MIBS2020: Koden MDS-11R RADARpc, radar for Coastal Explorer

While walking the floor of the Miami International Boat Show something caught my eye in Si-Tex’s booth. I saw what looked like a PC screen running Coastal Explorer but with a radar display shown. It turns out this is a new version of Koden’s RADARpc that interfaces nearly any Koden or Si-Tex radar with a PC running Coastal Explorer. I remembered that years ago there was an option for radar with Coastal Explorer but I’m not aware of any current options until Koden’s new version of their RADARpc.

RADARpc allows you to use Koden’s — Si-Tex is the North American distributor for Koden’s products — radar scanners with Rose Point Navigation’s Coastal Explorer or Rose Point ECS. Nearly all modern radar units use Ethernet to communicate between the radar scanner and the display device. But because radar interfaces are proprietary it typically isn’t possible to use a radar with a display from any other company. So, until now the only option for recreational boaters to display radar on a PC has been TimeZero paired with Furuno’s radar units.

Koden’s MDS-11R interface box makes it all happen. This, $1,900 list price, box allows you to connect any Koden or Si-Tex radar unit to the MDS-11R and then connect a computer — or phone or tablet in the future — running compatible software. Coastal Explorer is the only software package that’s currently compatible but hopefully we will see other developers implement it.

RADARpc units are in stock and available for shipment immediately. In addition to the standalone interface box there are bundles of a radar scanner and the interface box available. Starting with a 4kw 25-inch enclosed dome for a $4,300 list price all the way up to a 12kw 6.5-foot open array for $9,000.

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Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of Panbo.com, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, completed the Great Loop in 2017.

7 Responses

  1. Anders says:

    “So, until now the only option for recreational boaters to display radar on a PC has been TimeZero paired with Furuno’s radar units.”

    This is not correct.

    Navico Radars work and work well with open cpn.

  2. Andy says:

    Worth mentioning, Opencpn supports Garmin and Navico radars and it is quite affordable.

    Official plugin supports:

    – Garmin HD and xHD radar support.
    – Navico “new” 3G support.
    – Older 3G radars are still supported via the BR24 type.
    – Navico HALO-3, HALO-4, HALO-6 and HALO24 support

    – some Raymarine radars are also supported by third party (free) plugin

    Wish the support extended to other brands also!

  3. Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

    Andy and Anders are quite correct and pointed out what I missed. OpenCPN supports several different radars from multiple manufacturers. More can be found on the OpenCPN radar module page: https://opencpn.org/OpenCPN/plugins/radarPI.html.

    -Ben S.

    • Andy says:

      Which begs the natural question:

      What is actually inside that Koden’s MDS-11R interface box?

      And further follow-on question, how wise it is to invest into such a soon obsolete piece of hardware, as all the radars are very fast moving to being 100% directly Ethernet/IP -interfaced?

  4. Nick says:

    Expedition also supports Koden and Navico radars. The Navico interface uses the Navico SDK.

    I don’t know about the MDS-11R though.

  5. That MDS-11R looks suspiciously like the MDS-5R that I had aboard 15 years ago, hooked up to Nobeltec 7 (remember the days!)

    It seems to have the same analog interface to the radome itself. This makes sense for Koden, as it means it will work with many of their existing radars.

    Unfortunately it also means you’re going to have a magnetron type analog radar. If that is what you want (power consumption, 2 minute startup time, 500 hour magnetron life…) go right ahead, but for most recreational sailors better options exist.

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