Simrad Go12 XSE and Halo20, capable and cost-effective small boat navigation

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

14 Responses

  1. Hugh McMillan says:

    Might I recommend Florida Marine Tracks from ISLA Mapping for your NAVICO Simrad unit although the Go series requires cards to be inserted in the rear of the unit and not in an easily accessed pair of slots on the front as the NSS EVO3 series. The new NSS EVO3-s units have twice the processing power so screen refresh is significantly improved.

    The FMT mapping and photography should be compared to the industry standards to realize how much of an improvement they are. YouTube has examples which very likely cover an area that any Florida boater is familiar with.

  2. Colin A says:

    Quick small boat radar question. A few years ago I think there were several smaller radomes, like 12-15″. It now looks like just Furuno has a 15″ left (and not a very modern one). Is there a reason for that? Issues with the smaller antenna? When you get to thinks like under 30′ sailboats mounting the bigger antenna unobtrusively can be an issue.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Colin, maybe you realize this but a radar’s horizontal resolution is limited by the width of its antenna, so small radomes have trouble differentiating close together targets like a boat next to a navaid buoy.

      So the beam width on the 15-inch Furuno 1623 that came with my Maritime 20 is a low res 6.2 degrees, though I found what it can do useful enough that I kept the dome and can install the head unit if needed. Also, the Si-Tex T-760 looks like a decent 18-inch radome system:

      But many of the solid-state 20-24 inch radomes can improve on resolution with advanced digital signal processing, and are also light and power-efficient… probably why I see them commonly on smaller sailboats here on the foggy coast of Maine.

      • Colin A says:

        Thanks Ben, it’s been a while since I have dug into radar (last installed one around 2007). It came up as I have been looking at getting a small cruising boat again (under 34′) and on some designs larger Radomes look ungainly. I had kind of figured there was an issue like you mentioned, The Sitex is high on my list. Never had a radar on my personal boat before.

  3. James Hunt says:

    Hi Ben,
    You need to incorporate a Lowrance fuel data manager into your n2k network to be able to get fuel burnt on the screen.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    My two cents on the Halo20 versus the Halo20+: I think that the extended range, independent dual range plotting windows, high-speed close-range tracking, and Doppler technology in the + model are worth the $500 cost difference. Moreover, it looks like the current $4,199 package of GO12, Halo20+, Active Imaging transducer, and C-Map Pro card reduce that price difference significantly.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      I suspect you’re right but this also might be an instance of not knowing what I’m missing. Doppler tracking would be especially nice on the river where there are frequently lots of moving targets to go with a lot of stationary returns. Color coding those targets would certainly help improve situational awareness.

      -Ben S.

      • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

        Right, I think that what Simrad calls VelocityTrack would be darn useful in that situation. Moreover, I think that Simrad, Garmin, and Raymarine are all trying hard to get their Doppler radars to do the automatic tracking that Furuno NXT can do so well. Then you’d not only see the dangerous moving targets but their precise heading and speed, with no effort on your part. No guarantee, but I suspect that may be a coming feature of the Halo20+ but not the Halo20.

  5. David Haan says:

    How about a comparison between Halo 20+ and Halo 24?

  6. Jason Gibson says:


    In a prepurchase contemplation I’ve been trying to figure out if I can get the Halo 20 to show up on my iPad independent of what’s showing on my Go9. Essentially, the Go9 for plotting and auto pilot and the iPad Air for the radar data on Navionics and such.

    Any experience running the radar data into a ethernet router and then using it independently of the MFD?


    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Jason, unfortunately, what you’re hoping to accomplish won’t work. Although radar communications occur over Ethernet, the decoding and processing of that data is proprietary to each manufacturer and they don’t make it available on mobile devices (with the exception of one Furuno WiFi radar unit).

      You can mirror the screen of your MFD on your iPad, but not run another function.

      -Ben S.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Ben Stein is correct but some radar codings have been reverse engineered, including Halos, and can be seen and operated with this OpenCPN plugin:

      Apparently there’s also a way to serve OpenCPN to an iPad, but a Windows tablet running the software might be a lot more robust. Or maybe get the least expensive GO that will work with the Halo 20 and use the Link app to see it better on the iPad. I use a GO5 that way for backup chartplotting and StructureScan and it’s OK though a little laggy.

  7. andrew agnini says:

    Great overview, thank you or taking the time

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