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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-19-2009 07:00 PM
Radar hazards

When I was in the Navy this came under the heading of HERP (Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Personnel) and along with HERO (Ordanance) and HERF (Fuel) made for some very complicated and boring reading. If you want to know what damage radar can do find and watch the video of the disaster on USS Forrestal. Radar can damage people mostly in the areas of the eyes and the testicles. Its' danger changes however based on dwell time, output power, beam width, distance from the antenna, frequency and a whole host of other factors. While it's not a good idea to sit on the radome to keep warm on a chilly day in most cases the radar for our boats does not pose a health risk due primarily to their low power. As long as you are not going to be at eye level with it at a distance of six feet or so during normal operation you should be fine. BTW the warning from Raytheon is accurate though on the conservative side of things.
03-19-2009 03:33 PM
Originally Posted by Talisman66 View Post
Sounds like a case for "Myth Busters" .
Too funny! I thought the exact same thing!

Watching them I now know:
  • not to try and clean a cement truck with dynamite
  • cell phones do not affect navigation systems on planes
  • you can't shoot a lock off a door with a pistol
  • and cell phones can not cause gasoline to blow up.
Your post made me smile!

03-19-2009 01:40 PM
RanAweigh Engineering safety notice:
Never look into the wave guide with your good eye.
03-19-2009 01:24 PM
Talisman66 Sounds like a case for "Myth Busters" .
03-18-2009 04:30 PM
thekeip A 4 kw radar puts out about the same or less average power as your 25w vhf on low power. They pose no hazard at all in normal circumstances. Don't tempt fate however, and avoid long exposure if beam is at eye or gonad level. A 60 kw radar is another matter altogether. The multi megawatt military radars can do serious damage.
Howard Keiper
03-18-2009 01:47 PM
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
I do not think it is a hijack as it directly relates to the placement of the dome.

I honestly do not believe anyone knows whether it is harmful or not. I think there are a lot of guesses, but that is it. I tell you that it does bother me - real or imaginary. I have always heard that it is good practice to turn your radar off before entering a marina and to never look at a dome/array while it is running. Now, is there scientific proof that it will hurt you?? I doubt anyone has done a study of it. The cost of doing such a study would be extraordinary and you can be certain that a manufacturer of Radars sure won't support it. So, you are stuck with making your decision based on folklore and old wives tales, I guess.

Just my opinions... unless someone definitively knows better.

I do not definitely know better, but I recall a scene from the Jerzy Kosinski novel "Cockpit", where the sadistic main character convinces a woman he is photographing to stand in front of a fighter jet's running radar in order to give her a cancer-inducing dose of radiation...

I later found out that was implausible, but have always resisted the idea of voluntarily putting my body in front of a running radome!
03-17-2009 08:33 PM
DwayneSpeer I have a stern mount pole you can have for next to nothing but the shipping may be prohibitive and you most assuredly will have to modify the lower end to fit your boat. If you want it I can send photos.

I use a self leveling system that attaches to a small pole run up next to my rear stay. It works well for me.
03-17-2009 04:47 PM
Originally Posted by jbondy View Post
With all the boats in a busy marina with their arrays spinning and all of us looking at them admiringly... Are we risking our vision?
No boat owner should have his/her radar on in a marina. It's bad for the seagulls, and equally bad for the equipment to run with all that clutter around. Atleast that's what my technician said.

I just thought it was odd that the manual specifically stated damage to the eyes. That means they noted something specific during testing and qualification. Probably using rats or pigs as subjects.
03-17-2009 02:33 PM
Originally Posted by Vitesse473 View Post
When I see something like this in the front of the Raymarine users guide,
Please - I am not in favour of turning on your radar and sitting on the raydome or anything of the sort.

But, the warning in the manual has about as much weight with me as the warning on the take-out cup of coffee that says

"Danger - may contain hot liquids!"


Too many lawyers, not enough somethings.

I helped my buddy bring his first power boat from where he bought it to where he lives. The first time I stood at the helm to bring it into the dock for him, and the radar was on, it made my hearing aide beep. I looked around and there was the radome on the arch - about eye level and about ten inches from my head.

I quickly sat down and let my buddy take it into the harbor. I figured it was about time he learned to dock his own darn boat!

03-17-2009 02:33 PM
Originally Posted by Vitesse473 View Post
When I see something like this in the front of the Raymarine users guide, I would err on the safe side and heed their advice.
I had not noticed that in the manual. I agree with you re erring on the side of caution. Although I can't help but wonder if it doesn't fall into the category of the warning on the side of the McDonald's coffee cups that the coffee is hot. (Maybe that's not a good example, it IS hot.) Anyway, radar is not a new technology. Is the danger real? Or is it a theoretical danger? With all the boats in a busy marina with their arrays spinning and all of us looking at them admiringly... Are we risking our vision?

I went with the stern mount but will plan on moving it to the mast. I don't want to be responsible for frying my family.
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