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Old 20-03-2017, 14:59   #1
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Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

Is it practical to hoist, using a spare halyard, a single-wire, random length antenna connected to my Amateur Band SSB radio through an automatic tuner ADJACENT TO the existing insulated backstay antenna that is hooked to my Marine Band radio (connected through its separate automatic tuner)? That is, the two antennas would be close to each other, especially at the upper end, maybe one foot apart. Will this setup work? Are is there any disadvantages?
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Old 20-03-2017, 15:39   #2
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

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Originally Posted by suenodelmar View Post
Is it practical to hoist, using a spare halyard, a single-wire, random length antenna connected to my Amateur Band SSB radio through an automatic tuner ADJACENT TO the existing insulated backstay antenna that is hooked to my Marine Band radio (connected through its separate automatic tuner)? That is, the two antennas would be close to each other, especially at the upper end, maybe one foot apart. Will this setup work? Are is there any disadvantages?
I would be concerned that you would be putting an awful lot of power into the receiver of one radio when transmitting on the other. Since the HAM HF and Marine SSB bands overlap it could present a problem. I take it your SSB is not one in which the HAM bands can be enabled. thus removing the need for the separate HAM radio, at least for ssb.
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Old 20-03-2017, 15:56   #3
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

Unclear question.

There is no "Amateur" SSB. If you have a Marine Band SSB radio on your boat to use it is you need a restricted radio operators license and a ship's license. See FCC website for further info.

You might want to search for Gordon West articles on the web.

To use non-Marine SSB HAM channels you need a HAM license, probably a General ticket.

As for antennas, that is complicated and I know only enough to be dangerous. And it is unclear why you want a 2nd antenna. For this you might wish to suss some HAM sites for guidance, but few HAMS are boaters, and few boaters are HAMS.

Lots articles on ARRL site. Some free.
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Old 20-03-2017, 16:00   #4
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

Might be easier to switch the existing antenna between the two radios. As mentioned before, you could damage the input of one radio while transmitting on the other radio.
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Old 21-03-2017, 05:30   #5
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

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Might be easier to switch the existing antenna between the two radios. As mentioned before, you could damage the input of one radio while transmitting on the other radio.
This ^^^^^

Rather than two antennas side-by-side, just switch the one antenna between the two radios. You won't be using them both at the same time anyway (and if you were planning to use them at the same time, then having the antennas right next to each other is a REALLY bad idea!).

If you want to make the switching really easy, get one of these...
MFJ Enterprises Inc.

Good luck.
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Old 21-03-2017, 05:41   #6
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Rock Star.
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Old 21-03-2017, 05:54   #7
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

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Originally Posted by Rock Star View Post
Unclear question.

There is no "Amateur" SSB. If you have a Marine Band SSB radio on your boat to use it is you need a restricted radio operators license and a ship's license. See FCC website for further info.

. . .

To use non-Marine SSB HAM channels you need a HAM license, probably a General ticket.

. . . but few HAMS are boaters, and few boaters are HAMS.

. . .
Since SSB is an accepted transmission format for FCC licensed amateur HF radio broadcast then, yes, there is "Amateur SSB".

Under FCC rules there is no such thing as a HAM license, HAM is a slang term.

If you are going to beat up on somebody about their terminology, make sure they are wrong first. While the OP's word choice was non-standard, it was technically correct, while your's seems to have been technically incorrect though more in line with standard usage.


I am uncertain of the statistics of boater's being HAMs, but I'm pretty sure a lot of HAMs are boaters, interest in one technical hobby usually goes hand in hand with interest in other technical hobbies.

And since this is a cruiser's forum, not a boater's forum I can say that a significantly higher than normal number of folks here are into HF SSB (Amateur and/or Marine) for the long range communications ability.

While the ARRL folks are probably a better place to start with this question, there are plenty of HAMs here that could help.
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Old 21-03-2017, 06:27   #8
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

Have you thought of using the mast and stays as the HF antenna? You'd really just need an antenna tuner to make it work.


Alternatively, you could make one of the stays the antenna, you'd just need to isolate the stay from the rest of the standing rigging.


And then, since you are talking HF, horizontal polarization might be a better option. Run a dipole or loop around the toe rail outside of your stays and shrouds. You'd probably need an antenna tuner for that since you'd have little control over the impedance of the antenna itself.


The best solutions are going to cost time and money to figure out, but quick and easy solutions and ones that you can maintain yourself from the deck when things go wrong in a storm may be your best option.
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Old 21-03-2017, 08:11   #9
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

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Originally Posted by Rock Star View Post
Unclear question.

There is no "Amateur" SSB. . . .

few HAMS are boaters, and few boaters are HAMS.
. . .
I would argue both these points.

There are different modes used in the amateur HF bands, but SSB is the dominant phone mode, so I think you can certainly talk about "amateur SSB".


Among long distance cruisers, especially those of a certain age, there is a fairly big proportion of hams. The radio hobby goes very well with spending long periods of time far out at sea and in remote areas.

Witness the rather active mobile maritime nets, which in some areas are more active than the marine SSB nets. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariti...amateur_radio; Ham Maritime Mobile Nets and Frequencies

You do not, however, need a separate amateur HF radio -- the Icom M802 is a very good radio for both ham and marine HF use, and works well in digital modes, too, especially with a PACTOR modem.

I also have VHF/UHF ham radios on board -- can be fun to use in ports and coastal areas.


For cruising the waters of CEPT countries (most of the world other than the U.S.), U.S. hams will need an Extra class license. The General is considered to be the equivalent of the very limited Novice class licenses in CEPT countries.
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Old 21-03-2017, 09:11   #10
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

Your specifying a separate tuner implies that you intend transmitting on that second antenna.

Disregarding whether it will take whatever power you will put to it, the further from ANY metal you can stay in parallel the better your output will be, as parallel metal will suck up your power horribly, increasing as it is closer.

If you're only going to be receiving, it's much less important, and doesn't need a tuner. To try to manipulate two different tuners (disregarding the need to power and wire a second one) is an unnecessary complication. A switch will have some losses (every connection represents a small loss regardless of how great your cable is), but it's a dead-simple means of swapping radios into the circuit...

HTH...

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Old 21-03-2017, 14:03   #11
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

Dont know if its been said, but although you'd receieve some, the part of the antenna that wraps back on itself will act like a capacitor along its mutual length shunting RF energy and perhaps cause feedback; high VSWR may not allow transmitter to work at much power. Of course you may alleviate with a tuner, but I wouldn't. Run one end up your spare halyard and make an ell, running other end across deck and into the station...
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Old 21-03-2017, 14:28   #12
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

I agree that it's not a great idea to run a separate antenna next to the standing (insulated) backstay antenna. Much better to use the existing backstay for both ham and marine operation. That's what I've done on my boat.

HOWEVER, the practicality of using a coaxial switch to choose marine or ham transceiver depends on which automatic tuner you have. I use an SG-230 tuner which uses RF sensing to choose the band/frequency of operation. Thus, it can be used with ANY transceiver without modification.

However, this is not true of most other tuners, which are powered by and controlled by the transceiver. The Icom series AT-130/AT-140, etc. are an example. You can't just switch in another transceiver....how are you going to control the tuner?

The OP may have painted himself into a corner if he already has the equipment and plans to use it for ham operation and marine operation separately AND if the tuner he already has is not compatible with the transceivers. CATCH 22.

An alternative MAY be possible by switching the GTO-15 lead in from tuner to tuner rather than trying to switch the transceivers, but there be dragons in choosing that path, too. Like, e.g., physical access, dealing with the RF ground system, ensuring that you don't try to transmit without an antenna attached to the tuner, etc..

My advice would be to try to use a single antenna rather than rigging another, and find a practical way of switching radios and controlling a single tuner. Or, better, just use the marine radio for both marine and ham operation, and forego the use of a separate amateur transceiver.

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Old 21-03-2017, 15:55   #13
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

Wow, what great replies from everyone. I have existing equipment to work with, yet to be hooked up: My marine radio is an Icom IC-M700 paired with an Icom AT 120 tuner. My ham radio is a Kenwood TS-430S. I have an LDG AT-11 MP Autotuner but have not yet attempted to pair it with the Kenwood. Btrayfors, my ORIGINAL plan was to use the insulated backstay and AT-120 tuner for both radios. I got a schematic for a relatively simple interface, bought the compnents and opened up the AT-120 to practice a bit with "breadboarded" components to test whether I could “fool" the AT-120 into.tuning manually. It appeared, from all of the clicking and flashing to be responding. But I did not try a complete installation.

At that point, my local ham guru, a non-sailor, advised me to “Keep it Simple.“ He suggested hooking the marine radio and its paired AT-120 tuner to the Insulated backstay as the principal radio, though.the marine radio appears that it would be awkward to use on ham bands. Then, installing some ham band whip antennas on the radar arch, without any tuner, and controlled by a switch at the Kenwood ham radio. He advised that the whips need to be separated from each other by six feet, thus limiting me to two whips. My friend admits that a long wire with the LDG Autotuner would work.better. Thus, my idea of hoisting a long wire on a halyard. Any further advice on sorting all this out would be really appreciated.

ALSO, DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET A PACTOR MODEM AT A GOOD PRICE?
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Old 21-03-2017, 17:38   #14
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

if your marine hf is part of your safety equipment don't mess with it / your kenwood may pair with a properly built single marine whip through your already mentioned antenna tuner / that's only half your system / if your are using a dyna plate on your marine hf and wish to connect your kenwood earth check with icom to see if the set needs to be isolated from the earth before you key up your kenwood / your friend answered your question for you the whip antennas need to be atleast 6ft apart which is not practical with backstay as they would be close at the top / I have transmitted on 27mh band at 200w through a dipole hoisted in the rigging without harm to my turned off barrett marine radio / the barrett runs through it's own internal tuner and factory marine vertical on the pushpit with a kiss counterpoise earth system along the inside of the hull / it is best not to compromise safety with a hobby / although with care the two can compliment each other
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Old 21-03-2017, 17:42   #15
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Re: Hoisting a Ham Band antenna next to the insulated backstay

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ALSO, DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET A PACTOR MODEM AT A GOOD PRICE?
They're all really good prices... good for SCS. Not so good for everybody else.
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