Plotters MFDS Rradar

Simrad Broadband Radar Comparison

Practical Sailor has been following the developments of Simrads broadband radar since the BR24s debut in 2009. Just as we were setting up a 3G BR24 for field testing, Navico (Simrads parent company) announced the release of the BR24 4G, which promised greater range and better target resolution at close range. A head-to-head test comparing the 3G and 4G broadband radar was impossible to pass up. Testers also compared the units to traditional pulse radar. Our test location just north of Sydney, Australia, was at the southern end of an ocean anchorage for large commercial vessels, about 600 feet long. Using a Simrad NSS7 for a display, we worked 7 nautical miles offshore to ensure the radar had a good view of the ships.

Touchscreen plotter-sounder test: Simrad NSS7 vs. Raymarine e7D

Practical Sailor recently had the opportunity to take a long-term look at the Simrad NSS7 multi-function display from Navico, and we compared it to a similar unit from Raymarine, the e7D. The test focused on the same elements as our past reviews of the Garmin 740s and Ray e7D chartplotter-sounders: installation, screen visibility, environmental tests, and plotter and sounder functions.

Raymarine e7 vs. Garmin 740s plotter-sounders

Practical Sailor evaluated the Garmin 740s chartplotter-sounder and other similar sized plotter-sounders in the November 2011 issue. For this follow-up report, we took a close look at the new Raymarine e7D. The Garmin 740s and the Ray e7D are similar in size, and both have a baseline plotter with sounder functionality, but the e7D has many new capabilities that include WiFi and Bluetooth interfaces witth mobile computing devices such as iPads and iPhones. The e7D is also capable of being fully networked with the other members of the new Raymarine chartplotter family and the C- and E-series widescreen units, while the Garmin 740s was designed as a standalone, multi-function display system.

Raymarine’s WiFi Advantage

Raymarine has re-defined onboard interface with WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities in its new MFDs. Using an iPad or iPhone (Version 4 or newer), a Kindle Fire Tablet, or any Android Smartphone or Tablet, users can stream the e7D display to these devices using the RayView free app downloadable from iTunes, Amazon, or the Google Play Android store. This allows you to use these devices as a second display.

Raymarine’s WiFi Advantage

Raymarine has re-defined onboard interface with WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities in its new MFDs. Using an iPad or iPhone (Version 4 or newer), a Kindle Fire Tablet, or any Android Smartphone or Tablet, users can stream the e7D display to these devices using the RayView free app downloadable from iTunes, Amazon, or the Google Play Android store. This allows you to use these devices as a second display.

PS Tests the Fish-finding Factor of Compact Plotter-sounders

In the November 2011 issue, we compared the chart-plotting features of four small-screen plotter-sounders from Garmin, Humminbird, Lowrance, and Raymarine. In this article, we look at the fundamental sounder functions of five plotter-sounders, priced from $700 to $1,500. The high-end products in this test, the Raymarine A70D and the Garmin 740S, have larger, high-resolution screens, can handle 3D charts, and are designed to network with wind instruments and autopilots. The smaller units were the Lowrance Elite-5, the Humminbird 788ci, and the Humminbird 798ci SI, which has side-imaging capability; these are marketed mostly to anglers. Units were tested for screen visibility, sounding capabilities, and user-interface.

PS Tests Small-screen Plotter-sounders

Practical Sailor tested four small-screen chartplotter-sounder combo units priced from $700 to $1,500: Raymarine A70D, Garmin 740S, Lowrance Elite-5, and the Humminbird 798si. While there was a disparity in what features the units offer, the plotter-sounders were similar in terms of the GPS-based functions. Testers looked at ease of installation, ease of use, screen visibility, resistance to fogging, and water/spray resistance. They also compared features including price, man-overboard functions, waypoint and route storage, available charts, chart interface, and user interface. This article focuses on the electronics' chartplotter capabilities. The December issue will include the report on the devices' sounder functions.

Plotter-sounders Undergo a Battery of Tests

Fogging screens, water intrusion, poor visibility in bright sunlight, and slow redraw rates are the most common complaints we get regarding plotter-sounders. Better construction, new screen technology, and faster processors in our current crop of units seems to have addressed these issues. None of our products experienced serious problems during our environmental testing. Our tests focused on four key elements:

Chandlery: June 2011

Although the ease and convenience of electronic chartplotters has ensured their place aboard most every vessel these days, the punch-and-go navigation that makes them so popular has also spawned a generation of slack-jawed zombies when it comes to even the most rudimentary of navigational skills. Prudent mariners continue to carry paper charts, both as backup to chartplotters (and their “one diode away from disaster” nature) and to have the big picture view that a plotter just can’t match.

Marine Electronics: Practical Sailor Tests Portable Depth Sounders

Ordinarily Practical Sailor is loathe to apply a $100 battery-operated solution to a problem easily solved with a chunk of lead and some 3/8-inch line. However, portable depth sounders take the leadline to the next level. Resembling small flashlights, these handheld sounders are designed to be portable, easy to use, and reliable. They are good tools for probing creeks and narrow passes in a dinghy, and also can serve as backups to a primary sounder. This series of tests took a look at the Hawkeye 22PX from Norcross Marine and the Speedtech Depthmate SM-5A. On-the-water testing comprised a series of six tests in specific locations. Each unit was tested in murky shallow waters with a soft mud bottom; moderately clear waters with grass bottom; and clear waters with sand bottom. Testers also evaluated whether the sounders could read through hull materials, their durability and waterproofness, and whether their digital displays could be read in bright sunlight and at night.

Bargain-priced Sailing Clothes for Cold Weather

The first breath of autumn rolled across the North American continent this month, reminding us all that summer’s end is fast upon us. And since this summer was such a bust for many sailors who had the season cut short by the COVID-19 restrictions, you are probably not the only one who looked across the harbor last week and thought, “I better put on another layer.”