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Is One Brand of Radar Better Than Others?

By Stephen Legge

As a boater, I have definitely learned that some radars are better than others. But the big question that I always hear is, "Which one is the best?" As a boating supply store owner, I get this question quite often. The answer isn't simple!

Some of the things that you need to ask are; how sensitive is the gain control; how accurately are the targets projected; what about ease of operation; how easy does the toggle work? These questions are all subjective and the only real way to get answers is to go to a marine electonics dealer with the task of comparing the operation of the radars that are within your budget. Have the technician, not just a salesman, show you the demo modes of the radars that you are interested in and then ask questions. Play with the unit yourself to see the ease of operation. What size radome can your vessel carry? How far are you planning on projecting? 24 miles? 36 miles? 72 miles? If you are not on a sailboat with a mast to mount the radome on, how far will you be able to project? If your radome is under 12' above the water, your projecting distance will be limited. Don't buy more than you can project. Again, ask the questions. Do you want an open array? They cost more and are more efficient. What options are available? What about warranty?

But more than anything, the most important thing to remember is this...If you don't know how to read a radar, you can look at hundreds of them and they will just look like a blurred screen of dots. Read, read, read and then take a class if you can. Join a friend of yours that has a radar and knows how to use it. Let him or her show you the ins and outs of the radar that they have. You might just like it and it will help you decide whether you even need it or not. After all of this...shop, shop, shop. Don't just buy at the first place you go. Check online with other suppliers for the best price and delivery time. Who will install for you? Check in your area for an installer and get pricing before you buy. It all adds up in the end to your total cost. If you are still satisfied with the results, by all means buy the radar that you want. You won't regret it... especially at night if you travel on any large body of water!

Steve Legge is a Licensed Coast Guard Captain. As a cruiser and staff Captain and Maintenance Supervisor for 3 additional boats ranging is size from 31' to 53', he knows the necessity for savings on marine supplies. Visit his store at: http://www.frugalcaptainmarinesupplies.com

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