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Garmin 18 Fantom radar question about its value

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Garmin 18 Fantom radar question about its value

Old 08-10-2020, 07:06 AM
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Default Garmin 18 Fantom radar question about its value

Currently, I have two Garmin units ( 7612 and 7608 xsvs) and a HD 18 Radar on my 26 Regulator. I am looking at the possibility of installing the Garmin 18 Fantom radar. I am looking at this to improve collision detection as well as find birds. I would appreciate insights and lessons learned from anyone else who has already gone down this road. Also I am reading that Garmin recommend the purchase of a heading sensor. Is that really needed?

Thanks in advance.

Peter

Last edited by peb3; 08-10-2020 at 04:52 PM.
Old 09-28-2020, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by peb3 View Post
...I am reading that Garmin recommend the purchase of a heading sensor. Is that really needed?
Good question. I would like confirmation on that as well.

Having said that, from what I can tell from reading various things on the internet, the heading sensor really helps the most when your boat is sitting still. When it's moving the Chartplotter's GPS device relays accurate heading data to your radar. Think back to your car navigation system. Turn it on when you are sitting in a parking lot, and it has no way of knowing which way your car is pointing. But once you start moving for a short while, it figures that out. So, it's my understanding that a heading sensor allows the Famtom 18 to always know what direction your boat is pointing, even when still.

Again, this is my understanding from what I've read. I also have a boat on order that will have the 18 Fantom, so I was curious.
Old 09-28-2020, 08:04 PM
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Every small radar on a small boat that I've used has not been good at detecting birds, for that you want open array. I've also heard that traditional radar is still better for finding birds in lower power units. You don't have to have a heading sensor but your overlay won't work well at low speeds, personally I just find the overlay too much info and hard to read. I like the heading sensor when drifting to avoid having orientation issues
Old 09-28-2020, 08:53 PM
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A heading sensor is required for MARPA. For Simrad Halo a heading sensor is also required to get the Doppler processing to work, if that's the case also for Fantom I don't know.
Old 09-29-2020, 11:46 AM
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Yes as others have indicated a heading sensor is required for MARPA, and you need a MARPA qualified heading sensor for that.

The Fantom Radar is not good for birds, you need an open array for that with 12KW or more power.

Jim
Old 09-29-2020, 11:52 AM
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No dome will be sufficient at finding birds. Fantom is a great close range radar. Paints targets very clear, and picks up objects less then 100ft away
Old 09-29-2020, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by LIMarineElect View Post
No dome will be sufficient at finding birds.
Depends on concentration of birds and how far you are looking. I have found gannets up to just over 3 nautical miles out. Granted I am not finding small flocks of terns out at any distance.

Here are gannets out up to 2.5 nautical miles (2.88 survey miles) out with a Furuno NXT 24" dome, which is out of range of the naked eye. (radar in auto moderate sea bird mode) You can see my track make a turn for the birds when I picked them up on radar while running. We initially picked them up at 3nm before making the turn.



To the OP, get a heading sensor for accurate overlay. If not it is using COG instead of heading and it can be inaccurate due to wind, tide, currents, vessel turning, etc. My old Garmin GMR18 did not require a heading sensor for overlay but it wasnt accurate without one, especially at any distance. Then again I dont like to use overlay for when I NEED radar anyhow (small targets can get lost on chart info)

Last edited by iFishMD; 09-29-2020 at 01:26 PM.
Old 09-30-2020, 04:56 AM
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First, the heading sensor really helps with overlay and is a requirement for ARPA an MARPA use - and, it only cost $130 for the Garmin SteadyCast, which works fine for a radar and chartplotter sensor.
As for birds, and 18" dome of any type isn't going to find them at more than 1 nm out and at that range, I can easily see them with 7x50 binoculars. A 24" dome, which will probably look more at home on your 26' boat will be better at finding birds with its 25% narrower beam width (3.7 vs 4.9 degrees).

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