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Old 22-12-2007, 21:34   #1
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GROUND PLATE QUESTION

Hi,
I recently discovered that my strut bolts are underneath a large sheet of copper (1' wide x 6' long) ground. Unfortunately, I need to get to the bolts. The easiest way would be to snip the copper plate, lift it up, and then put it back down when I'm done.

But here's my question: will cutting the copper damage the plate, compromise the ground... ie, ruin whatever it is the big plate is doing? Do I need to do something like sodder the copper strip back together when I'm done? Should I not cut it UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES because, like, it's providing ubber protection and my boat will sink?

Below are some more details. Sorry for being such a novice... but at least I'm asking BEFORE I cut. And I really, really appreciate any advice.

Minitee

--------------------
The 1'x6' copper strip appears to be pretty attached to the hull, as if it was resined in, but I can pull it up. A smaller 3" wide strip comes off it in two directions and runs throughout the boat, connecting to the keel bolts (I'm sure this is a good thing). The infamous green wire is connected to it. The hull is fiberglass and the keel is a solid fin.
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Old 22-12-2007, 22:02   #2
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A picture is worth a thousand words. It's difficult to decide what a "clean" idea would be without seeing it.

It definitely sounds like a bonding system and rather than get into a debate about whether bonding the boat helps in evetn of lightning, I would say you can go ahead and cut it but I would not "remove" any section.

I am guessing that when you tap on it in the area over the strut it appears "hollow" and that you will be able to access the bolts.

If so I would consider a C or I shaped cut and peel back.

Alternately, if it is hollow and you could locate the holes well enough with some measuring, I would consider a 1 inch hole saw and make permanent holes in the copper. Please don't drill through the hull...
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Old 23-12-2007, 06:09   #3
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Sounds like it might be a shortwave radio ground plane. Do you (or did the previous owner) have an SSB on board? If so, you can cut it and solder a bridging patch back on it.
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Old 23-12-2007, 07:57   #4
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It is not a ground or for lightning protection but as the previous person said, is designed to serve as a counterpoise for an HF SSB radio antenna. No hatm in removing it as long as you don't have such a radio and you don't do any consequential damage to the hull
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Old 23-12-2007, 09:33   #5
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I do indeed have a photo (sorry, should've included earlier).

I also have an SSB and assume this ground is for it or for lightning protection as previously cited. Right?

I'm sorry I just don't understand "modern science" enough to know what cutting the plate will do to my radio (besides produce a lot of static, hee, hee). If it's better to not cut it and struggle underneath it, I will.

I can reach underneath the plate and touch the bolts, but it's not easy. That's why I've asked about cutting it and peeling it back. I do like the "holes" idea as that would provide a lasting solution. And thanks for the reminder to not drill through the bottom of the boat (water outside good, water inside bad).

Thank you,
minitee
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Old 23-12-2007, 09:41   #6
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Again, it has nothing to do with lightning protection or an electrical ground. It's purpose is solely to serve as an RF counterpoise for the radio which simply put makes the antenna work more effectively. Cutting it or drilling small holes through it won't drastically reduce it's efficacy if you replace it in such as way as to not significantly reduce it's cross-sectional area.
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Old 23-12-2007, 10:01   #7
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It's definitely a HAM/SSB counterpoise. Go ahead and cut it. You can probably use ordinary scissors. If there's any extra length, you can clean the surfaces, apply soldering rosin and then solder it back together with a slight overlap. If you need protection for the hull when soldering it, slide folded layers of aluminum foil under it.

Steve B.
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Old 23-12-2007, 13:38   #8
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A big thanks for the responses! You have calmed my fears as I boldly reach for the tin snips and soldering iron.
minitee
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Old 23-12-2007, 19:33   #9
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Yeah - My bad - Sorry...

When you said copper plate, I was thinking "copepr plate" not copper foil.
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