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Author Topic:   SONAR, GPS for Beginner
pcrussell50 posted 05-12-2010 11:02 PM ET (US)   Profile for pcrussell50   Send Email to pcrussell50  
I'm looking for a recommendation for a newbie, nearshore/inshore fisherman, (myself), to put on my 1985 Sport 13. The size of the boat ought to give you an idea of the scope of the product I'm looking for. IOW, I won't be out blue water fishing with this. I'm very tech savvy, but I've never used one of these. Thanks.
PeteB88 posted 05-12-2010 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Get the best you can afford. Most of the popular combo units will fit your console. I screwed around with basic ones for my 13 and put a Raymarine A57D on my Outrage 17 and wondered why I have been so dumb messing around with low budget units.

Lots of respect for Humminbird and Garmin.

If you are tech savvy you will want higher res color screen and you will appreciate it. I grew up fishing with my dad who had no use for electronics. Regardless of when I go out, what boat or conditions I have always been glad to have good gear. It also makes night time and foggy conditions easier on your nerves and safer.

I am going to put a Northstar on my 13 this summer (slight chance I will sell it) and if I do I will look for Humminbird or Garmin.

Low budget option is to find high res, fully featured grey scale unit (older Lowrance would be great).

Tell us what you decided.

jimh posted 05-13-2010 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Lowrance has a terrific SONAR for an unbelievable price. Look at the just released Mark-5-X model. Its retail price is only about $150.

This SONAR has a 480x480 grayscale display. It is not a digital sounder. It is a repackaging of the older technology, but the price is very low. A few years ago this would have been a $400 sounder.

For a GPS receiver for a small boat, I would be tempted to get a hand held unit. You can use it in the boat, and then take it with you in the car or for hiking. I can't imagine that with a 13-foot boat you are going to need a high resolution color chart plotter with multi-function display.

If you do want an all-in-one, GPS receiver, chart plotter, SONAR, with color display, look at the 5-inch models from Lowrance in the HDS series. Also look at the 5-inch models from Garmin and Raymarine. The price for this type of device will be in the $700 range.

krbernier posted 05-13-2010 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for krbernier  Send Email to krbernier     
We just bought a garmin gpsmap 431s. We are very happy with it, although from the sound of your post it might be more than you need.

jimh posted 05-13-2010 01:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
At a price of $435 the GARMIN 431S is a good value.
pcrussell50 posted 05-13-2010 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for pcrussell50  Send Email to pcrussell50     
I did some research last night. I _thought_ I was looking for a unit with built-in GPS. I was shocked, because GPS technology in and of itself is so cheap it should be almost free, and built into _all_ SONARs, cheap and expensive alike. After finding out that it doubles or triples the price of a basic SONAR unit, I took pause.

Jim... funny how great minds think alike... Consider the following: Late last night while you east coasters were asleep, I came to the conclusion that for the nearshore/near-the-harbor fishing that I do, why do I really need GPS? Next, I realized that I already have a handheld GPS unit if it ever comes to that. Third, new as I am to SONAR, I'm drawn to Lowrance. Fourth, it didn't take long for me to move the Mark-5-X model to the front of my queue. I also tend to favor OMC motors over Mercs... also like Jim. Maybe I should be his understudy moderator for CWW? LOL.


jimh posted 05-14-2010 12:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A GPS receiver is rather inexpensive these days. You can get a great GPS receiver for about $40. Here is one with NMEA-0183 serial data output:

You would need to make an adaptor cable and convert the 12-volt DC into a regulated 5-volt DC source. The receiver would put out NMEA data in the usual sentences that can be connected to any device with an NMEA-0183 input, such as a DSC radio.

SJUAE posted 05-14-2010 02:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
The Lowrance HDS-5 GPS, plotter, SONAR is around $650-USD and the HDS-5X SONAR and fishfinder is $575-USD so a delta of $75-USD for a GPS and plotter options seems reasonable to me.

The Lowrance Elite Colour 5x5 sonar and fishfinder is around $450-USD and seems good value.

As for handheld most smartphones have reasonable GPS capability for inshore use. The iPhone price for the Navionics charts is simply ridiculous at $12-USD where it costs $300 to $500-USD for your chart plotter. You can also add tide tables for another $2 or $3-USD png


pcrussell50 posted 05-25-2010 03:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for pcrussell50  Send Email to pcrussell50     
I got the Lowracnce 5x model Jim suggested. It is installed and powers up just fine. But it's been too windy and there are 8-10 foot swells... a little more than I want to deal with in my 13' classic.


PeteB88 posted 05-25-2010 10:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Great choice, keep us posted on performance and reliability.
DavidBrent posted 05-26-2010 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for DavidBrent  Send Email to DavidBrent     
Agree with Jimh:

A handheld GPS good for a 13 footer. I use a Garmin 60CSX handheld for boating, biking, hiking. They can be had for less than $300, and accept SD card for charts. I don't feel that I need any more for my 13 footer.

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