One of our most useful, but little known, accessories is a short little transducer accessory known as the S-Cable. It installs easily between the unit and transducer. In shallow or very weedy waters this short cable can improve your readings quite a bit. “Shallow and weedy” are different from one body of water to another. The level at which you need to use an S-Cable depends on the type of water you are on.
The S stands for Suppression. The S-Cable simply suppresses the output power of your flasher. Technically the power is attenuated, but A-Cable just doesn’t cut it. Your unit’s output power, watts, is reduced by almost 70% when the S-Cable is installed. Why would you want to reduce your power when everyone says more is better?
The FL series flashers put out 400 Watts, peak to peak, at all times. It does not matter where the gain control is set. The signal that you are putting into the water is always the same strength. The gain controls how much the reflected signal, coming back from the water, is amplified. In shallow water, with the gain set at zero, you may be amplifying the return signal to the point that you cannot determine what is what because there is just too much stuff on the screen. The S-Cable comes to the rescue.
Imagine you running your unit with the gain set at 6. If you were to install the S-Cable, it would be almost the same as turning the gain down to zero. Now imagine running your unit with the gain set to zero. If you install the S-Cable you are, essentially, turning the gain down to a -6! Now you can clearly read the bottom even though your outboard is kicking up mud like crazy.
For ice fishing the idea is the same. If your fishing in, say, 10 feet of water, your ice jigs may show so well that you cannot get it to read any less than red. The S-Cable will help. Also, if your using the 19 degree transducer you may be seeing fish that are out on the edge of the transducer cone. If there are a lot of fish in the area they will tend to overlap on the display, making it difficult to determine the size and position of the fish. The S-Cable will help this by effectively reducing the size of the cone angle, or your ability to see the entire cone.
One misnomer that, somehow, has gotten out there is that the S-Cable will help reduce interference received from another unit. This is not true. It will actually make the interference worse because you will need to run the gain higher than you would without the S-Cable. The higher the gain, the more likely you will see interference.
The S-Cable is not necessary, but can be a very handy item to have with you when you need it. You definitely would not want to have it installed all the time. I doubt that you could even see the bottom in 30 feet if it were installed. But even with the FL-12, FL-18 and FL-20 (which have it built-in) an extra S-cable can add usability in extremely weedy conditions. I generally carry one in my boat and ice pack, so when ever I need it I have it.