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Product Tutorials > Fish Finder Tutorial >

Simrad Fishfinder Sonars Tutorial




Choosing the sonar technology that is best for you

 

A quality sonar is one of the most important pieces of technology any vessel should be equipped with. Helping you to find fish, structure, or the bottom composition, sonar is a versatile tool that will enhance your boating experience. 

There are three parts to any sonar system: display, sonar module, and transducer. While you view and interact with the display, your sonar module generates and processes sonar signals. These signals are broadcast into the water column and their echoes received by one or more transducers, each designed to work with a specific sonar technology and frequency. 
 

Types of Sonar

 

A quality echosounder is one of the most important pieces of technology any vessel should be equipped with.

 

Today’s recreational boaters have access to a fantastic selection of sonar technologies, each enabling a different underwater view. Whether you want to find fish, avoid running aground, or explore submerged structure with a stunning 3D view, understanding the available technologies helps you to make the right buying decisions when you’re ready to outfit your boat.

 

StructureScan® 3D Imaging

The latest in Simrad sonar technology, StructureScan 3D imaging scans underwater terrain and fish-holding structure to create a high-resolution, three-dimensional view beneath the water. As well as making it faster than ever to locate structures and changes in bottom layout, 3D imaging makes it possible to examine those features in detail without venturing beneath the water.

The view offered by StructureScan 3D is like a virtual underwater camera and show where features lie in relation to your vessel. You can also choose to pan, tilt and rotate the virtual camera manually in ScanTrack™ control mode, to explore your surroundings from any angle you choose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

StructureScan® HD Imaging

StructureScan HD combines high-frequency DownScan and SideScan sonar imaging technologies to create a picture-like view beneath the water, great for finding submerged structure and changes in bottom layout. By providing a panoramic view out to the side of your boat, StructureScan greatly reduces the time it takes to find fish-holding structure, promising anchorages, and other underwater features of interest.

In addition to StructureScan’s top-down perspective, DownScan overlay combines downward-looking imagery with the output from your CHIRP sonar, painting structure in striking detail while reliably picking out individual fish targets. StructureMap overlays SideScan imagery on your display’s chart page, offering a detailed view of submerged structure as it relates to your position.

The specialised StructureScan HD transducer offers selectable 455 kHz operation for maximum imaging range, and 800 kHz for maximum imaging resolution. A dedicated StructureScan port is included on SonarHub™ Sounder Modules, and on NSS evo2 displays with built-in sonar.

 

CHIRP Sonar

CHIRP sonar is a powerful bottom-tracking and fish-finding tool. By continuously sweeping through a range of frequencies, CHIRP exceeds many common limitations of single-frequency broadband sonar. While it produces the same side-on echosounder view, CHIRP offers substantially less noise and greater target separation – for example, the ability to discern individual baitfish within a school, or to see multiple closely-spaced game fish that may appear as one target on a broadband sounder.

As with broadband sonar, CHIRP transducers are available in a range of frequencies to suit different depths and applications. Simrad SonarHub™ modules and NSS evo2 displays are also capable of delivering CHIRP functionality using conventional single-frequency transducers, allowing easy and cost-effective retrofit of CHIRP technology into vessels currently wired for broadband sonar.

  • Low CHIRP
    Accurately track the bottom in deep water (compatible with 50 kHz single-frequency transducers)
  • Medium CHIRP
    Greater resolution than Low CHIRP, with minimal loss of depth penetration (compatible with 83 kHz single-frequency transducers)
  • High CHIRP
    High resolution, for the greatest image quality in shallow water (compatible with 200 kHz single-frequency transducers)

Dual-channel CHIRP transducers, exclusively compatible with the Simrad BSM-3 Broadband Sounder module, are able to sweep two frequency ranges simultaneously. For example, this offers the ability to scan the upper water column in high resolution with High CHIRP, while at the same time employing Low CHIRP for superior bottom tracking.

 

Simrad Broadband Sonar (50/83/200 kHz)

This essential sonar technology is great for tracking depth, finding schools of baitfish, and displaying predator fish in the water column directly beneath your boat. Broadband sonar offers a traditional side-on echosounder view, with ‘fish arches’ formed as fish pass through the downward-facing sonar beam.

Broadband sonar relies on sonar 'pings' and echoes on a single frequency, dictated by your choice of transducer. Most transducers are designed to operate at one of the frequencies below, while 'dual frequency' transducers let you select either of two supported frequencies to best suit your current situation.

Available frequencies include:

  • 50 kHz (Low Frequency)
    High power, ideal for bottom tracking in deep water
  • 83 kHz (Medium Frequency)
    Wide coverage area, useful when searching for structure or tracking bait in shallower water
  • 200 kHz (High Frequency)
    High resolution, for the greatest image quality and easy fish tracking in shallow water

The Simrad Broadband Advantage
The more power a single-frequency echosounder can put behind its ping, the stronger the echoes received from the bottom and other submerged targets. That should mean greater depth penetration, and better target detection. However, more power also means more noise in the image – making it harder for you to identify targets on screen. Simrad Broadband sonar uses less power, but varies its ping in a way that actually puts more energy into the water overall. This means greater image quality, with less image noise than conventional single-frequency sounders.

 

ForwardScan® Sonar

This forward-looking sonar provides a clear two-dimensional image of the bottom in front of your vessel, allowing you to navigate shallow or poorly-charted waters with a greater degree of safety.

ForwardScan offers:

  • A maximum forward view of 8X your current depth
    e.g. at 3m (10ft) depth, see up to 24m (80ft) ahead
  • A nominal forward view of 4-5X your current depth
    e.g. At 3m (10ft) depth, see 12-15m (40-50ft) ahead

ForwardScan output can be viewed as a solid 2D rendering of the bottom ahead of your vessel in sonar view, or integrated with the heading line on your display’s navigation page as colour-coded segments representing deep, medium and shallow water. This provides constant awareness of the depth ahead, and allows easy comparison of measured and charted depths.

The specialised ForwardScan transducer operates at 180 kHz to reduce interference with traditional 200kHz echosounders. It connects to the StructureScan port on Simrad NSS evo2 displays, and on SonarHub™ sounder modules. In order to use both StructureScan and ForwardScan sonar simultaneously, two sonar modules are required; on NSS evo2 systems with built-on sonar, this means just one external sonar module, plus the built-in StructureScan port.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transducer Mounting

 

A sonar transducer forms the link between your Simrad display or sonar module and the water.

 

Transducers act as both a powerful speaker and a sensitive microphone, transmitting sonar signals into the water and listening for echoes returned from the bottom and other submerged targets.

Most transducers must be exposed directly to the water in order to function; common installations involve mounting through a hole drilled in your hull, transom-mounting below the waterline, or external mounting in a specially designed keel or hull pocket. Alternatively, solid fiberglass hulls permit the use of in-hull tank mounted or ‘shoot-thru-hull’ transducers, which are mounted on the inside surface of the hull and fire a sonar signal straight through to the water below.

Your boat’s hull type will determine the transducer mounting styles available to choose from. Selecting the right style then means finding your ideal balance between transducer performance, vessel performance, installation cost and complexity.

Thru-Hull Tilted Element

These transducers mount through a hole drilled in any fiberglass, metal or wooden hull, with the outside of the fitting flush against the exterior hull surface. Inside the fitting, the transducer’s active elements are permanently tilted to match your hull’s deadrise, ensuring the sonar beam is aimed straight down.

The flush-mount design of these transducers allows for smooth water flow over the hull, meaning less drag and minimal effect on boating performance. However, tilted-element transducers may be susceptible to performance loss due to external factors.

 

Thru-Hull with Fairing

These common transducers are mounted on a stem that passes through a hole drilled in any fiberglass, metal or wooden hull. The transducer protrudes beyond the hull surface, secured inside a fairing block cut to adjust for hull deadrise while allowing the smoothest possible water flow.

Thru-hull transducers with a fairing block tend to offer the most reliable and accurate sonar performance. However, drag caused by the protruding transducer can negatively affect boat speed and fuel efficiency.

Stainless steel transducers are recommended for metal hulls, and bronze transducers for wooden hulls; either type may be installed in a fiberglass hull.

 

Transom Mount

Transom mount transducers are affixed to the stern of your vessel, where smooth water flow is passing off the transom. This mounting style offers the simplest installation and maintenance, without requiring any holes to be drilled beneath the waterline. Installed on a bracket, the transducer can be easily adjusted to compensate for transom angle; many brackets also allow the transducer to be folded up and out of the way for safe trailering.

Designed for smaller outboard and inboard/outboard boats, these transducers are well suited to planing hulls. Installed in the proper location, transom-mounted transducers can offer high reliability with minimal effect on vessel performance.

 

Chest Mount

Chest mount transducers are installed inside a small box attached to the outside of your vessel, with the active face and sides of the transducer exposed to the water. A small hole must be drilled in the hull to allow the transducer cable to enter via a stem or stuffing tube.

Most commonly used aboard offshore commercial vessels, this fully-external mounting style has the greatest impact on vessel performance and is unsuitable for high-speed powerboats.

 

Pocket/Keel Mount

These transducers are installed within a small custom pocket in your vessel’s hull or keel, flush to the surface. Though retrofit installation is possible, these transducers are most commonly mounted in vessels where a suitable pocket is supplied pre-cut by the boat builder.

Pocket or keel-mounted transducers provide reliable and accurate sonar performance, with some impact to boat speed and fuel efficiency. As a common alternative, thru-hull transducers with a fairing block deliver comparable sonar performance and vessel impact.

 

In-Hull Tank Mount

Only suitable for solid fiberglass hulls, in-hull or "shoot-thru-hull" transducers don’t require a hole to be drilled for installation. The transducer is mounted in a liquid-filled tank inside your vessel, bonded to the inner surface of the hull, and transmits sonar signals through the hull without direct exposure to the water. Great for trailer boats, there’s no external hardware to be damaged during trailering, launch and retrieval.

In-hull mounting means no added drag, and thus no impact to your boat’s speed or fuel efficiency. Expect reliable sonar performance at high speed, as water isn’t constantly moving over the face of the transducer. However, transmitting and receiving through the hull limits maximum sonar depth and fish-finding capabilities compared to thru-hull, transom, or other in-water installations.

 

 

 

Sonar Compatibility

 

There are three parts to any sonar system: display, sonar module, and transducer.

 

While you view and interact with the display, your sonar module generates and processes sonar signals. These signals are broadcast into the water column and their echoes received by one or more transducers, each designed to work with a specific sonar technology and frequency.

Built-in Sonar

Some Simrad multifunction displays include a built-in sonar module, allowing compatible transducers to be connected directly to the display.

External Modules

Displays without built-in sonar features require an external sonar module, such as the Simrad SonarHub™ Sounder Module or BSM-3 Broadband Sounder. These modules connect to your display by Ethernet, and provide ports for one or more transducers.

Sonar Technology By Multi-function Display


 

NSS7 evo2
NSS9 evo2
NSS12 evo2
NSS16 evo2

NSS7m evo2
NSS9m evo2
NSO evo2

GO7

Broadband Sonar

Built-in

SonarHub™ or
BSM-3 module required

Built-in

CHIRP Sonar

StructureScan® HD Imaging

SonarHub™ or
StructureScan® 3D
module required

Built in
(DownScan only)

ForwardScan® Sonar

SonarHub™ module
required

N/A

StructureScan® 3D Imaging

StructureScan® 3D module required

 N/A

 

Sonar Technology by Module

 

SonarHub™ Sounder Module

BSM-3 Broadband Sounder

StructureScan® 3D Module

Broadband Sonar

Yes

Yes

No

CHIRP Sonar

Yes

Yes (Dual-Channel)

No

StructureScan® HD Imaging

Yes

No

Yes

ForwardScan® Sonar

Yes

No

No

StructureScan® 3D Imaging

No

No

Yes

 

 

Fishfinders

Perfect for sportfishing enthusiasts and charters, all-in-one Simrad fish finders include a built-in Broadband Sounder™ module with CHIRP technology. These dedicated sounders are a perfect way to equip passengers with powerful fish-finding tools that work independently from your navigation displays, autopilot, and other safety-critical systems.

S2009 Fish Finder

Part # 000-12185-001

The Simrad S2009 Fish Finder combines CHIRP-enabled Broadband Sounder™ sonar with a 9-inch portrait display for maximum vertical detail, and intuitive keypad-driven operation for reliable control in all conditions. This dedicated echosounder integrates seamlessly with multifunction display and Simrad glass bridge systems, while offering charter captains and long-range sportfishing vessels the reliability of a self-contained sonar platform. Robust yet compact, the S2009 supports either bracket or flush-mount installation for an easy fit aboard any vessel.

Key Features

  • Dedicated fish finder with integrated Broadband Sounder™ module and CHIRP technology
  • High depth penetration and ping speed
  • Vertical heave compensation
  • 9-inch portrait display
  • High brightness ideal for outside installation
  • See clearly with White Line, White Marker, and Colour Erase features
  • Simple operation with 8 direct-access menu keys
  • Bracket and flush mounting options (bracket included)
  • Ethernet, NMEA0183 & NMEA2000 connectivity*

*Simrad Commercial S2009 and S2016 products currently only support limited Ethernet networking capabilities to Simrad BSM-2 and BSM-3 sounders. Full Ethernet networking to the Simrad line of Displays and ECDIS, as well as the SonarHub sounder module will be implemented in the RTM2 software release expected delivery June 2016.

S2016 Fish Finder

Part # 000-12187-001

The Simrad S2016 Fish Finder combines CHIRP-enabled Broadband Sounder™ sonar with a 16-inch widescreen display for an extensive on-screen history, and intuitive keypad-driven operation for reliable control in all conditions. This dedicated echosounder integrates seamlessly with multifunction displays and Simrad glass bridge systems, while offering charter captains and long-range sportfishing vessels the reliability of a self-contained sonar platform. The robust S2016 supports either bracket or flush-mount installation for an easy fit aboard any vessel.

Key Features

  • Dedicated fish finder with integrated Broadband Sounder™ module and CHIRP technology
  • High depth penetration and ping speed
  • Vertical heave compensation
  • 16-inch HD widescreen display
  • HDMI output for mirrored secondary display
  • See clearly with White Line, White Marker, and Colour Erase features
  • Simple operation with 8 direct-access menu keys
  • Bracket and flush mounting options (bracket included)
  • Ethernet, NMEA0183 & NMEA2000 connectivity*

*Simrad Commercial S2009 and S2016 products currently only support limited Ethernet networking capabilities to Simrad BSM-2 and BSM-3 sounders. Full Ethernet networking to the Simrad line of Displays and ECDIS, as well as the SonarHub sounder module will be implemented in the RTM2 software release expected delivery June 2016.

S5100 Sounder with CHIRP

Part # 000-13260-001

The S5100 high-performance CHIRP sonar module features three fully independent channels able to deliver high-resolution sonar coverage across multiple depth ranges, precision-focused for offshore sportfishing anglers. Simultaneous split-screen viewing capability puts you in complete control of the water column, while advanced processing technology allows you to fish with noise-free clarity at all depth ranges without ever losing bottom depth tracking. Mix and match your favourite transducer coverage and transmit power for wide and narrow beam-widths to reveal more fish, detecting small and tightly spaced fish and identifying thermoclines; or adjust specific CHIRP frequencies from 28 to 250 kHz to precisely target specific depths producing big, crisp arches with clear target separation.

Key Features

  • Three fully independent sonar channels deliver high-resolution coverage
  • Noise-free clarity at all depth ranges
  • Combine any three frequency ranges to target multiple depths, including Ultra-Low, Low, Medium, or High CHIRP
  • Compatible with wide-angle CHIRP transducers for greater coverage of the water column
  • Simultaneous split-screen viewing of multiple depth ranges on your display
  • Maximum depth of 3,000 metres / 10,000 feet (transducer dependent)
  • Easy to install with three plug-and-play 9-pin transducer connectors
  • Compatible with Simrad NSS evo3 and NSS evo2 multifunction displays, NSO evo2 systems, and S2000-series fish finders
  •  

BSM-3 Broadband Sounder with CHIRP

Part # 000-11742-001

Designed for professionals and serious sportfishing enthusiasts, the BSM-3 is a high performance, dual-channel broadband sounder with CHIRP technology. Its 3,000m (10,000ft) working range means you can venture further offshore, with the confidence to find the fish you’re looking for.

The BSM-3 is built for tough offshore conditions, with rugged all-aluminum housing. New transducer connectors make installation and service easier than ever, with no need to open the case or wire anything by hand when using Airmar’s latest range of transducers.

Key Features

  • Dual Channel CHIRP with Ultra‐Low, Low, Medium, or High Frequencies, to suit your style of fishing and the species you target
  • Industry leading target separation and clarity make the echosounder image easier to interpret
  • Easy to install: Transducer connectors on housing minimize installation complexity
  • Easy to Use: Automatic settings optimized for everyday performance; manual settings for finer tuning
  • Compatible with Wide Angle Transducers, with wider cone‐angles for greater coverage of the water column
  •  

NSS evo3 Multifunction Displays

NSS evo3 includes built-in
GoFree® Wi-Fi,
true dual-channel CHIRP sonar,
and much more.

Navigate, take control, and enjoy an unprecedented level of built-in functionality with NSS evo3. SolarMAX™ HD display technology delivers exceptional clarity and ultra-wide viewing angles, combined with an all-weather touchscreen and expanded keypad for total control in all conditions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GO Series

The GO XSE Series offers true ease of use with intuitive touchscreen controls that smartphone and tablet users will find instantly familiar. Tap to create or select waypoints, pinch to zoom, or tap and drag to pan smoothly across charts. Simple home screen and menu layouts make all functions quickly accessible, with large and clearly-captioned icons that are easy to recognise and tap.

GO5 XSE

 - 5-inch flush or bracket mount
 - Autopilot control
 - Multi-touch Widescreen display
 - Full-featured chartplotter
 - SonicHub®2 ready
 - TripIntel™ technology
 - High-speed 10 Hz GPS receiver
 - Broadband echosounder with CHIRP
 - Built-in ForwardScan™ sonar*
 - Built-in StructureScan® imaging*
 - NMEA 2000® compatible
 - Built-in Wi-Fi**

 

GO7 XSE

 - 7-inch flush or bracket mount
 - Autopilot control
 - Multi-touch Widescreen display
 - Full-featured chartplotter
 - SonicHub®2 ready
 - TripIntel™ technology
 - High-speed 10 Hz GPS receiver
 - Broadband echosounder with CHIRP
 - Built-in ForwardScan™ sonar*
 - Built-in StructureScan® imaging*
 - NMEA 2000® compatible
 - Built-in Wi-Fi**

 

GO9 XSE

 - 9-inch flush or bracket mount
 - Integrated Radar Display
 - Autopilot control
 - Multi-touch Widescreen display
 - Full-featured chartplotter
 - SonicHub®2 ready
 - TripIntel™ technology
 - High-speed 10 Hz GPS receiver
 - Broadband echosounder with CHIRP
 - Built-in ForwardScan™ sonar*
 - Built-in StructureScan® imaging*
 - NMEA 2000® compatible
 - Built-in Wi-Fi**

 






  
       


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