If you’re an amateur fisherman hoping to step your fish-catching game up, or a more seasoned fisherman in need of some new equipment, you might want to consider investing in a new fish finder; specifically, the Garmin Striker 7SV.
While the Striker 7SV is a bit less capable when it comes to chart plotting, its top-notch sonar detecting capabilities more than make-up for this.
The Striker 7SV is one of the newest products from the Striker lineup and offers some small improvements over the previous version of this device.
Without any further ado, let’s get right into it and give the Striker 7SV a serious and thorough analysis.
Pros & Cons of the Garmin Striker 7SV
Before we get into the fine details of the Striker 7SV, let’s take a look at the basic pros and cons of this device. We’ll further discuss the pros and cons of the Striker 7SV in the rest of this article, but for now, we want to give you a basic overview of the good and bad aspects of this product.
- The Striker 7SV has a high-quality display with crisp, clear visuals.
- The Striker 7SV includes a built-in GPS system that is accurate and able to display a large amount of detail about your surroundings.
- The Striker 7SV is capable of using split-frequency sonar, giving you a more complete picture of your underwater surroundings and any nearby fish.
- The Striker 7SV has an IP Code rating of IPX7, meaning it can survive being submerged for up to half an hour at a depth of up to 1 meter.
- The Striker 7SV’s user interface is straightforward and easy to use
- The Striker 7SV package includes a Garmin CV52HM-TW transducer, as well as a tilting mount that you can install on your boat’s transom or trolling motor.
- The GPS included with the Striker 7SV allows you to place up to 5,000 custom waypoints on your map.
- The GPS included with the Striker 7SV doesn’t contain any built-in maps; instead, you have to generate your own maps by recording data onto the Striker 7SV as you pilot your boat around.
- The Striker 7SV has only limited water resistance; it won’t be able to survive continuous immersion in water or exposure to pressurized water streams.
- As far as fish finders go, the Striker 7SV is one of the more expensive options available right now, at around $499
- Some fish finders are built with a slot for a micro SD card, allowing you to save data onto these cards and theoretically store an infinite amount of data by letting you swap between different cards. The Striker 7SV does not have a micro SD slot.
Features of the Garmin Striker 7SV
The Striker 7SV comes included with a host of useful features. You can adjust what appears on display, you can connect the Striker 7SV to a phone app to give you extra functionality, you get a transducer capable of producing multiple sonar views, and you can create your own maps that feature customized waypoints.
In this next section, we’ll go over these features and describe each of them in detail.
- The Striker 7SV features a seven-inch display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. It clocks in at 1.7 pounds in weight, and the entire device measures 9.3 inches by 5.5 inches, with a depth of 2.3 inches.
- Because of its size and weight, this device is most suited to being mounted on a larger boat like a canoe or motorboat, although it is also possible to mount the Striker 7SV on a somewhat smaller vessel like a large kayak. The display screen also features a backlight, meaning that the display will remain legible even in very sunny conditions.
- You can connect the Striker 7SV to your boat’s electrical power supply if it has one. If your boat doesn’t have an electrical power supply, you can still use the Striker 7SV, as it comes with a built-in battery that can be recharged.
- When deciding how you want to mount the Striker 7SV transducer, you have a couple of options. The Striker 7SV package includes both a trolling motor mount and a transom motor mount, enabling you to attach the transducer wherever is most convenient for you.
- The display comes with a swiveling mount, allowing you to position the display at the best angle to allow maximum visibility.
- The display of the Striker 7SV contains multiple buttons that make operating this device pretty simple. You have a power button to turn on and off the device, of course, but the power button is multi-functional and is also used to adjust the backlight and the color mode of the device, as well as enabling or disabling the sonar.
- To navigate the display menus and move around on the map, you have a four-way directional pad. You also get dedicated buttons for zooming in and out of the view on the display, which makes it easier to quickly focus on certain areas or get a wider view of your surroundings.
- Aside from these, you have a dedicated button to open and close menus, a return button that lets you quickly move back to a previous screen, a select button, and a button that lets you automatically place a waypoint on your map at your current location.
Customizable Home Screen
When you power on the Striker 7SV, you’ll be greeted by the home screen. The home screen gives you access to all of the features of the Striker 7SV, which are dependent on the built-in capabilities of the device as well as any extra accessories you have connected.
The home screen is highly customizable, allowing you to display whatever information you want. You can set it up so that it displays a single sonar view or map, or you can customize the home screen to display up to three different types of information at once.
You also have the option of customizing whether or not numerical data is displayed on-screen, and the display also includes a built-in compass that you can enable or disable depending on your preferences.
As previously mentioned, you also get the option to adjust the brightness settings and the color mode. The color mode lets you choose what colors are used to represent different objects and areas that your sonar picks up.
Adjusting the brightness is pretty straightforward, and you can change it at any time regardless of what screen you’re in. To do so, simply tap the power button repeatedly, and your screen will automatically scroll through the various brightness settings (don’t worry about turning the device off accidentally; you have to hold down the power button for a few seconds to turn the power off).
The Striker 7SV is also capable of producing sounds that go off when you select an item or trigger an alarm. You have the option of changing the sound settings so that it only makes noise when an alarm goes off if you’re not a fan of hearing beeps as a way of confirming that you selected something.
The ActiveCaptain App
Because the Striker 7SV features wi-fi connectivity, this allows you to connect the device to your phone if you have the ActiveCaptain app installed. The ActiveCaptain app connects you to a community of other Garmin customers to help improve your fish-finding experience.
Through the app, you can share and download data like waypoints and contour maps, register your Striker 7SV to your personal account, update your Striker 7SV’s software, and view all of the data displayed on the Striker 7SV on your phone.
You can also set it up so that the Striker 7SV will display smart notifications from your phone, like calls or texts. This is handy because it can help prevent you from missing any important messages, even if you’re not actively paying attention to your phone.
Multiple Alarm Settings
As previously mentioned, the Striker 7SV is equipped with alarms that are designed to sound when certain conditions are met. The conditions for each alarm can be adjusted, and you can enable or disable each alarm according to your preferences.
Let’s go over what each alarm is used for.
- The Arrival alarm sounds when you are within a specified distance of a waypoint or a destination of your choosing.
- The Anchor Drag alarm sounds when you drift too far away while anchored. You can specify what distance counts as “too far away.”
- The Off-Course alarm sounds when you have deviated from a predetermined route by a specified distance.
- The Alarm Clock is exactly what it sounds like. You enter a specified time, and the alarm will go off at that time. Pretty straightforward.
- The Device Voltage alarm sounds when the Striker 7SV’s battery gets to a specified level of low voltage. You’ll only need this alarm if you don’t have the device hooked up to an external power source.
- The GPS Accuracy alarm sounds when the accuracy of your GPS falls below the value that you specified.
- The Shallow Water alarm sounds when your boat enters water that is shallower than a depth you have specified.
- The Deep Water alarm sounds when your boat enters water that is deeper than a depth you have specified.
- The Water Temperature alarm sounds when the water temperature changes by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The Fish alarm sounds when the device detects an object suspended freely in the water. You can adjust the alarm to go off when it detects fish of all sizes, medium to large fish, or large fish only.
The Garmin CV52HW-TM Transducer
The Striker 7SV comes packaged with the CV52HW-TM transducer. This transducer is the core of the Striker 7SV’s fish-finding abilities; without it, the Striker 7Sv would basically be useful only as a GPS.
How Does a Transducer Work?
If you’re a more novice fisherman, you might be a little confused about what exactly a transducer is for. Basically, a transducer is a device that takes electrical impulses from a fish finding display and turns those impulses into sound waves, which it projects into the water.
When the sound waves hit something, they echo back, and the transducer picks up these returning sound waves and transmits them to the fish finding display, which reinterprets the sound waves as visual information.
Essentially, a transducer is like a speaker and a microphone combined into one device.
When it’s working, a transducer is transmitting sounds about 1% of the time, and it spends the other 99% of the time listening for returning sound waves.
However, the time between sound transmissions is mere microseconds, so a normal human ear would not be able to detect any pauses between sound transmissions even if they could hear them.
Transducers transmit sound waves at such a high frequency that they’re pretty much inaudible to humans or animals. Humans can’t hear sounds that have a frequency of above 20 kHz and the sounds that a transducer produces usually have a significantly higher frequency than that.
How Does a Transducer Calculate Distance?
Transducers calculate the distance by determining the time between transmitting a sound wave and receiving the echo from that sound wave. This is also how a transducer is able to tell you what the bottom of the lake/river/ocean looks like.
All sound waves travel at the same speed, so if one sound wave returns more quickly than another, it means there was something closer to the boat that the transducer detected.
How Does a Transducer Find Fish?
Transducers are able to isolate fish from other objects in the water because almost every fish contains an organ called an air bladder. As the name implies, fish use their air bladders to store air for use in regulating their buoyancy.
The fish can increase or decrease the level of air in their air bladder at any given time, which helps the fish adjust to different pressures at different depths.
Because air bladders contain gas, they’re much less dense than both the fish they’re inside and the water surrounding the fish. Transducers are able to detect this difference in density because it affects the returning sound waves.
If a transducer detects a difference in density like this, it displays it as a fish on your fishfinder.
Advanced Sonar Technology
The Striker 7SV is capable of supporting a number of different sonar views. We’ll go over each view and discuss what each of them gives you as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each view.
It’s worth noting that even though the fish finding display is capable of displaying a depth of up to 2,300 feet in freshwater, the transducer that the Striker 7SV comes with is only capable of recording a depth of up to 800 feet with the traditional sonar view, 250 feet with the ClearVü sonar view, and 500 feet with the SideVü sonar view.
If you want to record depths greater than these, you’ll need to invest in a more powerful transducer.
Traditional Sonar View
This is the most basic sonar view that’s pretty much the same as what other fish finding devices provide. It projects down from the boat, so you always see what’s more or less directly below you.
With the traditional view, you can see information relating to the depth of the water, and you can also detect fish or other suspended objects as well as get a general idea of what the bottom of the body of water looks like.
ClearVü Sonar View
The ClearVü sonar view is essentially a far more detailed and accurate version of the traditional sonar view; however, it can’t record depths as great as the traditional sonar view can. ClearVü is a proprietary technology created and patented by Garmin.
You get the same information like the bottom depth, the presence of fish, and what the bottom of the body of water looks like directly below your boat.
However, it also gives you access to a lot of other potentially helpful information, like the water temperature, GPS speed, the voltage of your device, a depth indicator that lets you see how deep fish and other objects are, and the current time, among other information.
While traditional sonar uses a single beam of sound waves to scan the water below, ClearVü sonar uses two separate beams to give you a much clearer picture of what’s around you.
SideVü Sonar View
The SideVü sonar view does what the name implies; it lets you view fish, objects, and underwater terrain that are located off the sides of your boat instead of directly under it.
Split-Screen Frequency View
The Striker 7SV is capable of transmitting sound waves at more than one frequency at the same time. This view allows you to see what each frequency is picking up simultaneously.
The flasher view displays sonar information as a ring. The surface of the water is represented by the top of the ring, and depth is displayed clockwise on the inside of the ring. When the sonar picks something up, it flashes on the ring.
The color of the flash and its position around the ring indicate how big the object is and how deep it is.
ClearVü or SideVü: Which One is Better for Fishing?
As we’ve said already, ClearVü and SideVü are proprietary systems made by Garmin. Other companies that manufacture fish finding technology have similar systems, which are generically referred to as down-imaging and side-imaging systems. But why choose one over the other?
Side-imaging systems let you observe more areas at once since they offer views from both sides of your boat simultaneously. They also give you a more accurate picture of the underwater topography, and they’re better at detecting fish in shallower water.
The downside is that side-imaging systems tend to be more expensive than down-imaging systems, and you can’t operate a side-imaging system at high speed.
Down-imaging systems are more suited for deep-water fishing since they give you a better idea of what’s directly below your boat. They also work better when the boat is traveling more quickly.
The downside of down-imaging systems is that they typically can’t produce as much visual detail as side-imaging systems, and they can’t tell you whether fish or objects are slightly to the left or right of your boat.
While most recreational sonar devices used a fixed frequency to record underwater terrain, the Striker 7SV uses CHIRP sonar. CHIRP stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse.
The main difference between CHIRP sonar and fixed-frequency sonar is that CHIRP sonar transmits an ascending range of frequencies with each pulse they produce. CHIRP sonar pulses also last longer than fixed-frequency sonar pulses.
This technique of using an ascending range of frequencies results in a much more accurate picture than you’d get with traditional sonar.
Quickdraw Contours Mapping
While the Striker 7SV doesn’t contain any preloaded maps you can use, it does come with the Quickdraw Contours mapping feature that allows you to create your own maps.
It works by scanning your environment around you as you pilot your boat, and it records the contours of the shoreline as well as the bottom depth of wherever you are.
Using the ActiveCaptain app, you can also download and use other Quickdraw Contours maps that other users have created and uploaded.
Garmin estimates that you’ll be able to record and save up to about 1,500 hours of mapping data onto your Striker 7SV.
- Screen Size: 6 inches x 6 inches (7 inches diagonally)
- Physical Dimensions: 3 inches x 5.5 inches x 2.3 inches
- Display Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
- Display Type: WVGA color
- Weight:7 pounds
- Transmit Power: 500 watts
- Waterproof Rating: IPX7 (can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in water that is 3 feet deep or less)
- Traditional Frequencies Supported: 50 kHz, 77 kHz, 200 kHz
- CHIRP Frequencies Supported: Mid and high
- SideVü Frequencies Supported: 260 kHz, 455 kHz, 800 kHz
- ClearVü Frequencies Supported: 260 kHz, 455 kHz, 800 kHz
- Maximum Freshwater Depth: 2,300 feet
- Maximum Saltwater Depth: 1,100 feet
- Maximum Waypoints: 5,000
- Preloaded Maps: No
- Internal GPS: Yes
- Micro SD Slot: No
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While the Striker 7SV may be a little more expensive than Garmin Striker 4 and some of the other fish finders out there, it’s excellent sonar capabilities and cutting-edge CHIRP technology more than compensate for this.
The chart plotting features may not be as comprehensive as they are on some other devices, but the features that are available should be enough for most casual fishing enthusiasts.
The ability to place waypoints wherever you want is a great way to help you remember the location of your favorite fishing spots or underwater obstacles you want to avoid.
If you are in the market for a top-notch piece of equipment to help make your fishing experience the best it can be, the Garmin Striker 7SV is definitely a device you should consider.