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Thread: Concerning the Use of Marine or Aircraft Radar on a Land Based Mobile Vehicle

  1. #1

    Default Concerning the Use of Marine or Aircraft Radar on a Land Based Mobile Vehicle

    Does anyone know the legalities or restrictions that are in effect concerning the use of a Marine or Aircraft weather radar on a land based mobile vehicle, for monitoring, chasing, and research projects?

    I've looked into the possibility of implementing such, on my personal chase vehicle, which is going to be used in conjunction with a small research project that I will be doing, and I thought it would be best to ask here first before I spend too much time digging on google.


    Timothy M Carroll, KE5PPL

  2. #2
    Member Rob Wadsworth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Cupertino CA & Storm Lake IA


    Pros: Real-time info limited to what you see on the screen. Not sure of how many modes they can work.

    Cons: No other info is given, such as mesocyclone, TVS, or hail 'markers' - as examples - but GR3 will. GR3 will provide a bunch of more useful info.

    The 'downside' to GR3 is how often you can get updated info. Sometime as soon as three minutes; sometimes up to eight minutes until it is refreshed. But the data is more useable and more parameter/modes can be used simultaneously w/GR3.

    It is supposedly illegal for people to use real-time radar, but I've never heard of any one getting cited for it yet. Doesn't mean it can't happen or couldn't happen either. I think it takes real-time radar to sweep 360 degrees every two minutes. Few use real-time - as far as I am aware of - anyway...
    CB Ch.19/AM & Ch. 38/LSB Handle: "World Radio One-One"
    You don't know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears. -James 4:14

  3. #3

    Default Great

    Well, I have some projects in the works that would need the use of a radar much closer to a storm, than that of which you can see on GR3, althought gibson will be fully implemented in such works as well.

    Thanks for the words...

    now to decide on the $500 for the furuno radar system on eBay lol

  4. #4
    Member John Erwin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Winnipeg, MB


    IMO such an implementation would be illegal. Those radars were intended for either Marine or Aircraft use (going back to your original question), not for driving around with. I believe there are strict licensing requirements regarding the installation of these units, not necessarily the use of them though.

    In addition there is the possibility of interference with legitimate radar operations for which you could be seriously fined for.

    I spent a few minutes trying to navigate the FCC site but it would take a while to pull all of this out. You could give them a call and ask.. probably a good idea before wasting $500.
    John Erwin

  5. #5


    I am definately biding my time waiting on good responses, and going to make contact with FCC and whomever else before I do anything.

    Theres a good possibility, if i get the funding for the research, then I may can get some permit for the use of, but you do bring a good argument over interefering with other radar which i DO NOT want to do.


  6. #6
    Stormtrack supporter John Wetter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Maple Grove, MN


    Back when having a marine radar on the van was 'in' it drove the DOW's bananas because it would completely void their data due to interference if they were on the same storm as a marine radar. I see no real use for them. Use data. What does a little 2cm radar or whatever do for you anyways? The pictures are bad, the data is pretty useless as the rain fade is insane...
    John Wetter, K0WDJ

  7. #7
    Joey Ketcham


    There are documented cases where people have been penalized for having Marine radar's. A few years ago I found a way to search FCC violations and saw several violations for the use of marine radar.

  8. #8
    Member MClarkson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Blacksburg, VA


    I dont know the exact legality, but i am leaning heavily for aircraft radars to be illegal. There are specific warnings not to use airborne radar while on the ground, else you might 'irradiate' a terminal full of passengers(i think thats a bit overblown, but dont stand in front of the thing:P)

    More importantly... like John said... why bother? Their detail level is terrible, the rain shadows are rediculous, range is therefore limited and advanced features(like velocity) are generally not available. They demand constant attention and it will be hard for you to rig an effective mount that stays stable on a vehicle... It really is primitive technology if you have mobile internet. Except by being a few minutes more timely, they are vastly inferior to WSR88s in every other way. I usually push my pilots to use their satellite downlinks if available in place of their own radars.

  9. #9


    Well, I think that the general response has stinted my idea, although given me a better understanding of just how redundant it would be.

    Thanks Everyone.

    Timothy M Carroll.

  10. #10
    Stormtrack supporter Brian Barnes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Norman, OK


    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy M Carroll View Post
    Well, I think that the general response has stinted my idea, although given me a better understanding of just how redundant it would be.

    Thanks Everyone.

    Timothy M Carroll.
    Maybe there is still room to weigh in on this - unless your research project is focused at improving marine radars, I wouldn't recommend using it. They (marine units) are not a research quality radar and if your research is to be peer reviewed, you would be better off building your own as opposed to using a marine unit.

    Also - if you do decide to do this, I believe you'll need a GROL (general radiotelegraph operator's license) from the FCC with an element 8 endorsement to operate a radar. There's probably more to it than just that though - so again, consult the FCC or an attorney. I know very little about the FCC and all the licensing - I passed my little tech test and was happy, so I left it at that.
    Last edited by Brian Barnes; 03-10-2009 at 08:54 PM.
    Brian Barnes
    Bad weather always looks worse through a window.

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