Boating Bits

Navico releases broadband radar

Fishing World recently got on board Navico’s demo boat for a demonstration of its new BR24 Broadband Radar. Tipped to revolutionise marine radar, Navico’s Broadband promises, above all, superior clarity and an unprecedented level of safety.

The safety factor lies with the system’s radiation output – equal to that of a mobile phone – a big plus with Navico looking to introduce the small boat market to the world of radar. Small boat users and yachties now have more options for mounting the scanner too. That’s in contrast to conventional radar’s safety issues, and the risk of obstructing the conventional scanner’s beams behind a cabin or mast, creating a dead zone.

But do small boats need radar? The same question could have gone for expensive sounders a few years back. Small boat fishos are now taking advantage of the latest technology, and spending more dollars on finding fish using state-of-the-art marine electronics. Navico’s broadband radar could well find its way onto these boats as just another tool for chasing elusive sportfish.

The Hawkesbury River’s Akuna Bay proved the ideal testing ground. Navico’s Chris Radford demonstrated the Broadband radar’s effectiveness as we cruised the river. Channel markers were clearly visible, as were moorings, kayakers, and importantly, approaching vessels. Regular boaties in this area would appreciate such accurate radar readings during the periods of thick winter fog.

What really impressed all onboard was the clarity, which clearly defined bridge pylons ahead. Nearby oyster leases were also easy to define as individual sticks in the water were marked on the radar. It looks to be impressive technology for small and large vessels alike.

The BR24 is the first radar for the recreational boat market to use Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) technology. Conventional radar is called pulse radar which, according to the blurb Navico supplied, transmits and receives radio waves, alternating between transmission and reception at intervals of microseconds. The BR24 is significantly different transmitting pulses continuously, not in pulses.

Pulse radar swamps the area immediately around the scanner with its “main bang”, which is what creates the interference or noise. When conventional radar switches to the receive function, it picks up that noise, making it difficult to pick up close by targets. It can also provide clear readings out to 48 km.

With the BR24 onboard we could literally nose up to small moorings while still receiving a clear reading on the screen. This looks to alleviate problems associated with close quarter navigation at night, around moorings and moored boats, and in difficult to navigate waterways.

The BR24 will officially be launched at Sanctuary Cove next week.

For more technical detail on Navico’s new Broadband Radar visit



The Broadband Radar clearly displaying moored boats ahead.



Oyster leases at short range. 


The bridge pylons up ahead are clearly visible on the radar screen. 


Broadband Radar can be easily installed and used on average sized boats.



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