Rubber Duck loves her gadgets and she wanted to know what was underneath her rubber butt. Rocks or maybe something fishy worth eating? So she just installed a Lowrance Elite 7 HDI in the Blue Duck.
Price point in the mid range for a depth gauge, fish finder, Chart and GPS display. In 2014 it is amazing what these things can do for short money. Double the price and you can get side scan which will show inside the wheel house of the sunken wreck in 200 feet of water. Maybe in a few years we trade up.
So what does this unit do? In the display from left to right. First the overlay numbers gives 23 feet of water under the boat, the river is 45.3 F temp at the transducer mounted on the transom, and Blue Duck is putting along at 5.1 knots. The left most screen shows the track moving south past Wheeler Point. I haven’t loaded the Navionics “Gold” charts which will will give even higher chart resolution. The base map is pretty good though. All 53 green and red channel markers on the river are there if I forget how to stay in a channel. The middle screen is the “Fish Finder” sonar which in deeper water might show some fish “arches” when it sees an air bladder of a fish. The rightmost panel shows “Down Scan” sonar which displays a pretty remarkable view of the bottom. In the current view there is a bump in the bottom as we travelled from 20 to 25 feet deep. One can waypoint mark that bump by just moving the cursor back to the bump. Then by driving back and forth the bump is still there! It will be interesting to see how it displays a feature in 200 feet of water.
All in all a nice unit. It is dead simple to switch screens to all chart, or split two of the views. Disconnects easily for safe keeping. I spent the winter looking at the myriad possibilities and settled on this one for ease of use and features. This model has been out over a year so the bugs are all squashed and the software is version 3.0 (I hate version 1.00 in any software.) The real compass on the console still works and the paper charts are within reach but I might be able to retire the sextant and throw away the Loran C charts. (Do they even broadcast Loran anymore?)
-Paul Morrison and RD (RD will hire out to string transducer wire. She thought it was fun.)