Snowy Florida Winter Fishing

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Simrad Halo Radar on Dual Range

I have been learning the features of the new Simrad electronics we installed on the FNP.  One of the features I like best is the dual range set up for the Halo radar.  This allows you to run two separate instances of the radar simultaneously at two different ranges.  For example, you can have one on 1/8 mile looking very close to the boat for buoys or other items and another at say 2 miles to give you a better big picture view.  Or perhaps you want one in at 1-3 miles to watch for boats, buoys, etc…, and the other at 24 miles watching the weather.

What is particularly cool is that the digital radar is tuning for both ranges to optimize the returns you are showing at those ranges.  Its not just a zoomed in picture of the same radar return.

While you can also select two different modes for the radar such as bird mode, harbor mode, weather mode, or offshore mode, where the mode results in higher or lower speed of rotation of the radar array, the system must pick one speed or the other and cannot simultaneously rotate at two different speeds.

Here is a short video of how to set this up on your Evo3 display.

Hope you find this useful and that it helps get you out there to catch ’em up!

Getting Out To Test The New Simrad Electronics

Well, finally have all the electronics installed and up and running. Decided to take a little fishing trip and test them out.

The biggest struggle with this whole project was installation of the new transducer.  Its a “shoot through” transducer you mount in a tank in the boat and it shoots through the hull.  This approach eliminates the need for holes in the hull.  The tank is that yellow box in the pic below:

The FNP had a shoot through Airmar R199 2KW non CHIRP transducer before so I decided to replace with the newer R111 2KW CHIRP.  The diagram on the Airmar site showed the two transducers had exactly the same dimensions so I could just unbolt the old one and drop the new one in the same tank.  Well, that was wrong!   And that was important because as you can see from the picture above, the tank was fiber-glassed to the boat hull sandwiched under the deck and drive shaft just in front of the IPS drive.

Turns out the new transducer was 2cm wider than the old one.  So, we had to use a multi tool to cut the old one out.  That was slow and painful, but we got it done.  Went to install the new one and it would not fit between the transmission and the deck. So we had to start pulling guards off the drive shaft universal joint to make enough room to get the new onne into position.

After hours of sweating, we got her in.

We filled with Glycol and dropped the new transducer in and she worked like a charm.  We will never be removing it!

So, now its time to try everything out in the real world. We headed out to do a little fishing and play with the new toys.

Caught some fish too.

Over the next few weeks I will be doing some how to videos about different elements of the new electronics.  Its been interesting learning how to get them configured and to learn and use the plethora of cool features like dual range radar, target tracking and so on.  Until then, I hope all are safe from the storm and soon are able to get back on the water and catch ’em up.


Well, we sold our house and had less than a month to find a new place and get moved so the electronics install had to go on the back burner. Things have stabilized though and we have been able to make some additional progress.

The old system was all networked with NMEA 0183. SeaVee ran all of that to a bus bar for distribution, but all their pretty wiring was a pain in the butt to pull apart and trace. I was afraid to cut wires without being certain what was what so I traced every one from end to end before removing. SeaVee has all the wires tightly bundled together into several routing channels. Each one is zip tied to a clip screwed to the fiberglass every two inches or less!  I had to clip every one of those little suckers.

The bus bars in the background below are the old NMEA hub.

In the end, I was able to completely remove all of it as there was nothing wired in here that was needed for the Simrad install. Since it’s all Smirad it will all connect through the NMEA 2000 backbone. Much simpler than the old setup.

I built a new aluminum rack to mount all of the black boxes and the stereo amplifier.

Had to go back and fiberglass in the dash where the auto pilot goes. Thought the dimensions were the same, but did not work out that way.

Auto Pilot installed and MFD’s up and running!

Still need to get the transducer in and the radar array mounted.  Can’t wait to get it all up and running.

Until next time, catch ’em up!

EVO3’s Are In

Got the new EVO3 MFD’s mounted in the dash.  What do you think?

With sun covers

Also got the VHF mounted and my indicator for the high water alarm as well as a double USB port.

Still need to install the black boxes, the radar array, the transducer and the auto pilot.  Until then, Catch ’em up!

Time to Do the Gel Coat

  1. So I got the prep work done.

Decided to call in a professional to do the gel coat.  Les Harris with Harris Fiberglass came out.  I was prepared for him to tell me my fiberglass job was a mess and not ready for gel coat, but no.  He said it was good to go and he went right to work.  We decided to go bold and use a different color for the dash.  Went with powder blue.

Les showing off his good work.

Tell me what you think.  When its all done and the MFD’s are in I’ll see if I can do a poll on the color selection.

Until next time, Catch ’em up!

Time to Upgrade

If you like electronics you’re going to dig this.  It’s time to upgrade the electronics on the FN Pair-A-Dice.  It started out with wanting to upgrade to a CHIRP fishfinder, but has morphed into a full on refit.  It’s time to have a system where all the electronics work together seamlessly.

We decided to go with all Simrad.  Two EVO3 16 inch multi-function displays will be the hubs running an S5100 CHIRP sounder with a 2KW Airmar R111 transducer.  A Simrad Halo 6 foot open array radar system with a Precision9 rate compass will help us navigate at night and in bad weather.  To save space at the helm for the displays, we chose to go with the Simrad R90 black box VHF and the Sonic Hub2 black box stereo system.  And to round out the system we upgraded to the Simrad AP44 auto pilot.

We are doing the install ourselves so I will post up here as we go.

The first step was to fiberglass in the holes where the stereo and VHF were mounted.  There will not be room for those with the new MFD’s.

I’ve never done any fiberglass work so this should be interesting 🙂

Solid glass took forever. Decided to core the patch on the hole for the old fish finder and that went much faster.  Used filler over that to get a smooth surface.

Patched over the back for extra strength.  Doesn’t need to be pretty in there.

OK, time to cut out holes and dry fit the new MFD’s.  Looks pretty good! We will gel coat that later and it will look like new.

The debate now is what color for the gel coat.  Match the existing white?  Or do something that contrasts?  Back to you soon with the results of that debate.

Until then, catch ’em up.