As a ham for over 40 years and as a professional SSB
installer, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry when reading this thread.
No, it's not rocket science. But there is a lot of science involved, as well as art and actual experience and practice.
Hey, anybody can hook up an SSB radio
just any old way using just any old thing and, with luck, make some contacts. Especially on nets with lots of folks on frequency listening. EVEN THE WORST INSTALLATION
will allow you to get thru sometimes.
How do I know this? Many thousands, nay tens of thousands of contacts with boats over many many years on the various maritime nets all around the world.
Making a few contacts proves almost nothing. Making reliable contacts when you want to in many places and times and on various bands means much more.
Haven't the time or energy to respond to all the bad info in this thread.
The most egregious...
1. tuner to backstay
.....use GTO-15 wire, NOT coax; failure to do so will result in possible shock hazard and in certain attenuation of the transmitted signal;
2. length of backstay
.....it doesn't matter that much. Modern tuners can tune just about any length over 23' or so. Longer lengths favor lower bands; shorter lengths favor the higher bands.
... backstay antennas are not dipoles, nor are they "one half of a dipole". A dipole is a balanced antenna. A backstay is an unbalanced, end-fed random length antenna.
4. the KISS-SSB counterpoise
(I'm a dealer)....yes, it's incredibly easy to install and works fairly well. It's not the best RF ground or radial system you can install, but it's not bad, and will help to tune on all bands.
BTW, Capt Don has it just about right! Guess some folks do learn from the reading :-)