owrance has not lost its innovative scrappiness under Navico ownership. In fact it was the latter's CEO, Jens-Thomas Pietralla, who dubbed the new Broadband Sounder a "disruptive technology." Now, confusingly, this $799 black-box fishfinder, which networks to all current Lowrance displays, is not "broadband" in the technically correct, variable-frequency sense that Airmar uses the term. In fact, I saw it in action using just a standard, inexpensive dual-frequency, transom-mount Skimmer. Yet it still held tight, 200-foot bottom detail at 30 mph and bumps off Miami (see the PMY editor's blog for Capt. Patrick Sciacca's similarly amazed concurrence), and check the screen at left of the little two-pound sounder looking down over 2,000 feet. In that case it was using a better-quality Airmar B258 transducer, but it was still only putting out 250 watts of peak power. Lowrance has obviously figured out a new way to process acoustic pings, and thus maybe "broadband" is justified in a more general "wow" sense. I'll bet that this technology will end up disrupting its way around the Navico brand family and maybe even the whole fishfinder industry.
This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.