I have a tubular type radar detector, the top of which is hanging from a 6 foot fiberglass pole.
Has anyone tried this configuration and have any results? I have read the U Maine paper and it does not really give much information for this kind of reflector.
I hear mariners on VHF asking for radio checks all the time So when I go up to Maine I think I may deploy it, and ask nicely over VHF if they can see me on their radar. What would be the proper protocol for calling an vessel with an unknown name if you only know its approximate location?
I went to the trouble and expense of buying and rigging it because I had a close call with a “self-driving” lobster boat as fog was rolling in. Here is my story:
I was crossing a channel (the ‘Eastern Way’ off of Mount Desert Island) with haste because fog was coming. I heard the drone of engine just while I was 1/2 way across the channel. I paddled like hell to get to get to the Seal Harbor bell buoy at the other edge of the channel, finally getting satisfaction that I was to his starboard. Then the boat turned right to me. So I paddled even harder. As soon as I was sure I was way to his starboard, the boat turned right to me, again on a collision course.
As it got closer, I saw there was no one in the wheel house. The radar was spinning. At about 150-200 yards someone jumps outs from below deck, gets to the wheel, and cuts the engine. He changed course, giving me wide berth, and waved in friendly way as he went by.
In retrospect, I guess that we were both headed to the exact same spot on the ocean…the red bell buoy outside the harbor. I asked some questions on shore and did some reading. I learned that many lobster boats have a GPS autopilot to drive the boat along a route. Due to the economics of lobstering, some fishermen cant stay at the helm–they rig and bait the traps as the boat follows its course. In lieu of keeping watch, they turn on radar. The radar gives an audible alarm if it detects something in proximity to the boat. So I will speculate that I finally was detected by the radar at 200 yards…I’d rather have more margin.