Granted, I fish mainly inshore on my bay boat, but still I find times when radar might be useful to me: when I can’t clearly see pelicans diving on pogies in the distance; when fog or low-light conditions make navigation tricky; when I want to see which way a rain system is moving and how fast.
I asked the experts to spell out basic differences between domes and arrays so anglers could more easily take the first step in a radar-purchase decision.
“Typically we start off first by asking what kind of boat they have,” says David Dunn, director of sales and marketing for Garmin. “For a 25-foot center console, an open array might not be the best fit.”
Weight can also be a significant factor. Domes weigh 15 to 25 pounds, while arrays weigh 45 to 70 pounds — thus requiring a substantial hardtop.
Larger center console and sport-fishing vessels that rise higher off the water or feature taller superstructures gain better performance from open-array radar.
Once you determine what size radar your boat can effectively use, you need to consider how you’ll use the technology. “Ninety-five percent of people are using it for collision avoidance,” says Mark Harnett, Simrad radar product manager.
Bird finding “comes with power,” Dunn says. “You need to have more power. That’s where we draw the line. The technology in a dome is a lot better than it used to be.
Higher-power 12 kW magnetron radars such as Raymarine’s HD and Super HD Color arrays work better at finding birds at longer range, says Jim McGowan, Raymarine marketing manager.
“When you go bigger [in length] with the antenna, you get more detail in the image and a little more power on the target. If you go up on transmitter power, you get more power on the target,” McGowan says.
Antenna length determines the radar’s beam angle, which is the side-to-side arc measurement of the radiated microwave beam.
Know Your Needs Before You Buy Your Next Fishing Radar
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For instance, at longer ranges of more than 5 miles, a wide beam might paint an inlet as one large blob along the coastline, while a tighter beam might show both sides of the opening.
Seeing larger targets can be advantageous at times, he adds. “The thing I like about domes: All targets are big.”
Options on Options
Perhaps by now you’ve determined whether you need a dome or an array for your style of fishing. But you still face a second tier of decisions about features and technology.
Pulse-compression radars up to about 40 watts — such as Simrad’s Halo and Garmin’s Fantom dome — can be equivalent to 5 kW to 6 kW radars. Halo transmits chirps of varying power; in general, it emits less power more often than an equivalent magnetron radar.
The best advice I have is to take the buying process one step at a time, and you’ll definitely enjoy the final outcome that much more.
So don’t forget these great reminders when buying your next fishing radar. 1) Always know how much your boat weighs; 2) figure out your main reasons for using the radar; and 3) take the buying process one step at a time.
Sailing Maori Journey, New Zealanders Rekindle Indigenous Pride
Some, holding Samoan flags, made a beeline for the waka Gaualofa. At the head of the vessel was Fealofani Bruun, a 32-year-old female captain whom many — particularly “Moana” fans — had come to see.
Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, a master navigator who has spent decades sailing waka throughout the Pacific, was one of the creative producers of the festival opening. He lamented that the stories of Maori ancestors arriving in New Zealand had long been taught in schools as myths or fairy tales rather than recognized as history.
His own waka, the Haunui, circumnavigates New Zealand spreading a message of environmental conservation. Mr. Barclay-Kerr said the sight of a waka sailing into the bay often awakened memories among older Maori people of oral histories they had learned as children.
Standing knee-deep in the sea on Petone Beach, a 35-year-old Haunui crew member, Dale Dice, said taking to the sea had strengthened his connection with his culture. Mr. Dice, who works as a furniture removalist, said he had tried everything he could think of “to get a chance to sail around the world — but nothing worked out.”
Turned down for the navy, Mr. Dice joined a yacht squadron and then the Coast Guard in the hope that he would learn to sail, but it was the waka that provided the opportunity he sought. He was now preparing for a voyage to Hawaii on the double-hulled canoe in 2020.
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