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Old 10-04-2013, 16:15   #1
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Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

I am on the lookout for a GTO15 cable clamp that secures the GTO15 from the tuner to the backstay (or shroud) in a connector box.

This device was seen on a neighbor's boat and he can't remember where or when he purchased the device. The GTO15 HF cable is secured to the take-apart housing (made of 316/304 SS) which securely clamps onto the shroud. The GTO15 cable is totally sealed and threaded on the bottom of the housing, and is stood-off the backstay by the typical 4 inch standoff.

If anyone has seen or knows the whereabouts of one of the these devices, please post.

Attached is a quick pic that I drew on Google Sketchup of the device:
(Quick update: the neighbor said the 'device' was from Mike's Electronics in Ft. Lauderdale Fla, circa 1990's...)
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Old 10-04-2013, 16:19   #2
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

Before anyone posts the typical 'hose clamp' solution, here my prepared reply:

[...I have that now and for over the last 15 years, the good old hose clamp solution. Usually I am getting SWR errors after a year or so and sometimes sooner if in 'conditions' that tend to make the connection bad. So I am typically having to go up the backstay and then cleaning and remounting the cable. The hose clamp is not a very good solution, but it does work.

The neighbors boat was built in the 1970's and the tuner to stay connection has been up for some time now. He gave me an update and believes the installer was in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. with the name of the business under Mike's Electronics.

The 'device' is just a mucho better solution than the good old hose clamp. And since it is high tension, very high volts, the connection quality is very important to the signal output and the SWR, needless to say the moisture intrusion issues that quickly degrade the signal output quality of the GTO15 cable, not having it in a sealed connection. (Even putting heat shrink on and solder 'sealing' the stranded wire, so not to wick up moisture, doesn't work very well in preventing the degradation of the cable and signal quality.)


-Rob...]
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Old 10-04-2013, 17:24   #3
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

Seems like expensive overkill to me and I see that you don't like the hose clamp option but if you weatherproof it properly, it will last for years. I do them that way all the time. Here's one that was in use for years and it's still looks like it did the day I installed it inside. A quick slit with a razor knife to open it up for inspection and then re-taping that will last for years I suppose. Never had one fail. It's just a few layers of good rubber tape topped with vinyl tape. Easy, cheap, low-profile.

Eric

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Old 10-04-2013, 17:59   #4
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

I saw a similar gadget years ago made of a round brass rod with an axial hole to pass the backstay, a blind hole with two allen head screws to hold the GTO15 wire, and two round head screws to hold the two pieces together. It could easily be made with a piece of 1" brass round bar stock about 3" long.

On the other hand, the hose clamp approach works for years if you clamp the GTO15 wire to the swage-fitting body, not to the wire itself. This way you can actually seal the connection. I used Coax-Seal covered with 3M 33+ electrical tape. That lasted 15 years until I just recently had to replace the backstay wire and took the connection apart. The wire was still shiny even though the white PVC jacket on the West Marine GTO cable was so brittle that it fell off the wire. The internal clear PVC was just fine. No matter how you try to seal the wire, moisture can get in between the strands.

Rick
Inshallah
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Old 10-04-2013, 19:11   #5
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

Yes, I do understand the hose clamp method: cheap, easy, but it really doesn't work as well as one may think. And if any riggers see that crevice rust shown on the photo of the hose clamped shroud, they would certainly gasp. That may look like some simple surface rust, but under the right magnification, you will gasp too. The other clamp described may be one like this:
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Old 10-04-2013, 20:36   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Doll View Post
Yes, I do understand the hose clamp method: cheap, easy, but it really doesn't work as well as one may think. And if any riggers see that crevice rust shown on the photo of the hose clamped shroud, they would certainly gasp. That may look like some simple surface rust, but under the right magnification, you will gasp too. The other clamp described may be one like this:
That is a standard item from the hardware store. It's normally used to join grounding/bonding wires..
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Old 10-04-2013, 20:54   #7
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

It's not rust, it's scotchkote electrical coating. I used to use it over the taping but it only lasts a year or two before UV eats it up. Doesn't do much any way, just looks pretty when you first apply it. As for the hose clamp method not really working, Iv'e been a service tech for 37 years and have been using that method for many years without a problem. It all comes down to doing the weatherproofing properly. There is a proper method to applying the rubber tape so that it completely seals the connection. It does last for years and years, that's why I use it. I use the same method to seal pl259 connectors for the VHF antenna. It works very well and holds up for years. Here's photo's from one of them. Notice in the second photo the writing from the connector impressed into the rubber tape. The connector is completely sealed and stays that way. I placed one of these sealed connections fully immersed in a container of heavy salt water for a full year and when I cut it open, it was like new. No moisture had entered. Iv'e seen all kinds of contraptions for attaching the lead-in wire to the backstay that don't work because it's difficult to seal them because they are bulky and/or odd shaped. The hose clamp is simple and easy to seal. It's also easy to open up for inspection, unlike coax seal which is a gooey mess.

Eric



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Old 10-04-2013, 21:44   #8
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

Yes... See what you mean by the coating... Interesting how well it forms to the object wrapped. I have been using self-bonding tape to seal my hose clamp method which lasts long enough to get me thru another sailing season of a couple 1000 miles or so, but I can say that there are a lot of 'hose clampers' that can't do the SWR that they think they can do, and have more than likely been pushing against a bad hose clamp connection for more than 40 years. And if you're underway making way, this method is more than likely a cause for many to think it is just another bad propagation day or perhaps something's wrong again with the counterpoise. Cheap and easy is like an algebraic equation, where pushing the on the easy button only gives a you fraction of return on the cheap value. There is no way a commercial setup would rely on this method. As in my experience, it is when the going gets rough, that is when the cheap and easy method starts failing, perhaps right when you need to really do a serious HF conversation. Which is why I am in pursuit of a 'real' setup and connection. Perhaps this is a commercial setup that probably doesn't cost more than a good 316SS hose clamp. But for me, I no longer except the cheesy hose clamp method.

[QUOTE=fairbank56;1207843]It's not rust, it's scotchkote electrical coating. I used to use it over the taping but it only lasts a year or two before UV eats it up. Doesn't do much any way, just looks pretty when you first apply it. As for the hose clamp method not really working, Iv'e been a service tech for 37 years and have been using that method for many years without a problem. It all comes down to doing the weatherproofing properly...
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:14   #9
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I'm afraid that China Doll is in the category of those who would only use salt water to treat teak decks when it has an article number at West Marine
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:15   #10
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

I agree, complex, expensive and "commercial" doesn't make it better. My many years of experience has proven that mantra quite the opposite. The photo you posted of the split-bolt connector. There you have three connections. A terminal lug crimped to the wire, a screw holding the lug to the bolt (2 different metals by the way) and the bolt clamped to the antenna (2 different metals again)(bulky) versus one simple hose clamp that is easily weatherproofed.

Eric
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:22   #11
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Exclamation Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

You got to be kidding! This thing is SKUed at West Marine? I guess I need to switch to Bing and forget about Google, or WM needs to have their catalog crawled!
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:04   #12
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

I wasn't super impressed with the old ground rod connection either. Still looking for the real deal. Not in the Shakespeare catalog at West Marine as otherwise suggested. Nor did the technician shop in Ft. Lauderdale that did the work in the 1990's on the neighbor's boat remembered any such device. Our neighbor sailed on to another port and we are headed back out to sea for a 1250 NM trip, so unless it's spotted by another, it will no doubt remain a mystery.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:11   #13
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

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Old 11-04-2013, 13:20   #14
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

That's a nice one... Reminds me of the time my youngest child look over at the sail boater next door feeding his 'pet' seagull, and said, "pretty chicken!"

Not sure who manufactures that one --it is different than the one I had seen-- but it looks fairly bulletproof.

Or rather, it looks like a very pretty chicken.

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Old 11-04-2013, 13:24   #15
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Re: Device to connect GTO15 to Backstay

A Google Image search turns up (and as you mentioned, at 39 Euros, it's certainly not cheap) one Germany company that sells the 'BONITO Backstay Clamp':

BONITO Backstay Clamp
Everything depends on the quality of reception and the antenna is the most crucial part of the receiving system. It is not difficult to make a good antenna. Simply take a piece of wire six meters in length (20 ft) and connect it to the inner conductor of a coax cable. You can use 6, 12 or 18 meters. A different wire length is not advisable for the reception of weather frequencies.
This backstay clamp allows you to connect the coax cable to the backstay safe from dampness. Attempts to fix the feeder with the help of hose clips or ordinary cable clamps will result in a provisional solution, since ingress of moisture would be inevitable.
Our backstay clamps are designed for 8 – 11mm backstays (stainless steel) and for 11 – 16mm backstays (brass). We recommend using GTO-15 high-voltage-cable as a feeder.
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