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Sitex CVS126 Review

The Sitex CVS126 is a new release fish finder for 2009 and features dual frequency capability and a color LCD screen all in a compact reasonably priced package.

It uses a single rotary knob to make changes to the gain mode of operation and to fine tune gain settings. We’ve said this before in other reviews and it bears repeating here, we like this type of gain control because it makes it so easy to fine tune to the optimal setting.

sitex cvs126 fish finder sounder

Si-Tex CVS-126 Fish Finder

The CVS126 features digital signal processing which according to the manufacturer means is has superior filtering capabilities. Digital filtering virtually eliminates unwanted noise, makes greater color selectivity available, and provides more reliable automatic settings for gain and depth.

This unit also features Sona-Tone, it generates an audible tone based on the target the unit is painting onscreen. This allows you to be away from the display and still know what is under the boat. The tone can be amplified by connecting optional external speaker. We did not test this feature.

The Sitex display is square and measured 7.1 inches across both the width and height, depth was a tad over 3.5 inches, not including the gain knob which protrudes from the case front about half an inch.

The Sitex CVS126 package ships with the display unit, protective screen cover, power/data cable, owner’s manual, a 1-page operator’s guide, and a solid table-top mounting bracket.

The unit can be flush mounted without any special kit; all you’d need to supply would be screws of the appropriate size and length.

All essential electronics are inside the display head so the only remaining component needed is a transducer.

According to a document sent to me by Koden America Vice President of Marketing, Cindy Henderson, the CVS126 has six optional transducers. Koden is the parent company of Sitex.

Radarsonics makes four of the transducers available for this unit including a plastic transom mount and three versions of bronze thru-hull. Another option is an angled transducer from Airmar. We tested with a Koden dual-frequency transducer model TD-500T-3. This is a bronze thru-hull with depth only, no water temperature or speed sensing.

Other options include three different models of water temperature and speed sensors and a GPS sensor.

To facilitate on-the-water testing of the Sitex CVS126 we mounted the display unit to a temporary mount on our Contender test boat. There are two ports on the case back for electrical connections, one for the power/data cable and the other for the transducer cable. Connectors use a twist-lock that holds firmly in place. A single ground wire connection is on the back too. This fish finder can interface with other NMEA 0183 devices.

Screen Size and Viewability

The Sitex CVS126 has a color LCD screen measuring nearly 4.6-inches high and just about 3.5-inches wide. On the diagonal we measured the portrait layout screen at 5.7 inches. Screen resolution is 320 pixels vertically and 240 pixels on the horizontal plane.

We reviewed the Sitex CVS126 display screen on a sunny day with the unit mounted under a T-Top. We used the white color palette to our daylight screen review, eight other daytime color palettes are available by menu selection.

The display screen was bright, fairly sharp and showed good contrast when viewed from straight-on. We noted virtually no screen darkening when viewing from side angles with or without polarized sunglasses. Even at severe side angles the screen is still clearly readable. We gave it an excellent rating for daytime viewability.

A quick press of the Brill/On/Off pushbutton brings the screen brightness level menu up. A second push switches to the button backlighting level. The rotary gain knob or cursor pad up/down arrows can used to set either to one of ten levels.

On The Water Performance

sitex cvs126 fish finder sounder

The left side of this screen shot shows the 50 kHz low frequency display which with our test transducer had a beam width of 50 degrees. The right side is displaying the 200 kHz high frequency output with a beam width of 17 degrees.
You can see the wide beam of the low frequency pulse did mark all three of our targets. Even with the gain manually adjusted to a higher level than in automatic the fish arches are not returning strong echoes. Less accuracy at this frequency made the deepest target arch somewhat less defined and partially merged with the bottom echo.
The high frequency display, with its narrow beam width, clearly shows better target definition and stronger echo return even with a lower gain setting.
We achieved our best results by using manual range and gain. Both settings are shown in the header line. On the Sitex CVS126 gain can be adjusted separately for each transducer frequency. The low frequency is set to 6.0 while the high is set to 4.0.
Nighttime viewing is enhanced somewhat by choosing the night color palette. It uses a dark blue background, white numbers and letters, and a red/yellow/blue for painting targets. The Sitex screen does not dim as far as we’’d like. We rated the Sitex display screen good for night viewing.


Controls and Operation

Pushbutton and rotary knob controls occupy the right-hand one third of the front panel.

On the top left of the cursor pad is the Display key. Pressing it brings up the display menu. There are seven menu choices here including two navigation data displays, full-screen high frequency, full-screen low frequency, either of the preceding two with zoom, as well as a dual frequency mode.

sitex cvs126 nav page

Si-Tex CVS-126 Navigation Page

We found the fastest screen refresh rate in either full-screen mode, adding zoom or choosing dual frequency slows the screen speed noticeably.

To the upper right side of the cursor is the Event pushbutton, this key executes a preset function like ‘store an image’ or ‘store position’. Naturally to store position the fish finder would need to be connected to a GPS unit.

In the lower left position is the Function key, this key also executes a preset function. The currently selected function is shown on the far right of the header line, and one of ten possible functions can be chosen.

The main menu is reached with a press of the Menu key and then a selection is made and executed with the cursor pad arrows. Another press of the Menu key exits back to the last page. You can also use the rotary gain knob to choose menu selections.

Below these keys is the Range button, a press here brings up the depth range menu box only if you have already set manual depth in the main menu. Otherwise an onscreen message reads simply ‘Auto range’. In manual one of eight user adjustable depth ranges can be set.

Continuing down you’ll find the gain knob. It is used to make gain changes in manual mode, auto mode, and as another means of choosing menu items.

Functions and Features

The Sitex CVS126 has some features you would normally find only on a more expensive fish finder, they include A-scope, shift, user selectable zoom range, adjustable picture advance speed, two different depth display number sizes, a variety of color palettes, and variable range marker.

sitex cvs126 nav page

Si-Tex CVS-126 Depth Range Menu

Zoom mode selection is accessed through the main menu and the depth range sub-menu. It can be set to bottom lock, bottom discrimination, bottom zoom, or bottom follow zoom. Bottom zoom range can be set to between 10 and 650 feet.

Picture advance can be set to one of ten speeds ranging from stopped to 4.5 times the ping rate. For our testing we used the 1/1 and 1/1.5 speed setting. The 1/1 rate paints one column of pixels for each ping of the transducer.

The display screen color palette can be set to white, black, one of four blues, one of three greens, or night. We used the default white for our daytime testing due to bright sunny test conditions.

The Sitex CVS126 displays a header line at the top of the screen that indicates the gain mode, range mode, and battery voltage. When in manual gain the actual gain setting is displayed instead of the mode. Battery voltage may not be shown depending on the number of gain and depth data points displayed. Certain alarm icons are shown too. On the far right you’ll see the Function key icon.

Sitex CVS126 Specifications

Maximum Power (Watts RMS)600
Frequency (kHz)50 / 200
Transducer Used for TestKoden TD-500T-3
Auto Depth RangingYes
Manual Depth RangingYes – 8 steps
GainAuto(2) / Manual
Bottom LockYes
Warranty Period (Years)(2)Parts / (1)Labor

A correction page allows the user to fine tune several inputs and settings. You can set your vessel draft here, set the water type to fresh or salt, and fine-tune the water temperature and boat speed displayed. These types of adjustments are valuable in fine-tuning the Sitex CVS126 to your specific boat and your personal setup preferences.

We like the fact that the CVS126 screen can be viewed from virtually any angle and that you can adjust the gain for each transducer frequency separately. Overall this is a good performer.

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