Chart and Radar Integration

Hi Steve, I don’t know if you covered this anywhere (couldn’t find it in your books, SetSail or in MaxSea) but I have to renew/upgrade my Radar. Obviously want to get one with Mini ARPA output for overlaying targets on MaxSea/charts. However, in addition, sailing mainly shorthanded, would like (need) to have chart, radar and overlays (if possible) on a repeater in the cockpit.

All the main Radar/Chart Plotter suppliers (Raymarine, Furuno etc.) don’t have any protocol for third party suppliers of chart software to repeat via their screens either main or repeater. As far as I found out so far, only RayTech Navigator (with additional Racing module upgrade) allows their propriety software to connect via their "Seatalk" or HSB and one (or more) of their Radar/Plotter displays.

In other words, it seems to me only Raymarine, if you buy their chart software cables, HSB or Seatalk etc. is able to achieve this desirable requirement. That would mean dumping MaxSea (of which I have an investment already) and going all RayMarine? (coincidentally I have all RayMarine ST 60’s instrumentation in the cockpit). All the other systems are capable of Radar/Plotter as main screen with repeaters (Furuno’s NavNet for example) in cockpit, but then you have to buy their cartridge Rom’s with the charts again and that would cost a fortune.

Any suggestions on how to "get repeated" in the cockpit without costing a fortune in waterproof tablet computers? Also, are there any Radars on the market which give a signal to operate on a PC/Laptop which could then be duplicated somehow to a screen in the cockpit (along with the chart plotting of course)? (what about using a PDA as a dumb terminal via wireless? bit small I know, but thinking of cost).

Appreciate your views/advice/knowledge on this subject. Kind regards/George W

Hi George: To me the #1 concern with radar is target definition and Furuno is still tops in this category from what I am told by my installer friends who sell both brands. The mini-arpa to PC transfer is easy and I think potentially valuable in tight quarters. But the main value is right on the radar screen itself. As far as chart and radar overlay together, I have used this on my dad’s boat and am not impressed. My feeling is that I like each separate, where I can have a full screen for radar and a separate, full screen for charts. Less chance this way of making an error in interpretation.

As to radar at the helm, this depends on where and how you cruise. My preference is to keep all electronics and electrics out of the cockpit. Otherwise, they eventually get wet and cause problems–it is only a matter of time. But if you can arrange a second monitor so it is totally sealed off from breaking waves and spray, maybe this would be a good thing. Regards–Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 22, 2002)

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