What are Radar Reflectors?

Marine radar reflectors are an important device that are fitted in boats especially in today’s times when there is a constant threat of boats, ships, and yachts entering unknown water borders. Boats that are made of fibreglass do not reflect the radar pulses; this could cause unwanted collisions between boats or with ships. For this reason radar reflectors are designed specifically to help boats get located and avert any untowardly accident.

The Radar System

In order to understand how a radar reflector works, it is important to understand how the system of radar works. The Radar (Radio Detection and Ranging) system basically involves sending electromagnetic pulses or waves across in an intended direction.  The difference in the time it takes for these pulses to reach back to the point from where they were emitted proves whether there are any objects that are moving or not.

The Radar Reflector Functioning

A radar reflector is built of blades made of metal and each blade is positioned perpendicular to the other. In order for the radar reflector to work more effectively, it is important that the size of the marine radar reflectors is kept as bigger as possible.

There are, however several designs and varieties of marine radar reflectors that are available in the market. The most appropriate design of a radar reflector is approved by the main international boating organisations and then fitted onto a boat.

Working of Radar Reflector

The radar reflector works in such a way that it shortens the distance and the time taken for the reflection of the electromagnetic pulses emitted from the radar of an opposite ship or boat. The radar reflector needs to be positioned very high on the boat to ensure that the device works without any problems. Sometimes, if marine radar reflectors are not positioned properly, they reflect pulses inefficiently leading to unwanted complications and wrong indications.

Marine radar reflectors though, are not fool proof. Sometimes, even after following all the necessary and standard procedures it so happens that they tend to fail. But the margin of errors is quite low when compared to the success rate that the device enjoys. With the help of a device like the radar reflector, safety of not only smaller boats is ensured (as mentioned earlier) but bigger boats and vessels are also offered adequate protection.






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  1. Daniel says

    Hello, reflectors do not decrease the time nor the distance. They do increase the INTENSITY of the reflected signal, making the ship much more visible to the radar. Think of it as the “cat eye” effect on road signs, trafic cones and gear for biking at night.

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