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Old 04-01-2010, 09:55   #16
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Originally Posted by SoonerSailor
Except I would compare this device to a 10 foot run of copper strap.
Which shouldn't cost more than about $25. Or, better yet, spend 10 minutes running a $20 piece of copper strap to the nearest bronze through-hull and for this extraordinary investment of time and effort (that's sarcasm, in case anyone missed it) you will get a very good counterpoise for your antenna--definitely better than you will get from any bundle of wires laying in the bilge.
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Old 04-01-2010, 15:58   #17
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What an attitude, the boat came with copper strap to a thru-hull and the keel bolts, and the connections were good. The kiss is doing a heck of a lot better job. Not everything has to be an argument, sheesh, get a life. I'm outta here.
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:27   #18
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This is a forum for sharing opinions and information. That is what I am doing. I am not trying to be argumentative. I note that your first post on this forum was to heap praises on the KISS and then you say you're outta here. No offense intended, but that sort of posting pattern is common for people who are simply shilling for a product. Care to provide enough information that we can verify that you are not affiliated with the seller in any way?

Constructing an effective ground plane is not that difficult. I think a lot of people get confused because many of the "experts" out there will say that you MUST do this, you CANNOT do that, or you HAVE to do thus and such. Nonsense! As I (and others) have said before, almost anything will work--the question is how well.

Toss a few random length wires around--that will work. Cut the wires to specific lengths depending on the frequencies you want to use--that will work better. Use copper strap and connect to a through-hull or the keel--working better still! Or at least probably. Always hard to tell for sure if you don't have the instruments and knowledge to actually test these things out. And, of course, anyone who buys a bundle of wires and calls that good is someone who wouldn't (probably couldn't) test these things, which means claims that it is doing "a heck of a lot better job" are dubious at best.

Again, if you want a simple, effective ground plane that costs very little all you have to do is refer to the postings I linked to up above. Or do a search on here for postings by btrayfors--he knows his stuff. Spend 30 minutes educating yourself and you can create your own ground plane quickly, easily, and very cheaply. Or just spend $130 and live in blissful ignorance. The choice is yours.
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Old 06-01-2010, 20:58   #19
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Ok, you guys are at logger heads.
Can I ask a question on the ICOM 802 setup? What is the length of the speaker cord from the transmitter unit ? Can the transmitter go next to the antenna tuner in the lazerett next to the back stay with the head unit and speaker at the nav station about 20' away? I have a 37' Beneteau.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:19   #20
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Don't know the answer to your question, but I would say you are probably more likely to get an answer if you open a new thread for this new subject.
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Old 21-05-2010, 19:57   #21
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FWIW...some people have a little different perception regarding time value of money. My time is worth something. And $130 isn't much time!!! If I was billing it, a trip to the boat and back is almost that...

And as commented on in one of the posts to this thread, 30 minutes WILL NOT be adequate to educate yourself on this subject. I've spent about 30 hours in the last week looking into it. I'm pretty technically literate. As well as pretty handy, around the boat, the car and the house. I'd have to make about three times what I do to pay for what I fix myself! This isn't something you'll seriously educate yourself on in that short a time frame.

Anyway, I bought a boat last summer, and on the advise of a tech that was also a previous owner of the boat, installed a configuration that had apparently worked for him in the past, but is not working for me now. So I've been in search of alternatives. Long story..PM me if you're interested.

So....

Tech/former owner is a good tech. He rewired the boat exquisitely. Has an electronic galvanic isolator. When I bought it, hauled it for a bottom job last August, had the anodes replaced. Went into the water the week before Easter to clean the bottom for an Easter Weekend regatta, and the zinc on the prop shaft still looks like new. Anybody else getting +6months on a zinc? I certainly didn't in San Diego!

I've just started to make the radio a priority in the refit. After all the research, tomorrow is actually dedicated to thouroughly looking at the whole boat and how it's bonded/grounded electrically between the 120V & 12V systems. But suffice it to say, if he got the boat set up that a zinc will last for +6 months without noticeable deterioration, that's not something I really want to go messing with.

I have "loads" of metal objects I could run foil to. And they're Bronze, Cast Iron, Aluminum, and the mast is bonded to a plate that may be a Dynaplate, but there's no name on the plate. Well, in the early 80's, you just went to the store and bought something that worked for what you needed, right?

But the thought that I may inadvertently F&*k up a good thing, I've been looking at all kinds of alternatives to the "traditionally accepted" methodology. Can we say "electrolysis"?

I've been asked about thinking "outside the box" to which my reply has always been "what box?" Open mindedness is what leads to progress.

In this whole endeavor, my goal is to get a HF radio that is as isolated from both the AC & DC grounding systems as I can get it, yet still get satisfactory performance out of the system. Doesn't have the be the best there is, just meet my needs. If I can get it to communicate at distances that I deem necessary for a safety factor, then that's good enough...and that's worth $130 to experiment with. Because of my rig configuration, also need to have alternate antenna configuration than a conventional insulated stay configuration.

So, I'm going to be the proverbial naive guinea pig. I ordered kiss ssb system. I have a moderately acceptable receiving setup now that does not seem to TX at all. I'll post how things workout.

I didn't blindly buy the thing, but rather, in consideration of all of the other inherent systems on the boat, felt it was worth $130 to see if it worked. Good Christ, I've spent that much on dinner that ended up in the toilet...literally. WTF? Maybe it will just end up being an emergency backup. Still pretty cheap from that standpoint.

In any event, over the next few weeks, depending on how things work out, I may start a new thread to let everyone know how things are progressing. I live in a place where I can't just run down to the local West Marine, Home Depot, &/or Radio Shack to buy things. I'll have to improvise.

I like the challenge.
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Old 21-05-2010, 21:59   #22
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Excellent. We look forward to your careful analysis of the benefits of this system. I'm sure you already know that anecdotal reports of long distance communications by a brand new forum member that no one really knows will not carry much weight here, but they will be entertaining nonetheless.
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Old 22-05-2010, 09:30   #23
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I agree. The problem here is that it is very difficult to just say whether your antenna system is efficient or not based on a few "radio checks". I have an 8' whip fed by autotuner on the back of my SUV. I can communicate hundreds and even thousands of miles with good signal reports under the right propagation conditions. My antenna system is EXTREMELY inefficient on the low bands yet it still "seems" to work fine "under the right conditions". Iv'e experienced the same thing with a boat on the hard and nothing but a few feet of GTO cable for an antenna hanging off the tuner. Unless you can quickly switch between one ground system and another while in communication with another station who can give positive feedback, your reports won't have much meaning, and even if you could do this, the results could be mis-leading. There are just too many variables in the way HF radio waves propagate.

Eric
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Old 23-05-2010, 16:39   #24
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I'm not looking to be a flame. Like I said... a guinea pig. And, yes, I'm newly registered, but been reading for a long time. I'm scientifically inclined, so I'll try to keep my posts unbiased, and I'll always take a reply at face value with considerations for others experience. From what I've found, success on this subject seems to be as much luck as science...

At the suggestion of a boat tech where I bought the boat, I installed a configuration that has turned out to be totally useless. Essentially a short mobile whip mounted on the davit/solar panel rack. He said I wouldn't need a tuner. I'm sure that will raise a few eyebrows! One's on order now...

Have never been able to get out to anything, anybody, anywhere. Reception quality is sporadic and unpredictable. Low frequency is not good at all. For the most part, I'm starting over.

Spent most of yesterday at the boat trying to figure out what/how I want to do this. She's a basically solid 30 year old boat in need of a lot of TLC. Ketch Rig, rigging everywhere, so adding another wire will a bit tricky.

As for being able to switch between ground systems, to a certain extent that's kind of plan I've been thinking about. Have seen comments about just taking the ground foil to a bronze through hull. Will be doing that as a matter of course.

She's at the deep end of a canal right now. Hurricane season is about to commence, so for the next several months, she'll be in a fairly static "control" situation. An experiment, so to speak. And having a viable, reliable long distance communication system is very high on my list of requirements before we head out cruising.

In the final analysis, it won't be anecdotal radio checks in isolated instances. It will be after having established a number of contacts at varying ranges over several months and under varying propagation conditions.

I may be new to HF radio, but I'm not new to science.
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Old 23-05-2010, 19:34   #25
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You might go to the SSCA Communications forum. There has been a thread on backstay antenna length, alternatives to the backstay antenna, and a fairly technical one on antenna tuner losses, all of them recently. Anyway, you might find information that would help you a bit.
SSCA Discussion Board • View forum - Communications

If you enjoy learning, it should be a good experience.
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Old 24-05-2010, 11:57   #26
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Quote:
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I may be new to HF radio, but I'm not new to science.
One aspect of HF propagation you will quickly learn is fading. You can be having a conversation with good signal reports each way and then suddenly his signal just disappears into the noise. This can throw off your interpretation of the results your getting when making changes to your antenna system. Was it the change I just made or was it fading??? Anyway, welcome to the forum and I look forward to hearing the continuing results of your "long term" testing which WILL have more meaning. Iv'e been on HF nearly every day for years operating 99% CW and still learning about HF propagation. I have 35 years experience as a marine electronics service technician and one of the crazy ideas someone came up with back in the late 70's was to take a 3' wide by 30' long piece of mylar and place the same size piece of copper screening on top of that and then roll it up into a cylinder and attach it to the ground stud of the tuner. These were manual tuners back then and we had to manually tune each band using jumper wires on a large open air coil as well as make adjustments to large variable capacitors. Making changes on one band would have some effect on other bands so it was a frustrating back and forth time consuming operation. Modern automatic tuners will tune into just about anything including no antenna/ground at all!

Eric
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:44   #27
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One aspect of HF propagation you will quickly learn is fading.
I remember that from listening to AM stations as a kid in the plains. Can't remember the stations. One in Chicago (WLS?) and one out of OK City. Played rock, and you couldn't get that on the radio in central Nebraska in the early 70's. It was a big deal when we got our first FM station about that time! Could only get them at night, and sometimes not at all.

Still waiting on the tuner...expedited delivery here is frequently 2 weeks. Hopefully this week, and maybe get it installed next weekend.

I keep getting a pulse noise that I accidentally discovered seems to be related to my solar electrical system. The solar panels keep the batteries up quite nicely (exceeds the loads that are always on ~fridge and bilge), so a lot of the time I don't even turn on the shore power charger. A while back, had several cloudy days, and stuff in the fridge so turned on the charger. It takes the batteries up enough that that the solar charger quits feeding.

That noise was gone the next time I turned the radio on. I turned the shore charger off, and it immediately started again. Anybody have suggestion on what might be able to be done or where I can go to find info to mitigate that?
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:43   #28
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You will probably get more and better responses if you open a new thread to address your interference issue, but...

My guess would be your solar charge controller. Is it the "pulse width modulation" type? Probably safe to take it out of the circuit for a short while, and connect your solar panels directly to the battery. Do this as a test and my guess is that the pulsing interference will go away. Then the question is how to fix it? I'm a relatively inexperienced ham who hasn't dealt much with radio-frequency interference (RFI), so I won't speculate, but I will say that there are lots of ways to handle RFI and I'm sure someone with the correct know-how could fix this for you easily (or some time spent researching would reveal the answer).

Good luck from a fellow Cornhusker. I grew up mostly in Omaha, but my parents were both from Sydney so we spent a lot of time driving back and forth on Hwy 30 (when I was young) and then on I-80 (after it was completed).
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Old 02-07-2010, 15:09   #29
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Well I finally did a brief and by no means exhaustive test this morning. I started out on 4A and went up to 12A, calling another Kiss equipped vessel. The vessel was about 25 miles away and we were also talking on cell phones so I could hear my own transmissions. Loud and clear on all channels.

It works fine, and was a bargain at $140 considering my time.
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