Yes Humminbird fans, you read that right – for the first time ever, this company is introducing a radar! This is going to be a four kilowatt unit, enclosed in a dome which networks with many existing Humminbird chartplotters and chartplotter/fishfinders.
Four kilowatts isn’t a huge amount of power for a radar but it’s enough to see out to 36 miles into the distance, so it makes sense to start with a unit of this type. It will broadcast a four degree horizontal beam-width, and a 25-degree vertical beam-width. What’s that mean in English? Beam width is the angular range of the beam the radar emits, and is one of the factors that determines how sensitive the radar beam is at different distances. Think of it like a flashlight: a narrow beam cuts farther into the darkness than a wide, disbursed one does. Marine radars generally have a horizontal beam width between six and 1.8 degrees, so this one falls right into the middle of the range.
The following Humminbird units will play nice with the new radar: 1198c, SI, 1158c SI, 998c SI, 898c SI, 958c, and 858c units. You will, however, have to update the software in these units with a (free )downloadable software update, which will become available on January 1, 2012 (the first day the radar will be available, as well).
The unit will have all of the standard features you’d expect, including gain control, rain and sea clutter, and target expansion. But, what will all of this cost you? We’re not sure yet – Humminbird hasn’t announced pricing, other than to say that the unit will be “available for purchase at a competitive price”.
And just for the record, this isn’t Humminbird’s only new intro for the 2012 model year. They’re also expanding the side-imaging line, and rolling out an Ethernet expansion module and an NMEA 2000 black box (all of which also hits the shelves on January 1, 2012). The networking gems will cost $199 each, and will make it possible to network your Humminbird system, display engine data on your chartplotter screen, and more.
This stuff is so new you won’t even see it posted on Humminbird’s web site yet. So remember folks, you heard about it here, first!