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I am thinking about a new fish finder and possibly GPS combo. I searched the archives and didn't see anything related to the following questions, I really did.

1. Is there a single specification or set of specifications that I should be looking for that help in targeting gators?

2. Are there any draw backs to the dual frequency transducers when used in shallower waters, other than cost? I spend most of my time in the Columbia.

3. Does anyone have experience with the add-on maps for the Columbia? I am interested in knowing if they show the outline of the shipping channel. I want to be close to the channel but not in it. If you can believe it, I don't like playing chicken with the ships.
 

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Lowrance X-15 f/f and GPS. A little spendy. I have one and love it. So sensitive you can see the crabs walking on the bottom :grin: It comes with CD to download/upload the entire US to the unit.

[ 05-26-2003, 08:43 AM: Message edited by: lipripper ]
 

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There's a bunch of GPS stuff in the archives and on the Salty dogs board. I don't know if you'll find much on specifications though. I'd look for something that has 3000 watts, since that will ensure a good signal and I'd look for 320 or greater pixels, to provide detail on the screen. For targetting gators, you'll mainly be looking for bottom structure.

A dual frequency transducer gives you the option of a wider signal cone in shallower water or a narrower cone in deeper water. The wide cone (200 kHz) will usually up to 35 degrees of view and will be effective to a few hundred feet. The narrower cone (50 kHz) will penetrate to a few thousand feet with about a 10 degree cone angle. A single frequency transducer will usually split the difference with about a 20 degree signal cone that will penetrate several hundred feet effectively. Depending on the manufacturer and unit you choose there will be some variation in the transducers available.

Add on maps, to be effective, require very frequent updates, especially on the Columbia. The official charts are updated through Local Notice to Mariners releases as often as a couple times a week as sand bars shift and buoys are maintained. The maps that come with mapping GPS units will show most of the navigation aids, but won't show depths or channel ranges. If you upgrade your mapping software, you still won't have sufficient detail to avoid commercial traffic, since conditions and individual decisions won't be part of the map. Shipping channels are not cast in stone. The center line may be shown as a "range", but the variation to the sides is not distinct.

There are some neat new units on the market. The Eagle FishElite 320 is a single frequency GPS/Sounder that's well priced. Also, Lowrance LMS 320DF is a nice, dual frequency GPS/Sounder that has really brought the price down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, the lower cost units are the ones I have been looking at very hard. The color X-15 I have been lusting after for a few years now. I just haven't come up with a good reason to plunk down that much change.

Pete, I agree the maps won't help an individual, in making the right decisions. The maps may reinforce the decisions made either good or bad.

Thanks again for the sharing of wisdom.
 

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Pete is right on with the sonar aspect of the equation. In the right conditions you can pick out sturgeon on the bottom but usually only if hovering

GPS systems are as good as the software that you buy. I have a handheld unit the contains mapping software better(I had to update as well) than most folks running high end x-16 and X-15 units unless they upgrade their units with software.

I trust with some margin of error the demarcations that are applied to the charts. the actual charts that we can get our hands on are almost exactly what shows up on my GPS screen with depth contours and hazards to navigation, but are subject to the USACE update cycles for bathymetry. the numbers that appear on most paper charts are to be used as a guideline and when they show up on my GPS they are reasonably accurate. but 5 ft either way on some obstacles and you will run aground or not even know that there was an obstacle.

So... I mostly agree with Pete but the additional software available now for some units will show you what you are looking for with contours and permanent obstacles with known boundaries for shipping lanes and anchorages.
 

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the X-15 is good (we have one), but I think that the older LMS-350A was a heck of a lot better machine. Some of the operations that are constantly used were a single button instead of going through menus like a PC. The only prob witht he LMS-350A was that it didn't have that cool mapping feature. If you could find an old 350A, you might be better off in my opinion. Just my $0.02! :grin:
 

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I just put the Furuno GP1650F on my boat.
So far I really like it. Duel trans 50K & 200K
great sonar and gps with chart cards.
.02$ worth :cheers:
 

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I was looking for a place to post my thoughts on this stuff. I would seriously consider Garmin. Their new Bluechart software is the best on the market. It works with their newer plotters and depthfinders and is the best charting software availible. CMAP NT and the others only will got down to a certain resolution before they gray out and not display any features. Bluechart will intropolate down to 200', keeping the features on the chart.

As other posters on this thread said, freighters don't always follow the marked channels exactly, but the ability to still chart shallow edges along the river while being able to zoom back out to see the channels is a great feature. Also the Garmin combo plotter/depthfinder units will input realtime depths on your waypoints. This is a great feature as you can chart an area by making waypoints and transfering it to your PC.

The Bluechart PC software is the easiest to use and transfering waypoints from your GPS is a snap. Garmin's website and hotline are excellent. They have answered most of my questions about Bluecharts capabilities. The only other system that has the power of Bluechart is Nobeltec but it is thousands more to buy.
 

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Mr. Carp the New lowrance 320 is pretty similar to the 350A.

Screen size is a major thing to consider. Pixels should be considered too. Color screens are useful but not necessary.

I know there must be a few of those 350As out there. I love mine. The sonar is almost intuitive and adjust to almost any condition quickly and automatically. It can see to 1500 ft offshore unless the layer is really strong. In the river I get plenty of detail and can see fish that are near the bottom as arches. This plastic box is a major factor in the sturgeon holes I have found and the 70 or 80 fish days we have in the winter.

The GPS is 12 channel and never drops out like the first 5 channel unit often did.

The best part is the numeric keypad. I watch my friends try to get a waypoint off the radio by drilling down through windows and key pokes. I can just type it in and skip writing it down.

You can find this unit on Ebay. There are no maps and it is key programmable only, no link to the PC.

Someday I will upgrade but till then I'm keeping the plastic jesus on the dashboard where it belongs.

[ 05-28-2003, 08:44 AM: Message edited by: Pilar ]
 

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Amen Sensei-san
....

I have that on my handheld. gps map 76s. Better charting software than the stock furuno cards. I love my new toy except it eats batteries. Nobletec is sweet looking I saw it on my tour of Popeyes boat. Garmin is very proud of their software at $139.00 for the bluecharts. if you have a laptop you can plug it in and run the unit while charting your course via the laptop and making routes and waypoints at the same time.

Very cool :cool: toys
 

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I think it is time for plastic Jesus to meet Bluechart on a Garmin 182. As for battery life, Duracell Ultra gives better battery life but a power cable is the best. I think Garmin makes a combo battery cable and PC link cable for the GPSmap 76s. I bought an etrex so that I could play with the Bluechart software... man is it a pain to stare at a postage stamp sized map. But it works great in a car.
 

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O.K. guys Im confused about the frequency and cone angle on fish finders...A few months ago I thought it was just like what Pete explained, but in my research to buy a new finder I found that I was wrong or at least according to Lowrance I was wrong.

Here's my story.....I wanted to buy a new Lowrance X-98DF (50/200 kHz dual-frequency) 37 degree 12 degree, then buy their switch and a 20 degree transducer (200 kHz) then I thought that I would have all bases covered (12, 20, and 37 degree cones) I thought 37 degree for shallow water wide view while sitting on anchor , 20 degree for semi deep water, narrow view but see deep and the 12 degree, narrowest for deepest water.

So I called Lowrance and talked to one of their product specialist to make sure that it would work (the switch and extra transducer) they told me it would work but not to waste my money on the dual frequency and the extra transducer, that I would be very unhappy with the DF if I was going to fish in water under 300 feet deep most of the time (I do---the Columbia and near shore big blue)

So I ask if the 50 kHz narrow cone would show more detail for Sturgeon in holes just over 100 feet deep (still wanting DF) and they tell me that the 50 kHz deep frequency is the 37 degree cone and will show very little detail but will see the bottom at 3000 feet..I say what? thats backwards and they say no thats right, you better read our sonar tutorial, so I do and it says just what the product specialist told me...They also told me that the X-97 200kHz 20 degree single frequency would show me much more of the bottom with high detail ( that 300 feet thing) then the 200kHz 12 degree cone of the DF would (very small spot in shallow water). So I bought the X- 97 200kHz 20 degree...I do love it but I still wonder if I am missing out???

Even the West Marine advisor said that under 300 feet (I think 300 feet-don't remember) that the single frequency is the best.

Take a look at the Frequency Page, is Lowrance wrong?

I guess what they are telling me is that the DF finders are for deep Salt water, the 12 degree 200kHz cone will see deep but a very small spot on the bottom in shallow water 300 feet and under and 37 degree 50 kHz will see very deep (and shallow) but no detail.

So in shallow in shore waters the 200 kHz 20 degree cone is best..Bigger spot on the bottom lots of detail. Lowrance says my X-97 3000 watts can see to 1000 feet..but I've also been told 1500 feet who knows?

I guess Lowrance must be serious about it because I was willing to spend $170.00 extra to get it set up the way I wanted it and they talked very hard to get me to not spend the extra money????
Go figure???

[ 05-29-2003, 05:33 PM: Message edited by: Wright Angle ]
 
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