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Old 15-06-2013, 10:37   #1
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My First Radar: Good Choice?!

Hi all, I'm about to buy my first radar, a Garmin GPSMAP 740S OR 741.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...4#.UbyXMfb73jh

I like it because it, A) Can see underwater with a transducer up to 2000 ft [yikes coral reefs!], B) Has radar/navigation in a single display half/half, looks awesome, connects easily to VHF ais etc.

My needs, due to cruising, are simply safety. I would like a radar to FREAK OUT when I'm sleeping if it sees a ship coming 10-15mi on the horizon.

Of course navigation is a plus, it shows me all of the anchorages, hazards, depth, etc.

Would Raymarine models be a better choice? Thanks all. I'm really looking forward to this one, I think it will work for my purposes, but if you have experience with some more awesome/reliable brand, or think I am making a bad choice please feel free to let me know!!!
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Old 15-06-2013, 11:54   #2
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

1) Garmin makes good stuff.

2) You want a depthsounder, so that's useful. You will still need to buy and install a depth transducer.

3) These depthsounders show the depth below your boat. Many coral reefs have practically vertical walls, so by the time a depthsounder raises an alarm it's too late. Charts and eyeballs are your best technique for avoiding reefs. And beware of inaccurate charts.

4) Your radar will have a hard time reliably identifying ships at 10+ miles unless the sea is fairly calm. Automatic alarms have to be desensitized when there are swells, whitecaps, waves, etc, otherwise you will be waking up to a false alarm every fifteen minutes. Radar alarms are useful, and I use them myself under certain conditions, but don't think they are perfect.

5) If you want an alarm when big ships are coming over the horizon, look into an AIS receiver or transponder.

6) When planning your electronics and electrical gear, keep in mind that you have to provide power for these things. Put together a power budget. This is critical if you are going to be at sea for more than a day or two.
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Old 15-06-2013, 12:13   #3
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

If for some reason or other the screen dies - all of sudden you have no gps, no radar, no depths sounder all in one shot, something you may want to think about. And as was previously mentioned, whatever you do, figure out your power budget, none if this stuff is any good if you run out of electricity.
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Old 15-06-2013, 12:32   #4
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Efraim View Post
If for some reason or other the screen dies - all of sudden you have no gps, no radar, no depths sounder all in one shot, something you may want to think about.
Good point. Redundancy is good, especially when you are in unfamiliar waters and a long way from repairs. I carry a couple of handheld GPS units, some likely paper charts (but a carrying complete set for all possibilities is probably impractical), and a laptop with what charts I can get for it.

Electronics fail, batteries go dead, you can drop your sextant overboard. However you solve it, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
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Old 15-06-2013, 12:39   #5
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

I agree with Paul's points. Garmin's are also quite easy to install yourself. They've done a good job with the networking. You can also update the software (not the charts) for free by downloading a file onto your home computer, copying it to a memory card and putting this into the Garmin.

I would strongly recommend that you look into installing an AIS transponder if you will be in waters with lots of commercial traffic. AIS transponders are only about $500 now. All large ships use AIS. On your boat the alarm is much more reliable than radar which is very hard to set right (it either goes off for a wave or doesn't go off for a tanker).

By getting an AIS transponder, an alarm will also go off on the ship and alert the watch. On their radar you might just look like a wave. AIS is also really useful even in daytime because the ship can call you on the radio by name to ask how you want to pass. Or you can call them and they can look on their AIS and see which boat is you. The garmin will also calculate how close you'll come to a ship with AIS on your current course/speed. I call any ship on the radio when the Garmin says he will pass me at 1/2 mile or less

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Old 15-06-2013, 12:52   #6
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

Definitely Garmin over Raymarine.
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Old 15-06-2013, 13:19   #7
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

<3~
Quote:
5) If you want an alarm when big ships are coming over the horizon, look into an AIS receiver or transponder.
Will this be enough?

STANDARD HORIZON MATRIX AIS+ GX2150 VHF Radio/AIS Receiver at West Marine

Thanks so much.
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Old 15-06-2013, 13:33   #8
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

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This radio includes an AIS receiver. This is not a transponder, so ships won't be seeing *you* on their AIS screen, but you will see them. The AIS receiver is extremely useful, and if budget is an issue you don't lose much by not getting a full transponder -- as long as you use the alarms and pay attention.

One thing I like about the Standard Horizon VHF/AIS units is that they give you both VHF and AIS (receive) capability with a fairly low-power drain. Since these are functions you will probably want to have on continuously, it's good to keep the power drain low. At sea I usually turn *off* my chartplotter, but keep VHF and AIS on.

So, the SH radio is a good solution. You might also want to look at the AIS receivers and transponders from Vesper Marine. These are extremely well thought-out. The SH AIS alarm capabilities are a little primitive, and I personally find the user interface to be non-intuitive, but the unit does do an adequate job.

Finally, you might consider using a low-power netbook computer and available programs for some of this stuff. Many people do, connected to a "black box" AIS receiver or transponder and their other nav electronics. The SH and Vesper AIS solutions will probably consume less power, and arguably be more reliable.
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Old 15-06-2013, 13:42   #9
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

Thank you Paul.

I have both an iPad and an old windows XP laptop I got for $200.00 on Amazon.

Do you have any recommended PC software to view these AIS signals?
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Old 15-06-2013, 14:00   #10
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+1 for the AIS transponder over the receiver. I have the receiver hooked to a Garmin 440 plotter- very easy! But it would have been smarter of me to spring a few more,bucks for the full transponder.

Transponder allows traffic to see you, and in an emergency we have seen that SAR can miss fairly large vessels. If you have a transponder it will facilitate the search part of SAR.
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Old 15-06-2013, 14:07   #11
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

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Thank you Paul.

I have both an iPad and an old windows XP laptop I got for $200.00 on Amazon.

Do you have any recommended PC software to view these AIS signals?
Free software for the XP:
OpenCPN -- a full-featured chartplotter, includes AIS plotting and alarms.
NavMonPc -- more of a nav dashboard, with AIS plotting and alarms (I wrote this).

There are other free, inexpensive, and expensive programs out there for Apple, Windows, Linux, and Android systems. It's a big list.
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Old 15-06-2013, 14:39   #12
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I've got the standard horizon, go ahead and get it and use it as a backup to a transponder. You'll want the vesper, and you can almost skip the radar if you get an AIS transponder. By all means get the HD radome if you have the $ but you can add later too if you want.

Otherwise it looks like a pretty sweet unit. Looks like you've done some research. These newer domes draw less power but also have some trade offs. I think the reduced power consumption is worth it personally.

I personally don't want a networked system, so I have independent depth instrument I'm installing.

My Standard gx 2150 along with garmin 492 draws about 1.5 A btw. Nothing to sneeze at in my system. You might want to start adding up everything including Nav lights and electronics and see how you're shaping up as far as power consumption.
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Old 15-06-2013, 14:52   #13
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
Definitely Garmin over Raymarine.
Absolutely!
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Old 15-06-2013, 15:36   #14
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

Cruiiising timee.

I love you guys!!
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Old 17-06-2013, 08:21   #15
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Re: My First Radar: Good Choice?!

Hey guys, just wanted to add to the conversation in case someone pulls this thread up looking for info on the 740 or 741.

Quote:
Hello,
Thank you for contacting Garmin International.

I am pleased to assist you. Both the GPSMAP 740s and 741xs have the ability to connect an external buzzer or buzzer and light. An alarm wire is provided in the wiring harness. Any alarm that sounds such as shallow water or radar "Guard Zone" will use the audible device you have connected.
Both chartplotters you are inquiring about offer downward looking sonar. You will see depth information under the place you have the transducer mounted in the hull.
Some customers do mount the transducer in the bow area instead of the stern, but even then you are into a hazard by the time you see the depth on the display or hear the alarm. The depth alarm is really designed to let you know when the depth under the transducer is at or less than your minimum depth setting.
The radar offers a Guard Zone setting which can be set to a the number of feet or miles you want to be alerted at.
The transducer model will be different for the 740 and 741xs because of the connector used for each model. To use an in-hull transducer your hull will need to be solid fiberglass not more than 5/8" thick. The dead rise of your hull at the mounting location will need to be considered also.
The best, more powerful than the average 600 watt model transducer for use with either model will be a 1 kilowatt. M260. I will provide a link below. The GPSMAP 740 uses a 6-pin connector and the 741xs uses an 8-pin connector.
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t...prod88675.html
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