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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-26-2009 05:50 AM
SvenC Hi rickmc,

The idea of singlehanded (or shorthanded) sailing is quite appealing to me, so I followed the OSTAR event recently. In their notice of race you find that a radar detection system is required ("A Collision Avoidance Radar Detection System shall be fitted and operated."), as seems to be the case e.g. for the "minis" at the Transat Charente Maritime Bahia (Mini Transat).

So I digged for some useful information and possibly some vendors and found the old "Watchman" device of the LOKATA company which certainly isn't available any more, and then the "C.A.R.D." device of survivalsafety(dot)com. Their website is still alive, but the business possibly isn't.

The only other device I found is made in France, apparently THE singlehanded sailors nation. The model's name is "MER-VEILLE", the company is called ciel-et-marine(dot)com. And sorry, their pages are all in french.

I could ask the OSTAR committee for some more information about vendors... But possibly the sea-me is an alternative, even without directional information?

Sven
10-24-2009 09:17 PM
Bene505 Here's a cheap radar reflector on eBay, the kind like I mentioned.

ALUMINUM RADAR REFLECTOR WITH HANGER SHACKLES :eBay Motors (item 190343465974 end time Oct-25-09 16:10:52 PDT)



Just make sure you deploy it so the it "catches rain" in one of the inner corners. That makes sure it is at the proper orientation to reflect best. In other words, a radar signal will then hit 3 surfaces while bouncing back out.

Regards,
Brad
10-21-2009 02:20 AM
DavidHDennis
AIS Options

I love gadgets, so I couldn't resist taking a look at what was possible.

I am new, so tragically I had to take all the links out of my post! So you will just have to take this research on faith.

A quick Google search revealed that you can buy a NASA AIS black box receiver for $200. I have to admit, the NASA brand made me wary - this product was not made by the US space agency! At any rate, you get an AIS receiver that will hook up to a PC and the included software automatically plots the AIS returns. You can also hook up a GPS receiver to it and then it will plot your own position as well.

Seems like a pretty cool idea and the price is very affordable.

The device Dieselboy found on eBay was the same company but with an included display. It's cheaper from Cactusmarine.com (where I found the other device) than the eBay vendor. To be honest the display looked poor and so I think I'd seriously consider the PC-based version.

I'm an Apple loyalist, personally, but with manufacturers practically giving away laptops in cereal boxes nowadays there's no reason not to buy a cheap PC laptop to use with this, and the total cost would be little more than the model with the lousy built-in display. Of course the PC wouldn't be ruggedized but you can't have everything ...

Of course none of this solves the original poster's dilemma of how to spot vessels with radar but without AIS. The diagram with the CARD system might give a clue as to why it was discontinued - it shows that the likely range for radar detection is only about 6-8 miles, and that might not give you enough time to successfully wake up and avoid a large, fast ship or sport fishing boat.

I couldn't help but think it would be pretty cool to have an AIS transmitter and to therefore stand tall and even with these really expensive ships. The Nauticast B AIS looks like a nice start for $729. You have to get an ID number from the FCC if you want to cruise internationally and that appears to cost another $160. The procedure appeared very customer unfriendly and it would take a phone call or two to the FCC to make sure I understood it.

So there are a lot of very interesting options for AIS, one for pretty much every purse and purpose. I'm disappointed AIS transmitters are so expensive and that the required licensing (for international cruising, anyway) is too.

The good news is that sportfisherman our original poster talked about with the new 70' Bertram probably will have an AIS transceiver in a few years just because it will tickle his ego to be with the big boys. Once AIS transmitters cost $199 I'm sure we will all have them. As long as the FCC can be a little more reasonable about licensing ...

D
10-21-2009 12:51 AM
sailingdog Of course, this only shows boats with AIS running...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselboy View Post
Im am in the same boat as you.. the bay i must go through is like a super highway of major ship traffic moving fast..
I found this?

NEW Clipper NASA AIS Radar CL-AISR - eBay (item 390108450976 end time Nov-19-09 12:00:56 PST)

The AIS radar is the first stand alone AIS receiver / plotter specifically designed for the leisure boat market.

The display, with ranges of 1,2,4,8,16 and 32 nautical miles shows AIS carrying vessels in a format normally associated with conventional radar.

A trail of previous positions clearly chows the relative track of all the targets on the screen.

A box to the right of the screen displays the speed over the ground, the vessel name, mmsi number and the latidude and longitude of any target selected by the user.

The compact unit has a white backlit LCD display, operates from 12 volts and consumes little power.
10-21-2009 12:08 AM
dieselboy Im am in the same boat as you.. the bay i must go through is like a super highway of major ship traffic moving fast..
I found this?

NEW Clipper NASA AIS Radar CL-AISR - eBay (item 390108450976 end time Nov-19-09 12:00:56 PST)

The AIS radar is the first stand alone AIS receiver / plotter specifically designed for the leisure boat market.

The display, with ranges of 1,2,4,8,16 and 32 nautical miles shows AIS carrying vessels in a format normally associated with conventional radar.

A trail of previous positions clearly chows the relative track of all the targets on the screen.

A box to the right of the screen displays the speed over the ground, the vessel name, mmsi number and the latidude and longitude of any target selected by the user.

The compact unit has a white backlit LCD display, operates from 12 volts and consumes little power.
10-20-2009 09:35 PM
wind_magic
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickmc View Post
I am so surprised by the absence of this type of product on the market I was wondering, am I missing something?? Am I looking in the wrong place? Does anyone know where I can get one of these?

Rick
Rick I asked this exact same question when I first started sailing and never got a good answer. No, there is not a good radar detector solution out there, and no you can't use an automobile radar detector because it is different frequencies. C.A.R.D. isn't exactly what you mean.

When you ask this question a lot of times people will tell you to use AIS, but they don't seem to see that there is a blank spot in technology products here. What I mean by that is that AIS and radar detecting are two entirely different technologies, and a prudent sailor (with means) might want both in order to take advantage of what each has to offer to get the most situational awareness that they can - but one doesn't replace the other, I don't know why people don't "get that". It's like those people who argue GPS vs. sextant, why not have both ? They are completely different technologies that complement each other, back each other up, etc, why wouldn't you choose to have both systems on board ? Same for AIS and a radar detector, two things that do similar functions but work in entirely different ways, both giving different results from the other, and both together giving you a better "picture" than either could alone. Radar reflecting and amplification is yet another useful technology, but not what you asked about.

Wouldn't it be fun to have an integrated system with a radar detector that had true directional capability ? Then you could look at the scope, see radar hits as your own radar sees other boats, see AIS information from other boats transmitters, and see their radar sweeps too, possibly as a line that blinks across the center of your scope from whatever direction the signal came from, possibly allowing you to see radar sources "in that direction" that aren't on your radar and are not transmitting AIS. I think that's good stuff for those with the tokens to trade for it. Add in signal amplification so that you can electronically enhance your own radar signature on other boat's radars, install your own AIS transmitter so you appear in their AIS, and paint your boat bright orange, and you're doing about all you can do!
10-20-2009 01:07 PM
flyingwelshman
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
The modern radar reflector uses exact 90 degree angles to create a large echo. (Think about the game Pong where you aim the ball into a corner and it comes right back at you.) It's worth the $50 to get one, rather than experimenting with somehting that will not work very well versus the space it takes-up aloft. In other words, if you took $50 of aluminum foil crunched it a bit and wrapped it around 5 huge cardboard boxes that were used to ship refrigerators, and then hoisted that aloft, it would probably relfect about as well as the modern $50 reflector - and maybe not.

It's $50 well spent and you may even be able to pick one up on eBay or Craigslist for cheaper than $50.

Regards,
Brad
This looks like a useful article. It's about radar reflectors for kayaking - but I imagine that the info would be comparable to sailboats (just the ranges would be longer).

It seems as though the tin-foil hat I wear anyway would also work to reflect radar...
10-20-2009 11:52 AM
mallo Hi Darrinsailboattrash
One of the advantages of the newer units (against the CARD) are that they transmit the radar signal back, so that hopefully the ship sees you better, especially in heavy weather, you don’t need a radar reflector as well, (i.e. no silver foil……..)
As you say, you are not necessarily interested where the ship is as you have eyes, binoculars or your own radar.
You could use the radar reflector to alert (wake) you of the ship and if you had an AIS receiver fire this up for a position.
You could go the whole hog and have an AIS transmitter/receiver to show your position to the ships and get there details.
In a dark, windy, rough night it’s nice to have a ships MMSI number, call sign and name if you wanted to make contact.
There are a few options there, if I single handing across the Atlantic I would try and make myself as visible as possible to other people in case I was catnapping and the ships radar was turned off in good weather…….
Good luck with the trip, which way were you planning to go?
10-20-2009 11:18 AM
Bene505
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrinsailboattrash View Post
...i've also heard you can make a passive radar REflector using hundres of lightly crumpled strips of aluminum foil, in some kind of receptacle, fixed as close to the masthead as you can, without it chafing a lot on the leech of your jib.

i have not tested this, however, i would like to experiment a little more. i have just been told it works great.
The modern radar reflector uses exact 90 degree angles to create a large echo. (Think about the game Pong where you aim the ball into a corner and it comes right back at you.) It's worth the $50 to get one, rather than experimenting with somehting that will not work very well versus the space it takes-up aloft. In other words, if you took $50 of aluminum foil crunched it a bit and wrapped it around 5 huge cardboard boxes that were used to ship refrigerators, and then hoisted that aloft, it would probably relfect about as well as the modern $50 reflector - and maybe not.

It's $50 well spent and you may even be able to pick one up on eBay or Craigslist for cheaper than $50.

Regards,
Brad
10-20-2009 10:22 AM
Darrinsailboattrash sweet!
thanks, mallo!

although it would be nice to see where the signal is coming from, i do also have eyes and binoculars! haha

just something that will wake me up in the middle of a catnap would be splendid.

i will see which one of these i can afford when the time comes to cross the atlantic!

the info is much appreciated!

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