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Old 25 October 2009, 06:42   #1
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AIS vs Radar Reflector vs both ???

Hi All

Have read a multitude of threads regarding Radar Reflectors etc etc

If we get an AIS unit is the feeling that this is a better option than an active Radar Reflector - or would you suggest both for belt and braces approach

J
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Old 25 October 2009, 07:12   #2
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If we get an AIS unit is the feeling that this is a better option than an active Radar Reflector - or would you suggest both for belt and braces approach
If you mean an AIS receiver then they two different beasts so you should certainly go for both, one lets you see what big stuff is around and the other lets them see you.

Given the choice between the two I would go with a good (eg Echomax) reflector. Even vs an AIS transponder it is a better bet.
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Old 25 October 2009, 07:15   #3
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Thanks Malthouse - I was thinking of an AIS two way unit - send and receive - but will now look at the Reflectors as well

J
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Old 25 October 2009, 07:31   #4
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It would be worth comparing radar if you are considering an AIS tranciever.

Obviously she who dies with the most toys, wins
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Old 25 October 2009, 07:33   #5
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Even if you have a two way unit there are still all those boats with only radar which is most of leisure craft, that still wouldn't be able to see you.

James
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Old 25 October 2009, 07:37   #6
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Even if you have a two way unit there are still all those boats with only radar which is most of leisure craft, that still wouldn't be able to see you.
Not to mention the limited slots reducing the effectiveness in busy Seaways like the Solent, oh I just did mention it.

A good radar reflector is verging on essential. Certainly high up the list.
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Old 25 October 2009, 07:39   #7
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SOLAS V regs require any vessel putting to sea to have a radar reflector. Putting to sea basically means leaving categorised waters. We drive fast catamaran windfarm transfer boats and on the generation of vessels we are using at the moment the AIS merely puts you on the small screen of the AIS unit with distances etc it doesnt put you on the plotter screen as does on the second and third generation of boats in the fleet. With one skipper and an unqualified crew at 25knots the AIS is not something that jumps out at you as showing vessel on your track, more of a "whats that on my radar -I'll have a look at the AIS." Assuming you show on the radar of course!!!
You would perhaps be horrified at how invisible a small boat can be to the radar without a reflector, and at night how little puny navigation lights can be lost in the background clutter of lights and the unavoidable reflections in the bridge windows. I used to anchor and fish at night in 15ft angling boats with my little 10w anchor light up-having seen it from the other side of the fence I wouldnt do it again as I would want to look like a floating version of blackpool illuminations (and carry the house batteries to power it all).
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Old 25 October 2009, 07:46   #8
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Knot Yet... if I remember correctly you ended up with a 5.4m Searider. Are you planning to do much cross channel / fog / night stuff? Whilst I think you should go prepared for fog etc anyway (horn, passive reflector etc), my gut feel is that an AIS transponder (2way) or Active Radar Reflector (e.g. SeaMe) is a significant chunk of cash... 10% of the purchase price of your boat? for something that you will probably not use in anger? Unless you are planning to regularly make night or fog crossings of busy shipping lanes.

If I was spending someone else's money on a medium sized boat (too small to fit your own radar to) I would go in this order:
  1. Echomax style Passive radar reflector mounted on your a-frame. Lets other people with Radar see you.
  2. AIS receiver that feeds into existing chart plotter. Lets you see other large vessels and take defensive action.
  3. Active radar reflector - to make sure you show up on the ship's radar.
  4. 2-way AIS transponder.
In reality most boats your size will only have a cheap (i,e, not the echomax one) passive radar reflector.
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Old 25 October 2009, 08:15   #9
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Hi Guys

Really helpful - thank you

Malthouse - I do rather like my gizmos - not terribly girlie of me but true none the less

Okay so money aside - Polwart dead on with the 10% analogy - I'm thinking AIS receiver and Sea.Me active radar reflector.

Would this be a good combination for other boats (with the correct equipment) to see me and of course for me to indulge in a cool gizmo for me to see them - assuming they also had AIS

Dave - very helpful - thank you


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Old 25 October 2009, 08:23   #10
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If you are going down the SeaMe route - then they have a competitor now from the Echomax stable - which got a very good report in PBO(?) a month or two ago.
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