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Some of the changes in ma­rine elec­tron­ics are evo­lu­tion­ary and are driven in no small part by the smart­phone in­dus­try. Screens are sharper with higher res­o­lu­tion. They’re brighter and more re­spon­sive to touch and ges­tures. The four mod­els in Lowrance’s la

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But the lat­est Ac­tive Imag­ing 3-in-1 takes side-scan­ning ca­pa­bil­i­ties to a new level, com­bin­ing Lowrance CHIRP with Sides­can and Down­scan Imag­ing. When com­bined with en­hanced Fishre­veal soft­ware, the unit dis­plays in­di­vid­ual fish with higher clar­ity and tar­get sep­a­ra­tion. You see ex­actly what fish are in the wa­ter – and where.

And there’s more. One draw­back of most sonar im­ages is that they’re static – they dis­play what was there a few sec­onds ago. But the new Livesight sonar now en­ables real-time views of even mov­ing items – you can see how fish re­act to a lure or how they re­late to struc­ture.

This re­quires a sep­a­rate for­ward-fac­ing trans­ducer, which can be com­bined with the Lowran­ce­point-1 GPS an­tenna to in­di­cate on the chart where the trans­ducer is pointed.

NEW CHART­ING CA­PA­BIL­I­TIES

Nav­ico merged with C-map in July this year, and although its de­vices still sup­port other chart­ing op­tions such as Navion­ics, it means there is now much closer in­te­gra­tion with the C-map fea­tures.

One of the best new fea­tures is Gen­e­sis Live, the abil­ity to en­hance your chart with real-time con­tour map­ping from your sonar – as you travel. This cre­ates higher-def­i­ni­tion maps, es­pe­cially use­ful in ar­eas where the ex­ist­ing charts are lack­ing de­tail.

The con­tours can be saved onto a sec­ond SD card in the plot­ter and can then be used to up­date the ex­ist­ing map. In fu­ture this data may be able to be up­loaded to cre­ate a so­cial map that can be shared with oth­ers, though this fea­ture is not presently avail­able.

ELITE TI2 STAND-ALONE FISHINDER/CHART­PLOT­TERS

Although the HDSLIVE range is fan­tas­tic, not ev­ery­one needs mul­ti­ple in­te­grated de­vices. The Elite Ti2 is a more af­ford­able stand­alone fishfinder/chart­plot­ter unit. The new range of 7-, 9- and 12-inch units now also in­cor­po­rate Ac­tive Imag­ing sonar, com­bin­ing CHIRP, Sides­can and Down­scan imag­ing with en­hanced Fishre­veal soft­ware to iden­tify your tar­get.

Blue­tooth call­ing and text no­ti­fi­ca­tions for your mo­bile phone are also built into the new Elites. Although mul­ti­ple dis­plays do not in­te­grate to­gether, a new wire­less fea­ture al­lows two Elite units to share the same sonar and chart data with­out re­quir­ing phys­i­cal ca­bling be­tween them.

EM­BARK MO­BILE APP

Since the ac­qui­si­tion of C-map, Nav­ico has also re­leased its maps in the form of an app us­able on a smart­phone, tablet or PC. Called Em­bark, this pro­vides ac­cess to the full C-map ma­rine chart for your area.

Bet­ter still, the app and maps are free if you are happy to use your mo­bile data to ac­cess them, with a very rea­son­able an­nual fee to down­load the maps for off­line use. The Em­bark app is avail­able from the Ap­ple store and Google Play, or view the web ver­sion at http://let­sem­bark.io

HALO 24 DOME RADAR

An­other in­no­va­tion is the Halo 24 Pulse Com­pres­sion radar sys­tem. A light­weight radome hides a 24-inch high-speed an­tenna which ro­tates at up to 60rpm. This means a re­fresh every sec­ond and it’s ex­cel­lent for high-speed and short-range track­ing, es­pe­cially use­ful in col­li­sion avoid­ance.

The Halo 24 also in­cor­po­rates the pro­pri­etary Ve­loc­i­ty­track Dop­pler tech­nol­ogy, for iden­ti­fy­ing ves­sels that are po­ten­tial col­li­sion haz­ards. The soft­ware clearly iden­ti­fies these in a con­trast­ing colour, en­abling the skip­per to iden­tify the im­por­tant tar­gets and ig­nore those that pose no risk.

The unit also pro­cesses mul­ti­ple ranges si­mul­ta­ne­ously to see both near and far. Other mod­els al­ter­nately process the two dif­fer­ent ranges – halv­ing the re­fresh rate.

Com­pat­i­ble with the lat­est MFDS from Sim­rad, Lowrance and B&G, the Halo 24 has sev­eral pre-pro­grammed modes that make it sim­ple to use. Sailors will like the weather radar mode for iden­ti­fy­ing weather pat­terns, while sports fish­er­men will likely go into Bird Mode to tar­get workups well be­yond vis­ual range.

JL AU­DIO MA­RINE

Nav­ico re­cently ex­panded its prod­uct range with a JL Au­dio dis­tri­bu­tion agree­ment for New Zealand and Aus­tralia. US com­pany JL Au­dio is known for its ro­bust, high-qual­ity ma­rine speak­ers, am­pli­fiers and head units.

Its Me­dia­mas­ter 100 is a weath­er­proof, fully-fea­tured au­dio source with AM/FM tuner, Blue­tooth and USB con­nec­tiv­ity to iphone or An­droid de­vices. IP66 rated and with a flush­mounted full colour dis­play, it nicely com­ple­ments the new MFD screens.

Nav­ico prod­ucts in­te­grate with all the ma­jor en­gine man­u­fac­turer’s sys­tems. BNZ

...most boat­ies use the same cou­ple of screens reg­u­larly...

ABOVE Ac­tive Imag­ing 3-in-1 com­bines Lowrance CHIRP with Sides­can and Down­scan imag­ing for un­prece­dented clar­ity.

BELOW The Elite T12 stand-alone GPS chart-plot­ter and sonar of­fers many of the fea­tures pre­vi­ously only avail­able in the more ex­pen­sive HDSLIVE range.

RIGHT The HDSLIVE range of MFDS boasts en­hanced high-def­i­ni­tion So­lar­max dis­plays view­able in di­rect sun­light and through po­larised sun­glasses.

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