How Simrad Halo works, 12 radars in one!

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.

10 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this, excellent information! Have you heard anything about their plans for releasing Halo support under the B&G name? Thanks…

  2. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Ben, you would never let me submit an entry this long 🙂
    The level of excitement here is contagious, great slides, and explanation of how a combination of different transmissions are used together to cover all the ranges.
    Very enlightening, thanks !

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Dan. I’m not sure that the presentation I have will ever become public or get coverage elsewhere, so I went large.
    Anon, I have no idea if there will be a B&G branded Halo. I don’t think it would be hard to do, and maybe Zeus2 will even work fine with the Simrad Halo when it ships (I don’t know when), but the brands definitely do not promise interoperability. It may be up to customer demand and is probably a good question for dealers.

  4. Ben,
    Awesome presentation – almost the equivalent of attending a manufacturers training seminar! Plus, I learned (with a little help from Wikipedia) the definition of a radar mile, the abbreviation for micro-second, and how to create the Greek symbol “µ” in Word… 😉

  5. DaveV says:

    Well it has finally happened – a low cost recreational SS Pulse compression radar. I have to give kudos to the folks at Navico / Simrad. Use of GaN technology is very wise. It offers the very highest DC to RF efficiency and highest possible output power for a single device. That equates to reduced cost. I wanted to give a simple explanation of what is happening in the HALO.
    The old saw of stretching out the pulse to provide time on target is true – but all you are doing is getting average power to be nearly equivalent to the Magnetron peak power. For example 1uSec Pulse repeated every 1mSec = 0.001 duty factor x 4000W = 4 watts average. The HALO example would be 96uSec / 1mSec = 0.096 x 25W =2.4W average. So the average power on target is nearly the same as the 4Kw system. I don’t know all the details of the real system Pulse rates but you get the idea.
    But if you use a pule length of 96uSec you have a range resolution of 8Nmi! The range resolution is recovered by the Linear Frequency Modulation “Chirp” that produces a range bin that is more usable and provides closer to meters or feet of resolution rather than miles.
    It is also important to recognize that standard magnetron pulse radars also require multiple pulse lengths and pulse repetition rates to cover the entire range extent and blind ranges.
    Note that the Garmin GWX70 Airborne weather radar is also a pulse compression system – following the lead of the Honeywell RDR4000 introduced over 10 years ago. I frankly have been wondering about when Garmin will have its own Marine SS Pulse Compression system as well.
    The most recent IEC / IMO regulations encourage the development of SS pulse compression radars to replace the magnetron systems. They offer far greater potential for long term performance improvements and far higher reliability than Magnetron systems.
    I love the Ethernet data interface. The new digitally synthesized Pulse Compression waveform no longer needs the old fashioned “t0” timing reference pulse and odd ball proprietary data interface. Now that the data can be encoded in blocks along detection radials and the data can be readily transmitted in digital streams. Given the “code” to the data block format any MFD could be made to display that radar image.

  6. Richard C says:

    I guess this is a question for Simrad. Will Halo ever show up as a dome radar for mounting on the mast of a sailboat? I’m beginning to think that the technology just won’t fit in such a small (dome) housing.

  7. Mike O'Dell says:

    GREAT to see more “mil-grade” technology seeping out into civilian world!
    GaN (Gallium Nitride) technology is finally coming of age, but it’s been a long, long gestation. The problem is that the crystal structure of GaN doesn’t match much of anything to use as a substrate. Theoretically, Silicon Carbide (SiC) comes closest to matching, but making SiC wafers has proven to be incredibly difficult, not the least of which because of the insane temperatures required and that the techniques used to make boules from which to slice wafers doesn’t work well enough to make the economics attractive. So GaN-on-SiC was the stuff of legends told by non-existent people from non-existent places doing unknowable things. GaN-on-SiC parts could be made by gnomes commanding dark forces in secret lairs if cost was no object and you had more patience than money.
    The other path was to figure out how to build GaN transistors by adapting (i.e., coercing) existing semiconductor manufacturing techniques to work “well enough”. A company originally named Nitronex developed the technology to build GaN power transistors on silicon wafers. The trick was developing a recipe of different materials deposited in a stack of layers of varying thickness on the silicon substrate which would result in an adequate match for the GaN crystal structure grown on the top of the stack. By their own admission, the Nitronex parts would probably never reach the stratospheric specifications of GaN-on-SiC parts, but they could make the parts in quantity at a price less than the GNP of a small country.
    As is often the case, the GaN business was highly fragmented with various startups competing against each other when they were actually addressing different segments of the microwave power-transistor business. M/ACOM appears to have stepped in and is busily collecting all the various pieces and making some sense of the product lines. GaN-on-Si for volume production (aka “price sensitive” applications) and GaN-on-SiC for customized devices that squeeze every microgram of performance from the technology (civilians need not apply!).
    I”ve been watching Nitronex for about a decade and while I turned down a chance for the day-job to invest in the company, I’m *delighted* to see that they have survived to finally find an understanding “Forever Home” and that the work is going mainstream.

  8. Larry Brandt says:

    Bravo! Finally, we’re looking at a solid state radar for our market that invites important benefits. Doppler presentation of squalls, for example. Congratulations to the Simrad team.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wait and look to Furuno on SS Radar’s in the non-Far consumer line, as it will be coming at some point in the distant future. With the exception of the problems associated with NN3D, Furuno does an exceptional job at launching products that are tested and true. I wish I could say the same for Navico (not the wonderful Simrad pre Navico).
    Most products out of Navico are sent-out to the market premature and prone to issues, working out the quirks at the customer/installers expense. Navico still hasn’t worked out the various bugs on their current NSE/NSO scanners. Why one would ever jump into buying the Halo would be a colossal mistake in my opinion, only as a result of the history with Navico.
    I have zero alliance to either company but can only tell you from personal experience that Simrad is more often a headache and Furuno is not.
    I’d wait AT LEAST one year after these radars hit the market to buy in.
    Good luck.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Its been over one year, where is the Tsunami of negative posts?
    Not one. I rest my case.

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