 35 Old 03-16-2009
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Stern mount was our choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Both approaches obviously work... I'd argue that the extra range from a mast mount is not a significant advantage at the speeds and the conditions that we use our radar - I've never had it on max range anyhow.
Hey - I do not know who Faster is, but I sure agree with him.

This is our second boat with radar, this is our second stern mount set up.

Things we considered:
  • we store our boat with the mast down - so, with stern mount, nothing to disconnect and no extra hole in the deck near the mast to possibly leak
  • we too, never use the radar on max range - except maybe to say - "see that blob 16 miles away - that's Grand Manan Island!"
  • we most often use it at 1.5 miles to 3 miles, Ya gotta watch out for all those lobster boats!
  • Did not clutter our stern at all - actually - makes a nice back rest to lean against when standing at the stern as well as something to grab onto climbing up the stern ladder
  • Gave me a place to hang extra antennas (Here is a of the mount on the last boat)

  • Being of frugal mind and empty pockets - the stern mount unit cost me less than 60 bucks total - Look at my link here
All that said, some of my best friends have mast mounts

Rik

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Last edited by rikhall; 03-16-2009 at 09:28 AM. Reason: forgot to add picture link
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post #8 of 35 Old 03-16-2009 Thread Starter
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Can anyone speak to the range aspect a bit more? How much more range (both on normal and full power) can you get out of the 2kw radome when it is mounted on the mast?
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post #9 of 35 Old 03-16-2009
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0wl,

Not to complicate things too much, but there is a third, less popular, option and that is to mount it on your backstay. AN EXAMPLE

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Quote:
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0wl,

Not to complicate things too much, but there is a third, less popular, option and that is to mount it on your backstay. AN EXAMPLE
I thought about this, but two things on my boat. Beyond the price (the scanstrut is $1400!!!), I the following worry me:

1) I have a split backstay, which may not have the wire diameter (therefore strength) to hold up the mount back there.

2) Like my feedback on mast mount, I'd like a multi-function installation that can support the radar for one, but also the wind gen. Unless someone is aware of backstay mounting brackets for wind-gens too!!!
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