Garmin announces 250 watt, solid-state, open-array Fantom 254/256 radars

4 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’m particularly pleased that Garmin has added what sounds a lot like real ARPA to this radar:

    “New mini-automatic radar plotting aid (MARPA) automatic acquisition allows for triggering and tracking of up to 30 targets with no user prompting on all returns, boundary zones, guard zones or MotionScope.”

    Furuno has had a similar feature in their NXT solid-state Doppler radars for some time (which I find it very useful), but I believe that Garmin is the first of the other recreational brands to offer it. Here’s hoping it works well — i.e. good at acquiring actual targets of interest while ignoring thing like floating nav aids — and that the feature moves down the Garmin radar size range

  2. Yes the automatic target acquisition is a major improvement although the number of targets is lower than the Furuno radar can handle. In real life 30 targets is probably good enough in most situations. Once these new units are out on the water, it will be interesting to see if Garmin has successfully addressed their other performance issues such as the poor sea state and rain filtering compared to Furuno or Simrad radars. The 25kW recreational magnetron radar may not be long for this world, I suspect.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      I think that the scan-to-scan averaging also sounds interesting…

      “The new Fantom 254/256 is the first from Garmin to include scan-to-scan averaging, a feature which reduces the sea clutter and interferences in the display view for a clear, visual scope of water ahead.”

      …and wonder if that has anything to do with Doppler.

      • Good question. I am not sure if that is really any different than what happens with the “echo averaging” setting applied on the Furuno NXT or what might be new. For that matter, previous Garmin radars also had a “scan average” setting. The one thing that is evident nowadays is how important software processing has become in the new generation of radars.

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