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2013-01-07 at 5:32:33 AM GMT
Posts: 2

We are looking to install a new radar on our Fast Passage 39.  We have a very old one that works, but we don't have AIS and I though we should  upgrade something  and a radar would give us lots of options.  How do I narrow down the field about what I want?

2013-01-07 at 6:26:01 AM GMT
Posts: 8
Not sure lack of AIS means its time for a new radar

I recently installed a radar and AIS but decided to go with stand alone units. 

For the radar I got a little Furuno 1623.  It has a "watchman" mode that significantly reduces power draw (an important factor for me because I have a rather modest electrical system). 

For the AIS I got the Vesper Watchmate.  It sends an AIS signal as well as receiving one, and has a display that graphically shows the relative position of the AIS targets as well as the projected orientation at closest point of approach.  It is an excellent piece of gear - full of useful features, quite intuitive to operate, and uses hardly any power at all.  Only drawback is that the alarm isn't very loud - but you can easily hook up an external alarm.

I also have another AIS (receiver only) built into my standard horizon vhf, and it is hooked up to my standard horizon chartplotter.  So I see AIS targets in two places - the dedicated Watchmate display and the chartplotter - but not on the radar.  I run the AIS a lot more than the radar, so I use a lot less electricity having the stand alone AIS.

I know there are advantages to seeing everything on one screen, but for me the power savings, redundancy, and possibly greater reliability of separate units won out.  For what it is worth, if I was looking at combining something with the radar, I think I'd be more concerned about combining the chartplotter than the AIS. 


2013-04-14 at 5:34:48 PM GMT
Posts: 29
Radar or AIS

Hello from Nuage, another Fast Passage currently in Panama.  Which one are you?

We have both a Furuno 36 mile (4kW) radar with watchman feature and a Sitex AIS transceiver (send and receive).  Since we are sailing around near the Panama Canal the AIS is wonderful in warning us of freighters approaching and their vicinity.  We find that freighters aren't really focused  on their radar anymore they just watch their chart plotter (and AIS images) for other freighters. I think all vessels going on off-shore voyages should have an AIS as this may be the one piece of equipment that will save your vessel and you from these 25 knot/hour freighters. Our AIS some times picks up ships as far away as 90 miles but starts giving useful information; MMSI#, call sign, ship's name, CPA and TCPA about 20 miles away.  Plenty of time to have a meaningful discussion with approaching ship.  If there is a potential collision or near collision (you set the boundaries) then there is an audible and flashing alarm. 

That being said AIS doesn't replace radar as this is the one piece equipment that never lies.  It shows you what's out there including small ships without AIS, it guides you into tough anchorages in the dark and, when hooked up to your electronic compass, will tell you where the ships are, how fast they are going, CPA and TCPA. 

Buy the best units you can afford and have both pieces of equipment.

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