Saturday, June 7, 2014

Furuno 1st Watch Marine Radar App

Application: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. Requires iOS 6.1
Function: Mobile device display of marine radar
Rating: *****
Cost: App is Free

All images compliments of Furuno


I can't believe it took the marine industry so long to finally provide radar on my iPad.  Yes, you heard right. RADAR on the iPad, now we are talking baby!

Radar is one of the last features to be brought to mobile devices. This now rounds out the iPad as a complete Navigation, Charting, AIS, Weather, WiFi Instrument display, AIS, Tides, Currents, POI Social Networking and now Radar tool.

Furuno is a world leader in the marine hardware and software industry. It has produced an 4KW Radome that will transmit it's output wirelessly to mobile iOS devices like your iPad. Furuno made the introduction of the DRS 4W at a boat show in Stockholm back in March of this year.  I can't believe I have not heard more about it in the press. Well, leave it up i-Marine Apps to bring you the latest news. It is not available for sale in North America yet, so that might be why it is not more well known.

The free Marine Radar DRS 4W app did not show up in the App Store until April, 2014.  

Features:
  • 19 inch 4KW radome
  • .125 to 24 mile range
  • 2.4GHz WiFi signal
  • Connect 2 iOS devices simultaneously
  • Full screen mode
  • Day/Night mode
  • Gain, STC, Rain VRM
  • Cursor position range and bearing on iPad 
  • Portrait or landscape mode
  • 12-24 volts power supply
  • 2.1 at 12 volts and 1 amp at 24 volts 
  • IP6 water resistant rating
  • 10-30 meter power cable
  • Range scale
  • Gestures zoom in and out
The installation of the radome hardware is simplified by the fact that all it need is a 12 volt power source. No communication wires are needed to get the signal to the display because it is broadcast over a proprietary WiFi. This WiFi signal can only be use by two separate iOS devices.  I would have been nice to have an open WiFi source that could be networked with other on board WiFi systems. I guess that was to much to ask.

The free app is a pretty basic but is a fully functional radar display. When you first start the app it looks for a signal from a DRS 4KW radome hardware.  Once connected it starts displaying data instantly.

It does have some features including day and night viewing. The night and day options allow easy viewing in the dark or bright sunlight.

The Range scale is located in the upper left corner of the app. Zooming in an out can be done with these selections on the bottom corners of the screen.

Transmission indication is show in the upper right corner letting your know your connected to the radome network.

Range rings are evenly spaced and identifiable. The off center display can be achieved by dragging the ships position to the desired location. This allows easier viewing of a greater distance ahead of your position.

One has to wonder if radar is becoming obsolete with the adaption of AIS. Although large commercial ships are required to have AIS, most recreational boats do not yet have AIS receivers or transmitters.  Radar still remains a very important tool in collision avoidance.

Radar has many other uses besides collision avoidance. Radar is great for picking up land masses which can help verify your position.  Tracking the movement of weather systems and storms is also a valuable use for your radar system.

Furuno has beat everyone to the punch by providing radar on iOS mobile devices. I think this compact system will be very popular with large and small yachts and recreational boaters.

The 1st Watch Radome is only available in Europe at this time but will hopefully be introduce in North America soon. I can't wait!

Do you use Radar on your boat? Do you find it useful? Share your thoughts about the new Furuno DRS 4W system.

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)

Mark


2 comments:

  1. Hey Mark Brian from Delos here. I think I already know the answer but I'm guessing this app will ONLY work with this specific Furuno radar right? We have a Koden Si-Tec unit that broadcasts over Ethernet on board.

    Cheers,
    Brian
    S\V Delos

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    Replies
    1. Brian, great to hear from you. You are right, the app only works with the Furuno unit. Hope all is well with the crew of Delos. You have the hottest crew out there and I am not talking about Brady!

      Keep in touch
      Mark

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