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Old 31-08-2014, 13:39   #1
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Mast for Short Wave antenna

I bought a Grundig G3 portable short wave radio and so far not much luck pulling in stations. I tried hooking up a 30 foot wire to the external jack and hoisting it up the mast but still not much. I was told later that there was a lot of sunspot activity that day so I'm tiring of this. My mast does not have a backstay but I'm wondering how well the mast would work as an antenna.
Any ideas?
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Old 31-08-2014, 14:50   #2
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Re: Mast for Short Wave antenna

Using the mast as an antenna? It's always worth a try, especially with a receiver. Look at how your rigging (mast and wire stays / shrouds) are connected together (any ground straps or wires?), and try to find connection points for your radio's ground and antenna hot lead that aren't too close to a mutual ground.

Or, just connect the antenna wire to a shroud or stainless lifeline. There's no easy way to do this and make it a textbook antenna system, but it's probably going to work better than the internal or whip antenna, and it's not going to do any harm.
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Old 01-09-2014, 17:39   #3
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Re: Mast for Short Wave antenna

bgallinger,
I do have some ideas / advice for you....
BUT...

But, before we start, please take note that the Grundig G3 has a reputation of having intermittent problems, and many right out-of-the-box simply do NOT work....they are not bad radios when they work, but recent real-world reviews point to some serious quality-control issues, and it's not a radio that I would recommend....
Please read the review here...where you'll see that when they work, users are quite happy with them, but there are many that do NOt work at all, right-out-of-the-box...
Grundig G3 with SSB Product Reviews


If we wish to assume that your radio is working, which is actually a very big leap of faith on my part, we can proceed...



1) First some brief comments in red....then some details below...
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgallinger View Post
I bought a Grundig G3 portable short wave radio and so far not much luck pulling in stations.
This is unfortunately a common occurrence....and is usually caused by:
a) lack of understanding of what you should hear and shouldn't hear....the difference between normal static and radio-frequency-interference (RFI)...
b) lack of understanding of HF Radiowave (shortwave) propagation...
c) not knowing exactly when/what frequency to tune to to hear what you desire...


I tried hooking up a 30 foot wire to the external jack and hoisting it up the mast but still not much.
This is a VERY good idea, and should work well for you..once we solve the problems above (a, b, and c)...


I was told later that there was a lot of sunspot activity that day so I'm tiring of this.
PLEASE do not give up, as once we solve a, b, and c, it will be easy!!!


My mast does not have a backstay but I'm wondering how well the mast would work as an antenna.
The wire that you strung up will work fine for now....once we solve a, b, and c....we can talk about a permanent antenna solution....

Any ideas?
See below for details, please read the threads referenced, as this has been discussed and solved many times over the recent few years....


2) Most that have the "can't hear much it is", find that they are just not familiar with what time and frequency to tune to, and have too much Radio Noise (RFI) on-board or nearby....

You need to start by NOT having anything on-board powered up at all....just the radio...
Switch off all the breakers (ac and dc) and turn off the main battery switch...and if possible, get your boat/radio away from the dock/marina/yacht club (by at least 1/2 mile)....
Doing this will reduce/eliminate most of the interfering noises that may be causing you troubles...
(note that once you get a usable signal on the radio, yo can switch things back on, listening to what happens....if you get lucky, you may have no problems....but don't hold your breath!)
Battery chargers / inverters and marine refrigeration units are the worst offenders....so getting away from the ones that you can't switch off, is the first step...

Testing a SSB/Ham radio - poor reception



3) Here is some info regarding when/what to tune into...and threads / discussions that highlight both ridding your boat of RFI and determining what channels/frequencies to tune to at what specific times of the day....
Assuming you are in Ontario, on your 34' Hunter, in a marina/yacht club???
If these are not your current situation, please advise...

If you are in Ontario, you aren't really in the best location to hear many of the Offshore / Hi-seas broadcasts that are transmitted from coastal locations and directed out over the oceans....but...

But, you should still hear NMN (USCG, Chesapeake, VA) and WLO Radio (public coast station, Mobile, AL)....
Note the specific times that these stations are actively transmitting!!!

USCG HF Voice
try 13089 at 1530z and 2130z....and 8764, 6501 (and even 4426) at 0903z and 0330z...

HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels
try 13110 during the daytime at the top of the hour and at the times of their weather broadcasts...8788 in the evenings, as well as maybe 6519 and 4369 later at night....


Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

Try the 12/13mhz channels daytime (as well as the 8mhz channels), and the 8mhz and 6mhz channels at night....
(please confirm WHERE you at, and what times you're available...)



Watching this video should also help you immensely...




Please read these threads/discussions, even if the titles seem odd, the gist of most of them are directly on-point to your troubles!!!

Testing a SSB/Ham radio - poor reception

Icom M802 in fresh water

SSB Receiver Only? Is it practical?

SSB Receivers

Tips for using an HF-SSB Radio (mostly for newcomers)

ICOM 706 MK2 G optimization.

Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea

Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

HF Radio Freqs, summertime Atlantic crossing, offshore Net..

Newbe to ssb, anybody help me with some basic info?




I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 01-09-2014, 20:06   #4
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Re: Mast for Short Wave antenna

What John said.
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Old 01-09-2014, 21:38   #5
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Re: Mast for Short Wave antenna

bgallinger,
I have a slight correction/clarification to what I wrote earlier...
(I actually looked at a chart and saw that London, Ontario is only about 400 - 420nm from NMN's location in Chesapeake, VA....which is a bit short for reliable comms on 12/13mhz....so, I'm going to correct a few things here, in red...)



Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
If you are in Ontario, you aren't really in the best location to hear many of the Offshore / Hi-seas broadcasts that are transmitted from coastal locations and directed out over the oceans....but...

But, you should still hear NMN (USCG, Chesapeake, VA) and WLO Radio (public coast station, Mobile, AL)....
Note the specific times that these stations are actively transmitting!!!

USCG HF Voice
try 13089 at 1530z and 2130z....and 8764, 6501 (and even 4426) at 0930z and 0330z...
(with a distance of only about 400nm, while 13089khz might work daytimes, the fact is that you're a bit too close for this frequency....and I'd recommend trying 8764khz as well, at 1530z and 2130z, to see which one had more reliable signals....and you may find that 8764khz to not be usable for such short range after dark, so be sure to try 6501 and especially 4426, at 0330z and 0930z...)


HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels
try 13110 during the daytime at the top of the hour and at the times of their weather broadcasts...8788 in the evenings, as well as maybe 6519 and 4369 later at night....
(with a distance of 800 - 850nm, you should find 13110khz to work from roughly an hour or two after sunrise - to an hour or two after sunset...but you may also find that 17362khz works good from a 2 hours +/- local noon time....and 8788khz from late afternoon to an hour +/- midnight....and 6519 from an hour after sunset to an hour after sunrise, and even 4369 might be usable from 10pm local thru sunrise...

So, daytime...try 13110 and 8788 (and even 17362)....nighttime try 8788 and 6519....)


Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

Try the 12/13mhz channels daytime (as well as the 8mhz channels), and the 8mhz and 6mhz channels at night....
(please confirm WHERE you at, and what times you're available...)



Watching this video should also help you immensely...


I hope this clarification helps...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:33   #6
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Re: Mast for Short Wave antenna

Thanks John! Lots and lots of useful information for me to move forward.

Bruce
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