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Thread: GPS/Chartplotter Recommendations

  1. #1

    Default GPS/Chartplotter Recommendations

    Hi All,
    Ok I know that getting any "recommendations" for equipment is opening a can of worms (lots of experience here!) but I don't know where to even begin with this so here goes nuthin'!

    What make/model of GPS/Chartplotter does everyone use? What would you get if you could do it over again?

    I know from the little I have found that "differential" GPS is the bomb, but that's about my limit on the subject.

    Any ideas? Anyone know where there is some "how to use" info and/or buying guides for GPS/Chartplotters on the web?

  2. #2
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Default

    What size boat? What kind of boating do you do? And probably most importantly, how much do you want to spend?

    I'd recommend taking a look at the Garmin range of chartplotters. You see lots of Garmins out on the water, and they make a large range of models to fit almost any budget.

  3. #3
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    Default GPS/ Plotter

    Yes you are right there is a ton on the market and the big ? on what you need on the boat. I have always had Garmin on my boat, fourwheeler, hiking out, and even used them in Iraq and still doing so. The unit i have on the boat is the garmin 545s and i up graded the chip g2 vision was a great in hansement to the unit. I am very happy with this unit, if there was any thing i would say i would do diffrent i would like to have a bit larger screen. I hope this helps a little in your search good luck

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    How much do you want to spend? If you have the room, the real deal is to put a dedicated laptop on the boat running navnet software linked to your gps, or using a usb mounted gps puck antenna. You get the large screen of the laptop and the navnet charts rock.

    But barring those funds I've found the garmin units pretty slick. I have an older garmin 498 color unit, the screen could be bigger and the sonar is only so-so, but it's a decent unit.

    I wouldn't get another combo gps/sonar. The screen is too small when you split it, and its worth putting the $ into a decent fish finder aka Furuno.

  5. #5

    Default

    Hi everyone,
    In regards to the money part, I can go up to $1,000 if need be (of course the less I have to spend the more I have available for other things!). The DW is all about safety as am I so we don't mind spending on things to make boating safer!
    As for the size of the boat, well we don't have one as yet but we are looking in the 25' to 35' range with the average being around 28'. Don't know how much room I'll have but it probably won't be laptop size. And yes I am wanting a separate fish finder - I like the Hummingbird fishfinder with the "little fish" display, but I don't think it will go down deep enough to show halibut so I an still working on that.
    For a chartplotter/GPS though I kinda like the RayChart 435 with it's multiple displays...on one settingyou have the chart, one setting you have the GPS and course info, and one setting gives you a "runway" like view showing you how well you are staying on course (and which way to steer if you are off course).

    One thing I have noticed-at least with my Garmin handheld- is how hard it is to find map downloads for Alaska. I want to be sure whatever GPS I get I can get maps and charts for up here. Won't do me much good to know how to get around the East Coast! Unless I suddenly feel a need to go up to the Hampton's for the weekend! LOL!

  6. #6
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    Default navionics chips

    Get one that utilizes the Navionics chart data cards. They are available at Sportsmans. Those Charts have all the detail you'll need for the waters in Southern Alaska.
    I'm still using an older version Icom. Using the Navionics software the charts are awesome. My $.02 worth.

  7. #7
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The garmin unit I got came pre-loaded with charts that include AK.

    Put the money into the furuno, the FCV 620 is reasonably priced and very capable unit, or for a bit more power and a larger screen the FCV-585. I know a few folks who run charters and said those are the units to get.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Put the money into the furuno, the FCV 620 is reasonably priced and very capable unit, or for a bit more power and a larger screen the FCV-585. I know a few folks who run charters and said those are the units to get.
    The Furuno units you describe would do well as fishfinders and they have the depth I want for halibut to be sure. I would just have to figure out how to read the multi-color display. That's why I liked the Hummingbird...it was easy to see what was fish and what was structure! But I guess I can learn to use another type of display.

    Thanks for the help.

  9. #9
    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    I run a Garmin 498C.

    I've been very satisfied with the unit. Has the entire alaska coastal charts built into it. No need to buy an aftermarket chip. Not the greatest detail in the basemapping, but more than sufficient IMO.

  10. #10
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. G. View Post
    I run a Garmin 498C.

    I've been very satisfied with the unit. Has the entire alaska coastal charts built into it. No need to buy an aftermarket chip. Not the greatest detail in the basemapping, but more than sufficient IMO.
    for $300 you can get the 3-D chip which makes a world of difference in 498C and the 500 one to.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  11. #11
    Member Tolman24's Avatar
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    Default Another option

    I bought the Lowrance 28 LCX HD last year so I have used it almost 2 seasons. It has the dual freq sonar and a 30 gig hard drive with nauticpathh charts preloaded. It also has inland lakes and roads. It is also compatible with the Navionics Platinum maps. It is NMEA 2000 compliant and radar and broadband sonar expandable. It may push you over the $1K price slightly.

    I really like mine and would buy another in a heartbeat. I have it set up with a harness that takes the fuel usage off of the outboard's CPU to give me current, trip and season fuel usage that when connected to the GPS also display miles per gallon (or gallons per mile as the case may be) as well as hourly burn rate. I believe the screen is just over 7". If I had twice the coin I would have gotten the 10" screen. With the NMEA 2000 network you could also tie in another small screen in the stern to display the FF info while fishing. Not trying to sell anything, just relaying my opinion on the option I use. Your use and mileage may vary.

  12. #12
    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    Speaking of NMEA networks and standards . . .

    I have a newer DSC enabled VHF radio. The manual says you can connect to your GPS so that when the poop-hits-the-proverbial-fan, and you hit the DISTRESS button, it automatically transmits your GPS coordinates with the distress signal.

    Anyone figure this one out yet? I'm not an expert, but I asked my uncle to look at it and he scratched his head too.

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  14. #14
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Northstar on the plotter & Furuno on the bottom machine.

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    Member akdeweyj's Avatar
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    Steve

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