Doppler Radar

Discussion in 'Marine Electrical / Electronics' started by Genius, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Genius

    Genius Captain

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    So, I was talking with the electronics guy for our boats and the subject of Doppler Radars came up. He is going to sea trial one this weekend. Very interesting tech, it is able to sense if the target is increasing range or decreasing range by the doppler shift in the return echo. It shades the closing range targets red, the increasing range targets green and stationary targets are blue. Amazing stuff and I can't wait to talk to him again about how it went. I believe it was a Furuno unit he was installing. Anyone else have experience with them?
     
  2. TCL

    TCL Senior Member

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    I have always wondered why radar has been mono chromatic despite having expensive multi-colored LCD desplays.
    Doppler has the potential to make Radar a little more idiot proof.
     
    TCL,
  3. Wharf Rat

    Wharf Rat Captain

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    We've done a ton of the Furuno NXT Doppler radars, and they're incredible. Between the automatic tracking without the need for all the sensor data needed for ARPA, and the Target Analyzer mode, it's really amazing how well they perform. I personally like to run in the multi-color echo mode with the Target Tracking on, and I'll turn the Target Analyzer on when there's a ton of traffic like when coming out of the East River, but most people who don't often use radar or are new to it, the Target Analyzer mode really does make it idiot proof like you said TCL. It still helps to have quality heading coming in to use the echo trails and for overlay, but it's been a complete game changer for the recreational and light commercial non-IMO markets. Also a nice function, because it's solid state, there's no main bang; so you can see targets like buoys and markers up close when they'd normally disapear as you got within a hundred yards or so, depending on the output kW. Really just an awesome piece of equipment, glad it's finally here.
     
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  4. Genius

    Genius Captain

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    A friend had a new system installed. Looks nice.
     

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  5. greg

    greg Captain

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    Garmin has a couple of models as well. It's their Phantom line. Right now i think they have an 18" and 24" dome and a 4' rotating antenna. Pricey of course.......

    Oh, and it doesn't work with any mfd they label "Discontinued". So the 4xxx, 5xxx, 6xxx, and 70xx/72xx are not supported.
     
    greg,
  6. captjohn

    captjohn Senior Member

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    The doppler effect is a frequency shift due to an object, or you, approaching another object, or moving away from that object. It does pick up moving objects very well. If your both stationary, or moving in a parallel direction, it has no impact, as their is no frequency shift. It has it's limitations. My suspicion is that the clearer display is more a function of better functionality of the radome, display, or both, to provide a clearer picture of what's going on around you. Obviously the more data the unit has to work with, the more it can display. But I've seem lots of units that provide comparable results. At the end of the day, it really depends on both your needs, and your budget.
     
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  7. Genius

    Genius Captain

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    dude....this has two different scales with one radome on a split screen. Like WR says, it doesn't need sensor data for Target tracking. If anyone knows about collision avoidance it is about constant bearing and decreasing range. This application hits the nail on the head. I would really like to spend a few hours underway with this setup. Looks good. Also the user interface appeared pretty logical and natural. Touch screen....I'm not sold on it probably just because I haven't used it on these units. I do like my iPad though. The user of this unit said the touch screen worked pretty good, even with wet hands.
     
  8. captjohn

    captjohn Senior Member

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    I don't believe the split screen function, with different ranges on each, is unique to Doppler only units, I know it's not on mine. RADAR being able to detect constant bearing with decreasing range changes has ALWAYS been the highest priority of all units, their main function being collision avoidance, which all RADAR units do. I've been using RADAR now for almost 40 years, so I've seen plenty of changes and units. I have had 2 boats now that I have installed SIMRAD 4G RADAR, they do use Doppler effect, and I have been using them since about a year after they were introduces. And they work very well, the reason I chose them was for target seperation ability, low range capability (couldn't care less about long range), and ability to detect targets very close to the boat. The ability to display split screen RADAR images, with different ranges, is driven by the display you choose, not the radome. I had FURUNO units on both boats, one I replaced because the RADAR simply died, the other I replaced because I was not satisfied with the units performance, both of those units were open array units. And, last, but not lease, they were VERY reasonably priced. You do not need to spend lots of money these days to get RADAR that works very well, nor do you need to have open arrays. Buy whatever you like, it's your choice.
     
  9. Genius

    Genius Captain

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    Rule 7
    Risk of Collision
    (a) Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there is any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist.

    (b) Proper use shall be made of radar equipment if fitted and operational, including long-range scanning to obtain early warning of risk of collision and radar plotting or equivalent systematic observation of detected objects.

    (c) Assumptions shall not be made on the basis of scanty information, especially scanty radar information.

    (d) In determining if risk of collision exists the following considerations shall be among those taken into account:

    • (i) Such risk shall be deemed to exist if the compass bearing of an approaching vessel does not appreciably change;
    • (ii) Such risk may sometimes exist even when an appreciable bearing change is evident, particularly when approaching a very large vessel or a tow or when approaching a vessel at close range.
     
  10. captjohn

    captjohn Senior Member

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    And your point is????

    You do realize that these requirements have been around long before Doppler RADAR ever existed, don't you?

    Do you think that simply having one of these units guarentees that you meet the requirements?

    By the way, RADAR is not a requirement on most vessels, definately not a requirement on a small craft.
     
  11. Genius

    Genius Captain

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    you just proved my point.

    -Yes.

    -No. These units give the user the capability to meet the requirements without having to use two units,switch scales, manually plot, use ebl/vrm.

    -the regulations say "fitted", has nothing to do with "required".
     
  12. captjohn

    captjohn Senior Member

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    Proved your point??

    LOL, EVERYONE knows RADAR is not a requirement.

    Just making sure that YOU knew that.
     
  13. Genius

    Genius Captain

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    John,

    You have an obligation to determine risk of collision. If your vessel is fitted with a radar, you are required to do what is specified in the Rule....long range scanning is one of the requirements. I really don't want to argue about it or insult. My point, is that these units are a game changer for anyone trying to comply with Rule 7 of the Colregs. This and AIS are really exciting useful technology that has come into the industry. Especially after the failure of the GMDSS fiasco.
     
  14. Wharf Rat

    Wharf Rat Captain

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    Whoa whoa whoa! Did I just sign into the hull truth? Calm down guys, we all have opinions and assholes, and just because it may smell bad to you, someone else may actually like it. Not sure where that came from, but I was thinking about the time I first decided to go for it and lick it; wasn't as bad as I thought, and considering I was admittedly batting above my average with this one, I felt it would make a difference. It did, and I still get booty calls from that decision.

    Anyway, my point is, let's get back to the original topic, as a lot of people use this forum to help better inform their decisions, and the main focus is whether or not these Doppler scanners are worth considering vs a traditional magnetron pulse radar. While carriage requirements and COLREGS are certainly hugely important when it comes to the water, this isn't the forum, no pun intended.

    Getting back to it, wanted to respond to some of the comments above actually related to the topic:
    A: Dual Range is actually almost available on almost all of the digital radar scanners now through virtual IP addressing, and most MFDs now can take advantage of it while some other earlier or less expensive displays cannot. The 4G radar, Raymarine's digital radars, Furuno's original DRS (NavNet3D era) radars can do it, and it's awesome. Some people don't use it, some people do. All for different applications. One note though, the 4G radar doesn't use Doppler Shift, it's a solid state FMCW radar (first in the light marine industry) which is what allows it to get so close to targets without losing contact; no main bang from a magnetron, resulting in an awesome signal to noise ratio and excellent close range target resolution. For collision avoidance, whether it's with a ferry in the fog, a kayaker fishing in the channel at night, or lobster pot, that's usually the main idea when fitting a radar.

    The Simrad Broadband series (BR24,3G & 4G) were the beginning of the radar revolution and made all the other manufacturers start looking at solid state scanners as a realistic option as not everybody needs to microwave birds at medium/long range. The result has been a whole shift (no pun intended, again) in how these radars were designed from the ground up and now we have a ton of choices with additional bells and whistles (like Doppler Shift) that come with the nature of a solid state radar, as pulse compression has taken over as the main means of propagation to allow for great detection and very close to medium ranges, with 48 Nm being the most common result. Not saying these solid state radars can all mark targets at that range, I only mean the range limit/cap when zooming out on a particular model.

    Also important to note, while the newer solid state radars especially with the added Doppler shift capabilities for target tracking are absolutely stunning and can make operating and interpreting a radar a hell of a lot easier, it doesn't necessarily mean everyone would be best served by going with one. There are still a lot of applications where a magnetron radar will outperform these scanners in certain aspects, and it comes down to the user's needs and objectives to make the decision to go one way or the other. As impressed as I have been with the Doppler capable radars and other solid state scanners, I've been EQUALLY blown away by models like the X-Class radars from Furuno which are still magnetron based and can paint the shoreline from here in the Western Sound to Fishers Island, as these maggie radars are still using Digital Signal Processing to automatically adjust gain, filter out clutter and adjust for sea state where it's just amazing how these radars just keep getting better.

    I'll liken it to CHIRP vs. Pulse fishfinders.. CHIRP is the future, no doubt. But all 'CHIRP' fishfinders are not created equally, and marketing has done more to confuse people than to educate. For some applications, a very good pulse sounder is going to do a better job than a middle of the road CHIRP sounder with a mediocre transducer. Same goes for radars; some solid state units out there actually kind of suck.. while others are great. Each model is different, some do better than others in certain tasks like marking birds or weather, target tracking, clarity and range.. and based on what the operator is looking to accomplish, that's what dictates which radar to go with.

    One other thing Genius, on the touchscreen thing, we almost always try to force anyone buying a touchscreen display to add a fixed 'remote' control for the display. Allows for full control of the unit, usually with a rotary knob to making zooming in/out a lot easier compared to trying to do it with your fingers. They're not expensive, and most people end up using the remote to control the unit after a while for 90% of the operation, but it's nice to use the touchscreen at the dock to go through menus, name and categorize marks/waypoints, and even panning across the chart. Garmin has their GRID, Furuno has their MCU-004, Simrad has their OP50, Raymarine has the RMK-11.

    Sorry for the awful Cut/Paste Job using MS Paint.. just wanted to have them all in one pic.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Wharf Rat

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    Even with the Doppler radars, you can still use the full multicolor echo palette and at the same time take advantage of the target tracking. Furuno's units allow you to toggle on what they call 'Target Analyzer' which renders all echoes green with the exception of any target heading towards you at a dangerous CPA at a speed at 3 knots or above. I personally prefer to run the radar with multicolor echoes most of the time with the Target Tracking/ARPA enabled so I can keep track of everything moving. On a boat with an accurate heading sensor, I'll also turn on the echo trails. That said, when coming out of the East River into the harbor, even in daylight, with all kinds of traffic and idiots buzzing around, that Target Analyzer does make it extremely simple to get a quick lay of the land and know what I'm up against. Best part is when someone turns and then BECOMES a dangerous target, it's immediately apparent and the whole experience is just calming to be honest. See below for one picture with the Target Analyzer on, the second with the multicolor echos and just the Target Tracking/ARPA split with Radar Overlay, which I also love to use. One really crazy think to realize, the second image showing the Target Analyzer was taken while tied up AT THE DOCK! Screenshot courtesy goes to my homie Ben Ellison out of Camden ME, who's the editor for Panbo. Also note the target at a little over 1nm away at 355°.. the Doppler will track not just what echoes are on the range scale you have selected, it's tracking in the radar's range. Crazy shit.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
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  16. diesel

    diesel Member

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    I just started running tzt2’s , and have the MCU 004 (per wharf rat recommendation) and agree that it is much easier than using the touch screens, especially in the slop. So x2 above : highly recommend including it.


    Also want to point out there is another ARPA related feature in that arpa targets can be made to show up on the plotter by turning on arpa targets in the swipe up menu. I have not tested this but I think it will show the arpa targets on the plotter even if the radar is only running in the background. This is sort of an cleaner alternate to running overlay. I many need to adjust some settings but so far need to add cautionary note : arpa does not automatically aquire every single target so still important to display the radar somewhere.

    I am coming from navnet vx2’s and used that radar a lot, and was very comfortable with in in fog or at night. IMHO the Doppler Radar is a really significant improvement. Much less left to interpretation. Hopefully it does not make people overconfident. With the old stuff , at night or in fog it was if you don’t know don’t go or at least go slow. Need to remember as good as Doppler is there are still rumsfeldian unknown unknowns out there.
     

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