Radar Choice

Steve, How much radar does a cruising sailboat need? 2 kw or 4 kw? And any other aspects of knowing about radar that you think might be interesting? Mac–(52′ Schumacher being built in New Zealand).

Hi Mac: There is only one issue with radar as far as I am concerned. That is target discrimination in lousy conditions–i.e., sea clutter and rain. In good conditions any sort of radar will work–but then you don’t really need radar.

To get good definition you need first the largest antenna you can fit. This is an issue of physics, and there is no way around it. My preference is for a 48″ open array. You can get away with 36″, but anything smaller will not give acceptable results in sea clutter. The second issue is power. Four KW is way better than 2, and 6 is better than 4.

Look at it this way–there is a 10-foot sea running, there’s a front passing through with intermittent squalls, and you are closing with a lee shore where there is going to be lots of traffic. What sort of gear do you want?…Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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