Doppler radome testing tease: they’re all good
The picture tells much of the story (and you can click/zoom it much larger for the details). In rain and fog, the three 7-inch Garmin, Simrad, and Raymarine multifunction displays are each showing their respective solid-state Doppler-assisted radomes capturing well the complexity of Rockland Harbor moored vessels and shoreline while also automatically highlighting in red the most significant moving object, an incoming Maine state ferry also shown by AIS.
And I can assure you that the Furuno NXT radome that I was monitoring on a nearby iPad was doing just as good a job, arguably better. Yes, it’s taken me quite a while to properly compare the four Doppler radomes installed on Gizmo just as winter set in, but I believe I’ve done enough and the results are not surprising given lots of positive prior experience with the Furuno and Garmin versions.
While it will take some time to sort through all the screenshots, I can report that the fairly new Navico Halo24 and Raymarine Quantum2 are also good radars, and that their Doppler motion-sensing features also have real value. Moreover, I have not seen any evidence to back the rumors about solid-state radar weakness in rain. In the full test report you’ll see all four radomes ignoring fairly heavy rain to see solid targets and also imaging wet squalls at some distance, even highlighting the ones that were headed my way.
The photo above shows all four radomes looking through the thicker fog that followed the early morning downpours, and I appreciated their help in getting another look at the mighty fishing schooner replica Columbia. I’d seen her the week before with all seven sails set and drawing as she took line honors in the Great Schooner Race, and if you’re cruising in Maine this summer I suggest finding her by AIS.
There weren’t many recreational boats out in Penobscot Bay during this 24 hours of wet SE winds, but I’ve become fond of fog for more than realistic radar testing. It can be grand, for instance, when a lift reveals a vessel like the Rockland windjammer Heritage hoisting her main topsail. Many more radar testing details to come.