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Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G2

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7"DualBeam Plus,
AC Live

The HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G2 is one of the new Humminbird units for 2017. It basically shares the same features with the HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2, only has a wider, 7-inch display. Also, as opposed to the older HELIX 7 GPS, this unit, as its name suggests, features CHIRP sonar technology. It’s also AC Live and SmartStrike capable.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Screen: 7″ diagonal, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, 16-bit color TFT, with LED backlight
  • Sonar: CHIRP DualBeam Plus with SwitchFire
  • Depth Capability: 1500 feet (457 m)
  • Frequency and Coverage:
    • 200 kHz (175-225 kHz) / 20°
    • 83 kHz (75-95 kHz) / 60°
  • Transducer: Transom XNT 9 20 T
  • Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
  • Power Input: 10-20V DC
  • GPS: Internal
  • Cartography: UniMap
  • Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 47; 2,750; 50 (20,000 points each)

Control unit features

As the number in the name of the unit suggests, it features a 7-inch display, with a pixel matrix of 480V X 800H. Like all the other HELIX models, this is a color unit, its display having a 16-bit color range, and LED backlight for easy reading in direct sunlight or at night. It’s also IPX7 waterproof, which basically means it can survive water splashes, rain or snow, and even immersions in freshwater, up to 1 meter.

A standard, gimbal-type mount is supplied with the unit, but there’s also the option of an in-dash mounting kit.

This particular fish finder and GPS system doesn’t have Ethernet capabilities, such as the HELIX 9 model, but does have an NMEA 0183 output. It also has a microSD card reader with one card slot for chart upgrades, sonar recordings, data transfer, etc.

GPS and navigation features

This HELIX unit is equipped with the Humminbird Precision GPS, which can provide quick locks, with an accuracy of 2.5 meters. The unit also uses the GPS system to determine and display the speed of your boat.

As support for navigation, this unit comes with the Humminbird UniMap charts, which cover the contiguous U.S. coastline, inland lakes, and rivers at 30 m / pixel. As a general idea, these charts provide only basic detail, focusing on showing the boundaries between land and water. The unit displayed in the attached photo above shows a view of the Humminbird Lakemaster charts and not the UniMap. The UniMap charts view can be seen in the photo below.

The Bird’s Eye view function is available with this unit. It offers a 3D view of your location, with a point of view above and behind the boat. This evidently enhances the situational awareness. Drift Alarm and Man-Over-Board functions are also included.

The charts of this Humminbird fish finder can be upgraded, though. It can use LakeMaster, LakeMaster PLUS, Navionics+, Navionics Platinum+ charts, and SmartStrike cards. When equipped with a LakeMaster charts chip, or Navionics charts chip, the AutoChart Live feature becomes available. This function uses GPS and 2D sonar information in order to allow you to map a body of water of your choice, recording its contours. With a given LakeMaster or Navionics chip, the unit can record up to 8 hours of mapping data. Also, the unit is compatible with Zero Lines chips, which offer zero line contours for most bodies of water in the U.S. and Canada.

In terms of navigation, this unit can also save up to 2,750 waypoints, 47 routes, and 50 tracks, each track with up to 20,000 track points.

Fish finding functions

The HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G2 is a unit without Side Imaging or Down Imaging. Its only sonar application is DualBeam Plus. It’s capable of three frequencies 50/83/200 kHz, but with the supplied transducer, it can only use the 83/200 kHz channels. In order to use the 50 kHz mode, for scanning greater depths, a deep water transducer is required. On the other hand, since it uses DualBeam Plus sonar, it means it can use both its frequencies simultaneously, and you can view the returns of both beams in split screen.

As the unit’s name suggests, this is a CHIRP unit. This means the system can modulate the sonar pulse on a range of frequencies, rather than using a single frequency pulse. In CHIRP mode, the pulse covers a frequency range between 175-225 kHz instead of 200 kHz and 75-95 kHz instead of 83 kHz. Differently put, with the supplied transducer, the unit can use High and Mid CHIRP.

Speaking of the transducer, the model supplied with this Humminbird HELIX unit is the XNT 9 20 T. It’s a temperature capable transducer, which comes with a transom mount, and 20′ (6 m) of cable. With this transducer, the unit can scan depths up to 1,500 ft (457 m), but if paired with a deep water transducer, it should be able to scan depths up to 2,500 ft. (762 m).

This unit has a Sonar Recording function, which allows you to record and rewind the sonar feed, in order to review an area that you’ve already scanned if you would like a second look.

Other useful sonar-related functions are SwitchFire, Selective FishID+, Circular Flasher for ice fishing, Bottom Lock, Real Time Sonar and several alarms.

The SwitchFire function offers the possibility to quickly swap between a view that includes the maximum sonar information, and a view that eliminates all the clutter, focusing on fish targets. Fish ID+ replaces the fish arches with fish icons. The depth of each fish symbol is displayed above it. The color of the fish symbols indicates the sonar beam that has caught them. For example, the fish detected by the 200 kHz beam will appear orange, while the ones in the 83 kHz beam will appear green. A Fish Alarm is also available with the Fish ID+ mode. This fish alarm has 3 settings. You can enable it to sound for Large, Large/Medium and All fish targets detected.

The Flasher view puts the sonar information in a ring-based diagram, each sonar return being color-coded accordingly. It’s also a function great to use when down-dropping the jig from the boat, not only for ice fishing.

Bottom Lock is a sonar view that allows you to assign a distance interval of the sonar view in relation to the bottom of the lake or body of water where you’re fishing. Therefore, regardless of the changes in depth, the sonar view will keep the same distance from the bottom. Evidently, this is a function great to use if you’re looking for bottom feeders.

Finally, the Real Time Sonar function, also known as A-Scope, is a vertical flasher which appears next to the 2D sonar view, showing color coded, the most recent information caught by the transducer.

The Pros

  • DualBeam Plus sonar with SwitchFire;
  • CHIRP sonar technology;
  • Powerful transducer (XNT 9 20 T), CHIRP capable and temperature capable, with transom mount;
  • Depth capability up to 1,500 ft with the included transducer;
  • Multiple sonar functions available, such as RTS, Bottom Lock, Selective Fish ID+, Alarms etc;
  • Sonar Recording and Screen Snapshot functions;
  • Precision GPS with MSAS, EGNOS and WAAS enhancing;
  • AutoChart Live ready, function that gives you the possibility to map or remap any body of water;
  • UniMap charts included;
  • Trackplotting, routes and waypoints functions;
  • 7″ display, 800 x 480 resolution, 16-bit color display, with LED backlight, providing clear images, easy to read even in direct sunlight;
  • IPX7 waterproof;
  • NMEA 0183 port;
  • MicroSD card reader (1 slot);
  • Upgradeable internal software;
  • Gimbal mount included;
  • Fairly easy to install.

The Cons

  • No unit cover.

Bottom Line

The Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G2 is a mid-range fish finder and chartplotter system, featuring DualBeam Plus sonar, GPS, UniMap charts, and the AC Live function. The unit also comes with the XNT 9 20 T transducer. Its internal charts may not be the best, but the good news is they’re upgradable. It’s a system great for boats of all sizes, for both salt water and fresh water. Therefore, considering that it’s a CHIRP capable unit, comes with a transducer that covers all its sonar functions, has GPS and excellent charting capabilities, we can safely say it offers a decent price/value ratio.

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