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Old 11-25-2006, 02:44 PM   #1
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Default C.A.R.D radar detector

Has anyone had experince of this product and if so are you pleased with it
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Old 11-25-2006, 08:41 PM   #2
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We got one when we first learned about them about 15 years ago. We were pleased with it, and when we had the chance to upgrade we did so without hesitation. When a lightning strike in Malaysia wiped out all our electronics we got another one.

All told we gave them about four opportunities to disappoint us with service or performance, and they rose to the occasion each time.

As with any "aid to navigation" it comes with caveats. You have to turn it on , and the other boat has to have its radar on (.

When we left Pago Pago, American Samoa where there are lots of US fishing boats coming and going, we were a bit concerned when we saw a fishing boat pass us but our C.A.R.D. did not register their presence. Peter called them on VHF to ask if they had their radar on. The reply from the fishing boat was "yes". A very short time later the radar detector suddenly started registering their radar. "yes". right.

Sometimes we got signals but never saw a boat which is a bit confusing - is the unit giving false signals, is it broken, or what? One day we got an idea of what the signals probably were. We saw a boat just at the horizon range traveling perpendicular to our course. It probably had lain just over the horizon for several miles until we got close enough to see it. With its radar well above the easily seen hull, our C.A.R.D. was picking up the line of sight signal well before we could see the boat. I'm pretty sure that a lot of what we thought were false signals were simply other boats' hulls laying just below the horizon on a course that never brought them closer to us.

Just another tool in the ocean cruiser's little box of tricks.
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Old 11-25-2006, 08:51 PM   #3
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One comment we've seen several times now is that a CARD device will be damaged if the boat is also equipped with a SSB with a backstay antenna in rough proximity to the CARD. That alone makes me wary of using one.

Also, there are now active transponders available (e.g. a SeeMe) which were not available at the time the CARD was developed. This would present a much stronger return to the watchstander on the other boat but I don't think it provides indication to the crew on the boat where it is mounted.

It is very tempting to keep assembling these 'tool box' gadgets, each one incrementally increasing a bit your ability to avoid other vessels. The temptation invites us to overlook that not only are they all less than perfect in addressing all chance of collision, but all of them eventually require us to make visual contact with the other vessel, determine if course deviation is necessary, and take action sufficient to avoid a collision. And to do those necessary things, all that's required is an alert watchstander.

FWIW and relative to collision avoidance gadgets, I think I would put AIS aboard my boat before a CARD or an active transponder. Only a radar reflector would have a higher priority. On a day to day basis, AIS seems to offer the most benefit of any single device and seems to be the best value.

Jack
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Old 11-26-2006, 12:11 AM   #4
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there's a discussion of AIS on this board -

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/top...?TOPIC_ID=1576

Our C.A.R.D. antenna was mounted within 5 feet of our backstay SSB antenna and I don't recall any problems with signal degradation. However, if there is a concern regarding this, it's easy enough to install the C.A.R.D. antenna a bit further from the SSB antenna.

Of course one needs an alert watchstander to avoid collisions. But there are a few times when a lot more is needed. We didn't have radar on Watermelon, and it is an understatement that it was challenging traveling through Indonesia in 1997 during all the fires in Borneo. The visibility was poor to awful for more than three months straight, no possibility of waiting for conditions to improve. Crossing the Singapore Strait with such limited visibility and heavy ship traffic was stressful. We had the alarm for the C.A.R.D. turned up has high as possible, both of us kept a careful watch, and we traveled in company with another boat to help increase our visibility. We did not have any close calls and I would be hard-pressed to say what was the most useful tactic, but I am glad we used all the resources available to us.

must close now. I've got computer problems again.
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Old 11-27-2006, 01:52 AM   #5
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Jeanne brings up a good point that I hadn't intended to disagree with. Over a period of time when out cruising, as conditions change and new cruising venues introduce new wrinkles, the more tools you have working for you re: collision avoidance, the better off you will *potentially* be - assuming good watchstanding practices, of course. It's hard to argue against any of these tools that functions properly as they each have their own role to play.

Even so, the reality of most crews is that one is financially forced to pick between all the available tools. From an overall utility standpoint, I'd put radar above AIS (and also active transponder and radar detector 'tools' such as SeeMe and CARD, respectively) because radar can be used in multiple ways for navigation as well collision avoidance purposes. However, WRT the specific issue of collision avoidance - and if I had to choose - I'd rank my radar reflector as #1 (it can't break), AIS as #2 and radar as #3. Even using all 3 will omit the detection of many contacts, most notably fishing boats and other small private vessels.

On a recent passage to Sicily, I had an experience that perhaps is worth considering. We ID'd a weak contact on radar running at about 6 kts, followed it in and then picked out his very weak anchor light when perhaps 1NM off. (No, he was showing no running lights). There were some other indistict lights, perhaps work lights, that only confused the visual picture. He was obviously a small vessel, and he apparently had decided one of those low-draw LED anchor lights was just great. (If I hadn't seen him on radar, that LED light would have looked like a star even closer). I could tell the CPA was going to be very close, yet I was curious about what was going to happen and held my course; was there a watchstander? We had a very bright steaming light that was bouncing off a sail as well as bright bow lights but he gave no indication he saw us (aka: no course change, even as the distance closed. Eventually, the boat got to within 100m of us and I could tell it was a catamarran, about 14m in length, with a movie going on down below, every cabin light lit, and apparently no shortage of either crew of electricity. They just didn't want to waste either up topside. When he was 20m away, I turned to avoid; we would have collided. He never deviated from his course.

You just gotta be very alert out there...

Jack
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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I anm looking to purchase a C.A.R.D unit. Anyone see one for sale??

Thanks, Capt. Rob
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