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» Online Classroom   » Radar   » Public Discussion of Marine Radar   » Black box radar?

Author Topic: Black box radar?

 - posted November 22, 2004 11:19 PM            Edit/Delete Post 
I have seen several magazine ads refer to black box radar. What does that mean?
David Burch

 - posted November 23, 2004 01:42 PM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
"Black box" is a phrase used by several companies these days to describe their state of the art electronic systems, including radar. This is discussed briefly in Radar for Mariners, and is in the glossary both online and in the book.

The meaning varies somewhat among companies, but generally it means modular units, where the customer chooses the individual components to make up the final system, much like we might do in building a computer system.

With radar these components include: the scanner (antenna); the radar electronics package; and the video display monitor, and possibly a separate keyboard. From there one would add a heading sensor and a GPS unit.

A unique feature of the package is the possibility of upgrading just the monitor as the video technology improves, which it is doing rapidly. I have also heard that some models will allow you to share the monitor with a PC as well, and some come in flat panel designs. The daylight visibility is one of the things that is changing rapidly. See our discussion in the online or book glossary under "nit," which is the unit of brightness used.

The online radar course is available to anyone with a copy of the radar trainer program.

Note that Raymarine has long had a similar approach to their units, which they sometimes call the a la carte systems. This is similar in that you choose scanner and radar units separately, but it is not really the same as the "black box" concept where the individuality of the video display unit is a main factor.

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA
Bill Brucato

 - posted February 23, 2005 03:14 AM      Profile for Bill Brucato           Edit/Delete Post 
One other variant of the "black box" is now in use on commercial vessels. It involves a video recording device that is interfaced with the vessel's radios and radar unit. All radio comms on selected channels and radar are monitored and recorded for up to 6 hours on videotape. The system then rewinds and starts again.
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