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Old 26-10-2015, 17:04   #1
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Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

Greetings, I am brand new to SSB and have bought a boat that has a new ICOM 802 with a new 140 Tuner mounted in the engine compartment below the fixed Antenna. They had 3 inch copper grounding tape that had to be removed due to corrosion that ran from a 24 inch Grounding plate with 4 studs for the copper tape which ran from the plate in two different directions up the hulls and connected to the ground bolt on the bottom of the Tuner. My question is can I just run one run of 2-4 inch copper strapping from the plate to the tuner or do I need to have a loop that is connected at the plate and runs in different directions that meet at the tuner. Please forgive my ignorance in advance.

Also what size and thickness is best as well as can I use adhesive backed copper tape?

Thanks
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Old 26-10-2015, 19:10   #2
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Re: Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

You can use one run to the grounding plate. I would use the widest and thickest copper tape you can find -- wider is better for RF ground connection performance, and thicker is better for corrosion resistance. Running multiple connections isn't a bad thing, but it is just getting you a "wider" connection. Loops have nothing to do with it.

There are other ways to make a good ground system, but since you already have the plate, and presumably it's in a reasonably accessible place, it makes sense to re-connect it.
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Old 27-10-2015, 10:20   #3
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Re: Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

Truckman,
As Paul correctly pointed out you do not need any "loop", nor are two connections a necessity...(although having two pieces of strapping won't hurt..)

What I'd like to add is, that use of "tape" or "foil" usually leads to problems of longevity (unless care is taken upon installation and the foil or tape is painted/epoxied over..)
So, that is why I have been using copper strapping now for a few decades!

Usually use 3" wide, 0.012" thick strapping for the ease of installation on board, but have used 0.022" thick strapping as well (although the 022" is pretty hard to maneuver/bend, if you have a straight run, it is best...)
{I have one run of 6" wide, 0.022" thick strapping, about 7' - 8' long running from my tuner to my two Dynaplates....but, I'm a fanatic!! }

You can buy copper strapping from any roofing supply company (it's called copper flashing), but I buy mine direct from copper suppliers, it's cheaper, cleaner, and typically in better shape!
My favorite company to buy from is Georgia Copper...
GEORGIA COPPER - Copper ground strap



I hope this helps..

Fair winds..

John
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Old 27-10-2015, 11:49   #4
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Re: Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

I hesitate to mention this, but in theory there *are* cases where having multiple, different-length, ground connections might be a good thing. This would be where you are operating at the higher-frequency end of the marine band, and the length of the ground run is seven feet or longer. In that case the ground connection is a quarter-wave in length and will not deliver a good ground to the tuner. Adding additional ground connections of a different length will improve the situation.

In practice I've not heard of this being a problem though.
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Old 27-10-2015, 12:02   #5
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Re: Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

You could also try the Kiss ground plane. It is really simple, and some suppliers will give you a 30-day money back guarantee if it doesn't work for you.
KISS-SSB TM
I don't have any affiliation with Kiss, just know folks who are quite happy with theirs.
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Old 27-10-2015, 12:45   #6
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Re: Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

jamhass,
I long ago stopped commenting here about the KISS...
But, just thought I'd make you aware of a few important things...

a) There is no reason to use a KISS Ground, nor any other radial ground system, when you already have a direct sea water connection and can use the sea water as your RF / Antenna ground system..

b) If someone doesn't have this direct sea water connection, and cannot effectively utilize other metallic structures (such as alum toe rails, lifelines, stanchions, pushpits, tanks, keels, etc.) as their RF / Antenna ground, then utilizing a radial ground system (aka a "counterpoise"), can be a good way...
But, this can be done fro free (or at the most, about $5) and done in < 5 minutes, by any non-technical/layperson sailor!!
(see details in the link in "c"...)

c) A quite detailed account of the KISS has been done by myself and others....and while it is an esthetically pleasing piece of gear, it is NOT really a "tuned radial system" as it is marketed....and it is seriously inferior to a direct sea water connection RF / Antenna ground...
Please have a look here for all the details:
Re: KISS-SSB Counterpoise


d) Any ground system (and any antenna) can work....even no ground system at all, still works!!
It is all a matter of degree....i.e. "how well does it work?" or more precisely "how well does something work, for the $$$ spent, compared to other approaches?"

I have made excellent contact worldwide, with a simple random wire antenna, and no ground at all!
BUT...
But, that is not what is optimal!
And, this is why the "argument" about ground systems (and antennas) continues....'cause it is all a matter of degree...and of course 'cause the vagaries of the ionosphere are typically much more pronounced that the differences in signal strengths from the use of different ground systems!!



I hope you find the above factual information helpful...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 28-10-2015, 12:41   #7
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Re: Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

John, thanks so much to you and others for the thoughtful replies. My dynaplate has 4 bolts spaced equally down the length would you make sure to use each bolt for a better connection? Also I have a pretty straight run but have a couple 90 degree bends so I think as long as I can bend it it should work fine. I find myself in Georgia on my boat so maybe my shipment will get hear quickly. Thanks again for your assistance


Dave


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Old 29-10-2015, 10:47   #8
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Re: Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

Dave,
You're very welcome!

1) As for using more than one bolt for connection??
Well, I have two huge Dynaplates, 4 bolts each....that's 8 bolts altogether....and I only use one bolt on each plate to connect the strap...(and on other boats have done the same...)


It's usually just too much trouble to try to connect more....but, if you have the space, the time, and don't mind the effort, you can connect as many as you desire...
BUT...
But, typically one of the four bolts is "Gold Plated" and came with extra washers (also "gold plated"), so this is what I recommend you connect to...

MOST IMPORTANTLY here is to make sure your connection stays clean and does not corrode....and for this I always use a liberal amount of Penatrox-A, conductive grease, which is designed to improve electrical connections, keep them from corroding, and especially useful for copper-stainless or copper-bronze or copper-alum, etc. connections, where you want to maintain excellent electrical conductivity but prevent dissimilar metal corrosion!!!
I small bottle / tube will last you decades!! (and it only costs about $10 USD)
It's a messy grease to use, but it works!!



2) As for 90* bends.....for a "lightning ground", that's a big no-no....but for a radio RF ground / Antenna ground, it is acceptable...(not the recommended way, of course....but "acceptable")
I have a fairly sharp bend in my 6" wide strapping on my boat now....and it's been working perfectly now for > 11 years!!!



I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 29-10-2015, 11:40   #9
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Re: Help Setting up my Counterpoise Ground

Thanks John I'll order up the copper strapping this week and make the connections. Click image for larger version

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Here is a pic topside of my connections I am hopeful that this will work for me.


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