Sea-Me, the popular RTE (Radar Target Enhancer) or “active radar reflector” has been dramatically improved. The new Sea-Me Dual Band does exactly what its name suggests: it responds to both of the frequencies that are used by ships’ radars.
Until now, commercially available RTEs responded only to X-band radar transmissions. This meant that they showed up clearly on radars used by relatively small craft such as yachts and fishing boats and on the radars used by most commercial ships operating in coastal waters.
But in the open ocean—and particularly in rough weather, rain, and fog—ships’ watchkeepers are more likely to turn their attention to their S-band displays because they know that these radars are generally more powerful and their lower frequency makes them better at cutting through a water-laden atmosphere. Moreover, they are also less susceptible to sea clutter than their X-band counterparts, so radar monitors are generally dealing with a much clearer image.
Munro Engineering, the UK-based company that makes the Sea-Me, says that it tries to keep the Dual Band unit’s price down by selling directly to the consumer. Adding transatlantic delivery charges to the list price of 725 (about $1,260 at presstime) works out at a total of about $1,400—making it a lot more expensive than most passive reflectors. But at least it works! Even the original X-band Sea-Me gives you a better chance of being seen than a passive reflector. (It’s still in production with a list price of $850 including delivery. )
SEA-ME (+44) 1963-34184 www.sea-me.co.uk.
This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.