Advice from Boatyard on Mounting Radar - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-02-2010
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Advice from Boatyard on Mounting Radar

I went by a respected boatyard to check on having them mount my new radome on the mast. The short and long of the conversation is that it would be cheaper to drop the mast and mount the radome than to hoist someone up the mast and mount it. They feel it would be easier and quicker time wise, thus cheaper. I'm having a hard time grasping that concept. Has anyone else been down this path and comment on out come.
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Old 06-02-2010
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there is a lot of work installing a radar on the mast. i have done several with the mast horizontal on supports and would not want to do it with the mast up. it would probably a lot more labor cost. i believe a better job could be done with the mast out.
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Old 06-02-2010
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Fishing the cable down the mast while it's still up, is one challenge.
Do you have internal halyards, Wind, radio...etc...you'd want to make sure the radar cable is secured and will not interfere with any of your other internal halyards or cables.
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Old 06-02-2010
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Just had radar installed on the mast and they went up vs unstepping it. They rigged a retrieval line to the steaming light wiring and ran the radar cable with it. I believe he used the steaming light wire to pull the retrieval line up then ran it back down along with the radar cable via the line.
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Have installed a number of radar antennas with the mast up, it can be time consuming but usually works out more cost effectively than unstepping the mast etc. It can be a crap shoot though from a labor point of view, some masts can be very difficulty to pull a cable through and it has been known to take a day just to do the mast work. This is in an area thatboat remain in the water year round.

If in the north where boats are stored for the winter, then it makes sense to do this work at that time while the mast is down.
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I had a mount installed and the radome installed on it along with the required wiring all with the mast up. Cliff Moore of Moore Marine in New Haven did the job for less than the typical round-trip unstep/step cost of my 48' rig. (about $400) It took him about 2 hours to do the job and 8 years later it has been trouble-free and looks great.

I suggest shopping the job around a bit, but the season may cause you some delay if you want wait for your price.

Good luck.
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Old 06-03-2010
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Buy a radar pole as I did with removable engine hoist from Garhauer. Cab nount all other antennas on it ( GPS, TV) as well. I also can tilt down if I ever have to do maintainence work on it vrs pulling the mast, and the cable run is shorter to the chartplotter on the helm,

Dave
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Old 06-03-2010
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Having installed a number of mast mount domes I 100% agree with your yard. If you have a conduit, and you actually want the radome wires in it, not slapping the insides of the spar at anchor, then the only way to achieve this is to drop the mast. I have seen yards wrap a halyard internally only to have the owner hoist the sail and rip the dome wire apart. I have seen holes ob-longed and mast tappings destroyed and need to be over drilled due to a boat wake and I have seen crooked dome mounts all from attempting this in a bosuns chair. Also unless the yard specifically and physically KNOWS and remembers exactly what the inside of your spar looks like, where the wires run etc. you run a rather realistic risk of them drilling right thorough your internal conduit and mast wiring, wind, anchor, tri-color etc..

So what happens when they drill the rather large hole, in your rather expensive mast, for the radome wire, and find out they hit the edge of the conduit and can't fit the wire? You now have a useless hole that they will now try to over bore and make a huge mess...

These are all REAL scenarios I have known of or seen happen when an owner tries to take the easier route. Sometimes perceived "easy" is not what it appears.

Can it be done with the spar up? Yes, but it is not a method I would employ.

If you have not dropped it in a while look at it as an opportunity to inspect everything while it is down.

If you had said; "My yard said it is okay to install my dome with the mast up, and it will save me money" I would be hinting at you to find a new yard..
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 06-03-2010 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 06-03-2010
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Just wait 'till the yard discovers that your mast has no conduit and is filled with foam...
Howard Keiper
Berkeley
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Old 06-03-2010
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Thank you everyone for your points of view. After thought and review of your comments I will have the mast dropped and radar maounted in that fashion. For those that asked, I do have an internal conduit for wires but no internal halyards and I have 2 retrieval lines already in place, one to the top of the mast and the other midway up where the old radome was mounted. I thought this would be a quick and easy install, but I can see different now. Thanks again for all the input.
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