Radome and Open Array Radars. What’s Right for Me?

02 September 2022

Radome and Open Array Radars. What’s Right for Me?

Raymarine offers a wide range of marine radar systems for all types and sizes of boats. Whether for fishing, sailing, or cruising, radar systems from Raymarine keep you aware of surrounding traffic, hazards and obstacles, approaching weather and so much more. To deliver peak performance no matter your vessel type, we offer radar in both Radome and Open Array configurations.  

Radome Scanners for When Space is at a Premium 

Radome radars are perfect for sailboats, RIBs, and smaller powerboats. They pack big radar features into a small enclosure, making them perfect for vessels with limited space. And unlike open array, there are no exposed rotating parts that could get tangled in lines, rigging or sails. 

Raymarine offers three types of radome radars.   

Quantum Radars use CHIRP pulse compression technology which is highly detailed at both long and short range. The Quantum radar has very low power consumption making it ideal for battery-conscious sailing and electric vessels. Its light weight and wireless data capability also make it ideal for mounting aloft on sailboat masts, tuna towers and other complex and weight-sensitive locations. Quantum is a great choice for coastal navigation and collision avoidance tasks.
The Quantum 2 version adds advanced Doppler radar target tracking. Doppler tracking colorizes moving radar contacts and distinguishes them from non-moving objects. Inbound radar contacts are colorized red, while those moving away are colored green. This makes it simple for the captain to evaluate the radar situation at-a-glance and maneuver in crowded harbors.

Raymarine’s 18- and 24-inch HD Color Marine Radomes are traditional high-power magnetron units with 4kW of power output and advanced digital signal processing. HD Color models are extremely popular for smaller fishing vessels that don’t have space aloft for an open-array because they have automatic bird mode as a standard feature. These radar units also have open-array level features including dual-range scanning, high-speed mode and much more.

Open Array Scanners for Maximum Performance

Open array radar antennas are composed 2 pieces. The base or pedestal unit contains the radar’s transmitting and receiving electronics. Bolted to the top of the pedestal is a rotating antenna array that is 3, 4 or 6-feet long.  Open-array antennas are considerably heavier than radomes, and with their larger diameter antennas, require much more topside space. The benefits of the open array though are huge increases in radar range, performance and capability. 

The increased length of the open-array antenna unit gives the radar an increased level of sensitivity so it can detect weak echoes returning from farther away more effectively. The larger size of the open-array antenna also allows the radar to better focus its microwave energy beam. By concentrating the energy on-target, this allows the open array to have a longer effective range than a radome-style system. The concentrated energy is also subject to less distortion resulting in a crisper, cleaner radar picture when looking at small contacts near to each other, or a detailed shoreline. 

In addition to having a choice of antenna size, the modular configuration of the open-array also gives you a choice of transmit power. This lets you customize the radar to your boating style and needs.    

Raymarine’s new Cyclone Radar is the ultimate tool for navigation, collision avoidance and bird finding. Available with 55- or 110-watt power output, and 3, 4-, or 6-foot antenna lengths the Cyclone radar is our most advanced offering, ever. 

Cyclone uses CHIRP pulse compression technology for superior target discrimination and short-range imaging, while its powerful transmitter and super-sensitive antenna design give it tremendous range capability and sensitivity. Cyclone supports traditional and Doppler radar modes, simultaneously. Its bold design also gives it the capability to work at relative wind speeds in excess of 100-knots, a must-have for today’s high performance power boats.    

Magnum Radar offers a high-performance open-array radar solution for boaters who prefer a traditional magnetron-based system. Magnum radars come with 4kW or 12kW transmitters and your choice of a 4- or 6-foot antenna array.    

Both of these open-array options are ideal for powerboats, fishing boats, motor yachts, commercial, and law enforcement vessels.

Learn More

Looking for more radar tips? Check out these Raymarine Live videos for more in-depth knowledge.