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Hey Mike. Others will have more to say about Radar I am sure, but I wanted to make a point in regard to your statement about "brand specific verbiage". You can split the "RADAR" systems into two worlds -- Broadband and Traditional Radar (including the new HD radars). Broadband (which to my knowledge is still only sold by the Navico group of companies including Lowrance) is based on entirely different technology. It provides different mounting options (because it doesn't have the same emissions) and it will perform some of the traditional functions (i.e., weather) differently than traditional radars.I've never used radar before, but am planning to install one before we head down the St. Lawrence River next So I ask you:
Obviously I'll be doing a lot of research on the various systems. There seems to be a lot of brand-specific verbiage (Broadband, HD, 3G, 4G xHD, digital...). Would appreciate the real-life experience from those of you who use radar.
I bought a Garmin HD18 to go along with a Garmin 4208 at the helm and a Garmin 441 at the nav station (only partly integrated -- no radar). I have been very happy with that combination. I like Garmin's support (they even explain the other manufacturers stuff and how to integrate it). And, the price point was the best. For me the choice was between Garmins HD system and Lowrance. BBR was pretty much brand new when I made my choice so I went with the Garmin HD system instead. Personally, I ruled out RayMarine because I feel they are overpriced and they don't integrate well with other brands. Others love the RM interface and are very loyal . . . guess it is a personal thing.
Try to get on a friend's boat and play with different systems. I think you have your questions and priorities in order.