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Old 10-01-2011
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Radar and MFD, Broadband Vs Raymarine

Navico's broadband radar (3G) looks like a great technology. I'm wondering if any members have views on any of the following:

1. For a low coast solution the HDS5 seems like a good entry level (AU$800) screen to use, but with such a low resolution (480x480) is this a problem?

2. I have a raymarine XPS30 autopilot and NMEA2000 backbone. Is a HDS5 likely to use heading sensor information on this network?

3. Is it likely that the Lowrance HDS5 can send navigation controls to the autopilot?

4. The best value / feature MFD at the moment looks like the Raymarine e7 $1800). Why do Raymarine not go down the broadband radar path?

5. There seems no doubt that the 3G radar is great for close range. Does anyone have experience with it on coastal or blue water sailing?


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Old 10-04-2011
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I have been looking at similar set-ups, HDS-7m with the broadband radar, Garmin 740 gps along with the 18 HD radar, and Raymarine's new e7 with the standard radar. All run about the same, but the radar and charts is what is hard for me to figure out.

I really like the idea of the low power draw on the Lowrance HDS-7 (9.6w with backlight and 4.8w without) and broadband radar (only 18w in use and 2w standby) so I can leave this on all the time without worry. Also, of course up close detail is great, but long range falls off quickly.

The way I see it, if I'm actually able to keep this radar on 24/7, the chances of me seeing something before it hits me is greater than the extra range of the other radars if they are not being turned on for fear of using up the battery. Will the extra 48 amps a day of the other units kill me? Unfortunately, until I'm actually out there sailing for extended offshore trips, I'm not really sure if my power fears are valid. I have a 450 amp hour bank with 475 watts of solar. I have a good estimate what the autopilot, refrigeration, navigation lights, and radar will use, but unsure how much my solar will produce when out in the ocean.

The Garmin HD radar seems the best balance of long and short distance beam with the 4kw 18", but their radar uses double the power of the Lowrance system. Also, with the needed charts, Garmin is the higher priced vs the Lowrance and Navionics charts. The 740 will not do radar overlays which is something I would like.

The Raymarine is the most interesting chartplotter out now, but once you factor in the needed charts, the price is much more. To get their HD unit, you spend almost double what the Garmin and Lowrance runs. They only come with Navionics silver charts, and from what I hear, those charts are not too useful. I do like the idea of using my Iphone anywhere on the boat and being able to see the radar and charts in real time, so I may still go this way.

It’s fall here and the boat is going away for the winter. As it stands, I’m waiting until spring to see if Raymarine comes out with a broadband unit and if anyone else does anything interesting.

To answer your question two and three... yes. I'm not sure on your heading sensor, but if it's not a 10hz unit, the radar overlay features wont work. I'm going with the KVH autocomp 1000.

Good luck,

1989 Sabre 34II Targa

Last edited by funjohnson; 10-04-2011 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 10-06-2011
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Thanks Matt, After giving it a lot of thought and research I have decided to hold off once again on Radar this year. I think it is more likely that Lowrance will come up with an interesting MFD to compete with Raymarine's E7, than it is for Raymarine to embrace broadband radar. I base this on the fact that MFD manufactures seem to leapfrog each other with each release. Raymarine has not embraced broadband for the last two years.

Its time to migrate from the Whitsundays to Sydney in Australia. Instead of spending thousands on a radar setup and either compromises on the Radar or MFD I have decided to make overnight stops this time which will most likely make the trip more enjoyable anyway.

If Lowrance have an E7 like display in March next year I might go down this path.

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Old 10-07-2011
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In installed the Lowrance HDS 8 two years ago before crossing the Pacific and I've been really happy with it. Pluses have been low cost (including charts), brilliant display, regular software improvements and as I discovered, excellent warranty service here in Japan. I added a 3G radar this year and love the resolution, chart overlay and 'instant on'. I also have NMEA 2000 (Nexus network through Actisense), 34k NMEA 183 (ICOM AIS) and regular NMEA 183 (Standard Horizon VHF) all connected which makes the display very well connected.
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Old 10-07-2011
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Thanks Mike.

I'm guessing you have a heading sensor as well to get the overlay?
Excuse my ignorance but what do you mean by "Nexus network through Actisense"? Is this a N2K to USB thing?
What information do you get on your HDS from the VHF?

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Old 10-08-2011
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Hi Dean,

The heading info comes from the "Nexus network through Actisense" :-) I have a Nexus instrument package including depth, log, wind, fluxgate compass and autopilot. It uses a proprietary network protocol (something like Raymarine's seatalk). It also outputs NMEA 183 which I convert to NMEA 2000 using an Actisense NMEA converter. This provides the heading info to the HDS.

I'm hoping to get DSC info from the VHF which should provide the coordinates of a DSC call coming in. I haven't had a chance to explore this yet but technically it should work. That way someone can send me a DSC position call through the VHF and it would show up on the chartplotter similar to an AIS target. Since we have a GPS enabled portable VHF with DSC capability it would also work as a MOB system. Currently this works on our fixed VHF displaying the coordinates of the portable unit. Lowrance brands this as "track your buddy" but it's standard DSC capability. I'm using Standard Horizon VHF units.

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