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Author Topic:   Garmin 498; VHF Marine Radio
R I Whaler posted 11-13-2006 09:51 PM ET (US)   Profile for R I Whaler   Send Email to R I Whaler  
I'm looking for a single device for GPS position finding, water depth, and fishfinding to replace separate old technology on my newly acquired 1987 Outrage 20. Recreational use. Is the Garmin 498 the answer? Any other options? Budget is under $1,000.

Same advice for a marine radio, budget is $150 to $200.

Thanks, Mike

whalerron posted 11-13-2006 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I bought the Garmin 498C in June of this year to replace my Garmin 160 Blue fishfinder. For those who don't know, the 498 is a GPS, a chartplotter and a fishfinder/sonar all in one package. There are 2 versions of the 498: one comes with the coastal US maps and the other comes with the US inland waterway maps.

The 498 uses the same connectors as my 160 and on paper, it also appeared to use the same dual frequency transducer. So, I decided to use my old transducer with the 498. That didn't work out so well. It would lose the bottom for 10 minutes at a time. I contacted Garmin and they strongly suggested that I buy the new transducer for the 498. I did that and now the unit works very well.

It comes with the coastal US maps installed. I have used it in Delaware, Maryland and lower North Carolina and the charts are very good. Maps can be bought for almost any other waterway in the world. Also, land maps can be bought and this unit can then be used in a car.

It is waterproof to the IEC 529-IPX-7 standard: Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.

The 498 is relatively cheap. I wanted to get the Garmin 2006 but at a price of almost $2000, the 2006 was too expensive. If you want sonar with the 2006, the separate sonar unit must be bought too.

The 498 almost 1/2 the size of the Garmin 2006 plotter. It is the perfect size for consoles which are tight for space.

The sonar is very good. I use this unit for "marking" fish and it works great. With the new transducer, I get very good sonar readouts at 20 mph.

The 498 displays tides and currents. This is a fantastic feature. If there are no current stations close to my position, it will extrapolate the tidal currents to my position. For fishing on the Chesapeake Bay, this is a great feature as the fish bite best when the current is running. As a comparison, my friend's Garmin 2006 only shows current at the closest current station which could be 50 miles away.

The user interface is very intuitive. I really like the ease-of-use of Garmin products.

The sonar has a GPS based speed feature which sets the sonar scroll speed to be proportional to your boat speed. The faster the boat is travelling, the faster the sonar scrolls. The result of this is that the sonar picture is much more consistent as the boat speed varies.


The 498 does not work well with older transducers even if they do connect and appear to work properly.

The 498 is not cheap. Mine was about $780 at West Marine.

The 498 screen is small when compared to units like the 2006.

jimh posted 11-14-2006 08:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For a VHF Marine Radio, please get a DSC Class-D radio. That's the minimum recommended by the U.S. Coast Guard.

There are several excellent brands of VHF Marine Radio. A very good bargain is the Standard-Horizon QUEST series. They are Class-D rated. Price is under $200. Many have found that Standard-Horizon radios are easier to operate than other brands. Their control layout and menu systems are generally good.

It is hard to isolate one particular combination unit of GPS, Chart Plotter, and SONAR as the best. A great deal depends on the value of the chart cartography which is included. Many units come bundled with chart cartography, and this is a substantial portion of their price/value. In terms of the GPS, they are all about the equivalent these days. Other important factors are:

--the screen display: can it be easily seen in sunlight?

--the operating system: are the controls well designed and is the unit easy to operate?

--the electrical interface to other devices: does the unit have NMEA-0183a or NMEA-2000 connections?

jimh posted 11-14-2006 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Also see the concurrent discussion on this exact unit:

jimh posted 11-14-2006 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Also see about a dozen prior articles which mention the Garmin 498:

R I Whaler posted 11-14-2006 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for R I Whaler  Send Email to R I Whaler     
Thanks Jim and Whalerron for your replies. They are very helpful and informative.


frontier posted 11-15-2006 01:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
There are some very good deals out there on new (left over) ICOM M402S VHF radios (replaced by new M422). Easy to hook up the DSC emergency button to your GPS. We have one on our Revenge - great radio. I just noticed some on EBAY for $119.00.
R I Whaler posted 11-19-2006 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for R I Whaler  Send Email to R I Whaler     
Thanks for all the replies. with regard to the VHF radios, can someone explain the DSC piece to me? What does this mean and what does hooking up the DSC to my GPS mean?

Frontier, you state that ICOM easily hooks up to a GPS. Jim, does the Standard Horizon brand integrate with a GPS.

I am 99% sure I will be getting a Garmin 498. One other question on this. What are the transducer options and which one should I get?



jimh posted 11-19-2006 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Get a DSC Class-D radio and not some left-over prior version. This is the recommendation of the United States Coast Guard.

For a concise description of DSC Class-D features, see my article on the topic:

DSC is an abbreviation of Digital Selective Calling. It has been a feature of VHF Marine radios for about a decade.

Type "DSC radio" into GOOGLE and you will find hundreds of primers and explanations about the service.

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