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Old 25-12-2015, 09:43   #1
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Couple of newbe SSB questions.

I have recently gotten my vessels old SEA-222 ssb radio up and running. I am planning on getting my ships stations license but up until know have been just listening and trying to learn more about the equipment and lingo.

For an antenna I am using the backstay and would say the length is 20-25' long, and have noticed that some bands are definitely better than others, would it be unusual to add a whip antenna to augment the backstay arrangement and possibly cover a broader range of bands?

I hear hams talking about signal reports, my ssb doesn't have a meter is it possible to install one between the radio and the antenna wire and if so what would be a good reasonably priced model?

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Old 25-12-2015, 12:11   #2
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Re: Couple of newbe SSB questions.

That some bands being better than others is probably more of a time of day/propagation issue than an antenna issue... I'd just stick with what you have.

You don't need a meter for a signal report, your ear can do it for you...this is lifted directo from fact a meter will never give you readability...

The R stands for "Readability". Readability is a qualitative assessment of how easy or difficult it is to correctly copy the information being sent during the transmission. In a Morse code telegraphy transmission, readability refers to how easy or difficult it is to distinguish each of the characters in the text of the message being sent; in a voice transmission, readability refers to how easy or difficult it is for each spoken word to be understood correctly. Readability is measured on a scale of 1 to 5.

1 Unreadable
2 Barely readable, occasional words distinguishable
3 Readable with considerable difficulty
4 Readable with practically no difficulty
5 Perfectly readable
The S stands for "Strength". Strength is an assessment of how powerful the received signal is at the receiving location. Although an accurate signal strength meter can determine a quantitative value for signal strength, in practice this portion of the RST code is a qualitative assessment, often made based on the S meter of the radio receiver at the location of signal reception. "Strength" is measured on a scale of 1 to 9.[6]

1 Faint signal, barely perceptible
2 Very weak
3 Weak
4 Fair
5 Fairly good
6 Good
7 Moderately strong
8 Strong
9 Very strong signals'

So a good clear and strong signal would get a 5/9.

Hope this helps

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Old 25-12-2015, 12:41   #3

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Re: Couple of newbe SSB questions.

There's a lot of overlap between ham radio and marine radio. I don't know that anyone has jumped in to publish "Marine Radio for Dummies" yet, but maybe that's because there's already so much ham stuff out there.(G)
First off, if I may suggest, if the microphone is attached to the radio with a little screw collar, so the mic and cord can be unscrewed and removed? Take it off and stow it. This was traditionally done by radio operators to "secure" their station and prevent unauthorized usage, and as long as there's no mic attached to your radio, no one can give you flack for having it. Without a means of transmitting (no mic, no morse key) it is just a receiver and as such, the FCC says "Have nice day!" and no one else is entitled to comment.

The ARRL (ham radio national assn. in the US) actually has a book on marine/mobile setups, and one of their comments has long been that even for two "identical" boats, the same antenna will not always work the same way, because there are so many differences, like rigging quality, joints, oxidation on connections, etc. between them. So your choices are to say "I want this kind of antenna because...and that's what I'm getting." Or, "I'm willing to experiment over a couple of weeks or months and see what works for me." There's no magic solution for what is best.
Most use a backstay antenna of some sort because, well, the backstay IS there, and often works well enough.
But any kind of antenna really resonates best with one band and one band only, and if you want to do more, you may need to add an antenna "tuner" at the base of it. These really don't "tune" the antenna, they just fool your radio into thinking that the antenna isn't as bad as it is on other bands, which again beats nothing.

And you'll also find a lot of basics about getting enough power to the radio, running a counterpoise (aka "ground") for it, and learning how important simple wiring connections on the radio's antenna wiring can be. Again, if there's nothing around for marine SSB...ask your local reference librarian about that, and ham radio, or contact the ARRL.ORG online. And don't forget to contact SEA, they are still in business and if you don't have a manual, I'd bet they can still find one for you.
SEA has a good reputation, odds are that if you get it set up nicely and understand what it can and can't do, you'll keep it, at least for a while.
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Old 26-12-2015, 08:18   #4
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Re: Couple of newbe SSB questions.

Take a look at the sticky thread on SSBs and Ham radios under the Electronics forum on CF. Wonderful detail on many things, and links to other stuff.
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