Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 31-03-2015, 09:07   #1
Registered User
 
autumnbreeze27's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: 50' Herreshoff Ketch
Posts: 967
HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

I just got my HAM license and am still working on figuring out the antenna setup. Here's what I'm working with:
Icom IC-7200 radio
LDG Z-11 Pro II Antenna tuner
Chameleon Hybrid Mini antenna

I'm considering running the antenna up the mast on the outside of the mast steps (there's a line there now that keeps lines from getting fouled on the steps) and then aft on the triatic stay to make an inverted L.

I've tried running the antenna (60') up just the main mast and it works, but I'd rather have it permanently mounted.

I was considering getting some spectra to run the wire inside for UV protection, but was having hard time finding any reference to specifics other than "just get some cheap spectra" in the forum.

I figure I can go up the mizzen mast and unhook the triatic, bring it to the main mast and attach the antenna, then re-attach it again?

Any thoughts? Suggestions? I bought this antenna setup because I don't want to mess with the rigging (have a split backstay), but would also consider a whip on the stern rail if it would be better/cheaper than the Chameleon.
__________________

__________________
autumnbreeze27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-03-2015, 16:59   #2
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

autunmbreeze,
I'm going to help you out here, hopefully step-by-step....
But, first please excuse my bluntness....

1) The Chameleon antenna (like its sister antennas of various brands / names) is a REALLY lousy antenna!!
It is a lossy balun / load, with a radiating wire attached to it, that is marketed as an "all band antenna" [sic]....
The fact that it works does NOT change the fact that it is a REALLY crappy antenna!!! (heck, a wire coat hanger would probably work just as well, or better!)
{FYI, speaking of wire coat hangers, I've made many 100's of contacts with truly lousy antennas....I've worked stations all over Cent Amer, So. Amer, and Caribbean and in Europe as well, from here in Florida, on 10m, 15m, and 20m....using a VHF/UHF police scanner antenna (even worse than a wire coat hanger!)....and one of my friends worked stations all over Florida and Gulf Coast on 80m, using an unshielded dummy load (he used series-parallel carbon resistors in automatic transmission fluid, in a big glass jar!! No BS...True story!!)....
The point is, anything metallic that gets some RF into it can radiate and work as an antenna....but what works well versus what is crap...well that's the issue here! }

Bottom line:
Return that Chameleon antenna ASAP!
Get your money back, NOW!!

(we'll get you an efficient, good-working antenna set-up...)

Okay, now that that's out-of-the-way....
I need to proceed with some more blunt talk (sorry!)



2) If you can return the LDG tuner as well, your life is going to be a LOT easier, and you're going to save money as well!!

The LDG is not a bad tuner, but it is not designed for your application at all....
(yes, we can make it work to some extent...but you're going to be frustrated with the results and procedures...)
Buy the matching tuner for the IC-7200, which is the Icom AH-4....(or the maritime AT-130 or AT-140, both of which will work fine with the IC-7200, as well as the M-700, M710, M-802, etc...)



3) Not sure where you got the idea of an inverted-L from, but while this is a good low-band dx antenna when you don't have a tall vertical support....an inverted-L (especially one that has a narrow acute angle such as you describe) is NOT what you want here!!



4) If you desire to make a "rope-tenna" you don't need Spectra!!
Any double-braided polyester line (such as Sta-Set or XLS) works fine!!
Use insulated wire....and I prefer hi-voltage Teflon or PE insulated tinned-copper wire, but just about any insulated tinned-copper wire inside a polyester (Dacron) outer braid will work fine!

If you desire a more permanent installation, you'll probably be better off using covered SS lifeline wire....
(Bill's "alternative backstay antenna")




5) Bottom line for all the above....
They will all work MUCH better than the Chameleon.....and an Icom AH-4 (or AT-130 or AT-140) is going to work MUCH better than your LDG tuner...
And, these will SAVE you money and frustrations!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
I just got my HAM license and am still working on figuring out the antenna setup. Here's what I'm working with:
Icom IC-7200 radio
LDG Z-11 Pro II Antenna tuner
Chameleon Hybrid Mini antenna

I'm considering running the antenna up the mast on the outside of the mast steps (there's a line there now that keeps lines from getting fouled on the steps) and then aft on the triatic stay to make an inverted L.

I've tried running the antenna (60') up just the main mast and it works, but I'd rather have it permanently mounted.

I was considering getting some spectra to run the wire inside for UV protection, but was having hard time finding any reference to specifics other than "just get some cheap spectra" in the forum.

I figure I can go up the mizzen mast and unhook the triatic, bring it to the main mast and attach the antenna, then re-attach it again?

Any thoughts? Suggestions? I bought this antenna setup because I don't want to mess with the rigging (have a split backstay), but would also consider a whip on the stern rail if it would be better/cheaper than the Chameleon.

Autunmbreeze, I cannot fathom why the guy selling you this set-up would recommend any of this for you.....but I won't dwell on that....I'm just going to tell 'ya, you got some really bad advice!



You haven't provided much info here, so I cannot be too specific...
Not sure where your radio is mounted/installed, etc...how it is wired, etc....where the LDG tuner is/was installed....etc. etc...
But, bottom line is this:


If you grabbed some scrap wire (about 30' to 60') out of a dumpster (for free), tied some scrap rope (free) to the ends of it, strung it up from the mast to the transom, and attached it to an AH-4 tuner (or AT-130 / AT-140), you would have a MUCH better system for a lot less money!!

And, if you use the AH-4/AT-130/AT-140, and you follow Bill's instructions on building an "alt backstay antenna" (or build your own "rope-tenna"), you will have an excellent working system that will last decades!!!
And, save you money!!



Please forgive my bluntness, but this is nothing new.....HF comms from vessels at sea is older than I am, and even cruising sailboats with HF comms/antennas have been around for many decades (my first marine HF install, as a teenager, was in the early 1970's), and understand that radiowaves still travel the same way now as they did 40 years ago...
Not sure where you are getting other ideas/advice from....but please do yourself the favor and save yourself the frustrations, and return some of what you bought, and take some experienced advice offered here....


Now, if you're thinking I missed the part of you having a ketch, I did NOT....
Yes, having another mast and rigging there does further complicate things a bit, and further distorts an antenna's pattern....but this affects ALL HF antennas that you'd install (although a 23' whip off the transom will be the least effected)....
And, there are many ketch's that have main backstay antennas, that have excellent signals / systems...and other ketch's that use the mizzen backstay or outer shroud (either alone, or connected to the triatic)....
And, even some ketch's that have used the main outer shroud, or a "rope tenna"...
So, all is not lost....

But, please return the Chameleon and the LDG, get some wire and an AH-4, and you'll be MUCH better off...




I do hope this has helped, and that I haven't offended with my bluntness...

Fair winds...

John
__________________

__________________
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 06:23   #3
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,948
Images: 6
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Yeah, what he said.

Congratulations on choosing the 7200. It is an excellent little ham radio. If the ultra-cheapo Alinco DX-70 that I bought years ago didn't just keep chugging along perfectly well, I would probably get myself a 7200. But the other stuff? Yeah, what he said.
__________________
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 09:36   #4
Registered User
 
autumnbreeze27's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: 50' Herreshoff Ketch
Posts: 967
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Unfortunately returning these pieces is not an option, so I'd have to sell them and take a loss. Considering I've had some luck in the slip with some cruising nets, I think I'll have to keep trying and see if I can come up with a solution with the pieces I have.

Hard to believe that despite the good reviews this antenna and tuner are crap, it seems you just have to find somebody with experience with the same hardware to help, otherwise people say "sell what you have and buy what I have"

Of course, I'm just a new ham, and inexperienced, and will probably end up buying the other crap you mentioned when I finally get frustrated and ready to give up.
__________________
autumnbreeze27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 09:46   #5
Registered User
 
autumnbreeze27's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: 50' Herreshoff Ketch
Posts: 967
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
autunmbreeze,
2) If you can return the LDG tuner as well, your life is going to be a LOT easier, and you're going to save money as well!!
Buy the matching tuner for the IC-7200, which is the Icom AH-4....(or the maritime AT-130 or AT-140, both of which will work fine with the IC-7200, as well as the M-700, M710, M-802, etc...)
Icom AH-4 on sale $230 from $280
ICOM IC-AH4 | 80M-6M 120W AUTO TUNER FOR ICOM

LDG Z-11 Pro II $170
LDG Z-11PRO-II | Z-11PRO TUNER WORKS TO 6VDC

How do I save money?
__________________
autumnbreeze27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 10:51   #6
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

autunmbreeze,
PLEASE do NOT take offense to anything I wrote, or am
writing!!!
I am really trying to help...

If you cannot return items, and design a good system, and must work with what you have, I CAN help....

Please let me state that again...
If we must work with what you have, and you are unwilling to even try a different antenna (FREE), then I'm still willing to help....

But, only if your willing to do one of two things...
And, those things are:
a) Have at least some faith that what I telling you is true, factual, proven, tested, uses proven science and engineering, contains my 40+ years of experience in these matters, along with my formal education, etc....
And, that I am really trying to help, not just tell 'ya that you bought the wrong stuff!
-- or --
b) Spend years learning the stuff yourself, and many years being frustrated....

The choice is yours, and you will not offend me no matter what choice you make...



Okay, now that that's done....how about I answer your questions, address your comments/concerns...



1) When it comes to saving money, I may not have looked at the price of the LDG tuner and I did not know it was so cheap....
But, my main point is/was in the "dollars vs. performance and longevity", there is NO question that the AH-4 will save you money....as well as save you time/frustration, and work a whole lot better!

BUT...

But, whatever the case is for the LDG tuner, I did say that it WILL work, and that we can make it work for you...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
The LDG is not a bad tuner, but it is not designed for your application at all....
(yes, we can make it work to some extent...but you're going to be frustrated with the results and procedures...)
But, that you'd b better off with the AH-4, etc...





2) Regardless of what I wrote about the LDG tuner, the real issue as I see it (in MY OPINION) is, that you have not designed an antenna system, but have simply bought items either recommended by unknowing people, and/or based on rather unreliable "customer reviews".....
Rather than looking at what is recommended for your application, by both those who have been out there using these systems for decades and by those who sell, install, troubleshoot, and repair them...




3) So what to do now???
Please tell me where your radio is installed and where you LDG tuner is installed???

If you can place the LDG tuner right at the gunwhales (under the deck, near a chainplate perhaps), and feed a GTO-15 wire from it out to a wire strung up, you may have a good antenna....you will need to experiment with the wire length to get one that the LDG tuner will tune on all the bands you desire...

If that is not doable, then you may be able to feed either the mizzen outer shroud or main backstay (without insulating either), and see how that works...

If those do not work well for you, then you may be forced to use the Chameleon antenna....
And, if that's the case...here are some tips:
-- keep the antenna in the clear, away from the mast and other rigging as much as possible...
-- use the shortest run of coaxial cable between the LDG tuner and the Chameleon antenna feedpoint as possible...


If you provide me with more details about your boat, your radio's installation, where the LDG tuner is now, where you CAN mount it / install it, what other rigging / wires / antennas you have, etc. etc. etc...
AND...
And, especially these 3 VERY important pieces of info:
a) WHERE and TO WHO do you wish to communicate with?
b) WHAT TIME-OF-DAY?
c) WHAT BAND/FREQS?


I'm not sure what cruiser's nets you're trying to use....but please be aware that the IC-7200 is a ham rig and cannot be used on the maritime frequencies...



I do hope the above helps you....and please understand that I meant no offense, I was giving you the best answers / advice that I could....even if that wasn't what you wanted to hear...

Fair winds...

John



P.S.
Regarding reviews of "great antennas"....my VHF-UHF Police Scanner antenna was a "great antenna" in some way of looking at it, since I made 100's of HF contacts with it...but in reality, it was a CRAPPY antenna!!!
It was just an experiment back in 35+ years ago!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
Hard to believe that despite the good reviews this antenna and tuner are crap, it seems you just have to find somebody with experience with the same hardware to help, otherwise people say "sell what you have and buy what I have"

Of course, I'm just a new ham, and inexperienced, and will probably end up buying the other crap you mentioned when I finally get frustrated and ready to give up.
Have some faith here, in REAL engineering / science.....radiowaves still travel the same way they always have....
Fair winds...
John
__________________
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 16:48   #7
Registered User
 
autumnbreeze27's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: 50' Herreshoff Ketch
Posts: 967
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

I appreciate you taking the time to respond and help me!

Primary goal is to be able to get weather and email via HF.
Secondary goal is to be able to listen to and/or participate with cruiser nets
Intended cruising grounds are Mexico and Central America (both Pacific and Caribbean sides)

My current setup is:
Nav table near Mizzen mast:
Win 8.1 Notebook connected via USB to IC-7200
IC-7200 connected by very short antenna wire and a power & control wire (also very short) to Z-11Pro2
40' antenna wire runs from tuner to the bow (just dangling along the deck right now)
connects to the antenna, which I had running up the main halyard. It was too long, so I kinda swept it forward some and then ran it back... like a regular L I guess. Probably not very good

I'd consider replacing the antenna, but don't have the budget to replace the tuner with a more expensive unit.
__________________
autumnbreeze27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2015, 19:11   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
I appreciate you taking the time to respond and help me!

Primary goal is to be able to get weather and email via HF.
Secondary goal is to be able to listen to and/or participate with cruiser nets
Intended cruising grounds are Mexico and Central America (both Pacific and Caribbean sides)

My current setup is:
Nav table near Mizzen mast:
Win 8.1 Notebook connected via USB to IC-7200
IC-7200 connected by very short antenna wire and a power & control wire (also very short) to Z-11Pro2
40' antenna wire runs from tuner to the bow (just dangling along the deck right now)
connects to the antenna, which I had running up the main halyard. It was too long, so I kinda swept it forward some and then ran it back... like a regular L I guess. Probably not very good

I'd consider replacing the antenna, but don't have the budget to replace the tuner with a more expensive unit.
If you want some real info about the Chameleon Antenna please go directly to their website or go to their Yahoo Group:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...onAntenna/info

The Chameleon Antenna are great antennas! The guy above has clearly no experience with them whatsoever... LOL That's rich!

Anyway go and talk to the people on their group and lets see what they're going to tell you!

SG
__________________
SGObserver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2015, 06:25   #9
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,948
Images: 6
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Hmm. Very first post is to tell us how great the Chameleon antennas are, and to point us to a Yahoo group that is run by the company. You know, it's possible, SGObserver, that you are not a shill for the company. If that's the case, I apologize. But you certainly demonstrate all of the classic traits.

To the OP, I suspect that the Chameleon antennas do a fair job, given what they are. They seem way too over-priced to me, though, given what they are. One of the first and best purchases I made after getting my ham license--before I bought any radios or other equipment--was a copy of the ARRL Antenna book. Yes, it is dense, and confusing, and takes a bit of effort to get through. But I now realize that I can make an antenna at home that will work much better than any store-bought antenna could ever hope to, for my particular installation, and for a very small fraction of the cost.

Good luck to you in working things out.
__________________
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2015, 08:11   #10
Registered User
 
autumnbreeze27's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: 50' Herreshoff Ketch
Posts: 967
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Hmm. Very first post is to tell us how great the Chameleon antennas are, and to point us to a Yahoo group that is run by the company. You know, it's possible, SGObserver, that you are not a shill for the company. If that's the case, I apologize. But you certainly demonstrate all of the classic traits.

To the OP, I suspect that the Chameleon antennas do a fair job, given what they are. They seem way too over-priced to me, though, given what they are. One of the first and best purchases I made after getting my ham license--before I bought any radios or other equipment--was a copy of the ARRL Antenna book. Yes, it is dense, and confusing, and takes a bit of effort to get through. But I now realize that I can make an antenna at home that will work much better than any store-bought antenna could ever hope to, for my particular installation, and for a very small fraction of the cost.

Good luck to you in working things out.
Thanks. It may be somebody affiliated with the company, as I see somebody asking about a boat installation for me there (or it's a heck of a coincidence). I think it's great that the company (or a fond customer) found this post and is trying to help!

The chameleon seems to get good reviews at eham.net, for what's that worth. I didn't do any research before buying, I went off the recommendations of the guys at HRO in Anaheim.

I checked out that antenna book online and found another rabbit whole of antenna books/guides to get lost in, but today I have to lock myself in the aft cabin and do accounting and tax prep. Every other project, except the freezer, which is on the fritz, is on hold for the moment!
__________________
autumnbreeze27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2015, 09:23   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Antennas are what they are "tools" and the good tool must be selected for the right job. The market is filled with all kind of products and I've tried a lot of them. About 95% to 98% of them are made in China and getting something that is functional and durable is a gamble these days.

Yes you can buy books and make your own and it's great. I did that too for awhile and it's fun, challenging, learned a lot about the subject and realized that good material and manufacturing is essential if you want to get something that is reliable, efficient and durable. Tonnes of people have built their own in a Tupperware at some point and they got great results (I did). But you'll reach a point where two things will happen:

1 - You'll realize that you only have 24 hours in a day and that you've to decide where you want to spend that free time. You can use that time to build your own car, rifle, boat or antenna or purchase one that will fit your needs and spend that free time enjoying your hobby (boating, ham, fishing) by using it.

2 - The other thing that you'll realize is that if you purchase one from a serious company that are known for quality products then you aren't only buying a product but a piece of mind. You'll realize that the Tupperware antenna that you built last month has it's physical limits and can't handle too much rough handling and that will constantly require you to keep an eye on it almost 24/7 when you'll be at sea.

After several failed attempts at reinforcing the antenna container, fasteners, transformer, mounts, wire, etc... you're going to look at increasing material quality and craftsmanship of your unit. But by doing so you'll see that different tools are going to be needed and that cost is also increasing. A project that was initially budgeted at $50 is now at $75 or $100 and you still don't really have what you really want but you invested a lot of time and you learned something.

The main thing that you'll learn is that with all your experimentations, projects and time spent at making antennas, you'll recognize quality craftsmanship and a good product when you'll see one because you know what it takes to get there. You'll realize that $200 to get a hybrid-mini from Chameleon Antenna (or any good other antennas like the vertical from Shakespeare) aren't that expansive after all...

SG
__________________
SGObserver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2015, 10:17   #12
Registered User
 
autumnbreeze27's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: 50' Herreshoff Ketch
Posts: 967
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Any tips on rigging mine?
__________________
autumnbreeze27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2015, 10:49   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

I was going to post a link to btrayfor's antenna site but the link I have doesn't work. I have noticed that he often shows up when his name is mentioned so hopefully he will show up and post a link. He has some great antenna build ideas that have been tried and tested on his boat over the years.
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2015, 11:06   #14
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,948
Images: 6
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
I think it's great that the company (or a fond customer) found this post and is trying to help!
Yes, it is. But if this person is, in fact, a representative of the company then not making that clear right up front falls somewhere between being disingenuous and committing outright fraud. Hence, my use of the term "shill."

Had he/she started out with something like "I work for Chameleon and I would like to help you get the most out of your antenna..." then I would have absolutely no complaints. As it is, I'm very suspicious.

As to the time and difficulty of building your own antenna... Seriously, SGObserver? You're comparing building your own car, rifle, or boat to building an antenna? That may well be the most completely ridiculous exaggeration I have ever heard. Building antennas is pretty simple. The first one I ever built for myself took about a half an hour. Compare it to changing the oil in your car, maybe. But comparing it to building your own car!?! Get real.
__________________
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2015, 19:17   #15
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: HF Antenna setup using Chameleon Hybrid Mini

autunmbreeze,
Yes, we do have tips for you, and I thought I already passed many of them on, didn't I?
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
Any tips on rigging mine?
Have a look at what I already wrote, you'll see quite a bit....and I'll add more here as well...



Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
...whatever the case is for the LDG tuner, I did say that it WILL work, and that we can make this work for you...

But, that you'd b better off with the AH-4, etc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
If those [other ideas] do not work well for you, then you may be forced to use the Chameleon antenna....
And, if that's the case...here are some tips:
-- keep the antenna in the clear, away from the mast and other rigging as much as possible...
-- use the shortest run of coaxial cable between the LDG tuner and the Chameleon antenna feedpoint as possible...

Before the "tips" for using the Chameleon, I gave you "tips" for using the LDG tuner with either your existing rigging, or any scrap wire...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
If you can place the LDG tuner right at the gunwhales (under the deck, near a chainplate perhaps), and feed a GTO-15 wire from it out to a wire strung up, you may have a good antenna....you will need to experiment with the wire length to get one that the LDG tuner will tune on all the bands you desire...

If that is not doable, then you may be able to feed either the mizzen outer shroud or main backstay (without insulating either), and see how that works...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
If you desire to make a "rope-tenna" you don't need Spectra!!
Any double-braided polyester line (such as Sta-Set or XLS) works fine!!
Use insulated wire....and I prefer hi-voltage Teflon or PE insulated tinned-copper wire, but just about any insulated tinned-copper wire inside a polyester (Dacron) outer braid will work fine!

If you desire a more permanent installation, you'll probably be better off using covered SS lifeline wire....
(Bill's "alternative backstay antenna")



Assuming that you're still in So Cal, and with the new info you provided regarding your intended cruising grounds of Mexico and Central America (both Pacific and Caribbean sides), I can provide more tips / comments....all of them helpful, and while some might be blunt, please do not take offense...
See some specifics in red...
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
Primary goal is to be able to get weather and email via HF.
a) I assume your primary weather source will be the US NWS/NOAA WeFax tropical weather charts (from USCG transmitters in Pt. Reyes and New Orleans, on 8mhz, 12mhz, and 17mhz)....
Pt Reyes Radiofax Schedule with Links
New Orleans Radiofax Schedule with Links

Secondarily, using US NWS/NOAA offshore and hi-seas weather, from USCG HF Voice Weather Broadcasts, and those from Shipcom WLO / KLB....along with NAVTEX, etc...
USCG HF Voice
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels
NAVTEX



b) And, I assume you're referring to using Winlink on the ham radio bands for e-mail connectivity, and while I don't keep up-to-date with the Winlink stations, I suspect most of your primary Winlink comms will be with US, Caribbean, Cent Amer, So. Amer, Winlink stations on 40m, 30m, and 20m.
http://www.winlink.org/RMSExpress
http://www.winlink.org/


Please confirm both of these???


c) Be aware that using WINMOR (vs. a PACTOR modem) your connection / data speed is going to be about PACTOR II speed at best, and typically a bit lower than that....

So, when using the USCG broadcasts, in addition to getting real, experienced marine weather meteorologists drawing the weather charts for you, rather than the raw computer model data of a GRIB file, you will not have to worry about waiting to download lots of data via Winlink....

Get your weather info / forecasts from BROADCASTS, or from 3G/4G, WiFi, etc....not Winlink e-mail!



Secondary goal is to be able to listen to and/or participate with cruiser nets
Be aware that half of the cruising nets are on maritime bands, and half are on the ham radio bands...
Your IC-7200 is a ham transceiver, but will receive the maritime bands just fine...
West Coast Nets
East Coast Cruising Nets

Intended cruising grounds are Mexico and Central America (both Pacific and Caribbean sides)

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
My current setup is:
Nav table near Mizzen mast:
Win 8.1 Notebook connected via USB to IC-7200

IC-7200 connected by very short antenna wire and a power & control wire (also very short) to Z-11Pro2
40' antenna wire runs from tuner to the bow (just dangling along the deck right now)
I'm going to assume when you write "antenna wire" here, you do NOT mean antenna wire, but rather coaxial cable???
PLEASE confirm this??
'Cause if you're not using coax here, we've got BIG issues...

-- Move the tuner to the antenna....install it as close to the antenna as possible, NOT as close to the radio as possible...(actually just the opposite of how you currently have it connected..)


-- Understand that this is a sailboat, and the antenna should NEVER interfere with sailing, vessel operations, and/or safety procedures!!!
So, what might be better for "the antenna" must be compromised, in order to meet this main criteria!!


-- As I wrote earlier, you should always attempt to install the antenna in the clear, AWAY FROM THE MAST, and away from other rigging as best as possible....(hence the reason why using existing rigging, outer shroud, backstay, etc, is SOP)....

-- Install the LDG tuner as close to the antenna feedpoint as physically possible, with as short run of coaxial cable between the antenna and LDG tuner as possible....

-- A secondary tip is to keep the antenna feedpoint (and tuner) as far away from the radio as possible....sometimes this is just 5'....but the farther away the better!!


connects to the antenna, which I had running up the main halyard. It was too long, so I kinda swept it forward some and then ran it back... like a regular L I guess. Probably not very good
No, not very good!
Not sure of your mast height, but if the Chameleon is too long to fit between your gunwhale / toerail (adjacent to the mizzen, or farther aft if possible) and main masthead, cut the damn wire to fit the distance you have!!


I'd consider replacing the antenna, but don't have the budget to replace the tuner with a more expensive unit.
Having written all of the above, perhaps now you'll accept this next part as a polite suggestion, and not an insult to you, the guys at HRO, etc.???

Look at the prices again and you'll see....

RETURN the Chameleon and LDG to HRO (they have a good return policy), and buy the AH-4....

The AH-4 and some wire, costs LESS than the Chameleon and the LDG!!!
(and the AH-4 and wire, will work better, be more versatile, last longer, be easier to use/install, less critical to installation vagaries, etc. etc....and will also work with any of the Icom maritime transceivers, such as the M-802, M-700pro, etc., when you decide to upgrade radios....)

And, before you roll your eyes and mutter "why should I believe this idiot, when the guys at HRO and on eham rave about the antenna?"....please understand a few points....

a) Just 'cause someone has a ham license, and/or works for HRO, and/or posts a glowing review on eham, does NOT mean they actually know what they are talking about....

b) If you peruse eham, have a look at some of my posts, primarily in "Amplifiers" and "Elmers", where you'll see that my primary areas of expertise are:
-- antenna system design/engineering...
-- radiowave propagation...
-- RF engineering...(primarily RF PA's)

c) I've taught many classes / seminars on radiowave propagation and antenna system design/engineering...
And the VERY first answer I give to the query on "what's the best antenna for me?", is to ask them QUESTIONS, rather than give some BS answer!
Particularly WHERE do you wish to communicate to/from,
WHAT time-of-day,
WHAT freq/band,
WHAT mode,
HOW much money do have to spend,
HOW much room do you have for antennas,
HOW complicated of a system can you accept,
HOW sturdy/reliable do you require it to be, etc. etc. etc..

The point is, on a cruising sailboat, you need a VERY tough and RELIABLE antenna, and it must work from 1.6mhz thru 26mhz (or at least 3.6mhz thru 21/22mhz)....and "how well it works" is oddly secondary!!

But, compromising on antenna performance AND toughness / reliability, is just poor engineering / poor amateur practice....and in this case, costs you more...
Since you originally wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
I bought this antenna setup because I don't want to mess with the rigging (have a split backstay), but would also consider a whip on the stern rail if it would be better/cheaper than the Chameleon.
And, since the 23' Shakespeare whip costs more than the Chameleon, I was somewhat struck by your words that you couldn't afford to use a simple piece of scrap wire (FREE)???
But, perhaps I didn't make it clear that the AH-4 replaces BOTH the LDG tuner and the Chameleon!! But thought I did??
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
If you grabbed some scrap wire (about 30' to 60') out of a dumpster (for free), tied some scrap rope (free) to the ends of it, strung it up from the mast to the transom, and attached it to an AH-4 tuner (or AT-130 / AT-140), you would have a MUCH better system for a lot less money!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

And, if you use the AH-4/AT-130/AT-140, and you follow Bill's instructions on building an "alt backstay antenna" (or build your own "rope-tenna"), you will have an excellent working system that will last decades!!!
And, save you money!!






So, autunmbreeze, if you can confirm the above items I asked for confirmation of....and add any other info you can, I may be able to further assist you...
But, regardless I think the above qualifies as more than just some tips...


Fair winds....

John





P.S.
I'm hesitant to write this last part...'cause I don't want to come off like a jerk...
If you would indulge me one more comment, I promise not to bring it up again...

Just because someone doesn't feel the need to spout off about all of their experience / expertise in every post, it doesn't mean they don't have that experience!!
When you write something like this, it make me cringe!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
it seems you just have to find somebody with experience with the same hardware to help, otherwise people say "sell what you have and buy what I have"
Because I HAVE the experience, as others here do, and that's presumably why you're here asking us, yes???

And, I was NOT recommending what I have, but rather actually answering your questions using the exact EXPERIENCE and expertise that you were seeking!!

If you did not get the answers you wanted, I'm sorry about that....but I majored in Physics and the bottom line is the physics of radiowaves and antennas, etc. and my 40+ years of experience in radio communications, along with my experiences with "lossy antennas" (not lousy antennas, but lossy antennas), whether terminated or input loss networks / lossy baluns / loads, etc....this IS exactly what I used to answer your questions....
What I did NOT do (until now) it spend an inordinate amount of time boasting about how much experience I have, how much I know, how many, etc. etc. etc...
I hope you see my point....just 'casue someone isn't interested in bragging, doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about....

You know that old saying...
"Those that talk, don't know; those that know, don't talk!"
If you remember that, you'll probably get things working quicker / better...

Fair winds...

John
__________________

__________________
John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
antenna

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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale: Plans for Danny Greene's Chameleon Dinghy sully75 Classifieds Archive 3 02-01-2014 15:41
Is Anybody Using a Hybrid Electric Diesel ? deckofficer Engines and Propulsion Systems 11 30-03-2013 03:08
Sound system setup with Mac Mini Katiusha Marine Electronics 9 08-05-2012 22:26
Anyone Tried Chameleon Whip SSB Antenna ? Sailorsrus Marine Electronics 3 16-02-2011 08:22



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:57.


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.