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Old 06-06-2019, 09:02   #1
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Copper tape ground plane question

I have been using a KISS counterpoise since installing my Icom 710 years ago, but have recently bought some copper tape to try to up my game. I am a bit unsure of the best way to install it, though. I have 2 questions:

1. I have 25' of tape. Should I use it all or is it best to keep the run to the through-hull as short as possible?

2. Is it beneficial to keep the run as straight as possible, or does this make no difference?
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Old 06-06-2019, 10:09   #2
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Re: Copper tape ground plane question

Yes, make the run as short (< 15') and direct as possible.
Any required bends should be folded to make square corners (not oblique).

“Seawater Grounding for High-Frequency Radios” ~ by Gordon West
https://www.sfbaysss.org/resource/do...GordonWest.pdf

Excerpt:
“... If you are installing your own marine SSB or ham radio system and are looking for an easy way to ground it, start by grounding to a convenient underwater bronze through-hull near where the tuner is mounted in the lazarette. Just clamp the foil to the through-hull, being sure to first clean up the contact area on the fitting with a wire brush. Its a good idea to fold the foil under the clamp several times to insure the connection won't break down easily: Keep the foil (which has sharp cutting edges) clear of any hose attached to the through-hull and keep it away from any sloshing bilge water. I also recommend grounding to a single through-hull. There is no need to run foil all over the bilge tying in additional through-hulls, tanks, rudderposts, and whatnot, as this will not appreciably raise the antenna current output or your signal strength to a distant station. The best through-hull to use will be plumbed with non-conducting rubber hose and, of course, should stay in the water at all angles of heel. True, a large ground plate is a better choice than a corroded through-hull fitting. Big bronze ground plates have gold-plated studs for a good foil connection, and they also have more surface area than a small through-hull. There is no question that increased surface contact with the water helps lower onboard noise sources, and getting noises out of your radio system can be just as important as pumping out every last milliamp of antenna current. But my tests have confirmed that the porosity of ground plates does not effectively improve contact with the water, and I have found that a single plate the length and width of a common brick is all that is needed to develop a substantial amount of antenna current. The longest distance between your antenna coupler and your seawater ground, be it a through-hull or a ground plate, should not exceed 15 feet. The shorter the run, the less the likelihood of developing inductive reactance. And never use wire to make the connection; always be sure to use copper foil, as this offers the least resistance to radio-wave AC currents ...”

See also
Ground Plane Tape for HF Radio
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Old 06-06-2019, 14:08   #3
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Re: Copper tape ground plane question

I ran copper tape, 2" wide IIRC, from the tuner to the bow of the boat on both sides, about 60' total. It is under the deck hidden behind removable trim at the hull deck join. Had to make pretty sharp turns on the side opposite the tuner location but has worked well. Tried a KISS system counter poise but it didn't work as well though still worked ok. There is no ground to anything below the water line.
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Old 07-06-2019, 08:45   #4
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Re: Copper tape ground plane question

Thanks for the replies. Short it is, then. The other issue that concerns me is that, in order to get frmo the tuner to the nearest through-hull, the tape will have to pass over or through a bulkhead and a ring frame. I would prefer not to poke holes in the bulkheads so have been planning to simply wrap the tape around them. This would create a couple of 90 degree bends and one 180 degree bend at each one. Would this noticeably affect transmission?
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