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screen by its colour: red for strong,
yellow for medium and green for a
weak return. The Sea-Me
continued to return a strong echo
at 10° heel, with a medium return
at 20°. The signal was detectable
but weak at 30°, and by 40° we had
lost contact, although at 40° you
have more to worry about than
radar visibility!
The Echomax lived up to its
specifi cation sheet, returning
strong echoes at angles up to 20°.
At 30° it showed a medium return,
while at 40° the signal was weak.
However, we reached 60° heel
before we lost lock altogether.
Test results
Echomax Sea-Me
6.7NM 5.5NM
Echomax Sea-Me
0° Strong Strong
10° Strong Strong
20° Strong Medium
30° Medium Weak
Alan Watson’s Nelson 42 and 48in, 4kW Raymarine HD radar provided the ideal platform for our test
The Echomax at around 5.5NM range. Note the strong echo beneath
At a slightly reduced range, the Sea-Me’s response was variable,
the MARPA ring
fi nally losing MARPA lock at 5.5NM
■ The Qinetiq test made clear Stronger returns are of benefi t shown that an X-band RTE is not refl ector, which although
the advantage of active units at longer ranges, within the a complete solution to being optimised for X-band will have
over passive radar refl ectors, limits of the radar horizon, and seen at sea. Ships must by law some response to S-band radar.
and our experiments show that our tests showed the Active-X be fi tted with both X-band and But this story has by no means
both the RTEs signifi cantly gave improved performance S-band radar, but many ships fi nished. Sea-Me plan to launch
increase your chances of being over the Sea-Me at extended prefer to monitor S-band radar a dual-band unit later this year,
seen at sea. One of the major range and increased heel, which as it is more tolerant to sea which will work on both the X-
benefi ts of these units is the combined with the specifi cations clutter and precipitation. Neither and S-bands, and I can’t imagine
consistent return they give suggest that Echomax have of these products have any that Echomax will be far behind
owing to their omnidirectional moved the RTE market forward. response at S-band. For now, with a similar item. Meanwhile,
antennas, unlike the directional However, past tests carried out even if you fi t an RTE, you Class B AIS transponders have
nature of passive refl ectors. with commercial vessels have should also fi t a passive a growing following.
WITH THANKS TO: Alan Watson of Trinity Nautical Training for his expert advice and use of his boat and radar, Peter Crump of PC Marine for his
time, advice and the use of his RIB and Alex Bell for his advice and active participation in the test
Practical Boat Owner 513 September 2009 • 51
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