HD radar, especially Furuno's
I have a gripe about High Definition radar, or Ultra HD or Super HD or whatever; as best I can tell there is no identifiable technology, specs, or benchmarks to compare one with another, or even to grasp what it is. But it definitely is something. I’ve seen screen shots of Northstar/Simrad HD that looked good, I’ve heard excellent reports on Garmin’s HD and Raymarine’s, which I also saw myself, though only in tight quarters and flat water. But last week I spent nearly six hours inshore and off with a Furuno UHD 4kW 3.5’ array, and…wowsuh, I was definitely, and highly, impressed.
Check a bigger version of the photo above. Note how noise-free the image is, and we hadn’t done any manual tuning. Note how crisp the shorelines are and how spot-on the buoys (super good heading info helped, more on that later). Note too on the overlay how you can see a bit of the boat’s wake. I think we’d slowed down here in Wood’s Hole; much of the day—flat water and inefficient boat, mind you—we could clearly see our wake, which is really reassuring in terms of seeing something small and close ahead. In fact, we later tracked a cormorant flying maybe two feet over the water a few hundred yards away. And when we set a guard alarm at a mile, the first thing to set it off was another bird. I also tried ARPA automatic target acquisition, which I don’t think any other radar in this category offers, and it worked well. All in all, I rapidly developed a high confidence level in this UHD radar, but, as noted above, can not easily compare its performance with other HD sets.
I did notice one oddity, seen below. See how fuzzy the overlay looks (and sorry about the glare)? That’s only because the chart is zoomed to about a quarter mile (NN3D zooms in small increments or standard ones, your choice), while the radar is at four mile range. Hence NN3D had little data to overlay on the chart at left and fudged it. I’ll bet that if I’d ranged the radar in (they can be synched), you’d see a clean buoy target where that green smudge is, and our wake behind the boat. But it’s hard to call this an issue, because what other system even comes close?