Panbo

Category: Sonar

Simrad ForwardScan, a challenge to EchoPilot FLS?

Apr 17, 2014

Simrad_ForwardScan_concept_aPanbo.jpgWhile Simrad announced ForwardScan at the Miami Boat Show, details are scarce and the concept diagram doesn't really show what a ForwardScan screen is going to look like. Yes, like other Forward Looking Sonar (FLS) systems, the goal is to display the water column and ocean floor in front of the vessel to "help boaters eliminate the worry of potential groundings in unfamiliar waters," and yes, FowardScan is the first FLS to be fully integrated into a multifunction display system. Well, I've hounded Simrad for more information -- all of which sounds good -- and it also looks like I will get to test ForwardScan against what seems like the most similar existing product...

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Vexilar SonarPhone T-Pod, WiFi fishfinder in a bobber!

Apr 15, 2014

Vexilar_SonarPhone_T-Pod_closeup_cPanbo.jpgIt's 2014 and a sealed plastic 5-inch bobber can indeed contain a fairly able 400 Watt, 125 kHz fishfinder and a WiFi radio, plus enough rechargeable battery to run both for a few hours. The SonarPhone T-Pod will strike many as a toy, but it actually works quite well considering its small size and price tag ($130). And the manufacturer Vexilar puts the same technology into models meant to install on small boats, which means that dedicated iPad (or Android tablet) boaters do indeed have a fishfinder option...

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Lowrance Elite 5/7 cheap CHIRP, the sonar wars rage on

Mar 26, 2014

Lowrance_Elite-5_CHIRP.jpgLowrance just launched Elite-5 and -7 CHIRP fishfinders and plotter combos today, but they showed off working prototypes during the Navico writer's event I attended in January. What seemed to particularly excite the product managers was the Elite's new ability "to produce low, medium and high CHIRP sonar ranges and display two user-selected ranges simultaneously" using just an "affordable" HDI Skimmer transducer. Apparently they didn't realize that this tranducer could usefully CHIRP until they tried it, and now they think they have a edge in the sonar battle that's taking place both on the water and in law offices...

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Si-Tex T-760 Series radar, other ways of integration

Mar 18, 2014

Si-Tex_T-760_standalone_radar_w domes_aPanbo.jpgThere's more to the new Si-Tex T-760 Series radar than you'll currently find on that product page. Those multi-speed radomes are unlike anything Si-Tex has offered before and contain digital processing that will eventually put 16-level true color target imagery on that 800 x 480 pixel touch screen (with a software update). Plus, the case is carved from solid aluminum and can be easily flush mounted. At a suggested retail of about $2,100 with the 18-inch radome and an impressive set of radar features, the T-760 looks like an interesting alternative for boaters who don't want all their electronic navigation tools on a multifunction display. It might also work for those early adopter types who can't get radar on the tablets they want to use for primary navigation...

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More Ray LightHouse II goodies: Sounder Select, GPX, DSC, PDF & Fusion-Link

Mar 15, 2014

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One of many features in Raymarine's latest software update (besides the just-discussed LightHouse charts) is support for multiple sonar sources. While I didn't have the hardware or even the working vessel to test this, it's neat that the demo video I screenshot above is built right into the LightHouse II update (and actually more detailed than the one currently on YouTube). But who needs multiple sonar sources? I know that some readers may perceive it as feature glut, but not I, and I'm not even much of a fisherman...

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Navico writer's event 2014: B&G, Simrad & Lowrance product highlights

Feb 10, 2014

Hawks_Cay_B_G_Matt_cPanbo.jpgNavico did it again, even better than last time. The company gathered 24 boating writers at the Hawk's Cay Resort along with a deep roster of Lowrance, Simrad, and B&G product experts and 9 demo boats loaded with gear. The demos very much reflected the refocused brand identities we learned about last year in Las Palmas, and in some cases the Navico team went some extra distance to make them real. Thus, I found myself not only sailing on a nearly new J/111 with B&G's long-time Race Specialist Matt Fries, but actually pinging start line buoys and later working our way to the windward mark... 

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Lowrance Elite-4 HDI, a whole lot of tech for a little dough

Dec 19, 2013

Lowrance_Elite-4_HDI.jpgWhile I don't normally follow the small-size displays closely, the new Lowrance Elite-4 HDI models announced yesterday seems to sport a remarkable ratio of dedicated marine electronics to cost. Their bright 4.3-inch LED-backlit screens, for instance, are substantially bigger than the Elite-4 models they replace, which were praised for their value. The plain Elite-4 HDI model, with a suggested $299 retail price, not only offers both regular fishfinding and high-frequency narrow beam downscanning -- each with a shallow/deep frequency choice built into the included transom transducer -- but also includes GPS, a bundle of lake and coastal cartography and support for all sorts of chart card types...

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Holy Garmin cow: SideVü/DownVü, GPSMAP 800/1000, GMR 18/24 xHD, Meteor 300, gWind & the Helm app

Nov 18, 2013

Garmin_SideVü_DownVü_800_kHz.jpgGarmin is purportedly announcing nearly fifty 2014 marine products today!  A lot are related to the company's new ability to offer the high resolution down and side scanning that's become so popular with freshwater and near coastal fishermen (and curious gunkholers like myself). Soon the relatively easy-to-understand (and fit-on-a-small-screen) down view will be available in new echo dv fishfinders and echoMAP dv fishfinder/GPS combos that will then better compete against similar products from Lowrance, Humminbird and Raymarine. Moving up the cost curve you'll find CHIRP-assisted DownVü and SideVü, which look wicked sharp in the screenshot above (imaging what's likely the remains of a bridge in a man-made lake)...

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Fingers on Raymarine a65, and hello a68, a75, a77 & a78!

Jul 10, 2013

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There's been a small Raymarine a65 MFD installed at Gizmo's lower helm since early last fall (as seen here) and I've used it a lot.  Frankly, I wasn't at all sure I'd like the all-touchscreen interface as much as I like the "hybrid" mix of touchscreen, buttons, knob, and cursor joystick I use on the nearby Ray e7 (tested here) or the similar Simrad NSS8 hybrid interface (compared here).  Didn't Steve Jobs say that touch couldn't work on less than a 10-inch screen?  Well, surprise, the a65's 5.7-inch touchscreen interface works quite well, even on a moving boat, and it's getting better as Raymarine rapidly introduces new versions of its Lighthouse MFD software (v5 discussed here, v7 just about to drop!).  And today we learn that the all-touch "a" is not just an interesting oddity in Ray's now-huge a, c, e, and g display lineup...

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Furuno at MIBS 2013; CHIRP, FCV587/627, and NavPilot FPS8

Mar 12, 2013
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When I was at the in-water powerboat portion of the Miami show before it opened one morning, I discovered Furuno marketing manager Jeff Kauzlaric and product manager Eric Kunz making video. Of course I interrupted them for a photo but I was also hoping to see their long-rumored CHIRP fishfinder in action. But while it turned out that the big sonar screen behind Eric was not showing CHIRP, Furuno did announce the new DFF1-UHD during the show and Eric showed me the nifty NavPilot Safe Helm and Power Assist modes just about ready for release...

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