Honeywell PC SS radar, wow again!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 19, 2008

Honeywell prototype ss marine radar courtesy Valanti

Wow, Panbo works! While it’s pure coincidence that two really interesting—though quite different—solid state marine radars were announced yesterday, I got an early head’s up on both and, better yet, Panbot “DavidV”—who turns out to be a principal developer of the Honeywell prototype ss radar seen above—has already helped us understand how it compares to Navico Broadband (see comments). Unfortunately Honeywell’s “Programmable, Pulse Compression, X-Band Radar,” which David just presented at the eNavigation Conference, is not yet even scheduled for production, but, wow, I think you’ll agree that’s likely, if they can get the costs reasonable. The collage above, and bigger here, compares a Furuno 2117 commercial radar working at its .75 nm range (though showing more) with the 40 watt solid state set at 5 nm range, but zoomed in. The boat moved a bit between screen shots but the difference in range resolution seems obvious and amazing.

As you may know, radars typically increase their pulse length, and hence decrease their range resolution, as they shift to larger areas of view. But pulse compression solid state is not typical. Vacanti—who,  aside from duties as an Aerospace Fellow is Honeywell, is also involved in boat design software—says this prototype Honeywell gear “has a range resolution of 35’ at 5 nm and degrades to 62’ at 10 nm worst case vs 600' in most magnetrons using 1.2 uSec pulses at that range. Our system provides 145’ resolution at 20 nm when the standard radar is already at 600 - 700'. We can improve that substantially.” You can see some evidence of the longer range resolution below, bigger here, and the screen image is constrained, I think, by pixel count. Wow. Here’s hoping that this technology (derived from high-end aircraft weather radar) soon becomes a yacht product, even if it’s an expensive one.



I talked with engineer Marc Pos of Honeywell today at eNavigation, and after I finally started to understand what he was describing, the light went on. I agree: this technology will mark a major improvement in at least three areas (resolution, power consumption, & reduced radiation danger). I can hardly wait for it to trickle down to the recreational market.

Posted by: Tim Flanagan at November 19, 2008 9:48 PM | Reply

What IS the pace of new technology today? Can you predict when something as new as solid state radar will hit the recreational market? Once there it seems electronic products enjoy at best an 18 to 24 month life cycle before manufacturers introduce the Mark II with superficial, or at best minor improvements.

Posted by: Anonymous at November 26, 2008 8:36 AM | Reply

Well, I think I'll put off a radar purchase until this is available. I don't need it exactly right now and this seems to be so much better than what is currently available, waiting won't be a problem.

Posted by: Chris at November 29, 2008 9:19 PM | Reply

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