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Author Topic:   Garmin 172C gps/plotter: Reviews
17 bodega posted 11-30-2005 01:04 PM ET (US)   Profile for 17 bodega   Send Email to 17 bodega  
I noticed this and other units are coming down in price. I want to hear first hand information on the performance based on the internal antenna. West has them at $479. Are they slower to load than a fixed antenna? How slow?

Thanks for any info.

surfkast posted 11-30-2005 07:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for surfkast    
You may want to look at the screens in person. I looked at all the Garmins and finally picked the 198c. The screen was much better than the 172c or 178c. The split screen is horizontal which I like better than the vertical split screen. Also, it came with bluechart included in the price versus paying another $150 with the others. I think I got the 198c for $850 on the internet and West Marine matched it. When you add bluecharts to the others they get pretty close. Just something to think about.
Chuck Tribolet posted 11-30-2005 09:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
External antenna vs. builtin antenna is mostly a function of how
good a view they each have of the sky.

My old Garmin 175 had a builtin antenna. I acquired an
exgternal antenna for a VERY friendly price (free). It gave
a good deal stronger signal strength on some birds than the
the builtin, presumeably because the console rail was in
the way of the builtin. When I switched to the 162 (172's
predecessor), that prompted me to get the external antenna

But I have several buddies with the internal antenna 162
and it works just fine.


cflute posted 11-30-2005 09:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for cflute  Send Email to cflute     
I recently bought the 178C with the internal antenna. I see no difference in speed of connection from the internal antenna, I have an external antenna and gps on another boat. I have a Dauntless 14 and like the small size of the 178C and not having the external antenna.
JOHN W MAYO posted 11-30-2005 11:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for JOHN W MAYO  Send Email to JOHN W MAYO     
The external antena does not cost that much more when you purchase the unit,.....if purchased latter it is quite abite more. I bought a Garmin chart plotter awhile back with the external antena, and think that is the way I will go in the future.
drd posted 12-01-2005 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for drd  Send Email to drd     
I have been using a 172c for the last 7 months. I could have gone to a larger black and white unit, but opted for the color instead. The unit has worked great, the screen is on the smaller side, but still readible. my unit has no GPS, so I have never split the screen, but I'm sure that it would be tough to read. Mine has an internal antenna, which picks up a signal quick, and works fine through my bimini top.
swist posted 12-01-2005 08:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I have a 276C, which only comes with an internal antenna. My last boat had a 152 with an external, but both have the same WAAS 12-channel receiver.

I see no difference in acquisition time or performance. The number of satellites picked up is always in excess of the minimum (3?), so the calculated maximum error is always amazingly low (few meters).

17 bodega posted 12-01-2005 01:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     

do you mean that you don't have the depth sounder so the split screen isn't an issue?

I like the idea of not needing to deal with an external antenna. It's just one less thing to worry about. I will look on the website for specs on how well it zooms in for chart detail. I have good eyesight so resolution is more important than acutal screen size.

17 bodega posted 12-01-2005 07:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Has anyone done the "unlock" feature for the garmin "blue charts"?

How much better are the blue charts than the regular maps of coastal ocean areas? Seems a bit gimmicky to me but would like to hear from the folks here.


Chuck Tribolet posted 12-01-2005 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
The Garmin Blue charts look just like the NOAA charts, except
slightly less resolution and in B&W if you have a monochrome
chart plotter. The most important feature is that they
show you where your boat is. Ask around at the ramp or
Marina, I'm sure someone who has them would be glad to show
them off to you.


17 bodega posted 12-02-2005 11:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I think that's a good Idea. I remember when I was riding with Warren in his 170 that he had a pretty nice chartplotter. I should find out if that was the Blue Chart setup.

I think they all have the "test modes" you can use in the West Marine stores too. I'll check that out on my next visit.

Chuck Tribolet posted 12-02-2005 11:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
They all have a demo mode, but at least my local West doesn't
usually have the charts loaded. Too bad, the charts sell the


Casco Bay Outrage posted 12-03-2005 09:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
A 172c with sounder (internal antenna) came on my "new to me" 1991 17' Outrage.

I like the unit, given I moved up from using my brothers Garmin 76 handheld. The screen is decent size but bigger is always better if you can afford it. Considering real estate on the console, it is a worthy candidate. has great prices. Shows $450 for this item.

sosmerc posted 12-03-2005 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
I will be installing a GPS/Map soon on my 18 Ventura and I'm wrestling with the internal vs. external issue. I will have my bimini top up much of the this going to screw up reception with an internal antenna??
drd posted 12-04-2005 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for drd  Send Email to drd     
My unit is just the GPS. I have a seperate fishfinder. The split screen is just to much of a PITA. I also have the bluechart chip, I just have the chip, not the entire CD set. as said above, it is just like an ordinary chart.
Chuck Tribolet posted 12-04-2005 07:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
The upside of a compbined fishfinder/GPS, is that you can
create a GPS waypoint by pointing at structure in the
depthfinder trace.


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