The issue with Simrad, by the way, is that the ARPA/MARPA heading vector is erratic. Sometimes it's stable, but other times the heading swings all over the place (+/- 30 deg), and the speed (vector length) varies widely (+/- 50% or more). It makes it pretty much unusable for figuring out where a boat is going and how fast it's traveling. Navico says they are committed to fixing the problem, and I'm sure they will since it's such a glaring bug. But it's been in the systems for a long time. I know at least two people with Simrad radars that are 2+ years old the exhibit the same behavior.
You will see that the chart below covers Simrad and Furuno. Notably missing are Garmin and Raymarine. Why? Well, because. Just because a long time back I rejected them for various reasons - reasons that may no longer be valid - and have just never looked back at them. If anyone wants to contribute the chart entries for those products, please feel free to send me the data and I'll add them in.
|Feature||Simrad TX10s, and 4G||Furuno FAR2xx7||Furuno TZTouch||Furuno NN3D||Furuno 1835|
|ARPA Vectors||R, T (1)(2)||R, T (1)(2)||T||T||R, T|
|ARPA Track History||T||T||none||T||T|
|Echo trails||R||R, T||R, T||R, T||R, T|
|AIS Vectors||R, T (1)(2)||R, T (1)(2)||T||T||R, T|
|AIS Track History||none||T||none||T||T|
|1||AIS and ARPA vector settings are linked. Changing one changes the other too.|
|2||Data box changes to report rCrs, rSpd, etc|
|T = True|
What you can see from the chart above is that only Simrad and the Furuno stand-alone radars have support for relative motion vectors. The more consumer oriented radars from Furuno don't have this important navigation feature, and they even dropped Track History in moving from NN3D to the TZTouch series - clearly a step backwards, in my opinion. But when asked about it, Furuno said I was the first person to ask about it since the TZ was released.
I think what a lot of this says is that the vast majority of recreational boaters don't know how to really use a radar for navigation and collision avoidance, and until the last 6 months, I'd count myself among them.
I did a little poll on TrawlerForum to see how people use ARPA. I would consider the audience to be among the more knowledgable in the overall population of radar owners. 32% didn't know what ARPA was or never use it. And only 24% use it regularly. The rest use it occasionally. And even if you are among the minority who use ARPA on a regular basis, if all you have ever experienced is your Simrad ARPA, you would naturally assume that's just how it works. That was certainly the case among my friends who have Simrad radars. I only knew something was broken by comparison to my Furuno NN3D on my Grand Banks. That's what got me digging into this. But at that point I knew nothing about relative motion vectors, and when/why you would use them.
So I started reading books and trying to figure out whether the radar was messed up, or if I just didn't know what I was doing. It turns out both were true. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. Between reading books, and taking a radar certification course, I now know a whole lot more than I did before. I'm allegedly now qualified to operate the radar on any ship, of any size, anywhere in the world. I'm not quite sure I believe that, but it's my story and I'm sticking with it.
Ironically, the Simrad radar is the most feature-complete of the consumer-oriented radars, having the key features that Furuno's NN3D and TZTouch do not have. Hint, hint, Furuno. Except for Simrad's extremely broken ARPA, I would likely be happily using my old system today.
I was asked which of the Furuno FAR2xx7 models I plan to use, and whether I'll use it with one of my existing monitors. I'm planning on either the 2117 which is a 12kw open array, or the 2127 which is a 25kw open array. In both cases, I'll be using the Black Box version which just means I'll be using my own monitor. The video output from the radar is 1280x1024, or 1600x1200. I know 1280x1024 works well on my monitors, though it leaves black bands in the unused space given their 1920x1080 native resolution. I'll also try running at 1600x1200, but expect the scaling will degrade the image enough to make running at 1280x1024 preferable. After all, I'd only be losing 27 lines top and bottom by not utilizing the full 1080 height of my screen. But experimentation will ultimately decide.