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Old 03-01-2013, 20:17   #1
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Radar noob needs help.

Thanks for making it this far.

I just bought my first boat.
I need to add to it my very first radar.
I know nothing about radar.
I don't want to wreck the bank more than I already have.

The links below are for the three units I'm currently looking at, unless someone suggests something better. How do they compare? [read:which one should I buy?]Are the brands reputable? [read:which one should I buy?]

I want to step up beyond the 1715 so that I have the multifunction color screen. Ideally I'd like to interface later and add more goodies, or even output to a laptop running OpenCPN. So.... Which one should I buy, and why? Planning on a mast mount, boat is Pacific Seacraft Mariah 31, cutter rig.

Thanks,
H3

Amazon.com: Garmin GPSMAP 740S Radar Pack w/GMR 18 HD: Sports & Outdoors

Amazon.com: SI-TEX EC7EF Radar Pack w/MDS-1: Sports & Outdoors

Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 Radar Package
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Old 03-01-2013, 20:28   #2
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

For future expandability, you should get a system with NMEA2000 networking. Garmin and Lowrance have it, SiTex does not. I think the Lowrance broadband radar is much better at close ranges than Garmin. Garmin might have better long range performance (not as important unless you're using it mostly offshore).
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Old 03-01-2013, 20:39   #3
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

Thanks for the response. I probably should have mentioned...I need it for offshore, and also nighttime/foggy navigation. I'll be adding AIS soon as well for offshore ops. Someone mentioned to me that garmin maps are proprietary and not as nice as some of the others. Is that true?
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Old 03-01-2013, 20:51   #4
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

Garmin uses their own charts. Lowrance uses Navionics, except for coastal U.S. they provide "Nautic Insight" which look just like NOAA ENC vector charts. I think the Lowrance charts look better and have more detail, at least for coastal U.S.

I have to say I really like the HDS Gen 2 displays, although I gather that the Lowrance customer support can range from atrocious to nonexistant.
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Old 03-01-2013, 20:52   #5
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We love the garmin 740s w hd18 radar. It does a great job overlaying radar over the chart abd is very user friendly. However it is not a true MFD and doesn't do the MARPA tracking. It has lots of great features and is a super smooth unit but look close to make sure your not better off with one of the other MFDs by them.i bought all of the vision cards for the entire gulf of mexico and 2 for caribe and 1 for Se FL and didnt pay more than $40 a card. The graphics imho are much better and easier to use than lowrance. I am seeing lots of used hds2 units for sale and no 740s. Plus call all the major cust support lines and see who answers fastest by like an hour lol.
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Old 03-01-2013, 21:03   #6
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

Si-tex lists NMEA.

Multi-Function Charting Systems : EC7 7" HD WVGA Color LCD

What's marpa? Also, I don't want to shell out a ton of money on map cards. Any way around that?
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Old 03-01-2013, 21:10   #7
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

I am also a radar noob. I got the Garmin 740s radar combo and used it for a season last summer. Am very happy with it. Was out in our busy harbor (ferries, skiffs etc....) in dense fog and felt comfortable with the machines ability to pick up traffic of various sizes.

Note: I have a very dry pilot house. Some people complain that the touch screen units are difficult to use when they get wet.

Steve
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Old 03-01-2013, 21:13   #8
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by H3LlIoN View Post
Si-tex lists NMEA.
I think it's NMEA0183, an older and much more limited network standard than NMEA2000.

Quote:
What's marpa?
Mini Automatic Radar Plotting Aid. It's a software algorithm that helps track radar targets and calculate time and distance of closest approach.

Quote:
Also, I don't want to shell out a ton of money on map cards. Any way around that?
I don't think so.
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Old 03-01-2013, 21:15   #9
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

By the way, if you can wait until February, Garmin will be coming out with their next generation MFDs: Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: New Garmin GPSMap 741sx, 741, etc.; signs of what's to come?
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:55   #10
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

Thank you all for the help and advice. I'm currently pursuing the beta radar interface for the garmin GMR 18 HD via OpenCPN, which would eliminate the standalone MFD.
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Old 07-01-2013, 21:35   #11
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

I have a Lowrance HDS5, my friend has the Garmin 740s. His radar display overlays the chart. Mine needs the proprietary electronic compass. (Read expensive). The one I have on the boat already does not meet the requirements. His is touch screen and very easy to use.

Mine is pretty good at "seeing" what is out there. I was able to find a kayak on the ocean at about a mile and half out. Range is pretty good at about 15 miles or so. Real world use, clear night time looking for ships, land etc. while coming back from Catalina. He had no complaints on the quality of his resolution. Both units use very low power. Given a choice, I would go with the Garmin, I looked at the two different units for about 6 months before I made my decision, and it was very close.
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Old 07-01-2013, 22:30   #12
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

I would consider the BR-24 straight to a laptop with OpenCPN. Options from there include a tablet running a VNC.
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Old 07-01-2013, 23:01   #13
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Re: Radar noob needs help.

I don't believe the simrad units have been patched to work directly with OpenCPN yet.
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