Question: Marine radar for land based surveillance?

Thinking about adding radar surveillance to my mountain top retreat. Anyone know anything about using marine radars for land application? I am considering a Si-Tex radar, see:

Low end marine radar is now affordable! My goal with such would be to have an alarm sound when vehicles enter search area and even to plot their location relative to the radome. I suspect such would be an incredible adjunct to the wireless driveway entry type alarms. Boaters use radar to not only alarm when a vessel enters search area but also to detect dragging anchors.

A concern is that for a mountain top retreat one would need a slight look down antenna propagation profile. I suspect marine radars optimally operate in a flat plane out to the horizon. By positioning the radome at the top of the mountain, it might not have sufficient ‘look down’ capability; by positioning elsewhere, the mountain ‘shadow’ would leave areas of no coverage. It would really be wonderful if it would track close range aircraft.

Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.


Panhandle Rancher

20 survival items ebook cover
Like what you read?

Then you're gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That's 400 total uses for these dirt-cheap little items!

Just enter your primary e-mail below to get your link:

We will not spam you.

7 thoughts on “Question: Marine radar for land based surveillance?”

  1. Marine radar works well when they are mounted high on a ship and as a marine radar, they are for surface contacts with some being good for radar navigation. For your application, with trees and changing terrains I wouldn’t bother. Please, these little comnav radars don’t put out much power.

  2. Mountain top? Sigh….I’m so far behind. Speaking of which. I’m trying to sale almost every server and piece of computer/laptop I have to get more money to buy more supplies.

  3. Captain, ’twas a long path that took me to the mountains and it didn’t happen when I was a youngster. We can never recreate the totality of civilization’s comforts and like the Bible says, of your getting, first get knowledge.

    Thanks Senior. The low power of units like this is why I always kept a radar retroreflector at topmast when sailing the blue. This radar certainly isn’t military grade but we couldn’t have dummies cooking their intestines while keeping warm in the radar beam could we? Just ‘seeing’ vehicles on lower elevation nearby roads would be a big plus but the countermeasure is obvious, just come in on foot or horseback. I suppose that is why so few retreats boast their own search radar.

    Thanks too Miguel and to you Rourke for publishing my question.

  4. I’ve sailed actively for decades, and have used marine radar extensively for the last 12-15 yrs. I currently have a mid-range (price wise) Furuno system, and it is absolutely outstanding in the marine environment. On close ranges it can easily “see” birds in flight. It will also pick up sailboat masts in a marina, as well as the individual boats themselves (obviously).

    My concern however would be whether the marine systems would be able to see targets in a land environment due to the extensive background “clutter” of trees, structures, terrain and other detractors. Systems with MTI (Moving Target Indicators) should be better able to discriminate in such a cluttered environment, but I have not had actual practical experience.

    Another concern is that the radiation angle of the antenna is somewhat limited, so if the antenna is mounted on a tower, it might not provide coverage close in due to the “blind” cone area below the antenna radiation pattern.

    It definitely might be worth experimenting with to find out…

  5. PR, what are your thoughts about using acoustic or seismic ground sensors for your retreat? at least they’re passive early detection.

  6. From what I have read, it may be effective. You will have to look at how you mount it, as Marine radar is designed to look out over a “flat” surface, so the vertical scan aspect might be narrow. The Army An/PPS-15 GSR had an output of 45mw and operated at 10.3 GHz. If one of the readers knows a veteran GSR (Ground Surveillance Radar) Specialist, they can probably tell you more. My “expertise” is from aircraft mounted radars, and nowadays handheld radar of the speed measuring type.

  7. I have often wondered about using something like this for protection from drones? Advanced notice of a drone in the area could be critical in a survival situation.


Leave a Comment