Do you know what a radome is? It’s that spherical cover (Dome) that, as opposed to open array systems, covers the radio wave antenna (Radar). But how is such a device made? Let’s discover through 18 and 24” GMR Fantom Radome by Garmin.
The Garmin GMR Phantom Radome are solid-state radars which boast a whole bunch of technological features to improve and make easier to understand the radar signals returned on the plotters.
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Solid state technology is the one that, unlike the previous generation magnetron systems, allows to have products completely free of mechanical parts, leaving ground only to electronic and digital components. This means a lower power consumption and an immediate boot without warm-up time, as well as no wear and tear problems to which mechanical parts are subjected. And, as you can guess, a fully digital product allows a very powerful data processing to provide smoother images and better defined targets.
Radars are purchased to navigate more safely, not just offshore but also along the coasts. This is why there’s space for compact yet powerful radome antennas (in the case of these Phantom the signal ranges from 6 meters to 48 nautical miles), ideal for smaller crafts that are mostly staying close to land. Open array antennas, on the other hand, are much wider and with the superiority of their performance they are the choice for medium-sized vessels and up into the world of superyachts and professional shipping.
GMR Phantom Radome radars feature many functions, starting with the so-called MotionScope, with a remarkable 40 W power, capable of detecting moving targets by calculating their speed with extreme precision. How do they do it? By exploiting the Doppler effect, i.e. the physical phenomenon upon which the frequency and wavelength changes according to the movement of the sender and the receiver. The result is an ever-accurate detection, regardless of whether one or both parts are stationary or moving. In addition, targets around the boat are highlighted in green or red depending on the danger of their approaching route.
With Pulse Compression, you can locate targets more easily, while the Pulse Expansion function, focusing most of the energy on a single target, allows to view it enlarged, with a kind of zoom effect. All this without compromising the resolution.
There is also an actual zoom on the display, along with the Dual Range function, which gives you the chance to split the screen in two different scales and simultaneously display them on the screen.
Another two features good for safety are Marpa and Echo Trails. With Marpa you can always keep under surveillance the movement of other boats. Echo Trails, on the other hand, allows you to create a track of boats on the display to identify the route more quickly.
Talking of route, with the Radar Overlay you can display the radar screen above nautical charts to locate all the targets around your boat even more precisely. The Radar Overlay also works in Dual Range mode to have two viewing scales even with cartographic overlays.
Beside safety, GMR Fantom Radome radars are a useful tool for anglers: the Bird Mode focuses on detecting of bird flocks on the surface of water, which clearly indicates the presence of fish shoal, the abundance of which can be estimated depending on the size of the flock.
The indicative price of Garmin GMR Phantom Radome 18 and 24 is respectively 2,399 and 2,899 euros, inclusive of 22% VAT. Both are compatible with GpsMap 722/922, GpsMap 1022/1222, GpsMap 7400 and the new 8400 maxi-display chartplotters.