For some time now, daytime viewing of electronicdisplay screens has had its difficulties. Although it's easy tosee details on the screens at night, the problems have been withdaylight viewing, especially in direct sunlight. The performanceof both cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and liquid crystal displays (LCDs)under these conditions has been disappointing, but Raytheon recentlychanged all that with a color LCD display that is incredibly bright,even in the noonday sun. During a recent test run off the coast of New Hampshire,Raytheon's new RL80C radar impressively demonstrated the stateof the art in LCD brilliance, and we could easily read the informationunder all conditions. For now, this new technology is limitedto the 10.4" color display screens being offered on Raytheon'sLCD equipment. This very viewable screen is available only inthe larger model (instead of the standard 7" version) becauseof the size of the display head rather than the technology. The10.4" RL80C is housed in a package that is large enough todissipate the relatively large amount of heat generated by thebacklighting tubes used to produce the klieg-light brilliance.
This unit has by far the brightest screen on themarket today, and it's available for both the radar and the radar/chart plotter models. The RL80C is a multi-function, waterproofradar available in 24-, 48- or 72-mile ranges - your pick dependingon need and pocketbook. The 24-mile version of this stand-aloneradar, which includes 10-target MARPA tracking and automatic tune,gain and sea clutter controls, sells for about $3,700. The RL80C/RCis the same full-featured radar version plus a full-color chartplotter using C-Map NT cartography. This combo version, with GPSincluded, can be purchased for just under $5,000. Raytheon, Nashua,NH; (603) 881-5200; www.raymarine.com.