Having recently spent time in the hospital visiting a relative, I was interested to learn that ultrasound and echocardiogram machines use the same technology that a fish finder uses. I find it fascinating that the technology that allows us to see the carotid artery, the heart muscle, or a baby in utero also lets us see the landscape and fish underneath the water. Just like the fish finder, ultrasound machines have transducers that provide essential information that would otherwise be unavailable to us.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to test out the Raymarine Element 7 HV with HV-100 Transducer fish finder. The technology on the fish finder is quite advanced, and as I read the instructions and specs, I couldn’t help but be reminded that we use such advanced technology of all kinds of important tasks in our lives.
The Raymarine Element 7 Fishfinder with Transducer combines four types of sonar technology to provide the best imaging available. The first type is 2D Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse (CHIRP) technology, which is the radar tech used by the military since the 1950s. CHIRP emits signals at different frequencies which allows for a clearer picture of what lies beneath the surface since different objects reflect different frequencies.
The other three types of sonar — DownVision Hyper, SideVision Hyper, and RealVision 3D Hyper — are structure scanning tools, which help serious anglers to understand the contours of the bottom, structure, and cover more fully. The three combined are known as Hypervision™ 1.2 Megahertz Super High-Resolution sonar technology. The images of vegetation, fish, and bottom that this sonar produces are almost photo-like in quality. The RealVision 3D, specifically, allows you to locate channels, ledges, and other structural features with precision.
The Raymarine fishfinder operates on three main frequencies: 200 kHz for the 2D CHIRP sonar, 350 kHz for the standard modes and 1.2 MHz for the hyper modes of the DownVision, SideVision, and RealVision 3D.. The HV-100 transom-mounted transducer uses a conical beam with a 900 foot depth range for the standard 2D sonar. For the DownVision, SideVision, and RealVision 3D, the transducer beams are oval-shaped. The down imaging range is 600 feet deep; the side imaging has a range of 300 feet deep; and the RealVision 3D has a 300 foot range as well. The Hypervision™ offers incredibly detailed images up to 100 feet.
The device is also a Chartplotter sporting a variety of navigation features. The Raymarine fishfinder has built-in twenty-eight channel GPS and is Global Navigation Satellite System (GLSS) compatible, allowing it to function with many different satellite navigation systems, including GLONASS, WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS, GAGAN, and QZSS. The unit can save up to 10,000 Waypoints or 200 Waypoint Groups, 150 Routes with each route having a 250 Waypoint Max, and up to 16 Tracks with 10,000 Max Track Points per track. The processor has 8 GB of memory to store waypoints and tracks.
The fish finder comes with Navionics+ Charts for the United States and Canada inland and coastal waters. It is also compatible with all of the charts in the Raymarine Chart store and has a Micro SD card slot that will allow you to add C-Map, Navionics, and Raymarine Lighthouse NC2 maps. The unit is also NMEA 2000, WiFi, and Bluetooth compatible, making it easy to connect with the other marine navigational tools that you might have on your boat.
Another feature, RealBathy™, allows you to create personalized bathymetric maps as you travel. Bathymetric maps are similar topographic maps, but the plot the depth of bodies of water. They also provide the contours of underwater features.
Usability and Design
The fish finder comes with a seven-inch high visibility Wide Video Graphics Array LCD screen, easily viewable in direct sunlight, has an 800H x 480V pixel resolution. It also comes with LED back-lighting to make it usable at night or in the brightest of sunlight.
While the unit does not have touch screen controls, the keypad is relatively easy to use. The controls are programmable, allowing the user to easily access one of three pages with up to six application combinations.
PROS and CONS
Despite the drawbacks mentioned above, the Raymarine Element 7 HV with HV-100 Transducer is a solid mid-range fish finder and Chartplotter unit. The technology is advanced, and the images are clear as can be.
It is amazing to realize the multiple uses for the technology in our world. The same tech that brings us answers to some of our greatest health mysteries by allowing us to see inside the human body also allows us some of the greatest recreational joys. I for one am glad that the transducer not only answers our medical questions but allows us to maximize our fishing trips.