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Old 07-05-2015, 08:50   #31
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Re: Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

Thanks, Carsten. I think my next step is to verify what type of tuner I actually have. All the discussion is leading me to think that I have something other than an AT-140.

A lot of my confusion goes all the way back to when I purchased the boat. It was advertised as having a Marine SSB radio. That was not the case. I am working through it all, but it is taking time.

Needing to get my ham license was a surprise. At least that is out of the way.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:55   #32
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Re: Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

Thank you, John, for all your help.


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Old 07-05-2015, 10:57   #33
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Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

I wouldnt be surprised if the TS480SAT internal tuner was active at some point and could give you a match on a subset of bands without having that wide range external tuner active. The rig's internal tuner will match up to a 3:1 SWR, and may bring an even worse impedance to a 2:1 match which the transceiver may be satisfied with. Again this would would only fly on frequencies for which your antenna was not far from 1/4 or 3/4 wavelength.

There will also be a frequency for your antenna for which no tuner at all would be needed, where the antenna system is 1/4 wavelength. On my boat this is right around 10 mHz in the 30 meter ham band.

Just throwing that thought out there!

Chip


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Old 07-05-2015, 11:10   #34
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Re: Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

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Originally Posted by Coutret View Post
Thanks, Carsten. I think my next step is to verify what type of tuner I actually have. All the discussion is leading me to think that I have something other than an AT-140.

A lot of my confusion goes all the way back to when I purchased the boat. It was advertised as having a Marine SSB radio. That was not the case. I am working through it all, but it is taking time.

Needing to get my ham license was a surprise. At least that is out of the way.
Probably listed by the "broker" that said it had one bathroom.
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:15   #35
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Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

Another thought is that instead of an active external tuner, there is a 4:1 balun between transceiver and antenna. This would allow the TS480SAT internal tuner to match more bands, though probably not all depending on the length of the antenna.

Chip


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Old 07-05-2015, 13:30   #36
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Re: Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

Hi again,

First off, I skimmed through most of the replies as well as your more detailed description of your setup.
It seems to me most of what I thought of has already been answered and it is true most of what have been said…. Especially that there is amatuers who have knowledge a professional would only dream about.

Second of all I congratulate you on your choice of radio. The TS-480 is a small, lightweight radio with not too many bells and whistles but you get a helluwa better radio for probably less than half the cost then buying a marine ssb radio which is not at all as good in reception and noise/interference reduction.
There are many better radios…. But in comparison to a marine ssb rig yours is outstanding. Don’t know why marine ssb radios are so expensive…… Perhaps because of the knowledge that the buyers are boaters and they need to pay more. It’s kind of like why one have to pay €uro 3000 for a washer/dryer when one can go in any home depot kind of store and buy the same machine for less than quarter of the price.

Back to your problems……..
Now there can be a number of factors for your problems…… Some easy and some a bit more tricky.
Since the human is regulary lazy (I am) I suggest to check the easiest things first in order not to do a lot of work which was unessesary.

I suggest you try this list first.

1. Make sure you have not accidently chosen the other antenna connection (you have 2) than the one you have your coax running to your tuner connected to. By chance you may have connected the wrong one when moving the rig. By chance you may have triggered the button changing antenna port – this is controlled from your front panel.
2. Make sure your TS-480 SAT internal antenna tuner is not on. Using 2 antenna tuners in series/line may cause you inductance phenomenon creating difficulties to tune. You can see this by a small square in the screen saying tune or tuner… It means it is on. Turn it off.
3. If you have a shortage in your feed-line (coax) there is no tuner in the world which can help you. A shortage can easily be found if you follow these steps.
a. Disconnect coax from radio
b. Disconnect coax from antenna feed point or in your case, tuner feed point.
c. Use a multi-meter and set it for resistance measurement (Ohm).
d. The meter should read nothing.
e. Take one end of the coax (either end) and place one probe on the center and the other probe on the shield part of the connector. If you get anything between a small or full reading it means center and shield is grounded somewhere. Again, it is important that you have both ends of the coax disconnected to measure it for shortage. Not all antennas and not all tuners have separation for example those loaded with a balun.
Solution:
1. Evaluate the coax, is there any bad nicks, cuts or other damages? If yes, go on this list and if it don’t help replace the coax. If it is not go on this list.
2. Evaluate the 2 connectors… How is the soldering on center conductor? Is the coax somewhat loose connected to the coax? Evaluate which side is worse and start there as it is most likely that is the position of the problem.
3. De-solder the worst connector and check the status of the center conductor and the shield. Any brown or black it means it has been water damaged which means the resistance of the coax has gone haywire as well as your losses compared to a good coax is gigantic.
4. While the connector is de-soldered you can again use the multi-meter to check the resistance again. If you now have any reading it means that your problem is in the other end of the coax. If you have a zero read you have just found the problem end.
5. If you don’t find any bad qualities of the coax then inspect the connector on the inside, is there any small piece of contaminants which can cause the shortage? If yes remove it or simply use a new connector and re-solder it. Instructions how to solder connectors on coax is found on many pages on google.
6. Coax is known to “suck” water, even upside down. It is extremely important to watertight your coax ends, especially when using it on a boat. There is many schools and opinions on how to do it but my opinion is to seal it with vulcanizing tape and then above it use electrical tape. On the antenna end you should also tape over the whole connector after it has been connected to the antenna. The smallest drop inside will transport it say alongside the coax and cause oxidation which equals problems mostly in power losses and shortened life time.
4. If you don’t have any coax problem you might want to check the connectivity of the antenna.
a. On the terminal from the tuner make sure the wire to the antenna is not touching or close to anything else because it will become part of the antenna causing the tuner to try to tune that as well which may be too much what it can handle.
b. Make sure the feed-point to the antenna has a good connection. Use the multi-meter again in ohm-reading and put one probe on the tuner terminal going to the antenna and the other probe on the antenna itself. You should get a full reading. If not you have a problem in the connection to the antenna.
c. Make sure your antenna tuner has good grounding, if it does not it may be difficult for it to get a good match. Connect it to a ground plate, some wire in the ocean and connect some wire end to the ground terminal and run them alongside the boat. These are called radials. If you want you can make them quarter wave length of the frequencies you want to use for the best result but you can also use several shorter randomly lengths. To calculate the quarterwave lengths…. 300 divided by frequency in MHz divided by 4 times 0,96 will give you a quarterwave lenght in meters. The calculation is logic for you to easy to remember. Radio waves travel in speed of light which is 300 000 Kilometer / second (in vacuum). 300 000 Km can be converted to 300 Megameter…. Mega like in MegaHertz… So speed of light in Megameters divided by frequency in Megaheartz gives you wavelength in meters. Divide by 4 to get the quarters. The 0,96 is a factor as waves don’t travel as fast in coax, antennas and oxygen as in vacuum.


Ps. As a red tape code of conduct. Don’t whistle to cause modulation in order to have the tuner starting to tune. It is a disrespectful (or unknowingly) habit of bad radio operators. Even if you do not hear anyone else on the frequency others may try to hear someone with an weak signal that you whistle over causing interference in their communication. If you don’t have a tune button (some radiolas have a button where tuning can be triggered silently) then I suggest instead that you turn down your output power and go in FM mode and send a carrier for a short while. This will not disturb others as much as whistling will.


Cheers,

Magnus
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Old 07-05-2015, 13:35   #37
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Re: Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

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Again this would would only fly on frequencies for which your antenna was not far from 1/4 or 3/4 wavelength.

There will also be a frequency for your antenna for which no tuner at all would be needed, where the antenna system is 1/4 wavelength. On my boat this is right around 10 mHz in the 30 meter ham band.

Just throwing that thought out there!

Chip
This is correct, and it is in my calculation in the post before this one that helps you figure out how to make your antenna the right lenght for the frequency you want to use.
Another thing you can do as well is to cut the lenght of your antenna to match both a 1/4wave on one frequency you want to use as well as a 3/4wave on a higher frequency. This is quite common between the 7MHz and 21MHz ham bands.

My humble opinion is... Dont use antennas which has to be tuned to work, nor antennas that is so "wide band" they can be used anywhere... There is no shortcuts, only compromise. The best antenna is made for the specific frequency with a quite small tollerence how much you can move in frequency. But it will be very much effective then tuning antennas or antennas which "work every frequency".
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Old 07-05-2015, 13:41   #38
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Re: Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

Thank you Magnus. You gave me a lot to work with.
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Old 07-05-2015, 15:00   #39
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Re: Need a SSB/Ham Radio Expert

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Thank you Magnus. You gave me a lot to work with.
His post was very good since you had said it had previously worked.

Let us know the outcome.
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