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Old 05-06-2011, 08:31   #1
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Building SSB Antenna

I am planning to make a SSB antenna for my new to me M710 Icom radio. I am more than sure there are a few guy out there that understand this far better than me.

I am planning to bury a wire in the core of a halyard to run up the mast. I have a couple of questions:

1- Stainless cable versus tinned copper wire?
2- Size, is size important, what size should I use 1/8" stainless, 3/16" stainless, 10 gauge awg covered Ancor wire or something else? Does it matter if the wire is insolated (covered life line would pull thru easily).
3- I am planning on 50 feet in lenght. Suggestions?
4- Can this wire be lead directly to the tuner, I read that alot of folks use GTO-15 from the tumer to the backstay, makes sense in this set up but could just connect a insulated wire to the tuner ( one long wire) or I still need to use GTO-15 from the tuner to my wire?
5- I plan to run the wire in a 100 halyard, about 50 up the mast from the stern rail, thru a block and then down the mast to a cleat at the bottom. The block would be attached to a nylon pad eye on the mast and a spliced uv resitant line. Is that enough isolation?

Thanks to the Ham and SSB wizards

Fletch
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:48   #2
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

It's difficult to know for sure, but typical practice would be:

* Use stranded copper wire inside the halyard. 16ga should be enough. Any old insulation.

* Keep the halyard as far from the mast and other stays as practical. Don't run the wire all the way to the top, but maybe 5 feet short. Don't run it up and then back down either.

* Use GTO from the halyard to the tuner, and maybe as high as someone might grab the halyard during transmit, because of the possible high voltages.
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:51   #3
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Interesting idea. Is this setup intended to be temporary (i.e. deployed when needed) or permanent?

This "halyard" is intended to be only for the SSB antenna, right? It wont be working for anything else, like raising a sail. If I understand, you are going to embed 50 feet of antenna inside a 100 foot halyard? When raised, the antenna will be along the diagonal, stop at the top of the mast, but the halyard will continue on down and be secured.

Coated stainless wire, like that used for lifelines might work. Thickness of at least the GTO-15 wire.

If you can attach it directly to the tuner, that would be best. But splicing some GTO-15 would not be a bad thing if it makes routing or deployment of the antenna easier
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:41   #4
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

I am interested in this as well. If it could be deployed semi-permanently to an aft quarter with a spinnaker halyard, it would suit my purposes just fine. I am very interested in what the hams here have to say about it.

There is is a company which sells halyards with embedded wire for this purpose; can't remember its name but probably easy to Google.
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:54   #5
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Here's a link to a backstay antenna page, lots of info-http://www.yachtcom.info/backstay/index.html
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Old 05-06-2011, 16:08   #6
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Insulated copper wire would be better than bare copper. That halyard will tend to hold salt and moisture against the antenna, and bare copper will corrode quickly. Stainless lifeline may or may not be better. it too will corrode in absence of oxygen, but I don't know if this would be a factor in this application or not. Coated SS would be awfully thick for embedding in a halyard, I would think.

I suppose you could also zip tie an insulated copper wire to an existing spinnaker halyard. It would radiate just fine, but of course not quite as aesthetically pleasing as an embedded wire. At least easy to make, reverse, and repair.
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Old 05-06-2011, 17:29   #7
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Marine Antennas

Bill Trayfors has an interesting web page on vertical dipoles.
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Old 05-06-2011, 18:11   #8
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

On my boat I used a old topping lift that was all line. As I went to a rigid vang. 8" fiberglass rod on the end with a# 14 thhn (42') as the antenna. Other end of the wire to a 1:1 Balun that I mounted on my aluminum radar pole using another piece of fiberglass rod. Short ground wire to aluminum radar pole then under deck a wire which I ran to a thru-hull all so tied in the stern push-pit, diesel motor and swim ladder.
Coax down the inside of radar pole to a LDG auto tuner that sets on the radio. I use an Alinco dx-70.
Most weekends and Monday evenings I am on the air.
Works like a champ. You can see my log on QRZ.com look for W7TPH.
Do keep the upper end 3-5 feet from top. I have twin back stays. So mine runs up between them. It does not interfere with the main so I leave it up.
If you are on ham bands let me know. I will give you a shout.
Tim (W7TPH)
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Old 05-06-2011, 18:57   #9
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Fletch, I think the GTO-15 is recommended because the wire and jacket are robust, and the jacket is particularly designed to insulate against high voltages. You can still get a nasty surprise from a live wire transmitting, but IIRC the GTO-15 makes that somewhat harder than random wire.
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Old 05-06-2011, 19:47   #10
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Thanks to all for the replys, lots of terms that are a bit strangle for a newbe. Seems simple enough however I am still not sure if a 10 gauage wire would give a better signal than that of 16 gauge.

Seems a heavier wire would be far more robust and stronger. Price is not really that different.

I know there are a ton of opinions and views on the Kiss RF Ground, not to debate its cost etc however if anybody is using one and it works well I would love know. Seems an easy way to install a radio,"if it works"!
Fletch
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Old 05-06-2011, 20:14   #11
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

We have a problem on our catamaran as we have few places where sails don't go - too much roach on the main to have anything going up from the aft deck. So I ran my (insulated wire) antennas from 1m forward of our cap-shrouds (no backstay) straight up to the ends of our top spreaders, one on each side. Only the 'chute sheets go that far out, & they're not much of a problem. The tops of the antennas are connected to nylon cord for insulation. The bottoms are tensioned with bungee to a life-line. The 2 tuners (one manual, one auto) are at the bottoms of the antennas, with grounding plates under the tuners & connected by wide copper strap.

We used insulated SS fishing leader on our previous boat & it seemed to get out fine but now we're using thicker insulated copper wire. It does seem a bit directional (interaction with other rigging?) but with one on each side we can choose our antenna. I like a robust unbreakability of a manual tuner, but my wife prefers the ease of use of an automatic tuner.
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Old 05-06-2011, 20:15   #12
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Camp David
Before you buy a Kiss system try running wire to a thru-hull,motor and any other large metal objects like your stern push pit. Use hose clamps if need be. Just see how it works first. Remember one side of your antenna is going to be a random length wire. Get the other side in contact with the water.
That's what I did and found my setup works better than I ever dreamed.
First contact I made was New Mexico. I threw 20' of wire in the water with a weight on the end as the ground end of the antenna.Then built from there.
Tim
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Old 05-06-2011, 20:53   #13
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Fletch, I don't think 10g vs 16g will make a huge difference, the way it would in a 12vdc circuit with voltage drop and load problems. It might be better to use 10g though, because the wider an antenna's elements are, the wider bandwidth it will have for any given swr. That might not have any practical effect here either, you might want to seek better educated advice on it.

Marine SSB is very similar to HF amateur radio, and if you can't find anything about boat antennas online for marine ssb, look for hf ham radio antenna articles, there are plenty of them.

Basically for a sailboat? There are only so many ways to string a long piece of wire in the rigging, and which one works best seems to be a matter of experimentation. Antenna tuning, swr match, good ground, these all count no matter which antenna design you use. But on the designs themselves, apparently the resonances, interference, and influences caused by the rigging of your particular boat (including the resistance of rigging connections unique to each joint) mean that almost any of the popular designs will work, but only experimentation can tell you which one works best on your boat.

Testing works best if you are out of the marina (away from interference, etc.) and you find someone a good distance away to compare signals with you. And then of course, changing antenna configurations and testing again. So if you start with the 16g wire and same duct tape...<G>....there's actually real merit in doing it that way, unless you figure there's only one place you want to run that wire.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:14   #14
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Quote:
Originally Posted by CampDavid View Post
I am still not sure if a 10 gauage wire would give a better signal than that of 16 gauge.
No, it wouldn't. 16 ga is a practical minimum for the level of durability that you need. 18 ga would probably work, but might be a bit fragile.

In terms of the ability to radiate RF, though, a strand of 22 ga copper would work--for all practical purposes--just as well as 10 ga. In fact, a strand of 22 ga is exactly what I use at home (but it is strung in such a way that durability is of no concern).
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:29   #15
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Re: Building SSB Antenna

Any diagrams for how to attach PL259 to wire. Do I need 2 wires like 2-23 ft. one for center and one for shield ?
I have never made one or seen one.
THANKS.
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