Garmin announces 250 watt, solid-state, open-array Fantom 254/256 radars

Latest Garmin Fantom series boosts its market-leading power for solid-state marine radars

New open-array marine radars offer 250W of pulse compression power

OLATHE, Kan. – Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the world’s leading marine electronics manufacturer, today announced the GMR Fantom–254/256 open-array radars delivering 250W of pulse compression power, its highest-powered solid-state marine radar on the market. The new Fantom 254/256 series uses Garmin’s signature MotionScope technology to detect and highlight moving targets in different colors, helping users avoid potential collisions, find flocks of birds and track weather.

Now with more than double the power of the existing Fantom 124/126, the new Fantom 254/256 solid-state radars yield the best combined short- and long-range target detection performance for serious boaters and anglers. New features, including scan-to-scan averaging and improved MARPA with Automatic Acquisition, provide improved target precision and more visibility of what lies ahead to further a user’s situational awareness on the water.

“We know that the demands of offshore navigation require the most reliable and feature-rich marine radars, which is why we are excited to offer customers our highest-powered solid-state radar series on the market,” said Dan Bartel, vice president of global consumer sales. “The increased power and pulse compression technology of the new Fantom 254/256 radars gives best-in-class target detection range and image resolution, making them the ideal radar solution for anyone desiring to equip their vessel with the highest end marine tech. New features, like scan-to-scan averaging and MARPA Automatic Acquisition, optimize ease-of-use to better explore everything from shorelines to open ocean.”

High-powered Target Detection

At 250W of solid-state power and a target range of 20’ to 96 nautical miles, the Fantom 254/256 outperforms even 25kW magnetron radars by maximizing energy and range resolution using pulse compression technology. Narrow horizonal beam width also assists in creating a high-resolution image and high-sensitivity target detection capabilities. Equipped with MotionScope technology and adjustable speed threshold, this series instantly detects moving targets in real-time—such as other boats, flocks of birds or the weather ahead—with easy-to-see, colored highlights as targets approach or retreat from the vessel. True echo trails take boat speed into account to help captains quickly identify potential collision threats, or even lead anglers toward flocks of birds as they search for hot fishing points using the Fantom’s Auto Bird Gain feature.

Increased Awareness



The new Fantom 254/256 is the first from Garmin to include scan-to-scan averaging, a feature which reduces the sea clutter and interferences in the display view for a clear, visual scope of water ahead. Together with Dynamic Auto Gain, Multi-level target size, and Dynamic Sea Filter features, scan-to-scan averaging will strengthen long-range performance and stationary target detection by eliminating the clutter that might interfere with positioning and target detection consistency.

Also new to Fantom 254/256, mini-automatic radar plotting aid (MARPA) Automatic Acquisition lets users simultaneously trigger and track up to 30 targets with no user prompting on all returns, boundary zones, guard zones, or MotionScope.

The 4-foot Fantom 254 or 6-foot Fantom 256 open-array are available now with suggested retail prices of $9,999 and $10,499, respectively. They are compatible with GPSMAP 8400/8600, 8000/8200 and 7400/7600 series multifunction displays, and the GPSMAP 10×2/12×2 and GPSMAP 7×2/9×2 series chartplotters. For more information, visit garmin.com.

Engineered on the inside for life on the outside, Garmin products have revolutionized life for anglers, sailors, mariners and boat enthusiasts everywhere. Committed to developing the most sophisticated marine electronics the industry has ever known, Garmin believes every day is an opportunity to innovate and a chance to beat yesterday. For the fifth consecutive year, Garmin was recently named the Manufacturer of the Year by the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA). Other Garmin marine brands include Fusion and Navionics. For more information, visit Garmin’s virtual pressroom at garmin.com/newsroom, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at facebook.com/garmin, twitter.com/garminnews, instagram.com/garmin or youtube.com/garmin

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4 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’m particularly pleased that Garmin has added what sounds a lot like real ARPA to this radar:

    “New mini-automatic radar plotting aid (MARPA) automatic acquisition allows for triggering and tracking of up to 30 targets with no user prompting on all returns, boundary zones, guard zones or MotionScope.”

    Furuno has had a similar feature in their NXT solid-state Doppler radars for some time (which I find it very useful), but I believe that Garmin is the first of the other recreational brands to offer it. Here’s hoping it works well — i.e. good at acquiring actual targets of interest while ignoring thing like floating nav aids — and that the feature moves down the Garmin radar size range

  2. Yes the automatic target acquisition is a major improvement although the number of targets is lower than the Furuno radar can handle. In real life 30 targets is probably good enough in most situations. Once these new units are out on the water, it will be interesting to see if Garmin has successfully addressed their other performance issues such as the poor sea state and rain filtering compared to Furuno or Simrad radars. The 25kW recreational magnetron radar may not be long for this world, I suspect.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      I think that the scan-to-scan averaging also sounds interesting…

      “The new Fantom 254/256 is the first from Garmin to include scan-to-scan averaging, a feature which reduces the sea clutter and interferences in the display view for a clear, visual scope of water ahead.”

      …and wonder if that has anything to do with Doppler.

      • Good question. I am not sure if that is really any different than what happens with the “echo averaging” setting applied on the Furuno NXT or what might be new. For that matter, previous Garmin radars also had a “scan average” setting. The one thing that is evident nowadays is how important software processing has become in the new generation of radars.

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