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Old 25-11-2017, 15:24   #1
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Multiple types of antennas for SSB

Believe my boat was originally setup with an a/b switch that would allow selecting either a vertical whip or a backstay antenna was wondering if anyone has heard of something like this and if so what are the benefits?
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Old 25-11-2017, 15:37   #2
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

Hi,

I have both a 17' whip and an insulated 75' backstay on my boat - the backstay is better at lower freqs, while the whip is better for higher bands (longer range). I have two tuners (and two radios), but figuring out a way to use one tuner would probably require you to physically move a wire over, as I doubt any normal sort of switch could be used inline with the antenna wire from the tuner. (potential for very high voltage or current).

For a receive-only installation, a switch (and no tuner) would work, but I'm not sure it's worth the effort

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Old 25-11-2017, 15:37   #3
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

We have several antennas. They are all wired to a patch bay. This allows us options, flexibilty, the ability to change antennas in a jiffy for better performance in changing conditions, and it allows us to disconnect everything in an electrical storm.

So Short answer = the benefits are options.
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Old 25-11-2017, 18:30   #4
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

Having a whip and a backstay antenna available to choose from can be very advantageous. At a given frequency, one will usually be better than the other, typically (but not always) as Hartley notes above. A given antenna will radiate its best signal at different elevation angles at different frequencies. The ideal elevation angle of a signal for a given station will depend on its distance from you.
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Old 26-11-2017, 14:56   #5
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

Cburger..... An all around solution that can be stowed until deployed for use is a tunable "screw-driver" type variable length whip antenna, a self-contained tuner design. Hauled-up the mainmast with a halyard, with remote control & coax cable hanging downward, it will cover multiple HF frequencies (High Frequency bands). Some radios are designed to pair with, via a small control cable, to automatically re-tune this type of antenna if you change transmit frequency. That approach aside, probably the best all around and very typical sailing vessel antenna is one physically cut to the operating frequency, usually erected as a "quarter-wave wire-type vertical"with a companion ground wire connected to the lead keel mass and/or or a large copper under hull ground plate. Ideally cut to length for the primary operating frequency, say 14.300 megahertz (for interacting with the Maritime Mobile Marine Net for example), the physical length will be around 16.35 feet long. Note surrounding close-by metal (mast, stays, wiring) will alter this length, so usually shortening it solves the issue. Best to use a rig controlled remote tuner at the connection points of this style antenna. While existing metallic stays can be driven via toroidal coupling methods, it is generally better (and safer) to use a separately installed antenna structure, wire or whip. Now if you can pop-up a large balloon....
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Old 26-11-2017, 15:50   #6
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

I do not have two antennas, but clearly there could be an advantage. However, as one person said two tuners, where you would switch the coaxial cable, would be the best approach. If you want to switch the GTO wire, that would be best accomplished manually and the advantage of the two antennas would be reduced.

On shore life is much easier. At our MARS station we have a patch panel I built that works well. We have Verticals, Dipoles, Folded Dipoles, and only one directional on a rotor now as the other rotor failed after many years. We are hoping to get our Log Periodic on the rotor as it covers more bands. No money to repair as it is a volunteer organization with minimal donations these days. Anyway as one person said a patch panel is great. I did see a boat in San Diego that had a rotor/antenna atop their mast. Looking at the boat, I can only assume the dock lines were welded to the dock.
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Old 27-11-2017, 02:51   #7
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

CBurger,

you've received many interesting answers. Combining a vertical whip (short) and an insulated backstay (long) is indeed an interesting setup with the only inconvenience that you will need a "manual" patch system to attach either the one or the other to the antenna tuner antenna connector.
If you plan to switch very often (eg daily net like 8 Mhz but also pactor on higher frequency long distance) a simple solution would be a heavy-duty crocodile clip at the bottom of each GTO lead (the end of either the whip or the insulated backstay) to be clipped on the above-deck stud of the insulated through-hull. conncector. That would not be a very weatherised solution so regular cleaning would be needed. But fast...just walk over - remove 1 clip and attach the other one - retune - done.

The sailor mentioning 2 antenna 2 transceivers - that is an expensive overkill...he might at least use 1 transceiver with a coaxial switch to connect to either tuner.

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Old 27-11-2017, 06:42   #8
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

If you want to run one radio into two tuners these people make good switches https://www.alphadeltacom.com/pg3.html

Thats what I use ashore with a 1 radio/multiple tuners and ants.

Afloat I have gone down the 2 radio/2 tuner into backstay and whip road.

Both work..... horses for courses..

73 de VK3JFH/VP8DNM
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Old 27-11-2017, 13:20   #9
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

On the plus side, if you either lose the rig, or some bozo uses the hf whip as a grab handle and breaks it, you flip a switch and you're back in business. And they may have performance advantages on different bands, as noted.

On the minus side, that switch adds a failure node to everything, and possibly a small (one db?) reduction in signal.

You might want to check the SWR and also tune in to some beacon signals to see specifically which antenna does how well on what bands, and then either make up a little "Use this for that" sticker for the radio, or possibly disconnect the switch and just set up directly with the one that performs best, leaving the other as "swap the cable" for backup use. Some patient testing will give you the numbers to make that objective.
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Old 27-11-2017, 14:02   #10
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

There have been many interesting replies. As the vessel came with its mast down and in pieces I have been attempting to put back the way original owner had setup. Currently ssb has a backstay antenna. Prior owner had a fiberglass whip screwed into a base mounted on the boomkin and never was able to determine what it was for. I found a coaxial switch located in a box of parts and am wondering if this was for SSB. As the antenna was only about 10' long (see pic) and doesn't look anything like the types I see on the web thinking it might of been for some other purpose, maybe another VHF antenna?
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Old 27-11-2017, 16:40   #11
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

A bit shorter than the typical SSB whip. Could be a high gain VHF antenna. If you could find someone with an antenna analyzer ( I have one here in Camden, ME...) you could find the answer.
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Old 27-11-2017, 18:22   #12
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

I disposed of the antenna, all of the SSB whips I have seen are very long, 20' or so. I would like to keep the new antenna attached to the boomkin and forsee problems with one this long are there any that woiuld be in the 8-10 foot range?
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Old 27-11-2017, 18:53   #13
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

If you have the insulated backstay and an antenna tuner, go with that. Had our W32 set up that way and had a great signal on 20 and 14 meter ham bands. Didn't try any of the lower freq. bands. The higher bands were wiped out by atmospherics so nothing there.

If you want an emergency antenna, buy a 20 meter whip and manually plug it in when the mast falls down and you need the back up.
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Old 27-11-2017, 19:25   #14
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

I didn't see if you mentioned what kind of radio you have/had, but it sounds like you might be describing a DSC receive antenna, which is required for DSC functions of the M802.
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Old 27-11-2017, 21:28   #15
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Re: Multiple types of antennas for SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddster8 View Post
I didn't see if you mentioned what kind of radio you have/had, but it sounds like you might be describing a DSC receive antenna, which is required for DSC functions of the M802.
Maybe, but overkill for a DSC receive antenna.
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