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  • Fish finder advice

    Ok guys, My wife says I can pick out a new, much needed fish finder for Christmas this year. I have always been a Lowrance guy, but I was playing around with a Hummingbird Helix on a buddies boat, have to admit I really liked it! Looking for a 9" to 12" screen, built in GPS. Out of the big four, who do you guys think has the best bang for the buck? How about being user friendly? On my Furuno, it seems like I have to break out the manual every time I use it, I always forget what soft key does what. Trying to stay under $1,500 and am shocked at the prices of high end stuff. Spent big bucks years ago on my furuno suite, sure did not take long to be obsolete☹️
    Thanks for your input!
    Last edited by Appella; 10-06-2017, 04:16 PM.

  • #2
    lowrance for me, link 8 vhf, hds9gen3, and a hds7gen2, simrad br24 braudband radar, and a point1 gps antenna
    1980 2400 Cuddy I/O, 2017 Cummins 4BT coupled to a Volvo DP-SM with F9 Props, and a 2014 Mercury 15HP Pro-Kicker "LOOSE CHANGE"

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    • #3
      Lowrance HDS 10, Simrad BF radar, Std Horizon VHF with AIS receiver. Finally all tied together so AIS displays objects on screen. Biggest plus is radar overlay on GPS. Screen is in a pod on the bridge. Transducer is key to fish finder. Mine is the same as Bills.
      You may need to convince your wife to increase your Christmas budget.
      The cruise liner QE2 moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel fuel that it burns.

      1982 28' Long Cabin "Molly Brown" sweating through a long hot summer. Massive California forest fires fill our sky with smoke. SUP paddlers and kayakers transit the harbor with abandon, thinking they have the right of way over all boats.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Socal View Post
        Lowrance HDS 10, Simrad BF radar, Std Horizon VHF with AIS receiver. Finally all tied together so AIS displays objects on screen. Biggest plus is radar overlay on GPS. Screen is in a pod on the bridge. Transducer is key to fish finder. Mine is the same as Bills.
        You may need to convince your wife to increase your Christmas budget.
        I really like the HDS 10, I wonder if my Furuno VX2 radar will overlay on Lowrance? I have the same VHF as you, sometimes all this networking gets too complicated, at least for me.
        What transducer are You and Bill running? Airimar 1KW? 10-4 on the budget increase. ��

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        • #5
          The transducer is an Airimar, I will have to look up the model. Do some internet research on the Lowrance and Furano websites to see if they are compatible. Finding a knowledgeable electronics tech is not easy. I found one on my third try. If you mount the screen on the bridge as I did, make sure you add some slack in the connecting lines (like I didn’t), as you may have to lower or remove it when it’s on the trailer.
          The cruise liner QE2 moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel fuel that it burns.

          1982 28' Long Cabin "Molly Brown" sweating through a long hot summer. Massive California forest fires fill our sky with smoke. SUP paddlers and kayakers transit the harbor with abandon, thinking they have the right of way over all boats.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Appella View Post
            What transducer are You and Bill running?
            I installed an Airmar B744V and connected it to a Lowrance LCX 111C HD 10" screen, it can be bought with correct cable connections as well. It does a great job on fish finding and monitors depths to about 1000' at speeds of 20-25mph. It occasionally will lose depth at higher speeds in depths over 600'. Use caution installing in boats that are trailered. Best to choose location while boat on trailer. Also buy a new high quality hole saw to install it. 28GP hulls are very hard and thick.

            Manufacturer Part Numbers for B744V transducers.
            Furuno—525STID-MSD W/FAIRING——Airmar 31-658-1-01
            Garmin—010-10183-02——Airmar—31-665-2-01
            Lowrance—021-0073-00——Airmar—31-666-1-01
            Raymarine C/E Series—A66091——Airmar—31-669-1-01
            Raymarine A Series—A66090——Airmar—31-668-2-01

            I also installed a transom mounted Airmar TM260 connected to a Lowrance LCX 28C HD for additional fish finding and depth. Works very well at all speeds and depths. Very expensive when compared to the B744V.
            Last edited by Bill V; 10-07-2017, 09:14 AM.
            "Joint Venture" 1978 28' twin 2017 Vortec roller cam 383/6.3L 350hp engines - You name it, I've either replaced it, restored it, rebuilt it or repaired it. That's my job now that I'm retired.

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            • #7
              I have a Lowrance on my 23. I have always had Humminbird prior. I like the Lowrance a lot. However - I have interacted with Johnson Outdoors and relied on all their products on different levels for many years - their quality and customer service has been excellent, bar none. I have used and abused their products extensively in a backcountry contractor capacity. They run a tight ship in my experience. Yes, Navico produces some of the world's best marine electronics, but do not question the quality of Humminbird.
              1978 17' Runabout - AQ120B/270
              1978 23' Cuddy

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Appella View Post
                Ok guys, My wife says I can pick out a new, much needed fish finder for Christmas this year... Trying to stay under $1,500 and am shocked at the prices of high end stuff.
                Ouch! $1,500?! That's not going to get you far along a path you want to go...

                Maybe on my next trip to China I can find you a great "Lowrance" electronics suite within that budget at the copy-mall!
                -- Tim Taylor

                1979 Glasply 21-foot I/O Overnighter w/ 5.0L Volvo-Penta duoprop (Cardinal)
                1982 Glasply 16-foot runabout w/ 50hp Mercury OB (JV Junior)
                1978 Glasply 19-1/2 foot runabout, project boat (Beer Goggles)


                The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

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                • #9
                  Thanks guys, looks like I need to up my budget. I like the Lowrance products, but seems they are now like Yeti coolers, you pay for the name. How can you charge that much for a cooler that is just plastic with foam in between the plastic? I hate Walmart, but their coolers seem to perform just as well if not better than Yeti. The older I get, the less being "cool" matters to me. Good thing Glasply is still "cool" I am sure I am just out of touch with marine electronics anymore, I spent 3K on my Furuno stuff back in 2004, I thought that was insane but bit the bullet. I bought a HDS 5 gen 2 for the 19' podded Glasply I sold last year, worked really well on the lakes here, maybe I will just go with something along those lines.
                  Boat bucks seem to to be getting really inflated nowadays. Duallys are 80k now, stinking coolers are 400+, people must make salaries now that I cannot comprehend.
                  Soory for the rant, and I DO appreciate all of your advice!
                  Last edited by Appella; 10-08-2017, 08:57 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I'm gonna buy a Helix 7 DI Chirp GPS G2 this winter. I like the fact you can collect your own sonar imagery without sharing it with everyone.

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                    • #11
                      I catch as many or more fish than any of the other boats out there, Hummingbird Helix GPS/charts/sonar/chirp 550.00 including the transponder, I like to keep my tank full and my lines wet!!
                      What ever you decide, good fishing to you!

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                      • #12
                        I am somewhat torn between the Helix 7 and Helix 9 tho, primarily for the reason the 9 has twice as much transmit power as the 7. But I'm saving my nickles and dimes and pennies for one of the two.

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                        • #13
                          Did you ever make any choices here? I'd like to hear them and the reasoning.

                          I want to get an AIS radio for my 28... leaning toward SH GX2200, but I want to map out the eventual electronics suite so I don't end up with waste and have it all link up nicely.

                          I was thinking:
                          GX2200
                          Airmar B744V
                          HDS 7 gen 3 (use a wifi tablet for 2nd helm)
                          Have Navman 3100 fuel monitor(need to research if the senders can be routed to the HDS 7 somehow)
                          Much down the road add a Lowrance radar to replace the Furuno I have that is juuust post CRT screen.

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                          • #14
                            I'm gonna go with the Helix 9 Chirp GPS G2N. My rationale (if there is such a thing when talking about boats...) is:

                            - I like the bigger screen on the H9. So when I'm fishing or running with the split screen, showing GPS on one side and sonar on the other, I can still see it.
                            - The G2N is the NMEA 2000 interface, which will allow me to interface a compatible VHF radio and show AIS information. Not radar, but pretty close. My engine is old so it won't interface, and if I ever replace my gas tank, which I should, I could display tank info.

                            I'm not going with Down Imaging / DownScan. Initially I thought I would, however DI is only really useful at depths less than 100 feet or so. Down Imaging uses a high frequency, and the transducer beamwidth is very narrow, which is why it gives great detail with depth less than 100 feet. While it will see bottom at deeper depths, it loses resolution because the beam spreads out, and you get better bottom resolution with the chirp sonar.

                            My 2 cents worth.

                            I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but I will pretty soon.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rstallbaum View Post
                              I'm gonna go with the Helix 9 Chirp GPS G2N. My rationale (if there is such a thing when talking about boats...) is:

                              - I like the bigger screen on the H9. So when I'm fishing or running with the split screen, showing GPS on one side and sonar on the other, I can still see it.
                              - The G2N is the NMEA 2000 interface, which will allow me to interface a compatible VHF radio and show AIS information. Not radar, but pretty close. My engine is old so it won't interface, and if I ever replace my gas tank, which I should, I could display tank info.

                              I'm not going with Down Imaging / DownScan. Initially I thought I would, however DI is only really useful at depths less than 100 feet or so. Down Imaging uses a high frequency, and the transducer beamwidth is very narrow, which is why it gives great detail with depth less than 100 feet. While it will see bottom at deeper depths, it loses resolution because the beam spreads out, and you get better bottom resolution with the chirp sonar.

                              My 2 cents worth.

                              I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but I will pretty soon.
                              I'll take a look at that one, wasn't too concerned about screen size if can be WIFI duplicated on a tablet- if it does that. Had a helix 5 in my last boat that was very intuitive and I liked it a lot.

                              This is what attracts me to the HDS gen 3:
                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUQwD7dZ5xg
                              Last edited by theremikegoes; 02-14-2018, 06:02 PM. Reason: add

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