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Old 25 October 2009, 05:42   #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, 06:12   #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, 06:15   #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, 06:31   #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, 06:33   #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, 06:37   #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, 06:39   #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, 06:46   #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, 07:15   #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


Jxx
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Old 25 October 2009, 07:23   #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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Old 25 October 2009, 07:28   #11
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an article I wrote for Rib mag shortly after a trip back in thick fog on an advanced course mentioned the problems with HMCG using duplex channels for routine traffic meaning that we couldnt hear both sides of a conversation our local MRSC was having with a merchant vessel navigating somewhere on our patch and consequently we couldn't hear where he was. The article was read by the boys at the MRSC when the mag came out and they phoned me to say that whilst they agreed there was a problem what we could have done when we approached the main shipping channel was to call them and ask if they had anything on the AIS in close proximity to our position. I cant see the coastguard being pleased with being overwhelmed by calls of this nature but they said they would be receptive to such a request given the circumstances on that day.
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Old 25 October 2009, 08:26   #12
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My boat has a Raymarine E80 nav suite with radar, AIS, MARPA and Navtex. I also have a big Echomax reflector. The good thing about AIS is that you can call up commercial vessels on the VHF by their callsigns and GPS location. Marpa is excellent is busy shipping areas as it allows target tracks to be plotted on screen so you can judge the likelihood of a collision. The only trouble with MARPA is that it requires an additional electronic compass unit (I think this costs about £500). It also gets a bit unreliable when you're doing more than 35kts. As for radar and a reflector, they're simply 'must haves' in my book; I wouldn't go to sea without them.

You can see my console here: The navtex unit is just to the left of the ETec dials.
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Old 25 October 2009, 10:12   #13
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I'd just use an Echomax radar reflector, if you lose power a See-me one won't work. There's a reason the RNLI changed to Echomax reflectors.
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Old 25 October 2009, 11:13   #14
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Quote:
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...they have a competitor now from the Echomax stable...
Expect to pay around 450.00 quid.

Receives a signal from a transmitting radar, amplifies and returns a stronger signal. This increases the likelihood of detection reducing the risk of collision and helps to alert oncoming vessels of your position.

Specifications:

Reception frequency: X band 9.3 - 9.5GHz
Operating Temp:-20 to 60 degrees C
Voltage: 12V DC - +30% -10% (voltage surge and cross polarity protected)
Stand by current consumption: <15mA
Position Accuracy: within 1 meter
Typical 24 hour period e.g
5 radar in the area: <.55Ah
10 radar in the area: <.75Ah
EIRP: 1W (typically)

PERFORMANCE RESPONSE

Zero degrees 111.36M2
+/-10 degrees of heel 78.96M2
+/-20 degrees of heel 20.80M2
* Stated performance level - QinetiQ Anechoic Chamber Funtington 13th March 09
Exceeds ISO 8729-2 effective 22nd July 09 X band performance requirements
7.5M2 @ 10 degrees of heel for motor vessels and 20 degrees of heel for sailing vessels

DIMENSIONS

Length 478mm wdth 40.5mm Wt 480grms(E)
Weight TBA gms excluding cable
Cable length 24M 2 core 0.5mm2

CONTROL BOX for interior installation

Surface mount with optional base or rear entry cable facility
Red LED to indicate power on.
Green LED illuminates when being painted by radar
One short flash in 2.4 seconds indicates one radar signal.
Multiple flashes in 2.4 seconds indicates multiple radar signals
Note: 2.4 seconds is time for revolution of normal speed radar. High speed radar will repeat every 1.5 seconds
Externally accessible fuse
Triple alarm facility
Green LED indicates being painted by radar
Switchable Internal buzzer which sounds when being painted by radar
Volt free relay contact for switching up to 8A to control vessels deck horn, klaxon or deck light
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Old 25 October 2009, 11:29   #15
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...... they phoned me to say that whilst they agreed there was a problem what we could have done when we approached the main shipping channel was to call them and ask if they had anything on the AIS in close proximity to our position. I cant see the coastguard being pleased with being overwhelmed by calls of this nature but they said they would be receptive to such a request given the circumstances on that day.
Hi Dave

The CGs on the South Coast are usually very helpful in fog situations, I have on a number of times called up CG and VTS for positions of other vessels and even asked them to give the visibility further along the coast. On passage once from Falmouth to Southampton I met a real pea souper South of Salcombe. Before deciding whether to head for port or continue I called up Brixham CG who in turn called up Portland CG for me and fed back their visibility.

Knot Yet

There has been some good advice above in particular Polwart's comments re overkill. Where about's are you planing on taking your Searider?
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Old 25 October 2009, 11:57   #16
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Okay so money aside - Polwart dead on with the 10% analogy - I'm thinking AIS receiver and Sea.Me active radar reflector.
I would turn the debate around to... "here's the spec of my boat, out level of training, the list of kit we have on board, the electronics etc, and the type of trips we currently want to undertake -- so if you had £500 to spend on making this package more enjoyable, usable and/or safer what would you spend it on?" I think you might get some interesting/useful answers/debate.
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Old 25 October 2009, 13:04   #17
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Many thanks all - some really good thoughts and suggestions

Polwart - nice idea will get another thread going asking the question - thank you

Jxx
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Old 25 October 2009, 13:13   #18
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... so if you had £500 to spend on making this package more enjoyable, usable and/or safer what would you spend it on?
Genius.

From memory we are dealing with a 5m Searider, usually 3 up, all trained to PB2 but with limited yet rapidly growing experience.

Not sure what equipment you have thus far, can you fill us in and correct the above KY?
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Old 25 October 2009, 13:20   #19
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Spot on Malthouse

Have taken Polwart's advice and to keep things tidy have started a new thread

http://www.rib.net/forum/showthread....921#post322921

Looking forward to reading the suggestions and spending my pennies

Thanks again

J
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Old 25 October 2009, 14:39   #20
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Quote:
The CGs on the South Coast are usually very helpful in fog situations
yes they are fine here too particularly as its not as busy as the south coast. Trouble is I know them too well!
One particular day we called them to advise we had x amount of people onboard and one boat on a L2 course and got the voice reply from one of old timer watch officers who has been there for years and who I have done loadsa rescue jobs with which said
"one boat!" "whats all that about? - well dont think we are turning out for you if it all goes wrong we will have important clients to deal with first and may get round to you if we get time!" The looks on the faces of the clients was a picture, as it was when I gave them a suitable response about me paying his wages - ok not proper cg or radio procedure but at least you know you are dealing with human beings and not robots.
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