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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to upgrade my current fish finder and need TF's help. I have been looking at the Lowrance Elite 7 CHIRP and HDS 7 ( probably gen 2). I was leaning toward HDS because the down scan and side/structure scan intrigues me. However, after speaking to a very knowledgable salesman from BOE marine, I am somewhat confused. He basically only recommended the 3rd gen HDS, which is a little more than I was looking to spend right now, especially considering I wasn't even getting side scan. what is everyone else using and do you have any recommendations?
 

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Gen2 non touch can be had at a really good price. Gen3 is only available as touch screens and are very expensive!!!
Only sold at MSRP pricing now. I use Gen2 touch units now and would not consider going to the Gen3. Not enough different
to pay that high MSRP price tag in my opinion. Gen2 touch screen models remain a current item, and are in all the 2015 catalogs,
along with the gen3. All carry a two year warranty.
I did add the sonar hub, which makes the gen2 models chirp sonar. But then I get the best results on a fixed frequency, which
means its not using Chirp mode. Broadband sonar, which gen2 and gen3 units have, is hard to beat !!!!



Side scan, I can take it or leave it. Will not do you a lot of good if you fish bay waters. Down scan has more use to me.
Not surprised any marine electronic reseller would recommend the newest and most expensive.

Good luck with your decision !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I appreciate your insight. For the record, I am not criticizing BOE. The salesman was super knowledgeable and if money were not an object, I would agree that the HDS gen 3 is the best bet. I am just not looking to spend $1,500.
 

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No doubt the Gen 3 is the better unit. Lowrance claims improved and faster screen. More significantly you can run structure scan and CHIRP simultaneously. That being said, the Gen 2 is still awesome. If you purchase the sonar hub and wire the transducers appropriately you can still run structure scan and CHIRP simultaneously, but if both transducers are run to the sonar hub it's an either-or situation. Spot light and trolling motor features are also involved w/ Gen 3 - and I haven't bothered to investigate comparisons of the generations with regard to these features.
 

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I think CHIRP is an over-hyped technology unless you are willing to invest in high dollar transducers. In the bay, with the shallower waters that we mostly fish and the particulates in the bay, I think you will be satisfied with a quality fixed frequency sounder and never really achieve any real gains with CHIRP. You can get quality results with a simple P66 transducer and a quality digital broadband sounder in the bay as cobb has shown. Dont over think it or chase the latest and greatest technology because you will never be able to keep up.
 

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So on the HDS 7 Gen 2 (not touch but the one with the buttons) that comes with the 83/200 transducer is that all you need or do you also need the 455/800 transducer? I am in a similar situation. Have a $700 threshold. Trying to decide between:

A) HDS 7 Gen 2 w/ Insight & 83/200

B) Elite 7 HDI w/ Navionics Gold and 83/200/455/800 (I like the Navionics Gold chart but read that the GPS is very slow to update on the Elite. Looking for user experience.)

c) Elie 7 HDI (no GPS) w/ 83/200/455/800 and a Sitex SVS-460C w/ Navionics Gold. I like this idea because you get a lot more screen space for roughly the same amount of money but I do not know anything about the Sitex GPS.
 

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On the subject of transducers I prefer the 83/200. The bay is shallow and the wider cone is better, I think. The narrow cone transducers are better for deep water. I have used used both and like the wider angle better. Of the the choices listed above I would go with A and add the Navionics chip. I think that Navionics is better than Insight. I bought an HDS with Insight and ended buying the Navionics Gold because I was not impressed with Insight. Things may have changed in the four or five years since I last bought new electronics, however.
 

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83kHz is a wider cone than the 200kHz. or 50kHz is wider than the 200kHz. 50kHz should get you deeper than the 83kHz but the 83 should be slightly more sensitive than the 50kHz

I like to run in dual frequency mode on my Furuno with 50kHz on the left and 200kHz on the right. The wider cone of the 50kHz helps differentiate bait from fish with the wider cone showing larger arches where rockfish are since they pass longer through the wider cone. The narrower and more sensitive 200kHz beam is great for bottom fishing and picking up things like the thermocline, bottom density (bottom density changes), etc.
 

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Here is Airmars chart on cone sizes based on transducers and power. Notice that the least expensive p66/b60, which is a 600w transducer, has wider cone angles than the 1kw B260/TM260. The 1kw is better for offshore/deep water use as it puts more power out through a narrower beam while the p66/b60 is better for inshore/nearshore fishing. (CHIRP transducers are another game and for real CHIRP..$$$$.) You can see that the lower frequency 50kHz are shown to read deeper. However the 200kHz is more sensitive.

Musical instrument Font Sleeve Electric blue Tie


I am sure lowrance has their own transducer line, especially given the downscan option. However you get the point.
 

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Just to muddle the water at least browse this...http://www.raymarine.com/view/?id=6854

I am running the Dragonfly and am quite impressed by its sonar capabilities and bang for the buck. Their downscan is a 60 degree cone and works just as good the HDS downscan (I have an HDS10 and 7). The screen is remarkable. For like 600$ (BOE) u can get the 7" which is a GPS, chirp sonar and downscan.
 

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I think CHIRP is an over-hyped technology unless you are willing to invest in high dollar transducers. In the bay, with the shallower waters that we mostly fish and the particulates in the bay, I think you will be satisfied with a quality fixed frequency sounder and never really achieve any real gains with CHIRP. You can get quality results with a simple P66 transducer and a quality digital broadband sounder in the bay as cobb has shown. Dont over think it or chase the latest and greatest technology because you will never be able to keep up.
You have summed it up perfectly. I have read several articles about CHIRP technology and came to the conclusion we don't need it for the bay. I think that the electronics market is so competitive that every manufacturer is searching for any advance, no matter how small, to get an advantage on the competition. And of course there are enough of those that have to have the latest to make it worthwhile.

Does anyone ever think about how many features on the various devices that they paid for and never use? How many plot a course to a fishing hotspot?

I do understand ocean running requires one to take advantage of more of the features on these units.
 

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You can get quality results with a simple P66 transducer and a quality digital broadband sounder in the bay as cobb has shown. Dont over think it or chase the latest and greatest technology because you will never be able to keep up.
Actually that screen shot was using the single channel sonar hub with a chirp transducer but on a fixed frequency, which means it was not using the chirp option.

Here is a typical Broadband HDS sonar shot using the underrated Lowrance "skimmer transducer" (about $60). This setup has always worked well for me.
P66 has to narrow a beam and seldom shows fish has arches, in my opinion.

 

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Here is a typical Broadband HDS sonar shot using the underrated Lowrance "skimmer transducer" (about $60). This setup has always worked well for me.
P66 has to narrow a beam and seldom shows fish has arches, in my opinion.

Boy, you sure do catch some awful big fish....some of them fish (arches) are pushing be 10 feet wide!
 

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P66 has to narrow a beam and seldom shows fish has arches, in my opinion.
The 600w P66 is narrow at 200kHz with only a 10 degree cone. If you want to see "arches" for fish with a p66, you are better running it at 50kHz, which offers a 45 degree cone. Airmar offers a 1kw wide cone transducer that works with most brands. However it is an $1100+ transducer. Not really worth it in the bay. Besides the narrow beam can be better for bottom fishing in some conditions.

I was only recommending Airmar as they work with most brands. I dont know what the lowrance skimmer offers.
 

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Boy, you sure do catch some awful big fish....some of them fish (arches) are pushing be 10 feet wide!
The width of the arches depends on several factors: 1) The screen speed set on the depth finder; 2) The width of the cone beam (which is specific to the transducer - and transducers which offer more than one frequency generally have a beam width specific to each frequency); 3) The speed of the boat in the water; 4) Whether, and how fast, the fish are moving relative to the vessel including current differences between fish depth and surface; 5) The depth of the fish (This is for fish of the same size, but the simple example is that any given fish at 20' will generate an arch twice as wide as that same fish at 10' all other variables being equal because it will "be in the cone" for twice as long).
 

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The 600w P66 is narrow at 200kHz with only a 10 degree cone. If you want to see "arches" for fish with a p66, you are better running it at 50kHz, which offers a 45 degree cone. Airmar offers a 1kw wide cone transducer that works with most brands. However it is an $1100+ transducer. Not really worth it in the bay. Besides the narrow beam can be better for bottom fishing in some conditions.

I was only recommending Airmar as they work with most brands. I dont know what the lowrance skimmer offers.
I have an AIRMAR B60 (a thru hull version of the P66). Will certainly show arches when using the 50khz setting. Seems to exaggerate the arches some and the
resolution is not as good. Otherwise a very good transducer!!!
 

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A Lowrance HST-DFSBL transducer, which is the skimmer transducer Lowrance commonly pairs with their HDS units, has a 12° cone on the 200KHz setting and a 35° cone on the 50KHz setting. All other factors being equal, this would produce an arch just about three times wider on the 50KHz setting than you would find for the same object on the 200KHz setting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, I have been doing quite a bit of research and I am beginning to lean towards the Simrad NSS7 Evo2. Does anyone have any experience with this unit or have any thoughts on it?
 

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I have a Garmin 1040 XS with an Airmar B175M transducer, this unit will read fish at 1500 ft. so far. Most of my fishing is done at 125 ft. plus. The chirp works great in deep water but having it in the bay is a waste. side scan and down scan are useless for me. The charts and navigation system is the best I have ever used. Every wreck and contour is shown better than past units I have owned. Total cost with transducer was $3700 installed, I sold my older Garmin 3010 C on ebay for $1000 including the G24 so for $2700 I have a great unit that should last for years.
 
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