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Side Scan Sonar

One of the most effective tools for underwater exploration

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Side scan sonar is one of the most effective tools for underwater exploration because it can search a large area quickly and produce a detailed picture of anything on the bottom, regardless of water clarity. When looking at a side scan image it appears as if the water has been removed and the operator is getting an unobstructed view of the ocean floor, lake bottom, or river bed. High resolution images are sent from the towfish to a topside computer (included with the system) for display and storage. An optional Panasonic Toughbook® is available for small, open boat operations (see image on side). The 10.1" XGA sunlight-viewable LED 1024 x 768 resistive touchscreen computer can be ordered as an option for the Side Scan system instead of the standard laptop. This computer is MIL-STD-810G certified (6' drop, shock, vibration, rain, dust, sand, altitude, freeze/thaw, high/low temperature, temperature shock, humidity, explosive atmosphere). Another option is adding a Microsoft Surface® tablet to the inside of the control box lid for a “sleeker” package versus the standard laptop (see image on side).

Fishers SONAR VIEW software gives the operator complete control over the systems operating parameters. Choose between 10 different scan ranges and 8 color schemes to display images. Connect a GPS and position coordinates are automatically captured with the side scan data. Point the mouse on a target and the GPS position coordinates for the target are displayed on the screen.

Fishers offer four different side scan systems the SSS-100K, the SSS-600K, the SSS-1200K and the Dual Frequency side scan. The dual frequency side scan is a combination of any two frequencies (i.e. SSS-100K/600K). There are pros and cons to each frequency as explained below.

Low frequency (SSS-100K) units have excellent long range (up to 600m, 1,200m swath) and produce a very good image when scanning with a 50 meter to 600-meter range setting. When operating a low frequency unit in the short ranges (below 50 m) images can be seen but lack the sharpness as seen in the longer ranges. In addition, low frequency units do not see soft targets very well (old wood shipwrecks, drowning victims, etc.). The SSS-100K is an ideal tool for large scale general search applications such as searching for shipwrecks, locating pipelines, rocks and reef structures, large propellers, planes, cars, etc. The range settings in meters are: 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, 200, 400, and 600 meters (each side).

The high frequency SSS-600K side scan produces excellent resolution images when scanning with a 10 meter to 75-meter range setting. The 5-meter range produce good images, but lack the sharpness of the higher ranges. The SSS-600K is ideal for law enforcement and dive rescue operations or any operation that requires a high resolution image. It produces high resolution images at ranges up to 75m (150m swath. This high frequency sonar will show everything that the low frequency sonars can see, plus small and soft targets like a drowning victim, clothing, etc., that the lower frequency (100K to 300K) sonars have difficulty detecting. The 600K side scan is also popular with wreck hunters and archaeologists searching for old wood vessels that may be broken up or decomposing. The limitation of the 600K is its shorter range as compared to the 100K side scan. The range settings in meters are: 5, 10, 25, 50, and 75 meters (each side).

The very high frequency SSS-1200K side scan produces excellent high resolution images when scanning with a 5 meter to 25-meter range setting. The SSS-1200K is ideal for law enforcement and dive rescue operations or any operation that requires a very high resolution image. It produces very high resolution images at ranges up to 25m (50m swath). This very high frequency sonar can show very small, and very soft targets in high detail. The limitation of the 1200K is only it's shorter range as compared to lower frequency side scans. The range settings in meters are: 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 meters (each side). The SSS-1200K is best used as part of a dual frequency system such as SSS-600K/1200K where the 600K is used for the search and the 1200K is used for making final close in passes on the target.

$20,995

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All of Fishers side scan sonars come with a 500-foot depth rated towfish, 150 feet of cable (Kevlar reinforced), a laptop computer, a GPS, and Fishers SONAR VIEW software. The computer displays a real time color image of the ocean floor. The screen is split down with the middle with the right side showing the ocean bottom on the right side of the vessel, and the left side of the screen shows the ocean bottom on the left side of the vessel.

The SONAR VIEW software gives the side scan operator complete control of all system functions with easy to use pull-down menus and icons on the screen. Size measurement tool, target height off bottom, annotation, and auto bottom tracking all standard. The operator can change colors, ranges, amplifier gain, and other controls with a click of the mouse. With the computer, side scan images can be stored in memory for playback and post processing at any time in the future. Small file sections including screen shots can be copied for emailing. With the GPS connected to the computer the position coordinates are captured with the side scan data. Once GPS is connected, the mouse cursor can be placed on any object on the screen and its position coordinates will be displayed. Sonar files can be stored on the computer's hard drive or to DVD.

An optional Sonar Coverage Mapping feature shows the boat's path as it travels over the search area and the sonar coverage swath. It's all displayed on a grid with latitude and longitude as the X and Y axis. This option makes it easy to search even large areas and ensures no part of the area is missed. The map can be shown in a separate window on the same screen as the side scan image, or the map can be displayed on a separate monitor. The user can also control the size of the map. The map can be exported as an image with a KML file to allow it to be easily overlaid on other mapping programs (as shown at the right). All data can be stored on the PC hard-drive or disk.

A Microsoft Surface® tablet (optional) can be ordered with the Side Scan system. The tablet is mounted inside the control box lid for a “sleeker” package (see image above)

An optional Panasonic Toughbook® is also available for small, open boat operations (see image above). The 10.1" XGA sunlight-viewable (LED 1024 x 768) resistive touchscreen computer can be ordered with the Side Scan package instead of the standard laptop. This computer is MIL-STD-810G certified (6' drop, shock, vibration, rain, dust, sand, altitude, freeze/thaw, high/low temperature, temperature shock, humidity, explosive atmosphere).

Portability, rugged construction, low cost, and ease of operation. Four models to choose from. Larger towfish ensures stability and provides high quality sonar images. Dual frequency has both high and low frequency transducers in one towfish. Computer and software included with system. Fishers SONAR VIEW software provides user with lots of flexibility in displaying and manipulating sonar images.

Each side scan system is backed by Fishers exclusive, unconditional TWO YEAR warranty.

  • Dual Frequency Side Scan Sonar (SSS-100K/600K, SSS-100K/1200K, or SSS-600K/1200K): $25,995
  • Extra Cable: $6 per ft
  • CMS-1 Cable Management system (cable reel up to 500'): $2,995
  • CMS-2 Cable Management system (cable reel up to 1,000'): $3,495
  • Microsoft Surface® tablet (instead of laptop): $695
  • Panasonic Toughbook® tablet (instead of laptop): $2,995
  • Sonar Coverage Mapping software: $1,995
  • DDW-1 Deep Dive Wing: $1,395