Video: Simrad HALO-3 pulse compression radar review
We get to review an incredible Simrad marine electronics setup at a major fishing tournament in offshore conditions. Of great interest was a Simrad HALO-3 pulse compression radar fitted to a Surtees 700 Gamefisher Hardtop.
We had the privilege of joining the Tuna Club of Tasmania’s 26th Australian Bluefin Championship aboard a superb Surtees 700 Gamefisher Hardtop. This offshore plate aluminium fishing boat, provided by Deegan Marine, was kitted out with an impressive suite of Simrad marine electronics. It included a Simrad HALO-3 pulse compression radar, Simrad NSS12 evo2 multifunction display, and multiple transducers. You can see below how we rated the full setup in a competitive tournament, in genuine offshore conditions. Here, we’re going to take a closer look at the Simrad HALO radar unit.
Simrad HALO-3 Pulse Compression Radar
Simrad HALO Radar uses solid-state broadband technology allowing minimal warm-up time with terrific longevity and impact resistance. There are three HALO aerials available – 3ft, 4ft and 6ft, with the 3ft model fitted to our Surtees 700 Gamefisher Hardtop and interactive with the NSS12.
Simrad HALO presents an unparalleled combination of short and long-range performance with accurate definition right down to six metres and out to a distance of 72 nautical miles for the largest model; our review radar unit with the smallest (3ft) aerial is quoted to 48 nautical miles. The power gives you some idea of the enormous capabilities of such a device. It’s a huge safety benefit in watching for approaching bad weather cells and a constant surveillance of a wide fleet of boats in a competition scenario such as ours.
I always worried about the radiation from older magnetron radar; some years ago I suffered a headache for months after standing directly under an old unit for an extended period. It’s probably taken years off my life, but so have so many other bad work practices and habits, particularly in early fibreglass boat construction! The good news is that Simrad HALO marine electronics produce extremely low electromagnetic emissions and radiation, with the only detectable radiation being within 250mm around the centre of the dome and well out of harm’s way.
Simrad radar in action
Simrad HALO provides strong performance for both short and long-range navigation. We took it out in the dark into a rather cluttered harbour and navigated with ease around the mooring buoys and other obstacles at close quarters. Good radar has become almost vital with the current trend to hardtop trailer boats and the limited visibility through reflective windscreens, particularly at night. My home at Port Phillip Bay has become a nightmare to navigate without radar with thousands of boats chasing the spring snapper run, and often in the dark without lights!
We overlaid the radar on the chartplotter, giving us precise visibility of the surroundings including other boats, water depths and land masses. The Simrad HALO radar system actually processes seven pulses over a range of frequencies at once with high-speed 48rpm operation giving a terrific view, and it can be split into short and long dual-range windows on the NSS12. There are five operating modes to suit the wide variety of conditions you can expect in offshore boating or you can fine tune in Manual Mode should you prefer. The advanced signal processing power combined with the high-definition screen on the NSS12 gave an extremely positive view even identifying single birds with clarity.
We spotted one of the region’s top fishermen going to sea and placed a track on his movements. Yep, there’re no secrets any more! You can track up to 10 boats per screen on split screens, allowing you to keep tabs on a flotilla of 20 boats at up to 48nm radius with precision. The clarity provided by Beam Sharpening with Target Separation Control not only helps you track solid objects and approaching bad weather but will indicate the action of a flock of birds feeding on a bait ball – find the bait, find the fish!
The Simrad HALO/NSS12 combination has very low power consumption, adjustable brightness control for dimming at night and higher contrast in bright sunlight. The only problem we found was that other competitors thought the blue florescent light from the HALO aerial on the roof looked like the coppers in the pre-dawn darkness, so they gave us a very wide berth!
The Trade-a-boat verdict
Simrad is opening the depths in ways Jules Verne could never have imagined, aiding recreational fishers to expand their horizons to include the denizens of the deep. The power, the clarity, the screen separation and the imagery of all that is under and around you is terrific, handing boaters full control of their destiny day or night. The only thing they won’t do is get the fish to bite but at least you’ll know your bait is in the right place!
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