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Garmin 18HD Dome.....any good?

Old 12-04-2019, 01:19 PM
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Default Garmin 18HD Dome.....any good?

I am considering springing for a Garmin Dome to go with my chartplotter. Can any users tell me if it is any good at picking up bird activity? I can't justify the cost if I will only use it to keep me out of lobster pots at night....if it can help me find fish it is much more interesting to me.

Thanks for your replies.
Joe
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:22 PM
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This will not spot birds effectively. It’s a good option for navigating safely.
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:31 PM
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No dome of any brand picks up birds well. Need a open array for that.
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:38 PM
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I had an 18" HD. It didn't pick up birds or crab pots. The smallest It would pick up the floating Nav buoys, for no wake zones, hazards, etc.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by coastboater View Post
I had an 18" HD. It didn't pick up birds or crab pots. The smallest It would pick up the floating Nav buoys, for no wake zones, hazards, etc.
Hmmm.....they advertise their "AUTO BIRD" mode...and even manually adjusting the gain......still no good?
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Uncle Joe View Post
Hmmm.....they advertise their "AUTO BIRD" mode...and even manually adjusting the gain......still no good?
I have the same unit, it is not ideal . The more you use it you'll be able to spot some but it isn't a great bird finder for sure.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for your replies. Even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear!
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Uncle Joe View Post
Hmmm.....they advertise their "AUTO BIRD" mode...and even manually adjusting the gain......still no good?
Agree with all of the above. Just because the Garmin Sales/Marketing Department had them add "BIRD MODE" to the menu, does not mean it will do what you want it to do. I have their 24" dome and often times birds that I can on the horizon with my eyes do not always show on my screen, even after I adjust the gain way up - and you too will see birds with your eyes before you will see them with a their 18" dome.

You will need a minimum 6kw open array antenna to see birds out of eyesight with any regularity, and the more powerful and longer the antenna, the further away you will be able to spot birds .
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Old 12-04-2019, 03:04 PM
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I have the 18xhd and agree that it's not ideal for birds. However, I have limited space on my 23' maycraft. I am happy with the unit and it is great for night navigation. I won't chase birds out past 4 miles so it works for me.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:24 PM
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I have a 7612 with 18 hd it will absolutely see birds to 6 miles not a small bunch of low flyers but big flocks and gannets better than you can see with the naked eye.that said it's not a great bird tool but for the price and the usefulness in fog,nite,etc it's alot better than no radar.mount it as high as you can that helps with all radars
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