The Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv is the latest in a long line of Garmin aquatic navigational aids intended to be ideal for small and even unpowered craft. Due to its small size and 5V power intake, it can easily be installed even on small fishing boats or canoes and kayaks, although in such unpowered craft an external source of power will still be required. The Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv comes with a complete U.S. LakeVü catalog of maps pre-installed, with the ability to update, modify and enhance them by updating via a MicroSD card, although purchasing one as a prerequisite is not necessary.
What sets the Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv apart from other units is its understanding that aquatic geography, unlike its terrestrial analog, is highly variable. Even somewhat calm waterways can change their banks rapidly after a severe thunderstorm, and even the most tranquil lake beds shift, flow, and swallow up new debris on a daily basis. Therefore the Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv is designed to update itself as you use it, based on the data you provide it with just by using it. Underwater maps created by the transducer you attach to the Garmin are saved within the unit, and the ability to accommodate up to 64GB MicroSD cards enables a very large amount of data to be stored. While it is necessary to provide your own transducer, the Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv is compatible with most transducers on the market, with no need to obtain specific hardware or software. Garmin also offers a package with a Garmin-branded transducer included.
The Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv offers high-quality 2D floorbed maps, enabling you to see what’s under the water and avoid the most common hazards. While it does have the ability to detect the presence of fish, and even offers the typical “fish arch” displays to alert you to their presence, its primary function is to keep you from getting lost or damaging your boat. Known hazards are marked clearly on each map, and alerts can be set up to warn you to slow down to avoid hitting submerged objects, create an excess wake, or otherwise get into trouble while boating. The Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv is primarily designed for small craft with a shallow draft and will not provide adequate information for large craft, especially commercial craft and yachts. It also lacks in terms of maps and depth capability necessary for even near-ocean voyages, making it really only suited to those looking to fish and travel along America’s lakes and rivers.
However, within that limited scope, it excels to an extent most GPS units can’t even hope to do. Locations for fuel, camping, portage and other essential information is displayed clearly and can be searched via usage of the touch screen and buttons. This is particularly helpful for those on combination camping/canoe trips since the unit has a low enough power draw to be satisfied with many portable solar systems and portable camping batteries. While it will always be a good idea to bring along paper maps in waterproof containers, the Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv can help you plan routes in advance, and even set up regular spots to stop for camping, fuel, and supplies.
The Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv isn’t just for canoeists though. Fishermen who are already familiar with their lakes or only need basic fishfinding capabilities will find the Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv to be ideal for helping them avoid torturous waters, especially in new or unfamiliar waterways. The ability to chart out trips in advance can be particularly useful to those away from their home lake or river, and the ability to see the estimated depth of the water plotted out in shades of white and blue can help pilots ensure they don’t drive their craft up on a sandbar or otherwise find themselves stuck. There is also an option to purchase and use more HD charts, although this may be unnecessary for most users.
Overall the Garmin echoMap CHIRP 43cv is a very good unit for those who need a solid, reliable navigational aid for freshwater waterways. Its small size and low power needs make it ideal for small or unpowered craft, but it provides accurate information relevant for mid-sized vessels. It has a simple fish finder function that may prove inadequate for some, but sufficient for most fishermen, especially those primarily interested in the general location of fish and not the estimated size and quantity. Its compatibility with most transponders makes it ideal for installation in a craft that already have one, as well as over-the-side units more suited for unpowered craft. Its ability to update maps via downloads and user-supplied data helps ensure it won’t become irrelevant or inaccurate over time, and also helps users to avoid hazards in unfamiliar waters. It is therefore an ideal choice for those who want to use small craft in shallow water, especially if they plan to make long trips that may necessitate camping, refueling, or otherwise plotting courses.
|Lowrance Elite-4 CHIRP||Raymarine Dragonfly 4PRO||Garmin echoMap 43cv|
|Screen Size||4.3 in||4.3 in||4.3 in|
|Screen Resolution||480 x 272 pixels||480 x 272 pixels||480 x 272 pixels|
|Display Type||16-bit color TFT||WQVGA||WQVGA|
|Imaging||2D using CHRIP, Down Imaging, Downscan Overlay||2D, Down Imaging||2D, Down Imaging|
|Transducer Type||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor|
|Transmit Power||350W RMS|
|500 W RMS|
4,000 W Peak to Peak
|500 W RMS|
4,000 W Peak to Peak
|Sonar Frequency||455/800 kHz DownScan |
50 kHz/83kHz/200kHz CHIRP
|wide spectrum of sonar frequencies||Traditional: 50/77/200 kHz|
ClearVü: 260/455/800 kHz
|Maximum Depth||300 ft DownScan|
1000 ft CHIRP 200/83 kHz 3000 ft CHIRP 50 kHz
|600 ft both sonar and DownVision||2,300 ft freshwater|
1,100 ft saltwater
|GPS Antenna||Internal high-sensitivity WAAS + EGNOS + MSAS (optional external antenna)||Internal||Internal|