Humminbird GPS Heading Sensor is the Really Helpful Device.

Why do we need to use Humminbird GPS heading sensor when internal antennas for nowadays sat nav devices are quite accurate?

For those who know what the heck this heading sensor (HS) is you can skip my post and go for fishing.

Humminbird GPS heading sensor

Properly installed HS on your boat helps you catch the bigger fish.

Today GPS receiver chips are becoming very precise, and even smartphone in your palm or car’s holder can give proper positioning results. From the other side no secret that an external GPS antenna can delight you with more accurate results.

Unfortunately for many boaters today, GPS has become almost the sole navigation tool. Traditional navigational tools such as a magnetic compass, a sextant, and others are totally forgotten. Navigating on nautical charts is like reading the Chinese alphabet.

I don’t blame them for it though it is some romantic feeling when using those maps and be able to navigate with the help of marine paper charts could give you more safety sense.

I do not deny that using hi-tech GPS combo devices is the real fun. Almost everything is in one box and only you need knowing „How To“ use all these cool features.

The only shortage in „all one box“ enterprise is a situation when this marvel box does not work.

Well, let’s not paint all in black. Everything on your Humminbird Helix, Onix or another GPS for boats screens is in good shape only you need to choose the right mode.

It is hard to find boats which are using the traditional speed gauges and magnetic compass. Therefore, a boat speed and heading is obtained by GPS signals recalculation and is shown on screen or additional repeater which could be placed in a more convenient place for the better view.

So far everything is great the boat’s heading and speed is showing some values until a speed is reduced below a half (0,5 knot) knot. Nothing wrong, just your boat’s position relative to the north is constantly changing and unstable.

Sometimes it is crucial to have exactly how your ship looks on the map even when at anchor or drifting. It is a case when Humminbird GPS heading sensor can help us a lot.

I would not like to explain detailed technical characteristics and operating principles, just my two cents remark.

GPS heading sensor, in general, is a combination of GPS receiver and electromagnetic compass which calculates your boat’s heading position even when speed is zero.

Someone could ask why we need the standalone unit for this? Theoretically, HS could be installed into the GPS fishfinder combo unit, but in reality, there are two main reasons why a separate heading sensor is the only solution for decent results.

The first is that to get the right output results; the HS must be attached to a boat in fixed position. In the general case diametrically to the ship’s keel. In practice, it is almost unable to achieve with GPS combo fishfinder device.

Secondly, as GPS heading sensor has electromagnetic compass installed, it must be placed as far as possible from any electro influence what is impossible to achieve being in one box together with other electric schemes.

A solution was found by inventing and attaching to existing GPS unit a small, just about 3-4 inches in diameter device. In our case Humminbird GPS heading sensor.

I will not count all situations when an HS could help a lot, just like to stop a little at the advantages that this product gives when angling from a boat.

First of all to get all benefits from an installation of Humminbird GPS heading sensor you need to have a compatible device. It is a rather big range of such devices and in our example, it is Humminbird Helix 12.

It may seem very costly, but if you can afford it, then the money spent will bring you real pleasure.

Not diving deep in Humminbird GPS combo device features just I like to once more assert that having such a perfect piece of technical achievement on board- satisfaction guaranteed.

So, how this sensor could help us in the process of angling?

Let’s say we approach more or less known fishing spot. Fishfinder sonars showing us real situation on screens are there any fishes or not. As far as we found them, we make a pinpoint (waypoint) and mark GPS position on Helix map. After checking a safely reachable distance from WP and after reaching it stop an engine or even drop an anchor.

When speed drops to zero or almost zero knots the boat’s contours on conventional GPS screen is bouncing.

How to find the right direction in relation your boat for casting a spinning rod?

Yes, you can find some markers on the ground and make calculations find the right direction. It is rather complicated and annoying but most importantly you are wasting the time. Fish will not remain long in the constant position.

Here a Humminbird GPS heading sensor can help a lot. Very simple. You marked a fish spot on GPS screen, reach a safe distance from it, your boat’s position is known, and exact direction to cast is found by the help of HS.

The only thing is your skill to throw a spinning or a handline accurately into the designated aim.

In conclusion, I would say little of anglers are using this device as in combination with compatible GPS sat nav unit it is not such a cheap enterprise.

If you can afford Humminbird Helix or Onix GPS fishfinder combo together with Humminbird GPS heading sensor unit than the biggest fish is yours despite your neighbor’s greatest experience.

Now is the time for the great catch!


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  1. Lorenzo Fesler

    I found your article interesting. Even though I’m not a fisherman, I am a techie and still found your article very informative. Maybe a little technical for the average person, I found myself reading not quite getting it and re-reading it until it did. Maybe just me, nut if it was a little more layman friendly??? But very informative over all. Thanks

    1. Andrejs (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Yes, it would look a bit complicated for someone. In fact, a heading sensor in combination with a compatible device makes angling more attractive even for beginners.

  2. Lorenzo Fesler

    Great information. Not much a fisherman myself, but a definitely a techie and enjoyed your article and explanation of these devices.

  3. Norman

    The first time i read you theme i taught it was about hummingbird LOL, But i sse that you are talking about and electronic device. it is amazing how mant devices are out ther that you can use to make life so much more easy. I tell you technologhy is really something else, Thakes a lot for letting us know about this device that can be of benefit to so much people.

    1. Andrejs (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by Norman!

      I consider myself as more or less techie boy, but even so sometimes I am surprised by the variety of new inventions. One thing which I am sorry is that we forget a lot of good old traditional knowledge and become more and lazier.

  4. Bonto

    Thanks Andei for sharing some more light between the Gps combo devices that we have on the market today and the Gps heading sensor especially in the nautical arena. The pros and cons you gave for both are very informative and is enough to help one decide. The Hummingbird GPS Heading sensor seems to be a great piece that would provide a lot of benefits to sailors on sea.

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Andrejs (Post author)

      Thanks Bonto for reading my post!

      You are right, Humminbird GPS heading sensor is the really helpful accessory when your boat position relating North or South is essential to know.


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