Furuno doppler radar
Japanese electronics company Furuno has always been at the forefront of electronic navigation technology and with the introduction of its Doppler radar it has taken another step forward.
As with many things electronic the actual technology of the Doppler radar is quite simple but the execution has been challenging.
The system depends on the change of frequency that occurs when a sound or electronic ping is reflected back from a moving object. If the object is moving away then the frequency of the reflected signal reduces and if it is coming towards the scanner then the frequency increases. So what Furuno has done is to measure this change of the reflected radar signal in order to decide if a detected target is closing or moving away. When a target is moving towards you it is shown on the radar display in red, making it simple to decide which radar targets to concentrate on.
Furuno calls this its ‘Target Analyzer’ and claims that it instantly identifies hazardous targets and this helps to improve situational awareness from the radar display. A green target means that it is stationary in relation to your vessel or it is moving away. Historical tracks on the radar are shown in blue.
The new radar also features Fast Target Tracking for up to 100 targets. With this system a speed and course vector is automatically displayed for any approaching target and an alarm is sounded. This helps to keep track of approaching vessels and helps with deciding a course of action.
Another feature of this new radar is Rezboost. The compact radar antenna produces a horizontal beam width of 3.9° but with Rezboost this beam width can be sharpened to 2°, again by processing the returning radar signal. This helps to give a more detailed picture of the radar returns, separating out targets that are close together and removing one of the handicaps of having a compact antenna.
The antenna is 24” and is enclosed in a radome making it suitable for small craft. Antenna rotation speeds can be varied between 24 and 48 revolutions per minute with the higher speeds offering a higher picture refreshment rate suitable for faster craft. The picture can be displayed on Furuno’s displays ranging from 9 to 15 inches.
With these developments offered in the compact DRS4D-NXT radar, Furuno is now offering many of the features of their larger radars in a compact unit that is designed specifically for smaller craft. Similar improvements have been seen in their electronic chart displays where red warnings are given if a plotted route crosses into shallow water or if the projected track is likely to enter shallow water below a preset level.
By Dag Pike
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