Originally Posted by Polwart
But they haven't come to different conclusions - read this: http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources...s%20report.pdf
to paraphrase - "cheap radar reflectors are crap" or slightly more technically: low cost, entry level radar reflectors may not significantly increase radar cross section except at specific angles of approach...
And its those "specific angles of approach" that are the crucial bits.
There are some, as you say, entry level reflectors that are not much good - generally, the large the surface area of the angled panels, the better the reflector, especially when having to cope with heel from the top of a mast.
Detection may well not be significantly increased from, say, flybridge cruiser to rib, but certainly from a container vessel bridge to rib the differences become clearer. And it is the container vessel which is likely to pose the higher risk.
Don't forget too that commercial vessels will have both "s" and "x" band radars running, which very significantly aids close quarters range navigation.
In short, cheap radar to cheap reflector probably won't be brilliant, but decent reflector to £25k Raytheon kit will make a difference...