Dome Radar For Finding Birds

SushiwagonSushiwagon Posts: 87 Deckhand
Ok, finally bit the bullet and bought another boat. 25 contender currently has an old dome radar on it that works fine for weather/navigation. I would need to move outriggers/antennas, etc to put an open array on it and I dont want to do that. I have noticed that Raymarine's new HD domes have a mode for finding birds. (Raymarine RD424HD 4kw) Could anyone WITH EXPERIENCE tell me if it is reasonable to find birds with this unit and how effectively. The only reason I say WITH EXPERIENCE is because I know the old rule is 6kw open array at a minimum but technology is always moving forward. I dont want to spend a bunch of money if it will not do the job.
I am not a newbie and have owned boats with open array in the past (I am only mentioning this so no one answers with too much info assuming I dont know anything about radars or finding birds :thumbsup
Thanks in advance for any info.

P.S. I didnt buy the boat for tuna fishing but it would be nice a couple times a year.

Sushiwagon II
Chuck Norris doesnt wear a watch, Chuck Norris decides what time it is! :cool


  • captnick50captnick50 Posts: 121 Officer
    I have used a 4kw dome to find birds all summer. The range is limited and it takes some (multiple) setting changes but if you keep in mind your range will be limited to a few miles or less it can be done as long as its clear.
  • SushiwagonSushiwagon Posts: 87 Deckhand
    Thanks Capt, could you tell me what brand and model radar and can you find them at 3-4 miles???
    Just trying to get as many facts as possible. Thanks again for the input.
    Chuck Norris doesnt wear a watch, Chuck Norris decides what time it is! :cool
  • captnick50captnick50 Posts: 121 Officer
    Raymarine raydome (rd24) or something around that part number coupled with a ray e120. Like I said limited range but it can be done.
  • IdlewildeIdlewilde Posts: 1,357 Officer
    With a 4kw radar (new or old) you can see most of the birds the radar will pick up, with your naked eye.
  • hobieonehobieone Posts: 43 Deckhand
    Just purchased a Garmin HD Dome, was wondering if Idlewilde has any experience with the new HD Technology?
  • IdlewildeIdlewilde Posts: 1,357 Officer
    Yes, a friend installed one 6 months ago or so and it has a little crisper display, but unfortunately as for finding birds, my above reply applies - we could see um with our eyes as easily as we could on the radar screen. :banghead
  • Bite N HoldBite N Hold Posts: 1,328 Officer
    Do you own a 355 Bluewater also? If so we saw you guys in Grand last year. And I think you are going to be best served by open array.
    FOR SALE-Old Homosassa Vacation Rental

    "No matter the size of the fish, you can only put a bite size peice in your mouth."
  • SushiwagonSushiwagon Posts: 87 Deckhand
    That is my old partner we owned a 2850 bluewater and he moved up to a 35 (a little rich for my blood lol)
    That is why my new boat is sushi wagon 2. I have a better idea....i will just keep the radar on my boat for weather/navigation and keep fishing with him for tuna lol. I am really thinking of buying a nice pair of image stabilized binoculars at this point unless i hear someone say the new domes do the trick. I will be in Grand this year!
    Chuck Norris doesnt wear a watch, Chuck Norris decides what time it is! :cool
  • IdlewildeIdlewilde Posts: 1,357 Officer
    Good idea. Get the 1. Fujinon's, or 2. Nikon's - do not get the Canon's.
  • BoattronicsBoattronics Posts: 5,071 Admiral
    Traditionally, the experts have agreed you need AT LEAST a 6kw OPEN array radar to EFFECTIVELY hunt birds. Ive tried myself quite a bit, and I believe you really need a 10kw 6' open if you want to hunt birds. With this combo, we tracked a lone frigate from 7 miles away and then caught a 47lb mahi under it! To my surprise, and I have perfect vision and usually spot everything first, we had to be within a 1/4 mile to see this big bird with the naked eye, high in the sky.
    Like mentioned, a 4kw radar isnt gonna spot birds much better than your eye, and thats if you have it tuned very well and are **** good at using it. "Bird finding mode" is advertising hype. Get an open array 6kw or better if you are concerned with finding and tracking down birds.
    Tony Eden-
    Certified, licsensed and insured, Marine Electronics and rigging master, and "Dream boat" build winner with 20 years of professional experience.
    Over 80 seperate, recent reviews from captains on this forum-!
    Please call with any questions or a free estimate for the lowest price/best work available!
  • SushiwagonSushiwagon Posts: 87 Deckhand
    Idlewilde wrote: »
    Good idea. Get the 1. Fujinon's, or 2. Nikon's - do not get the Canon's.

    Just curious why not the Canon's? I always thought they made good stuff. Not that I dont believe you I was just looking for a reason, if i am going to spend a grand on binocs I want as much good info as possible. Thanks for all the info.
    Chuck Norris doesnt wear a watch, Chuck Norris decides what time it is! :cool
  • scubastevescubasteve Posts: 24 Greenhorn
    Furuno's article on finding birds

    "The first thing to think of when considering bird-tracking Radar is antenna
    beamwidth. Remember that the narrower the beamwidth, the greater target
    discrimination you will have. For this reason, dome antennas are not as adept at
    tracking birds as a comparable open array antenna. As the length of the antenna
    radiator increases, beamwidth becomes narrower, so a larger antenna will
    invariably offer better target discrimination."
    Scuba Steve's Marine

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