The HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 is one of the newest models from Humminbird for 2017. It comes with quite a few improvements over the older HELIX 5 SI GPS. The major differences are the CHIRP sonar technology and the AutoChart Live capability.
The system packs quite an impressive array of fish finding functions. To begin with, it has three types of sonar: CHIRP DualBeam Plus, CHIRP Down Imaging, and CHIRP Side Imaging. It’s capable of four frequencies: 50/83/200/455 kHz, but with the included transducer – the XNT 9 SI 180 T – it can only use 83/200 kHz for DualBeam Plus, and 455 kHz for Side Imaging and Down Imaging. In order to use the 50 kHz channel (with a CHIRP modulation of 28-75 kHz), you’ll need a 50 kHz capable transducer.
Evidently, since the new unit uses CHIRP technology, the sonar pulse can be modulated over a range of frequencies. The frequency ranges for 2D are 75-95 kHz and 175-225 kHz, in other words, Mid-Range CHIRP and High-Range CHIRP. For Down Imaging and Side Imaging, the CHIRP modulation covers an interval between 420-520 kHz.
For DualBeam Plus, the transducer uses conical sonar beams, at angles of 20° (200 kHz) and 60° (83 kHz). For Side Imaging, the sonar beams are thin-shaped, not conical, with angles of 86°. Each SI beam extends on the side of the boat at a distance of 240 ft (73 m), 480 ft (146 m) in total. For DI, the beam angles are also thin, but their coverage is not specified. The unit’s maximum depth capability is 1,500 ft (457 m), but this stands only for DualBeam Plus. SI and DI have depth capability of only 150 ft (45 m).
This unit can record and rewind sonar. It also offers a flasher mode for ice fishing, although the supplied transducer is a transom type, and not for ice fishing. SwitchFire, Fish ID+, Fish Alarms, Bottom Lock and other sonar-related functions are also included.
When it comes to navigation functions, this unit is equipped with an internal Precision GPS module, and the UniMap charts, which cover the contiguous US coastline and inland lakes at 30 m / pixel. However, the HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 is AutoChart Live capable. In other words, if it’s equipped with a LakeMaster, Navionics Gold or Zero Lines microSD card, you can draw the depth contours yourself, regardless the body of water where you’re fishing at. Also, it can store up to 2,750 waypoints, 47 routes, and 50 tracks, with up to 20,000 points per track.
As the unit’s number suggests, it’s a 5-inch unit. Its pixel resolution is 800 x 480, with a 16-bit color range, and LED backlight. It doesn’t have Ethernet capabilities but does have NMEA 0183 port and a microSD card reader with one slot, for software updates, chart upgrades, recordings or data transfer.
In all, it’s a great unit for small boats, even kayaks, offering great sonar for freshwater and saltwater. The system includes the transducer, which supports all the unit’s types of sonar. It also offers excellent navigation features and quite a bit of room for upgrades, all for a price under $500.