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Old 11-02-2011, 13:48   #1
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Emergency Antenna ( SSB )

I'm currently on the hard with my mast down for repairs, but still wanted to use my SSB (I've got my ham License -- Amateur Extra), so I made myself an emergency antenna.

First, I used my 20' whisker pole to erect a temporary mast in the cockpit -- lashed it to the wheel support and added guy lines connected to the stern pulpit and jib cleats. I ran my backstay in a loop over pole to the stern pulpit and back over the pole forward. Then I connected another wire that ran all the way forward to the bow pulpit and back to where it started near the dorades, making sure it didn't come in contact with any metal.

This gave me a long wire in a loop about 75' long -- the boat's 33' long. Then I used all my shrouds to create a counterpoise on the deck. I connected them to a few other large pieces of metal I had on deck, e.g., anchors and my coiled up lifelines, but didn't connect it to anything else -- not the engine or the dc ground. Remember, I'm out of the water, so thru-hulls wouldn't help a lot. If I were, and I wasn't surrounded by all these other boats with their mast up (I'm a small fry here), it would be much better. Basically, I'm a very low level satellite.

Anyway, with this setup, using an Icom 700Pro, I was able to check-in to the Maritime Mobile Service Network today with no problem. I'm in New York City and net control was just south of Atlanta, so I figure that's a pretty good hop considering, probably around 500nm, but I can hear stations on the west coast -- though not sure if they can hear me.

Just thought I'd post this as an example of what's possible. Of course, suggestions are welcome.
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Old 11-02-2011, 14:10   #2
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Good on you, NV5L, nice job. I have used an Outbacker antenna both on the boat here and on a motorhome. It's a bit more expensive than your set-up. Info can be found here: Outbacker : Old Fashioned Service in secure online shopping Cheers
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Old 11-02-2011, 14:13   #3
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Congratulations, Don. Very creative. And, lotsa work :-)

I've found over the years that a plain old Hustler mobile whip antenna with resonators for the different bands works very well. I keep the base section clamped to my stern pushpit all the time, and it's wired to a coax switch near the radio. To use it, I just select the desired resonator, screw it on, and bingo...ready to go. Works very well in- or out-of-water!

Been searching for a skyhook or a compact kite for some time, though. It would be nice to get a wire WAY up :-)

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Old 11-02-2011, 16:04   #4
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G'DAy all,

A few years back (well, actually in June '96) we were dismasted about 75 miles SE of Cape Moreton Qld. Lost the lot, including the spinny pole. When the dust had cleared, I took a random length of insulated wire, hooked one end to the deck feedthrough well aft, and took the other end and draped it over the bow pulpit about 35 feet away. With it just laying on the deck, the faithful MFJ manual tuner could load it up on both 40 and 20 metres, and we were able to contact hams both in Oz and NZed and advise them of our situation. Of course, everyone then wanted to "rescue" us... one of those unintended consequences that plague the world. Took lots more air time to stop them than it did to start them going!!

Anyhow, it is surprising what even a very bad antenna can do.

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Old 11-02-2011, 16:19   #5
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That's funny -- glad you made it back okay.

I don't have an emergency either, but I am out of beer. So, if anyone's thinking of dropping by to "save" me, don't forget to pickup a six pack...
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Old 16-02-2011, 13:40   #6
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Nice info here guys!

73's
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Old 16-02-2011, 14:13   #7
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Glad you found it helpful.

Btw, I've been connecting to Intercon and MMSN daily. My farthest contact thus far has been about 950 statute miles.
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