Transducer problems and possible upgrade



Hello there. I could do with some advice to the setup and possible upgrade to my current NavNet v1 system.

I took over running a charter boat (2 years ago) that has the original NavNet system installed, when it was purchased new in 2004. I have had some good success but have always wondered about the original choice of transducer that was installed. From what I can make out it is either a Furuno 520-5PSD or a P319 Flushmount - all I know is that the owner of the boat told me it cost "less than €100" and these are the 2 models on offer on the website of the company that did the electronics fit out. My thinking is that having spent all the money on a top spec NavNet system, why put a €100 transducer on it? Its like ordering a Ferrari with faux leather seats!

My 600W transducer can only read the bottom down to about 140mtrs on a flat clam day, any swell or chop can reduce that to 100mtrs - this would be on the 200kHz setting. On the 50kHz setting it doesn't return a signal at that depth, well maybe only just. Settings are GAIN at 60%, SIGNAL LEVEL 1 and CLUTTER 9. Is this normal?? I have tried playing around with signal strength, gain and clutter but all that happens is I get either no bottom return or a screen full of blue lines and dots. I am able to mark bait clearly down to maybe 80mtrs if all the settings are as listed above, but never seem to mark individual fish, all I get is single pixel wide vertical lines that maybe red or orange at the top down to green or blue at the bottom - never seen the "boomerang" shape that I am used to seeing on friends boats when trolling over larger fish. So, 1 is the bottom detection range of maybe 140mtrs normal for this entry level 600W transducer, 2 if not, what can I do to improve the bottom detection range and 3 what can I do to improve larger fish target returns. I could use this info as I still have to fish for another 6 weeks before I haul out.

Next on to the possible upgrade.

I have been looking at the Airmar ss270w 1kW twin wide beam. From what I have read on other forums this is a great unit in shallow water but returns in deep water could be misleading because of the wide beam on 200kHz. So, a bit about where I fish, what for and local conditions. Target species are Big eye tuna (also Albacore and Skipjack) Blue and White Marin and Wahoo. We fish upto 6 miles from the island but most of our fishing is say between 2 and 4 miles from shore. our drop off is very close to the island and we can be fishing in 1000mtrs just 2 miles out. Wahoo fishing takes place in say upto 100mts of water, so that nice wide beam on 200kHz is looking great, but when out wide for tuna and marlin I am still really only looking for fish in the top 60mts of water - well, when using my current setup. What I am thinking is a strong transducer with wide beam returns will let me see bait and fish deep down over a large area. Bait (and then prey) moves up and down during the day - thinking big eye tuna here. If I mark bait with some solid fish returns around it in the morning, I can mark the possition and mabe return later in the day to see if it has moved up in the water column. Also we have 3 seamounts near to the island. all come up from 3000mtrs to between 300 and 90 mts beneath the surface. On my current setup I have been unable to locate them - thinking that nice wide beam would help find them. So my questions are, is the ss270w a good choice for my type of fishing and conditions, 2 would it fit onto my existing set up (BBFF1 Network Sounder)

Anyone with any first hand experience of the ss270w what to chip in feel free.
Thank you for your questions. Putting a good sounding system together all starts with the transducer, buying a good transducer and getting it mounted correctly can make a world of difference. The transducer you have sounds like your basic 600 watt with a beam angle of 40 (50Khz) & 10 (200Khz) degrees. These ducers have one element that resonates at both frequencies. Normally the more elements a transducer has the better its performance. Besides more elements the higher end transducers will also use discrete elements that will only resonate at one frequency which further boosts performance. Sadly there is probably not much more you will be able to do settings wise to increase the depth range of your system but if you would like to post a screen shot and a complete list of your settings I would be glad to took a look.

As far as a recommendation for a new transducer I would lean towards a 526TID-HDD, its a proven winner and a great match for the BBFF1.

Hi Snips, thanks for the reply.

The reason why i was looking at the ss270w was that a friend of mine purchased one for his new boat and then decided to upgrade his black box to take a 2Kw transducer. He is offering me the ss270w at a very attractive price (plus I dont have to pay any shipping + import duties!) hence wanting to be sure of the compatability before I part with my hard earned.

As far as some shots of the current set up, I am out Tuesday next week so I will take some pictures and make note of the settings then post them on here when I get home for the night.

Once again many thanks for your reply.

Please don't get me wrong, the SS270W will work with the BBFF1 and if you can get them at a good price they will certainly perform better than what you are currently using.