Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 19-10-2013, 15:37   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 40
Posts: 92
Help with SSB in Seattle area

I am in the Seattle area. I have been preparing my boat for extended cruising. One of the things I have done is install an SSB radio. I think I have everything done properly - it turns on, I have had one person reply and say my signal was loud and clear (KLB/WLO), but I am having trouble hearing on my end. I could barely hear the person that said I was loud and clear.

I have choked all of the wires that I think should be choked, and I have turned everything electric off, but I still just hear a lot of static. Unfortunately I do not have the tools to test my installation so I am looking for either a low tech test (find someone local with an SSB that I can do a test call with) or find someone that has the tools and know how to verify my installation. I am totally good with either solution.

Anyone in the Seattle area that has the time/inclination to help me out here - please send me a PM and we can exchange phone numbers or whatever.
__________________

__________________
SVRapture40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-10-2013, 15:46   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,369
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

Have you tried moving out of the marina to receive? it can make a huge difference. Also it depends alot of the sunspot/solar storm cycle, as well as the frequency you are using and time of day you are using it. Funny how we all learn it aint like talking on a telephone. I've had times I thought the radio was totally usless due to noise.... But try getting out of the marina first if you havent.
__________________

__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-10-2013, 15:51   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 40
Posts: 92
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

Thank you for your quick reply!

Yes - I have tried in the marina and out of the marina. And I realize that weather/sun spots/time of day/etc.. can have a dramatic affect on what I can/cannot hear. That is why I am trying to do a local controlled test. I figure the sun spots, etc... would be much less of a factor with someone local. Then I would be able to move on from "did I do a good job on the installation" to learning how to effectively use this tool. My thing right now is to verify my installation..
__________________
SVRapture40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-10-2013, 17:04   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,369
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

OK, just double checking the basics I guess. It is a bit hard to find people to respond at times. Dont know that I can help you further. Good luck!
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-10-2013, 07:01   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,586
Images: 240
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, SVRapture40.
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-10-2013, 07:38   #6
Resin Head
 
minaret's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Seattle WA
Boat: Nauticat
Posts: 7,201
Images: 52
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

You could try sending a PM to this forum member-


Cruisers & Sailing Forums - View Profile: n3qq



I recently bought a really nice SSB setup from him. Don't know the guy at all, but he seemed to be in the business of selling/installing radio equipment. He's out of Redmond, seemed like a nice and knowledgeable guy.
__________________
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
minaret is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-10-2013, 08:27   #7
Moderator
 
Paul Elliott's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,884
Images: 4
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

Try tuning into the time-standard stations WWV and WWVH. They broadcast 24/7 on 2.5 MHz, 5, 10, 15, and 20 MHz, from Colorado and Hawaii. Depending on the time of day you should be able to pick them up on one frequency or another. You can also tune in the scheduled weather reports (and FAX) sent by USCG stations in Pt. Reyes, CA, Hawaii, Guam, Alaska, etc. You can find the time/frequency schedule on the web.

By tuning in these and other scheduled broadcasts you can learn if your rig is OK, and what to expect when it comes to propagation.

I'm away from home now, but if you want to practice next weekend I would be happy to fire up the SSB aboard VALIS (in Friday Harbor, WA).

Here are some links: WWV, USCG SSB Weather Broadcasts
__________________
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
www.sailvalis.com
Paul Elliott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-10-2013, 09:41   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 40
Posts: 92
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

Thanks for the welcome Gordmay! Truth be told, I am not new to this forum. I have been on here for a year or so but had to create a new ID as I lost my email address when I sold my business. I couldn't remember my password and had no way to reset it without my old email address. So I just created a new account using my boat email address.

minaret - I will send a PM - thank you for the tip!

Paul Elliott - thank you so much for the tip! I tuned in WWV and did some testing with noise makers on my boat - sure enough, can't have cold food and use the SSB (fridge/freezer noise). That is exactly what I needed. I would still like to do a back and forth talk test so I will PM my phone number to you. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate a call when you are on your boat for a quick SSB test.
__________________
SVRapture40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-10-2013, 18:14   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

You may want to search that fridge/freezer problem using Google Custom Search. There have been discussions in the past about it.
__________________
The Blue Dot Campaign. This Changes Everything.
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-10-2013, 22:10   #10
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

S/V Rapture,
1) The most common causes of the "can't hear much itis" are:
a) unfamiliarity with HF radio, radio noises/static, and how HF radio waves propagate...
b) on-board generated RFI (Radio Frequency Interference)...
c) close-by RFI (from other boats and/or the shore, that are within a 1/2 mile of your boat...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by SVRapture40 View Post
I am in the Seattle area. I have been preparing my boat for extended cruising. One of the things I have done is install an SSB radio. I think I have everything done properly - it turns on, I have had one person reply and say my signal was loud and clear (KLB/WLO), but I am having trouble hearing on my end. I could barely hear the person that said I was loud and clear.
If you're in the Seattle area and KLB (Seattle) / WLO (Mobile, AL) said you were "loud and clear", but you had trouble hearing their 1000 watt transmitters, you probably DO have some on-board RFI that you haven't found yet (remember that just turning something off doesn't mean it won't be causing interference...)
Have a look at some SSCA discussions dealing with these matters...
SSCA Forum • View topic - Tips for using an HF-SSB Radio (mostly for newcomers)





2) Although reading this...
Quote:
Originally Posted by SVRapture40 View Post
I have choked all of the wires that I think should be choked, and I have turned everything electric off, but I still just hear a lot of static.
It makes me wonder how much RFI you have versus how much of the "static" you are hearing is natural/normal??? (as I wrote above, misunderstanding what the static is, why it is there, and what bands/channels/frequencies to use that allow for little / no static.....IS a very common situation among those new to HF radio.....so PLEASE read the above referenced SSCA thread for some basic info....)





3) Not knowing what radio you have, how you have it wired/installed, nor how familiar you are with HF radio...it makes it difficult to advise in detail....
So, please give some more details and we can help further....

But, one brief tidbit....
If you have an M-802 or M-710, you should NOT have more than one segment of the receive s-meter illuminated when receiving no signals, just "static".....typically you will have NO segments illuminated, to sometimes one segment illuminated, especially on the higher freqs...
Although nighttime on the lower freqs, you WILL have lots of atmospheric noise (static)....
If you have more segments illuminated, then the chances are VERY good that you have lots of received RFI (either on-board, or close-by)....
If you don't have any segments illuminated (or just one), then chances are low that you have received RFI, but that you need to familiarize yourself with HF Radio and HF radiowave propagation, and noises/static, etc...


My best guess is that you DO in fact have on-board RFI....
Most folks are not aware of the wealth of stuff on-board that produces so much radio noise!!!
Check EVERYTHING!!! (incld your frig!!)
And, remember that turning something off, does NOT mean that it isn't producing RFI....you must remove the power from the device to make sure....



4) Until then, here are some other threads that are on point....read 'em and you'll not only probably solve your own problem, but also learn a lot!!!
New SSB Installation
SSB Reception

SSCA Forum • View topic - Icom M802 in fresh water
SSCA Forum • View topic - SERIOUS HAM SSB SETUP ON THE CHEAP
SSCA Forum • View topic - Tips for using an HF-SSB Radio (mostly for newcomers)


And, here is a list of some west coast nets...
West Coast Nets





Please provide more details, especially about your wiring, etc...and we can help more...


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie


P.S. I'm 3000 miles away, and tied up with family matters for the next few weeks.....so I do hope the above helps...
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2013, 06:10   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 40
Posts: 92
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

John - thank you for all of the information! I briefly looked at a couple of your links but will spend a lot of time over the next couple of days studying them and learning. I will be the first person to say that have very limited HF experience. Knowing that I am on the bottom side of the learning curve, I am trying to eliminate as many variables as possible so I can work through one issue at a time. So the first thing I am trying to do is eliminate the equipment problems (i.e. - verify my installation). I think I will learn how to use this radio much faster if I know my equipment is working properly (I can work on what I am doing and not worry about it being an equipment problem). That is why I am looking for someone local to do some testing with me - if I am having trouble hearing someone 50 miles from me, I clearly have an equipment issue.

As for your questions about my equipment:

I indeed have an iCom M802.
I have a Gam backstay antenna. I did NOT cut the GTO wire from the antenna and it is not coiled.
My tuner (a 140 I believe - it is the one that everyone sells with the 802 radio) is located in the stern of my boat right below the antenna.
I have a KISS ground plane. I realize that is not the absolute *best* solution, but I think it will be good enough for my needs. I chose it because I saw the trade off as being not the best technically vs. I don't have to worry about copper foil rotting away (I expect it will last a long time!). The KISS is attached to the tuner, runs across the stern of my boat, then goes forward under the bunk in the aft cabin - not coiled at all.
My house battery bank is located on the aft starboard side of the boat. The radio is located on the middle port side of the boat and there is no direct path to get from here to there. So I located a second power panel in the aft port side of the boat with 3/0 cable and then connected the power wire that came with the radio to that power panel.
For the wire between the tuner and radio - I connected the green ground wire on the radio side only.
I have 2 chokes on the power wire going into the radio, I have one choke on either end of the wire between the radio and tuner, I have a choke on the power wire going into the tuner, I have a choke on either end of the coax between the tuner and the radio.

Not sure what else I can tell you about my installation - any other questions, just let me know.

As for turning things off (like the fridge/freezer) - I am removing power from the devices. When I did the test where I got the "loud and clear" from KLB - that was before I choked the wires and started turning things off. I had not been able to find any working signals to test after I put the chokes on, until Paul's idea from yesterday with WWV. I have been able to get their time broadcast so I started doing some testing. That is when I discovered that my fridge/freezer was giving me some noise.

I realize that I am new to this and have a lot to learn. One of the fortunate things about missing my weather window to get south is that I now have time to work on some systems in a place that I am familiar with (Seattle). The reason I am looking for a local person to do a little testing is to try to remove long distance from the equation. I am trying to remove as many variables as possible so I can verify each piece of the equation separately so I am not chasing my tail in circles. If I could find a local professional that truly knew what they were doing, I would gladly pay them for an hour of their time to test/teach me about my equipment. But in the absence of that, my theory is to work each piece separately as I figure out what is normal and what is not working properly.

Thank you so much for your time!!!!
__________________
SVRapture40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2013, 07:55   #12
Moderator
 
Paul Elliott's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,884
Images: 4
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

S/V VALIS and S/V Rapture will be conducting some SSB radio tests this coming Sunday (Oct 27), probably around Noon or so. If anyone else would like to participate you are welcome to join in. PM me for details, and I will try to announce the time and frequencies here on CF once we settle on some. Rapture is in the Seattle area and VALIS is on San Juan Island (WA).
__________________
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
www.sailvalis.com
Paul Elliott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2013, 08:14   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 40
Posts: 92
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
S/V VALIS and S/V Rapture will be conducting some SSB radio tests this coming Sunday (Oct 27), probably around Noon or so. If anyone else would like to participate you are welcome to join in. PM me for details, and I will try to announce the time and frequencies here on CF once we settle on some. Rapture is in the Seattle area and VALIS is on San Juan Island (WA).

Great idea to announce this Paul! Noon it is.. Rapture is currently tied up in Kingston, WA. I will make sure that she is out in the bay at noon on Sunday for testing.
__________________
SVRapture40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2013, 10:23   #14
Registered User
 
jeremiason's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
Boat: Sea Ray 270
Posts: 1,427
Images: 2
Send a message via ICQ to jeremiason Send a message via Yahoo to jeremiason Send a message via Skype™ to jeremiason
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

First, John (KA4WAJ) is an expert on all things electronic and he is an accomplished cruiser... Read his links and try his suggestions.

I have an ICOM 802 and AT 14-0 Antenna Tuner. On the ICOM 802, assuming everything else is OK, check your RF gain and make sure it is not turned up to high or too low... I usually keep mine between 5 and 6. Some people believe turning it up to the max is helpful, but on my radio it distorts and covers low signal stations.

I have several devices that cause interference on my SSB... The solar panels, the Auto Pilot, the Adler Barbour, and Engel Refrigerators. I have tried several different chokes and none of them work. I normally shut off those devices when using the radio.
__________________
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

jeremiason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-10-2013, 10:31   #15
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,369
Re: Help with SSB in Seattle area

I think the OP said everything electrical was turned off....?
__________________

__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
seattle, ssb

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:26.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.