best radar reflector for cruisers - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-26-2006
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Red face best radar reflector for cruisers

Going to do some cruising on the west coast of Florida this winter and then would like to do the Bahama Islands next year. I've been looking into the tri-lens radar reflector along with others and I really would like other opinions on what they have or WISH they had. Thanks, Chip
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Old 09-26-2006
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Try A See-me

The See-me Radar Unit Is Not A Reflector It Is A Transponder And Sends Back A Bigger Signal When Hit By Radar.
One Time Off The Coast Of Portugal A Trawler Called Me And Said My White Bow Light. On Radar He Thought I Was A Steeel Boat Bigger Than 150 Feet.
Fair Winds
Eric
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Old 09-29-2006
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Radar reflector study

US Sailing did a pretty complete study of various types and makes of radar reflectors in 1995. The laws of Physics have not changed much since, though marketing ploys may want you to think so. The best return over the broadest spectrum of conditions and angles of heel seemed to be the round interlocking plate models, such as Davis makes, mounted in a "catch rain" position. They are among the least expensive, so buy the biggest one you can hoist. You can find the report at the ussailing website: http://www.ussailing.org/safety/stud...tor%5Ftest.htm
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Old 09-29-2006
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Wink Ya know them there AOL CD's ?

They send you or stack up at the post office? Well they kinda work. Take about a hundred of em and glue them up to make a christmas tree looking pile. Tie some line or anchor chain to em and run them up the mast.
Don't really know if it will work, but it will keep the birds away and people will notice yer boat.

They aren't good for much else, sept to put them in yer mircrowave and watch the light show.

Any other ideas for them? OH I forgot we were using them like skeet one time off the bow of my boat.

Fair Winds
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Old 09-29-2006
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I've got a Firdell Blipper 210-5 permanently mounted about three-quarters up my mast. Wasn't that expensive. I think they've discontinued this model and there are plenty of these fixed-mounted types around.
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Old 09-29-2006
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This is one case where Big Bucks

Dont mean squat. Of all the devices out there the Davis reflector is about the best passive reflector on the market and about the least expensive. This was mentioned before.

The only problem with them is, the line you use to hold them up. It will chafe in time causing the reflector to, best case hit you on the head, worst case hit your newly painted deck and falling into the water. The metal one sikn but the real cheap one will float for 28 seconds. Pls don't ask me how I know these things.
I rigged a stainless halyard to hoist the reflector to the spreaders.

Well I guess it's back to the post office to get some more AOL cd's

Fair Winds

Cap'n Dave
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Old 09-30-2006
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CDs don't have enough metal in them to reflect a radar signal IIRC. Also, stacking them, means that the radar is reflecting off the edge of the aluminum layer in the CD, which is only a few thousanths of an inch thick...not much of a radar return off of that in any case.

The Davis Echomasters are among the better and among the less expensive radar reflectors according to all the tests I've seen. I use one on my boat. They can be assembled around the backstay and hoisted along the backstay if you want, raised on a halyard, or mounted on a post. The Deluxe is slightly larger than the standard and comes with a halyard mounting kit, which is not included in the standard package.

If you use a halyard setup, you have to have two blocks, separated by about a foot, with one centered in the spreader and the other near one of the ends of the spreader. This way, the reflector won't chafe the line that it is hoisted up with. I also added a "tail" to the radar reflector, to help prevent it from twisting in high winds...acts as wind vane and steadies the radar reflector. I have mine rigged to the upper spreader, and the flag halyards run to the lower spreaders.
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Old 09-30-2006
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Cool Hey Dog

well finally I have to disagree with ya buddie. It's not the amount of metal in a object, it is angle of reflectance that really makes the differance. A mirror will reflect a good radar signal if the angles are correct. Not because mirrors reflect light but because of the ultra thin coat of silver. This silver coating is thinner tha the metal inside a CD.
In another life we were, designing pieces of foil to be more efficent at confusing radar signals.

Now about the shape, a pyrmiad from ALO cd's 4 ft tall would return quite a big signal to the transmitting radar.
Try it for yourself, the CD's are free and you might have to buy some glue. Have a buddie nail you with his radar and see for yourself.

Now if you can figure out how to stow the thing let me know
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Old 09-30-2006
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I don't know if the aluminum layer in a CD is thick enough to reflect a radar signal...given that the mast on a sailboat does a pretty piss poor job of it, and is generally much thicker aluminum... BTW, the reflective layer is aluminum, not silver. Silver is probably a better radar reflector than aluminum, as it is a heavier element. Lead is probably even better.

Granted, angle of reflectance matters, and corners seem to generate a much larger return than smooth rounded surfaces...I'd still go with a Davis Echomaster over a pile of AOL CDs—but they might work if glued in a shape made of multiple tetrahedrons...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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