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Marine Radars Is there that much difference.

Old 09-18-2020, 02:47 AM
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Default Marine Radars Is there that much difference.

For those of you that have run bigger radar in the past and have the newest radars now, can you honestly tell that much difference in how it picks up. I know the newer features make life nice but in the radar itself can you really tell that much difference.

Had a 4kw 3 foot ray on the yacht but it was up high and loved it. Went back to a 2 kw on the Fountain and hated it.
Just picked up a used Furuno vx1 6kw with a 4 foot open ray just for the radar itself I have 2 other graphs on the dash Just wanted a radar.
I've read the Vx2 the radar was the same just the sounder part was better.

Those that have had the older radars and now how the new ones, what are your views on how it picks up. Are the older ones just a good without the features or is there really that much difference.
Old 09-18-2020, 10:20 PM
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I had an older RM 48 mile HD radar and it was fantastic..

recently installed a Garmin Fantom 24 and less than impressed.
im going to play with it a bit More and maybe it will get better


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Old 09-20-2020, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by westbootie View Post
I had an older RM 48 mile HD radar and it was fantastic..

recently installed a Garmin Fantom 24 and less than impressed.
im going to play with it a bit More and maybe it will get better
Thats what I was wanting to hear. Talked with some charter captians years ago when I had the Fountain most said the older radars were just as good long as you had power. Said to start at 6kw. Any less you lost target if they are close together. Become one. I didn't need to the radar on the yacht much I was up so high, but the one on the Fountain was a waist of money. Why I went with the 6kw and 4 foot open this time. Have no or zero experence with all this new digitial or newest Mo-better stuff. Thats why I was hoping someone that run the older like Navnet vx1 or vx2 stuff had upgraded and could let me know if they felt it was any better.
Old 09-20-2020, 04:40 AM
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Having experience with both the older generation Furuno radars and the newest, I would say the answer to your question is that the new ones do a better job in identifying targets but not necessarily in a hugely dramatic way. The only exception would be at very close ranges where the new solid state radars will show targets that would be blanked in magnetron radars. The main difference is a big improvement in the auto modes for tuning. To get the best out of the old radars, you really needed to have some experience and play with the settings manually. The auto modes were not that great. On the newer Furuno radars, the auto mode is terrific, just about as good as can be achieved with manual tuning under most conditions. So in real life where you may not be doing as much manual tuning as needed to get the best out of the older radars, the new radars will be a lot better because you can leave them in auto mode and get the most out of them.
Old 09-20-2020, 06:10 AM
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New radars give a lot more information and have better auto modes. Furuno NXT for example will give you true trails, which shows where moving targets have been over a set period of time, and can automatically acquire moving vessels, showing speed and vector. It also has multiple auto modes such as target analyzer mode that paints vessels moving at you at 3kn or faster in red while stationary objects and targets moving away from your heading in green. It also has rain mode that not only shows rain in blue, a separate color than hard targets, but it helps you continue to see and track vessels without being drown out from the rain. It also has auto bird modes for various see states. The radar also has rezboost so in tighter quarters you get a cleaner close target separation.

It it is a solid state radar so I will give the long range target pick up to my previous magnetron UHD radar but the NXT paints objects very well at a distance. Heck I can easily pick up channel markers at 6nm. In bird mode I have picked up gannet storms out 3.5nm out.


Old 09-20-2020, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by iFishMD View Post
New radars give a lot more information and have better auto modes. Furuno NXT for example will give you true trails, which shows where moving targets have been over a set period of time, and can automatically acquire moving vessels, showing speed and vector. It also has multiple auto modes such as target analyzer mode that paints vessels moving at you at 3kn or faster in red while stationary objects and targets moving away from your heading in green. It also has rain mode that not only shows rain in blue, a separate color than hard targets, but it helps you continue to see and track vessels without being drown out from the rain. It also has auto bird modes for various see states. The radar also has rezboost so in tighter quarters you get a cleaner close target separation.
I have an old Furuno RADAR linked via NMEA 0183 to a GPS /Chart Plotter resulting in me getting the “lollipop” symbol to my active waypoint in my RADAR Screen. I like to think I am competent tuning gain, sea clutter , rain clutter etc. I believe it’s called “Ghost Trail” or something like that also works well helping to identify direction of travel of targets . My screen, albeit small, looks uncomfortably similar to the ancient video game “space invaders” combine it all together and I love my RADAR

I am not the guy who replaces functional equipment just because there is something “new” but I am also not the guy who lies to himself, attempting to rationalize that something older that has been passed by with much newer and advanced technology that it’s “just as good”.

My current Furuno RADAR has a loving home in my boat for however long it continues to thrive. I run a lot at night & in the fog, my RADAR does what I need it to do BUT every one of the features your new Furuno has in terms of target tracking and target data is outstanding and when the time comes my current Furuno will be replaced with another Furuno.

For decades, Furuno has made marine RADAR for recreational boaters, looking for relatively compact and affordable units that did the job required but in a rather utilitarian manner, these latest generation Furuno’s take that same reliable RADAR and lift it up to a level that might not be “perfect” but gets very close.

Last edited by Mpellet; 09-20-2020 at 06:51 AM.
Old 09-20-2020, 08:10 AM
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A very good subject to post about.

Comparing radars...is not as simple as looking at new vs old etc.
One must also look at many factors...use, boat size, cost factor....etc.

Many newer boaters may not require a long range radar that is also capable of finding birds...where the open array magnetron units really shine.
And in reference to the older open array units ..the higher wattage 4' and 6' magnetron units are still the go to for birds regardless of age...and can still out perform the newer solid state doppler based open array units for birds ..
And most manufactures still offer both variations.

So...with the newer Doppler solid state units.....it seems the manufactures for those have been opting for safety and navigation for the closer in range where many recreational boaters (Who may not really need to see birds.. ) seem to have a need for more detailed info and possible higher safety factors.

And then we comes to the comparison of the dome vs open array.
Simrad,Garmin Furuno etc have all gone with their domes to Doppler with solid state.
These of course are not in any way "bird" units..but mainly easy to use for basic safety and navigation...on moderate sized boats...and budgets.


I personally love the older higher wattage magnetron open array radars when it come to seeing birds.
And I have used the dome Doppler and find for close in safety and navigation, them easy to use very effective for quick situation awareness.

So it comes down to many varying factors...and in many cases older is just as good or better than newer..depending on the use.

So for radar..when considering ones need and uses..both older and newer seem to offer a win win for all.

Last edited by semperfifishing; 09-21-2020 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 09-21-2020, 03:12 AM
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Awesome guys, thank you. I can install them just didnt know what new things they did like the different colors going away and coming at you.
Picked up a 6 kw 4 footer several weeks ago. installed it yesterday. Loved the one on the old yacht hated the one on the Fountain it won't but a 2kw I"d never go that low again. Video was great. Look like I have more radar than boat up there now, but I wanted a radar, but wondered what was the difference in older and newer. Figured it was mostly features and ease of use but seeing the patch the boat crossing in front of you on the trailers and directional line is cool. . .

Thanks again.

Last edited by liveaboard74; 09-21-2020 at 03:23 AM.
Old 09-21-2020, 06:49 AM
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Better resolution displays and integration is what you're paying for.. Radar info is much easier to read when it has a map overlay and or multiple screens.. I never quite nailed down how to use my older Furuno enough to be totally comfortable navigating with it.

If you know how to read a radar and it's second nature I don't see any value in the newer units.


Old 09-21-2020, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by semperfifishing View Post
Many newer boaters may not require a long range radar that is also capable of finding birds...where the open array magnetron units really shine.
And in reference to the older open array units ..the higher wattage 4' and 6' magnetron units are still the go to for birds regardless of age...and can still out perform the newer solid state doppler based open array units for birds ..
And most manufactures still offer both variations.

So...with the newer Doppler solid state units.....it seems the manufactures for those have been opting for safety and navigation for the closer in range where many recreational boaters (Who may not really need to see birds.. ) seem to have a need for more detailed info and possible higher safety factors.
You really need to put in some time with newest Furuno DSR25A-NXT solid state open array. It might change your view that magnetrons are still the best choice for finding birds.

I have spent lots of time using 12kW and 25kW magnetron open arrays over a 20 year period, both Furuno and Garmin. Finding birds is a major use for me. I have been really impressed with the 200W Furuno DRS25A-NXT solid state 6' open array I installed this spring. It is every bit as good at showing birds at long range as the 25kW magnetron units. Sometimes it is almost too good because I will see a bunch of small targets scattered around and think there there are lobster pot floats or small boats. Often these tun out to be individual birds and not necessarily big ones, just terns and gulls or shearwaters.

So it seems possible now to get both the various advanced processing features such as Doppler target tracking and excellent bird finding. When it becomes available, it will be interesting to see if the new Garmin 250W solid state open array is as good at finding birds as the new Furuno unit. Right now, I think that a 12 or 25kW magnetron is the only plausible choice if you need a Garmin radar to have a hope of finding birds. So I would agree with your statement about magnetrons still being the choice for birds -- except with Furuno.

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