The JRC PLOT 500F came equipped with an external self-contained WAAS GPS sensor and an integral 600-watt sounder. It is preloaded with a world map and uses C-Map NT+ cartography to enhance map details.
Overall dimensions of the display unit are 8-1/4 inches by 7-1/4 inches with a depth of 5 inches. One glitch we noted during installation was the failure of the power cable twist lock to hold fast.
Screen Size and Viewability
Diagonally the screen measures 6.5 inches and has a resolution of just 234 x 320 pixels. Ten levels of control are available for screen brightness and contrast.
The JRC garnered a good rating on day viewability from our testers. Though it lacks the fine details of higher resolution screens it is bright and has low reflectivity.
Larger text used for names and depths is easy to read underway. It darkens very little when viewed with polarized sunglasses, but darkens substantially at angles beyond 45 degrees and blanks beyond 60 degrees.
The JRC earned a good rating for night viewing. Screen brightness is adjustable over a wide range. Pushbuttons and other controls are backlit at a single setting and on at all times when the unit is powered.
Common functions on the JRC PLOT 500 are controllable from dedicated push buttons or via the four soft keys thus minimizing the need to enter multi-layered menus.
Waypoints can be saved at the boats position with the joystick or the MOB key.
Names can be up to 8 characters long and a comment up to 23 characters can be added for further identification.
The 600-watt sounder integral to the JRC PLOT 500F is full-featured and uses a dual frequency transducer (50/200 kHz), variable range marker, zoom, bottom zoom, bottom discrimination, A-scope, Shift, and water temperature display.
Gain level can be adjusted by pushing the gain button and turning the Jog-Dial, we always like to see a rotary knob for quick manual gain adjustments.
One feature on the JRC sounder we especially like and have not seen on other sounders in this price range is the 5-foot stepped manual depth ranging. That means the depth is adjustable in 5-foot increments from 0 to 5000 feeta feature usually only found on far more expensive machines.
We rated the JRC good for presentation and excellent for its user interface. Minimal gain was needed at the deep wreck where we tested implying to us this powerful sounder should have no trouble with depths in excess of 1000 feet.
Odds and Ends
JRC has incorporated an adjustable length course predictor in the PLOT 500 software.
Screen redraws on the JRC can be slow, sometimes taking up to 5 seconds to totally redraw the map after a range change.
However, unneeded map display data can be reduced by the user and wed expect this to speed the pace of redraws.
This unit has a 2-year parts and 1-year labor warranty.