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Old 20-12-2010, 08:21   #1
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ICOM M710RT and AT130 - The Boat Lights Up Like a Christmas Tree

Looking for some advice.
I installed a ICOM M710RT, AT130 tuner, rope antenna and KISS-SSB counterpoise.
When I transmit on 2182 and other frequencies lights dims and all the LEDs of my electric panel start glowing. With other frequencies (higher) it looks better.

Is this common? and what side effect it may have on radar, GPS and the rest of the electronic? Shall I worry?

Also is it better for me to check the actual ROS between the tuner and the radio? Just to make sure that the receiver ain't getting back too much power.

Thank you to everybody who can give advice

Scud
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Old 20-12-2010, 08:44   #2
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You've got a significant amount of RF getting into the ship's wiring system. This can happen in one of two ways:

(1) radiated power from the antenna/ground system (including the coax feedline, feedline to the antenna, antenna itself, ground straps, etc.); and

(2) conducted power back through the power cables, control cables, etc.

You didn't say how your radio is getting power, but if it's not direct to the house batteries -- not thru the boat's DC panel -- then that's a good bet. You need to feed the radio with AWG 6 wire directly from the batteries to somewhere near the radio itself, then a short power cable to the radio. You need 30-40 amp fuses -- ANL or terminal-type fuses -- installed in this power line near the batteries.

Next, check all the connections to be sure they are clean and tight. Be sure the coax is properly terminated...no shorts.

With end-fed antennas such as the rope antenna or backstay antennas there will always be some RF floating about, so you'll probably continue to see LED's blinking on some frequencies. But you should not see lights dimming unless your house batteries are very weak.

Bill
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Old 20-12-2010, 08:54   #3
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Well ... for a quick check on-the-fly I actually wired the transmitter directly to the boat's DC panel. I'll try again by wiring it to the battery bank diectly. The light dimming wasn't too bad and I was more worried about the flickering and glowing of the LEDs.

I'm still wondering whether there is a viable way to make sure that everything works properly aside from a positive contact report from a fellow sailor or ham.

Is it worth to check the SWR between the AT130 tuner and the radio? The AT130 tuner tuning LED lights up as it is supposed to do but I haven't checked the actual SWR.

Thank you
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Old 20-12-2010, 09:03   #4
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Yes. Use a good power/swr meter with cross needles so you can see both power out and swr (essentially, reflected power) simultaneously. Best new one around is the Daiwa CN-101L (about $99 on eBay from Chuck Martin RF).

That will tell you how much power the radio is actually putting into the antenna system, and how well the antenna tuner is handling the match to the antenna.

Leave the meter in-line permanently.

Bill
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