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Just got back from the 07 Minnkota dealer thingy where you tour the plant and what not, and they also own Cannon downriggers and Humminbird.
The 987c si which I own and love to death is replaced in 07 with the 997c the main differences is that the regular 262khz and 455khz high resolution on the 987c has been added to with a full 800khz (early documentation said 600 but its definetely 800) for much better resolution, and the screen size was bumped from 7" to 8" (they basically ditched the grey border around the screen) so you can see what you are looking at better, plus most importantly for divers, with that new 800khz mode the max depth reccomended for optimal picture quality and viewing area (it actually goes deeper in reality) has been bumped from 100 feet to 150 feet meaning its the ideal tool for finding recretional depth dive sites and for alot more ocean fishing sites as well. That was peoples biggest gripe before.
It is a replacement for the 987 so it will have the same msrp for the most part (you can order it preloaded with navionics platinum maps now for a bit more or use them off a card like before) and all accessories for the 987 like the gps and weather sense work the same with the 997 (new transducer obviously though). The buttons have shuffled a bit for a new look but everything is still basically the same function.
Its not going to be available till late Feb but they already were backordered it sounds like, and they didn't even have them issued to the staff that were getting them for demos and the pro's yet so id say itll be a bit longer before everyone who wants one has one.
Now all I have to do is wait a year before I can pick up my 997 at a huge discount from the same place I got my 987 last fall. I'm clawing my eyes out in anticipaition, but at least I'll have the hang of this thing by then.
O and something else interesting I learned, GPS hates radar, itll blank out the gps every time it swings around if theyre on an even keel, so after we discussed it there we determined that if you have the dome type radar like some of the lowrance stuff ive seen in the past instead of that fiddly spinny type radar the best place to mount the GPS puck is actually on top of the damn radar dome itself since its apparently not bothered by it there, only if its acutally in the beam the radar shoots. Id love to try that out if I can ever afford radar.
150 feet. Damn, I'm out of excuses. That would work for me. I looked at the 987C and was real interested except for the sidescan ending at 100 fow. Okay then, what I want to know is from people who own and have used the 987C, how do you like it? Is it as easy to use and set up as it appears? Say your scanning at a depth of 100 feet. How wide of an area does it show? Good, bad, sucks, best thing since flip top beer? What?
I told everyone to give me bass pro gift cards for christmas. I'm anxiously waiting for the release. If only it would log to a computer so that it could be reviewed later. Bouncing around in bright sunlight makes it easy to miss smaller images. It is impressive.
I don't know why but I remember someone mentioning something about it recording video now instead of just stills but I could be wrong, hafta check. It would be recording to the little cards any which ways for later transfer to PC. It might have been an eventual free software update for later like the picture ability was which would mean the 987 would eventually get it too.
997 will be same as 987 for the most part controls wise, its a bit fiddley going through all the settings and screens until you learn what you want and program it into the 3 saved preset buttons, then its just a button push to change to your 3 favorite configs. I still haven't figured everything out yet but then I got lazy and just skimmed half the manual and then went out and played with it before the ice closed in, its got a series of drop down menus from the top like windows so its pretty easy to just fiddle around with it to learn the basics, but to really effectively use it ill hafta read the book.
I believe it changes with depth and possibly with which mode your in how much you can see and I forget the angle of the cones. Theres alot of conflicting info in these books because some is old stuff from 987 and some is new from 997 and the 997 data changed at some point and one diagram has different numbers than the paragraph next to it, but when playing with mine, I could see the ripples in the sand right at the edge of the water almost 90 degrees to the side with coverage all the way over in the other direction about the same but that was in shallow water, in deep water youd be looking across too much water column diagonally that high up in the beam so it wouldnt see the bottom way off.
The higher frequency will not help with depth, the limitation on depth display in sidescan mode is unchanged from the 987 which is also 150 feet. The the screen is not adjustable and what happens is the water column takes up more and more of the screen as you go deeper until the bottom is pushed off the screen right around 150 feet. The 800 hrtz will improve resolution at shallower depths but I have found that I have to shift to lower frequencies to get depth penetration.
Notice how this underwater mountain dissappears off the screen and remember that the depth readout is under the boat position which is the cursor at the top of the screen. On the scan in the pic above the depth at the bottom of the screen was over 130 feet and notice how little useful bottom is left on the screen. At 150 feet very little bottom is left, all you see is water and I don't think this is changed with the 997.
This is one of my favorites. The depth read out is under the boat, the actual depth of the wreck is at 90 to 110 feet. Side scan takes a lot of time to learn and to interpret. The newer 997 does have a video mode but I have no use for that really but I can see how some may want it. You can get 987c on closeout for around 1,000 dollars as I did much earlier this summer when the original announcement was made for the 997c. The 800 htz is going to be great for bass fisherman but not for divers. Seawater and deep water in general are going to require the lower frequencies in my experiance with these units. The wreck is 90 feet long, imagine how a 30 foot cruiser would appear--very small!!!!!!!! This is another limitation of the unit, the deeerr you go the larger the object needs to be to be seen well.
The also have a new small screen model for around 1200 dollars.
What would be useful would be a "bottom track" mode in side scan so you could eliminate the water column and thus shift the imaging area to the center increasing the viewable bottom. I don't think you guys understand that this is the primary depth limitation for practical reasons on both the 987 and 997 and this effectively limits both units to about 150 feet. I know y'all don't understand this and I did not at first.
If you look on the box both units say 100 feet if I recall but in the manual both units say 150 feet. These are increadble machines and they will only get better--when Generation III comes out I bet we get a bottom track in side scan. Both units do have bottom track or zoom in standard sonar and wow!!!!!!!!!, the standard sonar is super duper.
Humminbird got a bad rep many years ago as a discount unit sold in Wal Mart etc. They are no longer marketing exclusively to the low end user. Top line Humminbird units are the equal of any Lowrance or Garmin or whatever with many unique features and capabilities and good customer support.
The biggest advantage of the new Humminbird models which can save money is the built in Navionics charts for an extra 200 dollars. That is a big deal for the traveling boater who may boat the Great lakes, the Gulf and then trailer to So Cal, buying those charts one at time as for the 987 could cost hundreds of dollars more to the initial cost---kudos to Humminbird for this cost effective option--for just 200 more dollars you get them all built in. N
Ya I just learned the 150 thing myself, apparently the 987c is rated to 150 also but they decided on that after the manuals had been printed and so very few people seem to have heard that (including me obviously). Actually it seems that the only people inside humminbird even that really have a clue about either of the units is the people who work directly with them.
Its still unclear what the "movie" feature of the 997 is but I heard more mentioned about it. Not clear whats all involved in viewing that on a PC either.
Nemrod is right about the viewable bottom issue limiting depth, the other half of that is that the beam can only shoot so far and if the water is 150 feet deep then the most diagonal part of the beam would be shooting way the hell farther to reach the bottom and even with the current viewable area it starts to get less useable way off to the side. They would have to boost the range to boost the viewable area even with more bottom on the screen. A nice feature of the unit is the ability to narrow the viewed area off to each side and switch the view completely to one side or the other, that really helps figure out what your looking at some times
I have heard of people experimenting with custom long cables and transducers stuck on towed fish for these things but there was an issue with it not working right if the cable got too long. I don't know very much about that.
Basically its this or a unit that costs several times more I can be quite happy with this.
I would say if you have a 987c its not worth getting a 997 but maybe the next one after it, but if you don't have one then its a can you afford it sort of thing to decide between the 987 and the 997, clearance 987's are going to get really hard to find as everyone who wanted one and couldnt afford them before snaps them up.
I would love a bottom tracking mode, the water column is only useable for suspended stuff right under the boat anyways.