About EchoMax

Echomax was formed in 1998 following the purchase of John Firths third patent which was based on a revolutionary symmetrical three stack twelve corner array. When viewed from the horizon there is a fully open orthogonal corner facing you and one about to open or close.

Since then our radar reflectors have become one of the best known passive radar reflectors in the world. From early sales to pleasure vessels they are now fitted by many of the leading buoy manufacturers in Europe, Australia, USA,  Canada, Port and Harbour Authorities world wide. Many foreign Navies including US Nuclear Submarines, The Dutch,French,USA, Danish, Swedish, UK Navies and others use Echomax.

In 2014 The Canadian Coastguard chose our EM400 for the top mark in their latest batch of 300 buoys. They confirmed that their sea trials proved everything we had claimed for the product. After a years sea trials the US Nuclear SubPac fleet carry an EM305PE on board for enhanced radar visibility when surfaced as required.

We have tested arrays from 100mm to 500mm in one, two or three stack configurations in the QinetiQ Anechoic Chamber at Funtington and are in a position to make custom made radar reflectors that not only fit a given top mark space but that give a proven response. When we entered the radar reflector market it was considered a “Black Art” as no one really knew what they were buying or what response the reflector gave.  We decided then that we would test each and every product we offerred for sale and believe that we are the only manufacturer of radar reflectors in the world who freely publishes the QinetiQ Anechoic Chamber test results of every product we offer for sale on this website so that everybody knows exactley what they are buying. Arrays are made in aluminium or stainless steel as required.

Our EM230 -230BR have Ships Wheel Mark certification to ISO 8729-1997 for Life Boats and Rescue Craft and copies of the BABT – TUV Module B and D Audit. The inflatable EMA03i carries SOLAS certification for liferaft use, certificates can be downloaded from this website . We are able to advise and offer a solution for any one who wants to use an efficient radar reflector on their vessel, buoy or land – sea hazard.

In 2010 we introduced the Active-X Radar Target Enhancer followed in 2011 by the Active-XS dual band version which meets ISO 8729-2 . The Active X was fitted by the Clipper Around The World Race Yachts 2010-11-12 and the Active XS to 2012-13 with complete reliability. This is now accepted as the best RTE in the world- see PBO sea trials report using the link on the Active X products entry.

  • Upgrade existing buoys using passive or active radar reflector technology
  • Upgrade existing floating navigation, land or Marine Hazard markers
  • Offer Passive and active RTE systems and custom made radar reflectors from 1M2-500M2

Our new range of Trihedral Target Corner reflectors introduced in 2015 have already created demand from the Armed Services, Satellite and Space technology Industries.

Echomax Radar Reflectors are based on an invention by John Firth. Echomax Radar Reflectors are based on an invention by John Firth.

Concerned about the performance of radar reflectors John Firth spent forty years of his life improving their design. As a member of the ISO committee in Paris in 1980, considering amendments to Marine Radar Reflectors Regulations, John drafted performance paragraphs subsequently incorporated into ISO 8729. He obtained three patents and was one of the founder members of Firdell Multi Flectors and his first patent was used in the Blipper-210-7. His second patent was an improved design which was sold as the Gillie-Firth for 30 years.  In 1998 we purchased John Firths third patent which was a revolutionary design of the stacked array principle and called the product Echomax.

For many years the Octahedral reflector has been accepted as the basis for the ISO 8729, RORC and ORC specification. However, at a 15° tilt its serious failings are a lack of response over 140° azimuth

“Comparing Echomax to other reflectors is like comparing a car headlight with a candle in a jar.”

“My involvement in radar reflectors was merely self preservation – as I was the target!”


John H. FIRTH (1922-2002) Pictured at DERA (QinetiQ), reproduced courtesy of PBO Echomax Reflectors

Echomax EM230 weighs 2.3kg and comprises twelve identical sectors each responding with peaks to 24M2, 10M2 – 70%, 5M2 – 100%. When used in real sea conditions the reflector is tilted, with yaw pitch and roll, ‘glint’ also ensures an all round performance is maintained.

Comprised of a three stack array of laser cut aluminum or stainless steel enclosed in a Polyethylene case. At each end 8mm diameter fixings enable a halyard hoist, mast or deck mounting. Echomax inflatable reflectors fold down into a neat pocket size, and are a wise addition to any emergency grab bag.

Echomax products awaiting testing
at QinetiQ April 2001

ECHOMAX EM 230 (sculptured).
Supplied to commercial applications
in the North Sea

Increased Radar Cross Section

Tests carried out in the QinetiQ (DERA) anechoic chamber at Funtington confirm that the designs reflective area is more than twice that of similar size products using orthogonal corners. The only symmetrical reflector with modified corners the Echomax directs optimum power perpendicular to its major axis. With minimum movement of that axis mutual interference (glint) occurs between incorporated lobes of response.

Echomax reflectors use a symmetrical arrangement of interacting corners. Whilst its centreband response pattern is maintained at 15 degrees tilt RCS is -5dB.

Increased Heel Response

This vertical response is most important where the grazing angle of a searching airborne radar beam may be large.

High S Band Response

MCA/QinetiQ sea trials at 5 miles plus the EM230 gave 100% paints at X Band and 80% paints at S Band. Qinetiq queried their own test results which defied the laws of physics and at their request two EM230’s were sent to QinetiQ for echoic tests which confirmed the sea trial results.

Increased 360° Response Cycle

The Echomax gives a significant centreband response over 360° azimuth and does not have the characteristic peaks and nulls of other corner reflectors since the stacked array ensures that there is always a fully opened corner facing the horizon.

Mast mounting, Deck mounting, Halyard hoist or Pedestal.

Custom made Echomax

Echomax Radar Reflectors are available from 20m² to 500m² plus in one, two or three stack configurations.

From 13th September 2012 Echomax EM230/230BR obtained Ships Wheel Mark certification and are able to claim the prestigious ‘Ships Wheel Mark’ which indicates that the models specified met all the necessary International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and SOLAS requirements of ISO 8729 -1997. The ‘Ships Wheel Mark’ Certification is only granted following rigorous independent environmental and performance testing to International Standards in force at that time. Copies of the BABT- TUV Module B and D Audit certificates can be downloaded from the Certificates section of this website.

Performance testing is carried out under the supervision and assessment of a European Government appointed Notified body. Under the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) the ‘Ships Wheel Mark’ is recognised and fully accepted in the EU and the USA for certain items of marine equipment including Radar Reflectors.

Certification proves that Echomax has obtained a performance and durability that can be equalled by few radar reflector manufacturers anywhere in the world.

TUV-BABT Module B and D Ships Wheel Mark Certificates