Simrad HALO radar at the 2015 Melbourne Boat Show


Simrad HALO electronics Simrad HALO electronics
Simrad HALO marine electronics Simrad HALO marine electronics
Simrad Halo Radar 6ft Simrad Halo Radar 6ft

Simrad says HALO will revolutionise marine radar not only when it comes to performance and clarity, but also price.

Simrad HALO radar at the 2015 Melbourne Boat Show
It took 10 years and $15 million to develop Simrad HALO radar.

 

  • New Simrad HALO radar marine electronics available as a 3, 4 and 6ft unit.

 

  • Simrad says HALO is the first recreationally available, open scanner, solid state radar.

 

The Simrad HALO radar display at the Melbourne Boat Show certainly drew a few admirers, and while the company’s pulse compression marine electronics technology is certainly impressive, there’s little doubt the "Bird Finder" feature is the one that has caught the attention of offshore fishermen.

 

Simrad HALO

Simrad HALO radar took 10 years and $15 million to develop, Ken Thompson from Simrad Australia told Trade-a-Boat at the 2015 Melbourne Boat Show.

"Simrad was the first brand to bring out a solid state radar," he says. "It’s really good for navigation purposes, anti-collision, in close. But everyone always wanted that longer range performance. That’s where the new Simrad HALO radar has come into it."

 

Hoes does it work?

Ken Thompson says the key difference with Simrad HALO is the fact that it’s a solid state unit, whereas similar units from competing manufacturers run a magnetron.

"The next version of the solid state radars are your top-end commercial stuff; you’re talking $100,000-plus for the same sort of thing. So this is the first recreationally available, open scanner, solid state radar — ever," says Ken Thompson.

He says anyone can transmit a signal, but processing the signal with enough clarity is the trick.

"The Simrad HALO radar system uses what is known as pulse compression. Every other radar emits a large pulse, transmits, and simply receives. The trouble with that is that if you’re trying to see stuff in close — and yet still transmit 16 nautical miles — the signal not only comes back way too long, but all the in-close targets look blurry," he says.

"With pulse compression you’ve got seven different CHIRP ranges, just like on the sounders. Each is designed for a specific range. You’ve got one that’s a small pulse that covers up to say the first 30m. Then there’s another one that does the next kilometre. Then there’s another one that does the next few kilometres after that, right through to the longest pulse. The actual transmission time is nearly 18 nautical miles just for the pulse itself. But, that’s what helps you pick up weather at 64 nautical miles."

So what made it possible for Simrad HALO radar to function with such clarity?

"Gallium nitride," quips Ken Thompson. Though it sounds like something from a Doctor Who episode, gallium nitride — GaN for short — is a crystal used in semiconductors and one of the key components to Simrad HALO radar.

"It’s the actual material we use to transmit the signals. Back when this product was first coming out, phone manufacturers were looking for something that can do that. It wasn’t widely available and was very expensive. That one little part is what actually gets this whole project together."

 

Simrad HALO price

The Simrad HALO radar price starts from around $7000 to just over $8000 for the 6ft version. This price covers the scanner so you need to add $2000 to $3000 for the Simrad domes.

"You feel it’s a bit of a jump but when you see the difference between this and $100,000," says Ken Thompson.

And wait until you see the Bird Finder in operation, which offers incredible clarity for identifying birds.

 


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