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Old 14-01-2012, 07:02   #1
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Need Help with SSB Problem ...

My SSB is driving me nuts!

The problem is that I can not hear most stations.

In Antigua a radio shop tested my ICOM 802 in the shop and it tested OK. We had to leave there before any other testing could be done.

In Grenada I could hear a net controller who was in the next bay and also was able to hear and speak with a boat in Trinidad. I cannot hear Chris Parker, Herb, other Caribbean nets or much else other than on the AM bands. Can't even get the VOA stations on any band and they are supposed to be powerful. This was with the existing ground and also same results after installing a KISS ground system. At that time the connection from the tuner wire where it joins the insulated shroud that is used for an antenna was uncovered, inspected and re-connected.

In Los Roques I took my transceiver to another boat, installed it, and it worked fine as I could hear many stations.

In Curacao Radio Holland took both the transceiver and tuner into the shop. Both tested out OK. They then told me that was the end of what they could trouble shoot.

So here I SSB and heading to the Pacific. What can I do now?

I was thinking that the next step might be to bypass the existing antenna with some type of temporary antenna and see what happens. Is this a good idea and if so what might I want to use for a temporary antenna?

Any other ideas will be greatly appreciated.

PS Are there any electronic/radio shops in Aruba or Panama?


Bahamas this winter.
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Old 14-01-2012, 07:44   #2
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Re: Need help with SSB problem.........

A couple things:

When you say "could not hear" was that due to excessive noise, or was the frequency pretty quiet? If noise, turn off all other systems.

When you tested it, were you in the slip and a marina? If so, go out and anchor then try the rig. I have never EVER been able to hear any of my local hf nets while in the slip due to RFI from the dock's AC and other boats nearby. I can motor 20 minutes away and drop anchor off a local small island and everything works like a charm.

Those are probably the two easiest things to try straight away.

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Old 14-01-2012, 08:24   #3
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Re: Need help with SSB problem.........

Agree with Westsail; turn off everything electric aboard except the SSB and try again.

Make sure that the ground lug of the tuner is ONLY attached to the Kiss ground, not to anything else.

Remove everything connected to the antenna connector of the tuner and connect 50' wire there. Tie a loop in the end and hoist it with a halyard. This should give worldwide communication.

But... check propagation too ;often nets are on bad time of day for propagation. Comparing with a neighbor is safe.

When I switch on my SSB in the marina here, I can't receive anything well. You need to be reasonable clear from other boats and stuff.

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Old 14-01-2012, 08:34   #4
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Re: Need help with SSB problem.........

Westsail42 thanks for the reply.

Test results at anchor same as at the dock.

Static on frequencies that I should expect to hear something is the same, pretty much, as other frequencies. Will try turning everything off to test after we return to our boat on the 19th.

Nick, thanks also. Will check the ground lug on the tuner and test with the 50' antenna.

Bahamas this winter.
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Old 14-01-2012, 08:49   #5
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Re: Need help with SSB problem.........

I've had the exact same problem with my SSB and it's probably not your grounding system or your antenna but rather some obscure electrical component that's causing the problem. In my case, it was the Link 2000 Inverter/Charger control panel. Merely shutting off all electrical systems didn't solve the problem - I had to pull the fuses out of some things!

Good luck, fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 14-01-2012, 10:18   #6
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Re: Need help with SSB problem.........

Before heading out on any trip, you should have plenty of basic electrical materials to be able to put together any type of emergency rig, ground or antenna system.

Having these materials will also allow you to do some basic trouble shooting. Reduce everything to it parts and go from there.

First things first. You did a test of your radio in some other should have taken that radio and tried in your boat.

But...if cannot...begin at the beginning, since using you radio on another boat is some proof that the radio is OK..

1. Put together a dipole antenna and use it directly with your radio. It should be fool proof. This will allow you to isolate and ignore your boat's counterpoise/antenna system. Try that. If OK, this proves that your radio is OK.

[Quick note: a great piece of emergency comm equipment to have is a short length of coax, that you have cut and then split into its outer braid and inner conductor. You can use this to create any type of dipole and many other types of antenna's]

2. step. Try using the dipole with your tuner. If OK, then tuner and radio are OK.

3. Then....counterpoise. Since you have the KISS, let's use that. Connect to the counterpoise leg of your dipole, using your tuner.

Is that OK?

4. After this testing, you will know that your radio, tuner and counterpoise are OK. can probably guess.....your antenna.

Hope this helps


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Old 14-01-2012, 10:32   #7
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Re: Need Help with SSB Problem ...

If it worked well on the other boat you took it to then it's wither the antenna/wire or as mentioned other things on the boat turned on....
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 15-01-2012, 08:34   #8
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Re: Need Help with SSB Problem ...

When you are on a frequency with only static and no audible stations, how many bars does the signal strength "meter" show? If always more than one or two, or maybe three, you probably have a high level of local interference contributing to the problem.

If no bars show, I would suspect a problem with your antenna.

It shouldn't take much of an antenna to be able to pick up plenty of HF stations, if you are looking on the right bands at the right time.


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