Don't be misled by your ability to make contacts. A ham who knows what he's doing can, quite literally, make contacts by loading up his bedsprings!
Again, I'd abandon the topping lift idea; it's just too problematic and too lossy.
With regard to the alternate backstay idea -- very simple to rig and very effective -- here's how you do it.
1. Find a suitable length of wire. For trial purposes, and until you're a "believer", I'd just use anything handy.
2. Overall length isn't that important, but to optimise the lower frequencies (e.g., 2-8 MHz), the longer the better. Why do you care about the 2MHz frequencies, anyway? There's nothing there....very little use these days.
3. Decide where the lower end will be. The forward end of the pushpit is usually ideal -- either port or starboard as you like -- because it's clear of the end of the boom.
4. Hoist the (temporary) antenna with a spare halyard
, and secure the lower end to the pushpit. You can use antenna insulators if you want, or short lengths of Dacron will work fine, too.
5. Find a home for the LDG tuner beneath the deck and closest to the antenna base.
6. You will need some sort of current balun. 1:1 may be alright, but I think 4:1 would be better. LDG is OK. RadioWorks is OK. Others, too.
7. Connect the LDG tuner to the radio using RG-8X coax. Any length will do; it's not critical. You can locate the tuner as far from the radio as necessary.
8. To avoid stray RF, it's a good idea to put some ferrite beads around the coax at each end, i.e., closest to the tuner and closest to the radio.
9. Connect the coax OUTPUT from the LDG tuner to the balun, using RG-8X coax.
10. Connect a length of GTO-15 wire from the antenna side of the balun OUTPUT, through the deck, to the base of the antenna.
11. Connect the RF ground system (your copper foil, etc.) to the OUTPUT ground side of the balun.
Think of it this way: you're feeding the signal from your radio through the coax to the tuner and through the short coax to the balun. At the balun, you're splitting the signal, one part to the antenna, the other part to ground.
By the way, you can see my "alternate backstay" antenna here:
It's on the starboard side...you can see two white lines, one is the nylon line from the little black insulator to the pushpit, the other is the GTO-15 wire which feeds the antenna.
Despite all they hype and the nonsense about grounding plates and 3" wide copper, grounding to keel
, etc. -- and it is just plain nonsense from an RF engineer's perspective -- what works like gangbusters is to have a counterpoise
consisting of radials (insulated wires, either tuned or random length...the more the merrier) or other structures which can serve as an effective counterpoise
. I use my aluminum
toerails and pushpit/lifelines/pulpit complex as a counterpoise.
Since you already have the copper foil and the thru-hull connection (great DC ground and good for pumping RF into the sea), try it first. You can always experiment
and add radials later on if needed.