Furuno NXT & Garmin Fantom, Doppler marine radar is here!

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

20 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Richard C says:

    I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but I can’t wait for Garmin to bring the Solid State Doppler radar to the radome market for smaller vessels. The Navico 4G products have dominated this size radar for a long time while Garmin seemed to be asleep with only traditional magnetron technology. I think maybe they have awakened. Garmin, I’m ready to trade up.

  3. Leo Starrenburg says:

    OK, having recently bought a Simrad 4G I can now sit and watch their retail price go down. That’s the price of progress for you. But reading the article above felt like beeing a kid in a candy store 😉

  4. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Outstanding. Doppler and coloring of targets 3 knots and more approaching will make it much easier for the crew we need to put behind the helm of our sailboats, to use radar at night and in bad weather while we attend to other sailing tasks. ARPA too, that’s mind blowing!

  5. RM says:

    Any word on any new open arrays from Furuno?

  6. Sheldon Haynie says:

    One can hope that the Doppler features are readily added to the Navico 4G, perhaps with a new interface module?
    Looks like good competitive progress.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Furuno definitely planning bigger solid state Doppler radars.
    Also Raymarine Quantum looking good at its 3G price point. Also its MARPA seemed very solid and they say it has the horsepower to do Doppler.
    Game on!

  8. Howard says:

    My conversations with Furuno were the same- Open array solid state is in the near future. Might have to figure out a new mast arrangement

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Garmin Fantom is also an excellent radar and Doppler target discrimination totally validated as a very valuable tool. Fantom was even marking moving cars on a big bridge. Unlike NXT, Fantom color codes targets moving away from you as well as incoming. It’s a new radar world.

  10. Bruce says:

    Holy Mackerel! – for Ben, the biggest kid in the candy store 🙂 Gravitational waves? Yea, yea…big deal…new radars are more fun.

  11. Quitsa says:

    Ben — Did you get a chance to see the Garmin Fantom operated at longer ranges where the prior solid state radars have not been especially good?
    If someone is mounting a Fantom 6 foot open array, it would typically be instead of a 12kW or 25kW magnetron open array. Those users will want to be seeing targets such as thunderstorms at very long ranges.
    My 12kW Furuno open array will show storm cells and high shorelines more than 30-40 miles away very distinctly. It doesn’t matter so much for general navigation. However, given how fast a thunderstorm cell can be moving, the long range performance becomes quite important to getting out of the way sometimes for those of us who don’t like the thrill of riding out electrical storms with two 32′ aluminum outriggers on a tower guaranteeing you are the highest point for miles around.

  12. Michael says:

    I wonder how this will work out at sea (not, for example, in Biscayne Bay). The problem with the MARPA board in my Furuno 1932 is that as the boat slews around in a seaway, of course the targets’ relative bearings change, and the MARPA has a hard time keeping up with the changes.

  13. Don Joyce says:

    I had a similar experience until I installed a 10 Hz Furuno heading sensor for the Furuno 1835 radar we have. Everything is rock steady now. I previously thought the heading data from the N2K network via an Actisense converter would be fine, but it wasn’t.

  14. Peter Alkins says:

    When should we expect a detailed shootout comparing the new solid state radars available for 2016. I saw the Quantum from Raymarine at the Seattle Boat Show but it was not operational. I used to think a 3G or 4G was in my future but all that has changed with the new alternatives from Raymarine and Furuno. Was here any indication of a new Garmin dome on the horizon? What’s Lowrance have up their sleeve?

  15. SG says:

    It’s too bad the Furuno unit is not compatible with their NavNet 3D models. I am happy with my NN3D’s performance; I don’t like a touchscreen at the helm for variety of reasons, etc.
    I’m not sure the compatibility issue is just processor speed of the NavNet 3D CPU’s?

  16. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Mostly happy to report that I’ve made it back to Maine with screenshots gleaned from fairly extensive demo rides with NXT, Fantom, Quantum and Halo (with its recent MARPA software update). My enthusiasm for what’s going on here has not diminished a bit, and I hope to write up the demo experiences later this week (a half broken home heating system being one impediment).

  17. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    By more horsepower, you mean if we purchase the Raymarine now we could see the dopler features later? How about ARPA? Do all the most recent versions of the chart plotters have enough horsepower ?

  18. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Dan. A reliable Raymarine product manager did tell me that he thought that their Quantum hardware could support Doppler features but he was not definite and there certainly is no time frame. One thing I’ve learned is that radar engineering is slow and hard.
    ARPA is a great example. Furuno has had it even in their smallest high-end radome (the DRS2D UHD) for many years while Navico, Garmin, and Raymarine don’t have it in any radars. Why? I don’t think it’s matter of patents, but rather a slew of well honed RF and software engineering nuances that Furuno’s competitors haven’t yet puzzled out.
    But the game is so on now. It’s fun to realize that some of the earliest buyers of these new radars will competitor R&D departments, who will field test the hell out of at least one and carefully dissemble at least another one.

  19. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Another Miami, another radar with Doppler automatic moving target highlighting. The Simrad Halo will get VelocityTrack as an unlock option in June:

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published.